Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
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Lowell Observatory

This observatory is famous for discovering the dwarf planet Pluto and features many educational activities, historic telescopes and events for visitors.

Visit Lowell Observatory for daytime guided tours and nighttime telescope viewing sessions. Established in the late 19th century, the observatory is one of the oldest in the United States. The facility operates several telescopes, including the Pluto Discovery Telescope, for historical, educational and research purposes.

Start at the Steele Visitor Center on the Lowell Observatory campus. Here you’ll get acquainted with tour options and knowledgeable guides. Lowell’s present research telescopes are located outside Flagstaff; however, the campus still operates as an administration and visitor hub. Venture outward from Steele Visitor Center to find historic telescope domes and other fascinating Lowell Observatory areas.

Take the Pluto Tour to see the Pluto Discovery Telescope. This device was built in the late 1920s for the specific purpose of sighting the hypothetical 9th planet in our solar system. In 1930, observatory assistant Clyde Tombaugh discovered an object in the telescope’s glass negatives. The object was later named Pluto and the discovery marks one of the most important moments in United States astronomical history.

Attend an evening viewing through the Clark Telescope, a 24-inch (61-centimeter) refracting telescope, built in the late 19th century. The telescope, listed as a National Historic Landmark structure, was used to study moons, double planets, comets and other celestial objects. In the 1980s, Clark Telescope’s purpose shifted from research to education, where it has since amazed more than 2 million guests.

Stop at the Rotunda Museum to see some of the observatory’s most precious artifacts, including measuring and calculating devices. The museum contains displays on the Pluto discovery and moon mapping for the Apollo program. Exhibits on the expanding universe discovery and the Lowell family history also feature at the museum.

Lowell Observatory, open daily, is located in Flagstaff, Arizona. Use a public parking area next to the Steele Visitor Center. The cost of admission covers both day and evening programs. Reservations are not essential; however, it’s a good idea to check the official Lowell Observatory website for special events, tour times and seasonal programs.

Visit Lowell Observatory to look through state-of-the-art telescopes and learn about the facility’s monumental discoveries.


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Best Lodging Options Near Lowell Observatory

See all 835 Properties near Lowell Observatory
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Flagstaff CA $124
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Flagstaff

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Flagstaff

1175 W Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated near the airport, this hotel is 1 mi (1.7 km) from Northern Arizona University, and within 3 mi (5 km) of Flagstaff City Hall and Thorpe Park. Lowell Observatory and Museum of Northern Arizona are also within 6 mi (10 km). Flagstaff Station is 26 minutes by foot.

    Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Flagstaff Downtown, AZ CA $117
    Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Flagstaff Downtown, AZ

    Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Flagstaff Downtown, AZ

    224 S Mikes Pike, Flagstaff, AZ
       
      2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Downtown Flagstaff, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Flagstaff City Hall and Northern Arizona University. Lowell Observatory is 1.3 mi (2.2 km) away. Flagstaff Station is 8 minutes by foot.

      Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff CA $130
      Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff

      Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff

      300 S Milton Rd, Flagstaff, AZ
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Southside, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Flagstaff City Hall and Northern Arizona University. Lowell Observatory is 1.4 mi (2.2 km) away. Flagstaff Station is 10 minutes by foot.

        Days Inn by Wyndham Flagstaff Near Downtown/NAU on Route 66 CA $56
        Days Inn by Wyndham Flagstaff Near Downtown/NAU on Route 66

        Days Inn by Wyndham Flagstaff Near Downtown/NAU on Route 66

        1000 West Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ
           
          2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          This family-friendly Flagstaff motel is located near the airport, within a 15-minute walk of Riordon Mansion and Northern Arizona University. Lowell Observatory is 1.9 mi (3 km) away. Flagstaff Station is 19 minutes by foot.

          La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Flagstaff CA $105
          La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Flagstaff

          La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Flagstaff

          2015 S Beulah Blvd, Flagstaff, AZ
             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Woodlands Village, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Riordon Mansion and Northern Arizona University. Lowell Observatory is 2.8 mi (4.4 km) away.

            Residence Inn by Marriott Flagstaff CA $169
            Residence Inn by Marriott Flagstaff

            Residence Inn by Marriott Flagstaff

            100 North Humphreys Street, Flagstaff, AZ
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Downtown Flagstaff, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Flagstaff City Hall and Northern Arizona University. Lowell Observatory is 1.3 mi (2.1 km) away. Flagstaff Station is 5 minutes by foot.

              Embassy Suites Flagstaff CA $152
              Embassy Suites Flagstaff

              Embassy Suites Flagstaff

              706 South Milton Road, Flagstaff, AZ
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Riordon Mansion, Heritage Square and Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. Northern Arizona University and Walkup Skydome are also within 2 mi (3 km). Flagstaff Station is 14 minutes by foot.

                Motel 6 Flagstaff, AZ - West - Woodland Village CA $63
                Motel 6 Flagstaff, AZ - West - Woodland Village

                Motel 6 Flagstaff, AZ - West - Woodland Village

                2745 S Woodlands Village Blvd, Flagstaff, AZ
                   
                  2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Woodlands Village, this motel is 1.2 mi (2 km) from Northern Arizona University and 2.3 mi (3.7 km) from Flagstaff City Hall. Lowell Observatory and Museum of Northern Arizona are also within 6 mi (10 km).