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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.


Guide to Exploring around Lowell Observatory


Best Lodging Options Near Lowell Observatory

See all 849 Properties near Lowell Observatory
Days Inn by Wyndham Flagstaff Near Downtown/NAU on Route 66 CA $60
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.

    Hotel Aspen InnSuites Flagstaff/Grand Canyon CA $54
    Hotel Aspen InnSuites Flagstaff/Grand Canyon

    Hotel Aspen InnSuites Flagstaff/Grand Canyon

    1008 E Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ
       
      2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in the heart of Flagstaff, this hotel is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from West of the Moon Gallery and within 3 miles (5 km) of Northern Arizona University and Lowell Observatory. Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra and Heritage Square are also within 15 minutes. Flagstaff Station is 13 minutes by foot.

      DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Flagstaff CA $127
      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.

        Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff CA $128
        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.

          Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Flagstaff Downtown, AZ CA $109
          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.

            Little America Flagstaff CA $134
            Little America Flagstaff

            Little America Flagstaff

            2515 E Butler Ave, Flagstaff, AZ
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated near the airport, this hotel is 1.9 mi (3.1 km) from West of the Moon Gallery and 2.5 mi (4 km) from Northern Arizona University. Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra and Heritage Square are also within 3 miles (5 km).

              Embassy Suites Flagstaff CA $150
              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.

                Residence Inn by Marriott Flagstaff CA $167
                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.