No matter why you first decide to visit Flagstaff, this is a city that will give you plenty more reasons to love it. Unlike Phoenix to the south, Flagstaff does not suffer from overpopulation, sprawl, extreme heat waves, or an overabundance of concrete. This is a college town, so there is definitely a youthful energy here, but in addition to that its location at the foot of the San Francisco Peaks makes it a hotspot for outdoor adventurers. The vibe is decidedly low-key, and there are lots of cheap hotels in Flagstaff where you can enjoy everything the town has to offer.
Any one of the cheap hotels in Flagstaff makes an ideal base from which to explore the charms of the town itself, including the many great shops and restaurants and the local super-cool Lowell Observatory, but a trip to Flagstaff is not complete without at least a day-trip to the nearby Grand Canyon. And if you are an outdoors enthusiast you will want to take advantage of the mountains just outside of town, as well, which are great for hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter.
In fact, it is the close-ness of the Grand Canyon National Park that makes the number of cheap hotels in Flagstaff higher than you might expect for a town of this size. Many of the bigger chain hotels are located on the outskirts of town, but if you have rented a car (which you will need to have done if you are heading out for any day trips) then you can get back and forth into the charming downtown area easily.
A few of the cheap hotels in Flagstaff that you might want to check out are Arizonian Motel (close to downtown, some smoking rooms, cable TV, internet access, free parking), Howard Johnson Flagstaff (2 miles to downtown, free WiFi & internet access, free breakfast, seasonal outdoor pool, cable TV, free parking, guest laundry), Super 8 Flagstaff West (on Route 66 close to downtown, free hot continental breakfast, free WiFi access, indoor heated pool and spa, cable TV, 66 rooms), Hotel Aspen (on Route 66 close to downtown, free internet access in rooms, free WiFi in lobby, free hot breakfast buffet, on-site cafe, fitness center, heated seasonal pool, BBQ area, free parking, guest laundry), and Travelodge Flagstaff (near downtown, heated indoor pool & jacuzzi, free internet access, mens & womens saunas, on-site bar & restaurant, billiards table, cable TV, free parking).