Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory showing interior views, night scenes and an observatory
Choose one or more items to build your trip:
Choose one or more items to build your trip:
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.

Top Hotels Close to Lowell Observatory

Hotel Aspen InnSuites Flagstaff/Grand Canyon
Hotel Aspen InnSuites Flagstaff/Grand Canyon
2.5 out of 5
1008 E Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
The price is $56 per night from Oct 2 to Oct 3
Stay at this business-friendly hotel in Flagstaff. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and an outdoor pool. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms ...
3.9/5 Good! (2,349 reviews)
Nice place
"My husband and I stayed in Flagstaff so we could see the Grand Canyon, this hotel was nice and decent, the pool was heated, which was very nice, the room could have been a little bigger but it seemed like they were trying to have all the rooms be updated as far as furniture and bathroom tile and ..."

Reviewed on Sep 24, 2022

High Country Motor Lodge – Near NAU/Downtown
High Country Motor Lodge – Near NAU/Downtown
4 out of 5
1000 West Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
The price is $107 per night from Oct 5 to Oct 6
Stay at this 4-star family-friendly hotel in Flagstaff. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a restaurant. Our guests praise the pool and the helpful staff in ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (191 reviews)
"This motel was simple but unexpectedly gorgeous. A significant portion of the guests were simply wandering around to take pictures of the mid-Century decor, including an architect. Breakfast options were unexpectedly fresh and delicious. We were just passing through on a cross-country trip but would ..."

Reviewed on Sep 28, 2022

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Flagstaff Downtown, AZ
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Flagstaff Downtown, AZ
2 out of 5
224 S Mikes Pike, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
The price is $134 per night from Oct 2 to Oct 3
Stay at this business-friendly motel in Flagstaff. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the pool and the clean rooms in our reviews. ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (1,341 reviews)
Noisy
"Seemed to be a newish property so room was not beat up. Room had standard amenities. Biggest problem was noise. We had room 201 and the noise from the room directly above us was intrusive and disturbing. Sounded like someone was jogging and jumping up and down. We complained about the noise to the ..."

Reviewed on Sep 26, 2022

Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Lowell Observatory

Popular places to visit


Best Lodging Options Near Lowell Observatory

Hotel Aspen InnSuites Flagstaff/Grand Canyon
Hotel Aspen InnSuites Flagstaff/Grand Canyon
2.5 out of 5
1008 E Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
High Country Motor Lodge – Near NAU/Downtown
High Country Motor Lodge – Near NAU/Downtown
4 out of 5
1000 West Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Flagstaff Downtown, AZ
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Flagstaff Downtown, AZ
2 out of 5
224 S Mikes Pike, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff
Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff
3.5 out of 5
300 S Milton Rd, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
Highland Country Inn
Highland Country Inn
2 out of 5
223 S. Milton Rd., Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
Baymont by Wyndham Flagstaff
Baymont by Wyndham Flagstaff
2.5 out of 5
2005 S Milton Rd, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
Hotel Monte Vista
Hotel Monte Vista
3 out of 5
100 N San Francisco, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Flagstaff
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Flagstaff
4 out of 5
1175 W Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
Embassy Suites by Hilton Flagstaff
Embassy Suites by Hilton Flagstaff
3.5 out of 5
706 South Milton Road, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.