Things to Do in Anchorage, Alaska: Located in the heart of Alaska, Anchorage is one of the most beautiful and exciting destinations in the world. Known as the “City of Lights and Flowers,” Anchorage is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and pristine wilderness that offer a range of outdoor activities for all ages. With so much to see and do, it can be hard to know where to start. In this article, we will explore some of the best things to do in Anchorage, Alaska.
15 Best Things to Do in Anchorage, Alaska
- Visit the Anchorage Museum
The Anchorage Museum is one of the largest museums in Alaska and features a wide range of exhibits that showcase the art, history, and culture of Alaska. The museum’s collections include a vast array of Native Alaskan artifacts, contemporary art, and exhibits on Alaskan wildlife and ecology. Visitors can also take part in a range of interactive activities, including virtual reality exhibits and hands-on art and science activities.
- Take a Cruise to Kenai Fjords National Park
One of the best ways to experience the breathtaking beauty of Alaska’s wilderness is to take a cruise to Kenai Fjords National Park. The park is home to some of the most incredible wildlife in Alaska, including whales, otters, sea lions, and bald eagles. Visitors can also witness the stunning glaciers and fjords that make up the park’s landscape. There are several cruise options available, ranging from day trips to overnight excursions.
- Explore Chugach State Park
Chugach State Park is a vast wilderness area that offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, and fishing. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including moose, bears, and wolves. Visitors can explore the park’s many trails, which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.
- Visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is a museum and cultural center that celebrates the diverse Native cultures of Alaska. Visitors can learn about the traditions and customs of the Native people, as well as view traditional crafts and art. The center also offers a range of cultural performances, including traditional dance and storytelling.
- Take a Scenic Drive on the Seward Highway
The Seward Highway is one of the most scenic drives in Alaska, offering breathtaking views of mountains, glaciers, and ocean vistas. The highway runs from Anchorage to Seward and is dotted with pullouts and viewpoints that offer stunning photo opportunities. Visitors can also stop at several small towns along the way, including Girdwood and Moose Pass.
- Visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the conservation and protection of Alaska’s wildlife. Visitors can view a range of Alaskan animals up close, including bears, wolves, moose, and caribou. The center also offers educational programs and tours.
- Go Dog Sledding
Dog sledding is a quintessential Alaskan experience that should not be missed. Visitors can take a sled ride through the wilderness with a team of trained sled dogs. This unique experience offers a glimpse into the traditional way of life in Alaska and is a great way to see the beautiful Alaskan wilderness up close.
- Take a Flightseeing Tour
One of the best ways to see Alaska’s vast wilderness is to take a flightseeing tour. Visitors can take a small plane or helicopter tour that offers a bird’s eye view of the stunning mountains, glaciers, and fjords that make up Alaska’s landscape. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should not be missed.
- Visit the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge
The Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge is a protected area that is home to a range of wildlife, including eagles, seals, and whales. Visitors can hike along the coastal trails, which offer stunning views of the ocean and surrounding mountains. The refuge is also home to several historical landmarks, including a World War II-era gun battery.
- Take a Glacier Hike
Alaska is home to some of the most stunning glaciers in the world, and visitors can experience these natural wonders up close by taking a glacier hike. Several tour companies offer guided hikes on glaciers near Anchorage, including the Matanuska Glacier and the Spencer Glacier. These tours offer a unique perspective on the beauty and power of Alaska’s natural landscape.
- Visit the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is a popular hiking and biking trail that offers stunning views of the Anchorage coastline. The trail runs along the shore for 11 miles, passing through several parks and offering opportunities to spot wildlife such as moose and bald eagles. Visitors can also rent bikes or take a guided bike tour of the trail.
- Explore the Alaska Botanical Garden
The Alaska Botanical Garden is a beautiful oasis in the heart of Anchorage, showcasing a wide range of native Alaskan plant species. Visitors can stroll through the garden’s trails, which wind through several themed gardens, including a herb garden and a wildflower garden. The garden also hosts several events throughout the year, including summer concerts and holiday lights displays.
- Visit the Iditarod Trail Headquarters
The Iditarod Trail Headquarters is a museum and cultural center that celebrates the history and culture of dog sledding in Alaska. Visitors can learn about the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which is one of the most challenging and prestigious dog sled races in the world. The museum also offers a range of interactive exhibits, including a chance to meet real sled dogs.
- Take a Fishing Trip
Alaska is known for its incredible fishing opportunities, and visitors to Anchorage can take advantage of this by taking a fishing trip. Several tour companies offer guided fishing trips in the surrounding waters, including the opportunity to catch salmon, halibut, and trout. This is a unique and exciting way to experience the beauty and wildlife of Alaska.
- Attend the Fur Rendezvous Festival
The Fur Rendezvous Festival is an annual winter festival that celebrates the unique culture and history of Anchorage. The festival features a range of events, including snowshoe races, sled dog races, and ice sculpting competitions. Visitors can also enjoy live music, food vendors, and a carnival. This festival is a great way to experience the fun and excitement of Anchorage’s winter season.
In conclusion, Anchorage, Alaska is a destination that offers a unique and unforgettable experience for all visitors. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or outdoor adventure, there’s something for everyone in Anchorage. From exploring glaciers to attending winter festivals, there’s no shortage of things to do and see in this beautiful city. With so much to offer, Anchorage is truly a destination that should not be missed.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Things to Do in Anchorage, Alaska
Here are some frequently asked questions about things to do in Anchorage, Alaska:
What is the best time to visit Anchorage?
Anchorage is a great destination to visit year-round, but the best time to visit depends on your interests. If you’re interested in winter activities like skiing and snowshoeing, then the winter months of December to February are the best time to visit. If you’re interested in outdoor activities like hiking and fishing, then the summer months of June to August are the best time to visit.
Are there any outdoor activities to do in Anchorage?
Yes, there are many outdoor activities to do in Anchorage, including hiking, fishing, skiing, snowshoeing, and glacier tours. Anchorage is surrounded by natural beauty, so there are many opportunities to explore the outdoors and enjoy the stunning scenery.
What are the must-see attractions in Anchorage?
Some of the must-see attractions in Anchorage include the Anchorage Museum, Alaska Native Heritage Center, Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, and the Anchorage Market and Festival. These attractions showcase the history, culture, and natural beauty of Anchorage.
Can I see wildlife in Anchorage?
Yes, Anchorage is home to a variety of wildlife, including moose, bears, and bald eagles. Visitors can spot wildlife on hiking trails, in parks, and even in residential areas.
Are there any festivals or events in Anchorage?
Yes, Anchorage hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Fur Rendezvous Festival in February, the Anchorage International Film Festival in December, and the Alaska State Fair in August.
How can I get around Anchorage?
Anchorage has several transportation options, including rental cars, taxis, ride-sharing services, and public transportation. The public transportation system includes buses and a light rail system called the Alaska Railroad.
Is it safe to travel to Anchorage?
Anchorage is generally a safe destination for travelers. However, visitors should take standard safety precautions, such as being aware of their surroundings and not leaving valuables unattended.
What is the weather like in Anchorage?
Anchorage has a subarctic climate, with long, cold winters and short, mild summers. In the winter months, temperatures can drop to below freezing, while in the summer months, temperatures can reach up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
What are some unique experiences to have in Anchorage?
Some unique experiences to have in Anchorage include taking a glacier hike, visiting the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and attending the Fur Rendezvous Festival. These experiences offer a glimpse into the unique culture and natural beauty of Alaska.
Are there any day trips from Anchorage?
Yes, there are several day trips from Anchorage, including a trip to the Matanuska Glacier, a visit to the historic mining town of Girdwood, and a trip to the coastal town of Seward. These day trips offer a chance to explore the surrounding area and see more of what Alaska has to offer.