Travelers visit the city of Anchorage in search of adventure and as a launching point to see some of the world’s most remote and beautiful landscapes. This is an awesome place to plan a trip if you love parks, hiking, skiing, and getting into the backcountry. The city is in no shortage of museums, markets, and craft breweries. It’s also fun to explore the area by train and plane to get a whole new perspective on Alaska. To help you narrow down your options and plan your Alaskan vacation, here are some of the top things to do in Anchorage!
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Anchorage Museum (Nearby Hotels)
One of the best places to start your exploration of the city of Anchorage is at the Anchorage Museum. Come here to learn about the history of the city, the region, and all things Alaska. You can get to know the Native cultures and local art and wildlife when you spend a few hours checking out the displays and exhibitions here. This is a great interactive stop if you have kids, and the museum is conveniently located in the downtown area. The museum has shorter hours in the winter, between October and April, which allow you to visit between 10am and 6pm on Tuesdays through Saturdays and from noon to 6pm on Sundays. The adult admission price is $18, seniors and students are $12, and children ages three 12 to are $9.
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail (Nearby Hotels)
Tony Knowles used to be a governor of Alaska, and this trail named after him extends from the downtown area of Anchorage and goes past iconic museums, parks, and scenery. This is an 11-mile paved path that’s great for biking and walking, and the trail is free to use and explore. Rollerblading, skiing, and running are also popular activities here to enjoy the beautiful coast and get active. It’s an easy trail in terms of difficulty and open year-around. One recommended spot to hop on the trail is at the end of West Second Avenue by the railroad depot.
Alaska Native Heritage Center (Nearby Hotels)
It’s important to understand the history of Alaska Natives to appreciate Alaskan culture, which is why a stop at the Alaska Native Heritage Center makes our list. Here you’ll learn about well-preserved customs, see ancient artifacts, and perhaps even enter the performance hall where Native community members tell stores and share their dances and other traditions. This is truly a place where you can connect with the locals and hear their fascinating personal stories. The center hosts events in the summer months, such as weaving classes, and you can enjoy an Alaskan-inspired meal at the Heritage Café. Adult admission is $24.95, senior admission is $21.15, and children admission for ages seven to 16 is $16.95.
Alaska Railroad (Nearby Hotels)
Trains were used to get around the wild Alaskan landscape before there were roads, and it’s still incredibly fun to take a train ride from Anchorage. You can take a scenic guided tour on the Alaskan Railroad to see iconic natural sights like the Denali glacier and Prince William Sound. Trips are offered throughout the year and traverse around 500 miles of remote landscapes that would be difficult to see up-close otherwise.
Chugach State Park (Nearby Hotels)
If you’re able to get just a bit outside of town to enjoy some nature, plan to travel just south of downtown Anchorage to explore Chugach State Park. This is a great place to rock climb, ski, see wildlife, and hike. It’s only about 15-20 minutes to get here from the city and well worth the drive. Spanning about 495,000 acres of land, this large park is bordered by the Alaska Range, Chugach and Wrangell Mountains, and Prince William Sound with lakes, shoreline, glaciers, and ice fields in the region.
Anchorage Market & Festival (Nearby Hotels)
This market and festival has been going strong in Anchorage since 1992 and occurs on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s grown tremendously over the years to host hundreds of vendors that sell clothing, crafts, and food. There’s live entertainment here, although parking can be a bit of a challenge on busy weekends. Stop by between mid-May and early-September on Saturdays from 10am to 6pm and on Sundays from 10am to 5pm.
Kincaid Park (Nearby Hotels)
Alaska is in no short supply of amazing parks, and Kincaid Park is a great place to visit when you’re in Anchorage. This park is in the southwest corner of the city, spans about 1,400 acres, and has lots of outdoor recreation opportunities for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Lots of wildlife, including moose and porcupines, live here, and you can reach the park via the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. If you’re up for a challenge, hike or jog the hilly 6-mile Lekisch Loop at Kincaid Park. Singletrack mountain biking trails are also here, as well as miles of groomed cross-country skiing trails for your winter adventure in Anchorage.
Alaska Aviation Museum (Nearby Hotels)
Since aviation has played such a big role in how Alaska has been developed over the years, it’s fun to visit the Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage and learn about it. Airplanes were relied upon before there were roads here, and you’ll learn about how supplies were flown in to explore and develop this rugged land. The museum is typically open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9am to 5pm and Sundays from noon to 5pm. The adult admission price is $15, senior price is $12, and children ages five to 17 are $8.
Flightseeing Adventure (Nearby Hotels)
But to really experience the spirit of aviation in Alaska, consider going on a flightseeing adventure from Anchorage to see the sights from way up high. Several local guide companies offer flightseeing trips, such as helicopter trips with Alpine Air Alaska and Anchorage Helicopter Tours. Fixed-Wing Flightseeing adventures are offered by Regal Air, Rust’s Flightseeing Tours, Trail Ridge Air, and other local companies.
Iditarod Trail Sled Race (Nearby Hotels)
One of the most famous dog sled races in the world travels from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska and is known as the “last great race on earth.” The race is 1,000 miles long and covers mountains, frozen rivers, and forests in sub-zero temperatures. The race begins in Anchorage, so plan your trip for the first Saturday in March to cheer on the dogs and mushers!