Top 10 Anchorage Things to Do
If you’re planning on visiting Anchorage and/or the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, we are sharing our Top 10 favorite things to do …..
“This is the place for man turned scientist and explorer, poet and artist. Here he can experience a new reverence for life that is outside his own and yet a vital and joyous part of it.” William O. Couglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Few facts about Alaska:
- The U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for 7.2 million dollars
- Alaska covers one-fifth of the size of the lower 48 States
- Alaska’s population is over 700,000 (2011 estimate) – nearly half of the state’s residents live in Anchorage
- Alaska has the largest concentration of bear, bald eagle and salmon on earth!
- Alaska is one of the best locations in the world to watch the Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis
- Not all Alaskans live in igloos
- We couldn’t see Russia from our window
- 2,000+ moose roam throughout Anchorage
1. Get out to the Alaskan Outdoors!
There’s a range of outdoor activities offered in Alaska including dogmushing, hiking, backpacking, skiing, skijoring (skiers pulled by a sled dog with a harness), snowmobiling, canoeing, kayaking, mountain and rock climbing, biking, and backcountry expeditions.
If you only have time for one activity, take a hike! There are 120 miles of award-wining multi-use trails to choose from. List of Parks and Trails
2. Order Wild-Caught Seafood, Halibut or Salmon
First make sure to visit the famous Marx Bros. Cafe ,or for a light bite Crush Wine Bistro, and you can enjoy a specialty dish of Chef Christopher Vane, a James Beard Award recipient. Grab an Alaskan breakfast with the locals at Snow City Cafe, and order a Polar Bear breakfast or the Crabby omelet. If you just want a cup of coffee, stop at one of the Kaladi Bros. locations (Alaska’s Starbucks).
3. Visit Alaska Native Heritage Center,
The best place to experience Alaska Native culture, values, traditions, and importance of the Dena’ina Seasonal Subsistence cycle is the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Watch the native dances, listen to music & storytelling performances, and visit the six authentic life-size replicas of traditional totem poles, and Native dwellings like the Yup’ik “Qasqig”, Unagax “ulax” or a Tlingit cedar longhouse. Learn about the eleven distinct cultures including the Athabascan, Yup’ik, Cup’ik, Inupiaq, St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Unangax, Alutiiq (Sugpiaq), and the Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian. Learn more here.
Visit the Anchorage Museum – Learn about the first people of Alaska, a MUST see Exhibit and one of our top ten experiences for Alaska (Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska). According to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, “Alaska is home to over 100,000 indigenous residents who represent twenty distinctive cultures and languages.” Here, you can view 600+ indigenous artifacts like the 1893 Tlingit war helmet from the SE Alaska village of Taku, and a 1935 Inupiaq feast bowl from Wales, near Nome on Alaska’s northwest coast, a one-of-a-kind collection from the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, curated with the help of Alaska native elders, scholars. Afterwards, stop at the Museum’s cafe, Muse, for a bite – delicious food (same owner as Marx Bros. Cafe).
4. Take an Anchorage Flightseeing tour.
Take a breathtaking flight over Alaskan Glaciers and Mt. McKinley (or the Indian name “Denali” meaning “the Great One” stands proud at 20,320 ft). With Rust’s Flying Service, you can sign up for the flight that will give you spectacular views of the Cook Inlet, the Alaska Mountain Range, and some of the chartered flights will land you on glaciers or can take you fly fishing to a remote river and wilderness lodges. Of the 20 U.S. highest peaks, 17 are in Alaska and on a clear day, you can see a few of these peaks and glaciers.
5. Iditarod Sled Dog Tour –
Take a day to learn about the Iditarod and see some of the famous race dogs and husky puppies in training in Anchorage. “Fairbanks is the dogmushing capital of the world. Dogmushing is the official state sport. Dogmushing races ranging from local club meets to world championships are held throughout the winter. The 1,049-mile Iditarod, which runs from Anchorage to Nome, is Alaska’s most famous sled dog race. The winner of the first Iditarod in 1973 completed the race in 20 days, while 1996 champion Jeff King finished in just 9 days. In a typical year, 60 mushers will compete. Only two-thirds will finish.” (Learn more here)
6. Take a Wilderness Explorer Glacier Cruise in Kenai Penisula –
Get out on the water and take a cruise and see a tidewater glacier and marine wildlife up close! “Alaska has an estimated 100,000 glaciers, ranging from tiny cirque glaciers to huge valley glaciers. There are more active glaciers and ice fields in Alaska than in the rest of the inhabited world. The largest glacier is the Malaspina at 850 square miles. Five percent of the state, or 29,000 square miles, is covered by glaciers.” (Learn more here )
7. Drive South to Homer Alaska
Take in Alaska’s natural beauty, rugged landscapes and head south 225 miles to Homer. Designated as a National Forest Scenic Byway, the 127 mile Seward Highway continuing onto the Sterling Highway offers stunning vistas of steep alpine valleys dropping into fjords, saltwater bays, ice-blue glaciers. Stop along the way at old villages, seaports, mine for gold, visit art galleries and old Russian Orthodox Churches. We refueled with breakfast at The Bake Shop in Girdwood. If you have time, take a ferry across Kachemak Bay to Seldovia, and take in the Kenai Mountains to the east, west, and south. They say that Seldovia is a place to do nothing except daydream and enjoy the tranquility of life. It’s known to be “home to 265 friendly people and a few old crabs.” While there, take the ethereal hike on the Otterbahn Trail (1.5 hours, beginner/intermediate level) or a more rigorous hike on another trail. This is one of the few areas of the world where you can view glaciers and active volcanoes at the same time.
8. Fishing on the Kenai Peninsula
No Alaskan Top 10 would be complete without a stop over in Soldotna and get a fishing license & guide and try your luck on the Kenai. Depending on the month, runs, and tides, you could catch a sockeye, silver, or king salmon. Here are the peak times to catch: King Salmon/Chinook: May to July, Sockeye Salmon/Reds: July, Coho Salmon/Silvers: July – August, Pink Salmon/Humpbacks: July – August, Dolly Varden: June to mid-July, Halibut & Rockfish: June to mid-Sept, Shellfish: mid-April to mid-Sept. Rumor has it the largest King Salmon caught on the Kenai weighed in at 89 lbs, 4 ozs. and as of today, the trophy is still held by angler Fred Houtman of Idaho.
10. Keep a lookout for Alaska’s Abundant Wildlife!
Alaska is home to Bears (Grizzly, Black & Brown), Moose, Fox, Wolves, Bald Eagles, Caribous, Whales (Humpback, Beluga, Gray, Orca, Minke), Salmon – 90 species of mammals and hundreds of varieties of birds.
Reference the State of Alaska’s site (Fish & Game Section) for more details – licensing, precautions click here.
Ready to take a trip to Alaska?! Email Info@GlobalAdventuress.com to book your own trip today!