Anchorage is home to a whole lot more than the state’s largest convention centers, best meeting hotels and largest concentration of hotel rooms. If you are looking for Alaska’s top activities and attractions, look no farther than Anchorage. Make the trip complete. Consider these top 15 things to do in Anchorage as you plan a visit and enjoy the best of a meeting in Anchorage. You might want to stay a little longer, or bring family along!
1. Find Moose
There are more than 1,500 of these iconic, antlered animals in Anchorage. Spend a little time here, and you’re sure to find one. They browse along the edges of the city’s green spaces, so you’re sure to find one. In a pinch? Head to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center or Alaska Zoo for a guaranteed date with a moose.
2. See and Hear Glaciers
The landscape surrounding Anchorage is studded with these gems. Want to see a bunch all at once? Take a day cruise from nearby Seward or Whittier, or take to the air on a sightseeing flight for the best glacier views.
3. Meet Alaska’s Native People
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is one of the best places to get an introduction to Alaska Native traditions and language. With many Native cultures in Alaska, each has its own distinct features.
4. Ride the Rails
The railroad is what gave Anchorage its start, and first linked broad stretches of Alaska together. The city is still the starting point for rail travel in Alaska, with trains departing daily in the summer for Seward, Prince William Sound, Denali, Talkeetna and Fairbanks. Check out the Glacier Discovery train to Spencer Whistle stop, it’s an easy – and incredible – day trip while in Anchorage.
5. Pedal the Coastal Trail
Anchorage’s bike paths travel 135 miles through the city, and the crown jewel of the system is the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. Rent a bike downtown, and take off on the 11 mile, shore trail.
6. Dive into Alaska’s Largest Museum
The Anchorage Museum is the largest museum in the state. This isn’t just a city museum, it shares the story of Alaska. These art and history galleries are the best primer for a trip through Alaska.
7. Go Flightseeing
Flightseeing is one of the best ways to explore the mountains, soar over glaciers, and spot wildlife from above. Anchorage has more pilots and planes per capita than any place in the U.S., and the busiest floatplane base in the world is here too.
8. Enjoy Nearby Parkland
The Chugach Range is the closest wilderness area, with access points a short drive from anywhere in the city. Find a piece of this 9,000-square-mile mountain range to call your own for the day. Take a hike, raft the rapids, or just sit in the forest in peace.
9. Fish Ship Creek
Anglers find five species of salmon in local waters, not to mention trout, grayling and Arctic char. And there’s no need to mount an expedition. The most popular salmon fishery is a stone’s throw from the city center. King and silver salmon return to Ship Creek every summer.
10. See Whales
Anglers aren’t the only residents who follow the fish. Beluga whales chase salmon runs just off the coast. Take a trip down Turnagain Arm to spot them. These white whales get as big as a car. Looking for bigger species? Continue on to Seward or Whittier for a day of whale watching.
11. Strike it Rich
Indian Valley and Crow Creek were the site of gold strikes at the end of the 19th century. Gold panning is still a common pursuit, and anyone has a shot at finding flakes of Alaska gold.
12. Bear Viewing near Anchorage
Anchorage bear viewing often involves a short flight to a salmon-filled stream in Katmai or Lake Clark national parks or nearby Chinitna Bay. Here visitors can view the bruins, big coastal browns, without disturbing the bears.
13. View the Northern Lights
Active from September through April, the northern lights dazzle. Night owls can pursue the shifting colors of the auroras near Anchorage.
14. Try Dog Sledding
The state sport may be a winter pursuit, but mushers welcome visitors to their kennels year-round. Take a ride on a cart, and hold a whole litter of cute puppies. Several mushers camp out atop glaciers for the summer, with helicopter access to the seasonal retreats. Many also offer their services as conference keynote speakers.
15. National Parks
What Alaska visit is complete without exploring the national parks? Anchorage’s proximity makes visiting multiple parks easy. Fly over Denali, check out Kenai Fjords on a day cruise or kayak trip, and take off for Lake Clark or Katmai for bear viewing.
For more on why you should visit Anchorage, visit www.anchorage.net.