Anchorage Alaska Travel Guide

Towering mountains, sparkling glaciers and amazing wildlife: savvy travelers know that Anchorage is the key to finding the best of Alaska, all in one place.

From the serene waters of Cook Inlet to the exceptional natural wonders of the Chugach, Anchorage encompasses incredible adventures and metropolitan appeals that are larger than life. With incredible national parks nearby and 60 glaciers a short drive away, it's a dream destination.

Only in Anchorage can you meet a moose, walk on a glacier and explore a vast, natural park all in a single day. Between mountains and an inlet, surrounded by national parks and filled with Alaska wildlife, Anchorage combines the best of Alaska in a city that has the comforts of home and the hospitality of the Last Frontier.  Our Anchorage Alaska Travel Guide has everything you need to start planning your Anchorage Alaska vacation.  Also visit more great Alaska beach locations by <<Clicking Here.>>   Need to know what to pack for your Alaskan Vacation?  << Click Here >>

Anchorage Weather – When to Visit

Spring in Anchorage

In Alaska, grey whales are the first wild sign of spring. They are the first of many species of whale to arrive in rich Alaska waters to feed. Whale watching day cruises depart as early as April 1. Massive flocks of birds also migrate north to summer nesting grounds like Potter Marsh. You can also get a jump on many popular summer activities like hiking and flight seeing.

Summer in Anchorage

Summer is in full swing as new born moose calves arrive in early May. Beluga whales follow fish close to shore, delighting Anchorage Alaska, Anchorage Alaska Travel guide. best Anchorage Hotels, best Anchorage Restaurants, best Anchorage Bars, things to do in Anchorage, Anchorage Area attractions, Anchorage beachestravelers along Turnagain Arm. Salmon return to spawn, meaning good viewing and fantastic fishing. The greatest number of glacier cruises are on the water. Dog sledding heats up, literally; sunny dogsled rides are offered on wheeled carts or atop nearby glaciers in Girdwood and the Matanuska Valley. Summer trains of the Alaska Railroad head into the heart of Alaska. Kayaking, hiking, biking and summer day tours get out and make the most of long summer days. The sun sets, but it’s never dark enough for streetlights.

Fall in Anchorage

Autumn crackles as the northern lights return. You’ll find great fall deals on accommodations and airfares. The seasons are changing, but signs of summer linger; many day cruise companies operate until October or even year-round out of Whittier. Hiking and biking are still great.  Birch and aspen trees turn a brilliant yellow, and moose cluster close to the city as forage becomes scarce. It’s also rut, so bull moose sport picturesque racks of antlers as they joust for mates. More than moose compete.

Winter in Anchorage

Mild temperatures and plenty of snow make Anchorage a winter playground. The mountains surrounding Girdwood get more than 42 feet of average annual snowfall. Alaska’s largest ski resort is also a base for heli-skiing. Winter biking and Nordic skiing take over the trails around Anchorage, all groomed and maintained by the ski association or the city. Classic Alaska events including the Iditarod, Anchorage Fur Rendezvous and the Tour of Anchorage fill the calendar.

Best Anchorage Area Attractions

Potter Marsh, Anchorage Alaska, Anchorage Alaska Travel guide. best Anchorage Hotels, best Anchorage Restaurants, best Anchorage Bars, things to do in Anchorage, Anchorage Area attractions, Anchorage beachesPotter Marsh

At the southern end of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge is Potter Marsh, a wooden boardwalk that winds through a half-mile of marshlands. This is a popular destination for birders, as Canada geese, northern pintails, canvasback ducks, red-necked phalaropes, horned and red-necked grebes and northern harriers come to this wetland from April to September. Summertime visitors can also glimpse gulls, Arctic terns, shorebirds and trumpeter swans. Keep an eye out for eagles and their nests, usually located in the cottonwoods near the base of the bluff.

Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, Anchorage Alaska, Anchorage Alaska Travel guide. best Anchorage Hotels, best Anchorage Restaurants, best Anchorage Bars, things to do in Anchorage, Anchorage Area attractions, Anchorage beachesAlaska Center for the Performing Arts

A staple in the Anchorage arts scene since 1998, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts (or, Center of the PAC, as it is locally known) is the place to go in Anchorage when you want to catch a play, show, musical or concert. Conveniently located downtown and with three theaters that vary in size, the center draws everyone from local favorites to Broadway shows like “Peter Pan” and Grammy Award winners like Béla Fleck and David Sanborn.

Anchorage Museum, Anchorage Alaska, Anchorage Alaska Travel guide. best Anchorage Hotels, best Anchorage Restaurants, best Anchorage Bars, things to do in Anchorage, Anchorage Area attractions, Anchorage beachesAnchorage Museum

For a thorough introduction to everything Alaska, head to the Anchorage Museum. The state's largest museum houses exhibitions that detail everything from local wildlife to native cultures to Alaskan history and art. You'll also come across touring exhibits that highlight important aspects of the state's past and present. Even if you aren't new to the Last Frontier, recent visitors said that this museum is well worth the trip, and mention the interactive kids section and the informative exhibits as true highlights.

Alaska Native Heritage Center, Anchorage Alaska, Anchorage Alaska Travel guide. best Anchorage Hotels, best Anchorage Restaurants, best Anchorage Bars, things to do in Anchorage, Anchorage Area attractions, Anchorage beachesAlaska Native Heritage Center

What makes Alaska truly unique are the cultures that thrive there. For example, you can learn all about the Last Frontier's indigenous people at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, which is devoted to preserving customs that have been around much longer than the cities that now call Alaska home. There are three main parts: A gallery that displays native artifacts, a performance hall where members of native communities tell stories, dance and show off their athletic abilities and a grouping of seven traditional dwellings that represent the lifestyles of some of the tribes.

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, Anchorage Alaska, Anchorage Alaska Travel guide. best Anchorage Hotels, best Anchorage Restaurants, best Anchorage Bars, things to do in Anchorage, Anchorage Area attractions, Anchorage beachesTony Knowles Coastal Trail

For a family-friendly outdoor excursion, grab your camera and hit the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, named for the for former Alaska governor Tony Knowles. Winding its way from the downtown area past the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum to Kincaid Park, this 11-mile paved path is perfect for biking, rollerblading, cross-country skiing and strolling. If you're visiting during the summer, keep your eyes peeled over Cook Inlet for beluga whales, while winter trailblazers should look out for moose in Kincaid Park.

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Best Anchorage Tours & Activities by Viator

Viator.com – Tours, sightseeing tours, activities & things to do

Wilderness, Wildlife & Glacier Experience

Get out of the city and deeper into the Alaskan wilderness than is typical on a sightseeing tour. This small-group tour takes you to Chugach National Forest, Beluga Point, Portage Glacier, and more to spot brown bears, wolves, bison, and belugas.  Learn more about the Wilderness, Wildlife & Glacier Experience.

Glaciers and Wildlife: Super Scenic Day Tour from Anchorage

Be awed by supersized glaciers and the hardy wildlife of the tundra on this full-day tour through the rugged Alaskan wilderness. Departing from Anchorage, drive along a scenic byway to the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet, framed by the dramatic Chugach and Kenai mountain ranges. Cruise on the lake that laps against the ancient blue ice of Portage Glacier, stop for lunch at a cozy lodge, and get an up-close look at Alaskan wildlife such as caribou, musk ox, and lynk at a conservation center.  Learn more about the Glaciers & Wildlife Day Tour.

Anchorage Craft Brewery Tour and Tastings

Get the inside scoop on Anchorage’s beer culture and brewery history on this 4-hour tour. An in-the-know guide whisks you around the city to sample six tasty offerings at three venues, including three classic breweries that you are sure to enjoy. Pair the hoppy happiness with light snacks, chat it up with locals and take with you a renewed perspective on Anchorage’s stand-out beer scene.  Learn more about the Anchorage Craft Brewery Tour & Tastings.

Mt Denali Flightseeing Tour from Anchorage with Glacier Landing

Enjoy aerial views of Denali National Park’s glaciers, granite peaks and icefalls on this flightseeing tour from Anchorage. Snap memorable shots of Mt McKinley and fly high over the Great Gorge of Ruth Glacier, which is even deeper than the Grand Canyon! Then land on a glacier for up-close views of the dramatic ice formations. A guided tour of Talkeetna and round-trip hotel transport from Anchorage are included in this full-day tour.  Learn more about the Mt Denali Flighseeing Tour.

Helicopter and Glacier Dogsled Tour

Discover the beautiful scenery of North Anchorage during this 90-minute helicopter and dogsled tour. Soar over the Church Range and Knik Glacier in a helicopter as you make your way to the Troublesome Glacier. Here, a team of 40 sled dogs is waiting to transport you across the glacier for a true Alaskan experience. Keep an eye out for native animals such as moose and mountain goats throughout your tour.  Learn more about the Helicopter & Glacier Dogsled Tour.

Best Anchorage Restaurants

ORSO  $11 – 30

ORSO is a specialist in wild Alaskan seafood with perfectly prepared seafood dishes paired with an extensive drinks menu including beers from Glacier BrewHouse, as well as a varied selection of cocktails and wines. ORSO brings some of the choicest fresh seafood to Alaskan diners. Specialties include halibut, salmon, cod and king crab. During the summer ORSO’s menu also features seasonal vegetables that are grown locally. Menu favorites include ORSO’s Alaskan crusted halibut and calamari appetizer.  Telephone:  907-222-3232  Web:  ORSO.

Kinley's Restaurant & Bar  $31 – 60

Kinley’s Restaurant and Bar specializes in fresh Alaskan seafood. Kinley’s Restaurant and Bar is a welcoming combination of friendly service and classically cooked cuisine, which is complemented by the contemporary rustic décor.  Telephone:  907-644-8943  Web:  Kinley's Restaurant & Bar.

Ginger  $11 – 60

Serving the cuisine of the Pacific Rim, Chef Conley brings his great passion for Alaskan cuisine and local ingredients to Ginger, taking the form of an experimental fusion of Asian flavors and fresh Alaskan seafood. Chef Conley creates exciting flavor profiles using a blend of Alaskan and Asian meats and ingredients. Try Ginger’s Kalua pork sliders on Hawaiian sweet roll, lobster glazed duck breast and the panang beef curry for a truly unique Alaskan dining experience.  Telephone:  907-929-3680  Web:  Ginger.

Spenard Roadhouse  $11 – 30

Spenard Roadhouse is an eclectic local favorite for its creative take on all-American classics. Diners rave about Spenard Roadhouse’s tater tots served with smoked paprika aioli and its bacon jam burger, which is a delightfully messy stack with a fresh ground eight oz. ground beef patty, cambozola, grilled apple, rocket, house mayo and smothered with bacon jam atop a toasted bun. Be sure to try Spenard Roadhouse’s Alaskan reindeer Polish sausage. To top it all off, Spenard Roadhouse is infamous for having the best selection of whiskies and bourbons in Alaska.  Telephone:  907-770-7623  Web:  Spenard Roadhouse.

Glacier BrewHouse  $11 – 30

Another favorite among locals, Glacier BrewHouse is Anchorage’s premier celebration of local seafood, wood-grilled meats and house-brewed beer. The dining room with timbered rafters and ample seating all around the large fireplace gives the space a rustic, gastro-pub ambiance. The restaurant favorites include BBQd baby back rib rack with Jamaican jerk rub and spicy BrewHouse signature whiskey BBQ sauce and Bering Sea king crab legs.  Telephone:  907-274-2739  Web:  Glacier BrewHouse.

Best Bars in Anchorage

Darwin's Theory

A classic local favorite and popular “tourist trap”. Located on G st. in the heart of down town.  It’s a great stop to wind down while exploring the many shops around the area. Known for being the number 1 seller of cinnamon schnapps in the world with a drink called “Red Hot.” This is bound to warm you right up.  Telephone:  907-277-5322  Web:  Darwin's Theory.

49th Brewing Company

The 49th Brewing Company is located on W 3rd, and is a down town bar. A new comer to the scene, it just opened in late 2016. But it’s already made a name for itself with an award winning beer and rooftop patio overlooking the Cook Inlet and Alaska Range.  Telephone:  907-277-7727  Web:  49th Brewing Company.

Koot's

Koot's is known for having something happening every night.  It’s a huge nightclub with 3 stages, 3 dance floors & 10 bars that host DJs, comedians & live music. This local favorite is located on the end of Spenard Rd.  Telephone:  907-272-1010  Web:  Koot's.

Reilly's Irish Pub

If you're looking for something a little more casual and/or traditional then Reilly’s Irish Pub is for you. Known for their cold Irish ales and warm Irish coffee, this pub is a great spot any time of the year to receive some great Alaskan hospitality.  Telephone:  907-274-6132  Web: Reilly's Irish Pub.

Midnight Sun Brewery

Midnight Sun Brewery offers crazy cool beers and fresh food with a modern industrial twist. They even have a gift shop so you can take something home to remind you of the cold days and cold beers you had while up in Alaska.  Telephone:  907-344-6653  Web:  Midnight Sun Brewery.

Best Anchorage Hotels

Hotel Captain Cook


Located in downtown Anchorage Alaska, each of the Hotel Captain Cook’s 546 luxury accommodations offer stunning views of the Cook Inlet or the Chugach Mountains. The Hotel Captain Cook, Preferred Hotels and Resorts, and Historic Hotels 2018 Hotel of Year welcome you to experience excellence.

Sheraton Anchorage Hotel


Located less than a mile from the Anchorage Museum of History & Art, this downtown Anchorage hotel features an on-site restaurant and rooms with stunning mountain, city or Cook Inlet views.

TownPlace Suites Anchorage


Welcome to TownePlace Suites Anchorage Midtown, a nice option for travelers like you. For those interested in checking out popular landmarks while visiting Anchorage, TownePlace Suites Anchorage Midtown is located a short distance from Whaling Wall (1.8 mi) and Westchester Lagoon (1.9 mi). Rooms at TownePlace Suites Anchorage Midtown offer a flat screen TV, a kitchenette, and air conditioning providing exceptional comfort and convenience, and guests can go online with free wifi.

The Voyager Inn


Spacious rooms and suites await your stay at The Voyager Inn. Located in the heart of Downtown Anchorage, The Voyager Inn is just steps away from the city’s best shops, parks, restaurants and cultural attractions. Guests will enjoy complimentary onsite parking, free Wi-Fi and access to the Athletic Clubs at the neighboring Hotel Captain Cook.

Hyatt Place Anchorage


Hyatt Place Anchorage-Midtown provides a welcomed retreat from a busy day exploring Flattop Mountain and other natural trails. Or flock to must-visit spots like Denali National Park or Chugach State Park.

28 Comments

  1. Thabo

    This post has made Alaska one of my bucket-list destinations. The video sold me more to this beautiful place thank you very much. The best thing that also sold me to Anchorage is the weather.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, Anchorage is a bit different than my usual beach posts, but visiting here right now, I felt I needed to share. Alaska does have beaches, it is just a very different type. Glad you enjoyed my Anchorage Alaska Travel Guide.

      Reply
  2. PEARL AWA

    Oh wow, I always love reading your blog post because I know I’ll be entertaining my eyes.
    Thanks for this great package.
    Keep up the great work.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Pearl and thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  3. Janelle

    OK I want to go right now, its always been a dream of mine, i live on the beach in the semi tropics so iam really drawn to the opposite when i travel. Theres some great information here I will bookmark for my next adventure. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Wonderful Janelle. Sounds like you would really love Anchorage, as it would be so different than what you are used to. Thanks for visiting my Anchorage Alaska Travel Guide.

      Reply
  4. sarah

    Waao what a wonderful post it is. After reading this post how can one stop being there. I was just dreaming about it. Whenever I visit the new place I been more interested in the culture and traditions of that specific area and here the native heritage center attracting me more!!! Keep sharing such wonderful posts.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad you enjoyed my Anchorage Alaska Travel Guide. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  5. carol

    Hi,
    I found your post just as I am planning a trip to Alaska for next summer. This has been a dream of mine for years now. In fact, I was thinking of going on a cruise. The details include flying to Seattle, then sale from there. I see where I could leave from British Columbia, Canada too. I am trying to make up my mind and wondering which port will work out better for me. Any suggestions? I am not working with a travel agent, just online booking.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Boy, leaving out of either port for an inside passage cruise is going to be beautiful. It really matters if you are looking at cost as well. For me, leaving out of Seattle is a much better choice cost wise. You are going to see the same beautiful scenery either way. I know that what ever you choose will be amazing. I would do the one way cruise to Alaska, and then take a few days in Alaska to enjoy this wonderful state. If you need any help putting this together, please let me know. I know I could help save you money.

      Reply
  6. Waldmann

    Wow I loved the video. The fishing has got to be amazing there. This is definitely one of my bucket list destinations.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      The fishing IS amazing here. That I can attest too, having lived here 22 years. I grew up fishing, and we did a lot of it LOL. When you are ready to go, please let me help you plan 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Anchorage Alaska Travel.

      Reply
  7. Alex

    Chugach Adventures sound very interesting to me. I like the idea of exploring the natural splendor of Alaska with a helpful guide. With one of them leading the pack, I will be sure to learn a lot about the natural history of the state. It is something worth considering.

    I do have a question though. How does Chugach Adventures compare to Ascending Path? Both sound good for Alaska, but I want to make sure I make the best use of my time in the state.

    Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I think if you had to pick between the two, I would go for Ascending Path. Wonderful tour company. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I would love to help you plan when you are ready!

      Reply
  8. Daniella

    As usual, great article!

    I want to make a surprise to my grandmother and grandfather by offering them a romantic holiday, but I didn’t know where exactly. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Anchorage Alaska, and now that I read your article, I made my choice! That’s it! Alaska will be their destination:)
    Just a question, please. What would suggest for a couple that has been married for 30 years? Visit Anchorage Alaska by cruise or go the hotel?

    Thank you for this useful post!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Oh, they should definitely do the cruise for sure! I would suggest a one way cruise where they could spend a few nights at the end in port. I think this would be a really great romantic choice 🙂 Please let me know if you have any further questions.

      Reply
  9. Mina

    Another worth reading article. As what I have mentioned in my previous comment on your post about Juneau, Alaska is on my bucket list.
    And your article showed me that Alaska is worth visiting.
    Thanks again for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Alaska is definitely worth a vacation to for sure Mina! I do believe that a visit to Alaska should include Anchorage, as you can see and experience so much without venturing far. I think you will have a great time. Thanks for visiting my Anchorage Alaska Travel Guide.

      Reply
  10. Andrew

    Grey whales, moose, glaciers and beautiful mountains all within easy reach. I want to get on a plane now and visit Anchorage. However, I think June and July may be a better time to go to experience the very long days. I have never seen this before, so it will be a new adventure. Surely this will allow us to experience a lot more of what this awesome destination has to offer. Thanks, once again, for breaking down the activities, restaurants, attractions, and hotels to help with my planning.
    Kind regards
    Andrew

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome and wise to wait until June or July. I am here visiting right now, and it is too darn cold for me. But then I live in Florida, so it is a huge temperature difference. Thanks for stopping by and reading my Anchorage Alaska Travel Guide.

      Reply
  11. Dean Gunter

    Great article for all holiday makers:-)

    There are some really amazing places in this article that I will be definitely be adding to my bucket list, I love the fact that you have described lots of different activities and different places to go and things to see.

    lot’s of beneficial information, thank you for sharing, have a great day and all the success, health and happiness that you deserve and desire.Take care.

    Kind regards.

    Dean.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you so much Dean, and thank you for visiting Anchorage Alaska Travel.

      Reply
  12. Chas Guevara

    Hi There,

    You have provided a thorough guide for travel to Anchorage. My dad always liked watching stuff like Wild Alaska. I always thought he was crazy because it’s cold there! My son also always wanted to visit there. Reading your post I see how beautiful it is and there is a lot going on there. I may have to actually take a trip there…in the dead of summer when it isn’t quite as cold lol. I love that you can be in a city and see glaciers, moose, whales and more! That is very intriguing. Thanks for posting!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You really can see it all, just from a visit to Anchorage. It is really not necessary, as you say to leave the city, when it is all right there. I agree, as I am a warm weather person, that June – July – August is really the best time for a vacation to Anchorage.

      Reply
  13. marketa

    Hi Leahrae
    Thanks for this very informative read. I’m taking my five kids and husband to Bali at the end of the year and CANNOT WAIT! It will be our first overseas holiday all together so it’s a very exciting time. I’m going to bookmark your site as it seems so full of great information. But this information on Anchorage is great and sounds like a great adventure for our family. Our next vacation for sure!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Oh I bet you cannot wait Marketa! Sounds like a wonderful time. I am headed on a cruise here in 3 weeks, and I am pretty excited myself. You will love Alaska as well, very different from Bali for sure, but very beautiful. Thanks for visiting Anchorage Alaska Travel.

      Reply
  14. Courtney Hunt

    Alaska is definitely on the bucket list. I didn’t know the temperature were so moderate in Anchorage. That weather chart is a great idea. I didn’t know there was so much to do there. The native heritage center seems very interesting.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, pretty moderate climate. I don’t think I have ever gotten “hot” here. It is pleasant for sure. the Alaska Native Heritage Center is definitely worth a visit if you do get the chance to visit Anchorage. Thanks for stopping by beach travel destinations.

      Reply

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