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 travelers 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Best Anchorage Tours & Activities by Viator
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
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 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.