What to do in Anchorage, Alaska

Alaska - Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska, offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Here are some popular things to do in Anchorage:

  1. Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center: This museum showcases the history, art, and culture of Alaska. It’s a great place to learn about the state’s indigenous peoples, wildlife, and its role in aviation history.
  2. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center: Located about an hour’s drive from Anchorage, this center is dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife. You can see bears, moose, bison, and other native animals up close.
  3. Alaska Native Heritage Center: Explore the rich cultural heritage of Alaska’s indigenous peoples through exhibits, traditional craft demonstrations, and performances.
  4. Chugach State Park: This massive state park offers hiking, wildlife viewing, and stunning scenic drives. There are numerous trails for hiking and biking, as well as opportunities for camping and picnicking.
  5. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail: This 11-mile coastal trail is perfect for walking, running, or biking. It offers beautiful views of the city, mountains, and the Cook Inlet.
  6. Alaska Railroad: Take a scenic train ride through some of Alaska’s most stunning landscapes. The Alaska Railroad offers various routes, including trips to Seward and Denali National Park.
  7. Anchorage Market and Festival: If you’re visiting in the summer, be sure to check out the Anchorage Market. It’s a bustling place with local vendors, live music, and a variety of foods.
  8. Visit Local Breweries: Anchorage has a thriving craft beer scene. Consider visiting some of the city’s breweries and tasting rooms to sample local beers.
  9. Flattop Mountain: This popular hiking destination offers panoramic views of the Anchorage area, including the city, mountains, and the Cook Inlet. It’s a moderately challenging hike.
  10. Alaska Wildlife Viewing: Anchorage is a great place for wildlife enthusiasts. Keep an eye out for moose, eagles, and even beluga whales in the Cook Inlet.
  11. Anchorage Botanical Garden: Enjoy the beauty of Alaska’s flora and fauna in this serene garden, especially in the summer months when everything is in bloom.
  12. Alyeska Resort: If you’re visiting during the winter, consider heading to Alyeska Resort for skiing and snowboarding. In the summer, it offers hiking and scenic tram rides.
  13. Cook Inlet: The coastal area around Anchorage offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and even seaplane tours.
  14. Eklutna Village Historical Park: Learn about the history and culture of the Dena’ina Athabascan people at this historical park. It features a Russian Orthodox church and colorful spirit houses.
  15. Explore Downtown Anchorage: Stroll through downtown to discover shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Don’t miss the Anchorage Market and the downtown visitor center for more information.

Remember that Anchorage’s activities can vary greatly depending on the season, so check the weather and plan accordingly. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply enjoying the natural beauty of Alaska, Anchorage has something to offer every traveler.

The Perfect 1 day itinerary

If you only have one day to spend in Anchorage, Alaska, you can make the most of your time by exploring the city’s highlights, enjoying its natural beauty, and experiencing some local culture. Here’s a one-day itinerary to help you make the most of your visit:


  1. Breakfast: Start your day with a hearty breakfast at a local favorite. Consider places like Snow City Cafe or Middle Way Cafe for delicious morning options.
  2. Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center: Head to the Anchorage Museum to learn about the history, culture, and art of Alaska. Spend a couple of hours exploring the exhibits and gaining insight into the state’s heritage.

Late Morning:

  1. Downtown Exploration: Take a leisurely stroll through downtown Anchorage. You can browse the unique shops, galleries, and boutiques along 4th and 5th Avenues. Don’t forget to check out the Visitor Information Center for more recommendations.
  2. Anchorage Market and Festival: If you’re visiting during the summer (May to September), the Anchorage Market and Festival is a must-visit. It’s usually open on weekends and features local vendors, food stalls, live music, and arts and crafts.


  1. Lunch Break: Enjoy a delicious lunch at one of the downtown eateries or food stalls at the Anchorage Market.


  1. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail: Spend your afternoon outdoors by walking or biking along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. This 11-mile scenic trail offers stunning views of the city, mountains, and coastline. You don’t have to do the entire trail; a portion of it is still very rewarding.
  2. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center: If you have access to transportation, consider taking a short drive (about an hour) to visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Here, you can observe native Alaskan wildlife like bears, moose, and bison up close.

Late Afternoon:

  1. Chugach State Park: Head to Chugach State Park to experience the wilderness that surrounds Anchorage. You can take a short hike or simply enjoy the serene natural beauty of the park.


  1. Dinner: Return to downtown Anchorage for dinner. Choose from a variety of dining options, whether you’re in the mood for seafood, international cuisine, or something else entirely.
  2. Local Beer: If you enjoy craft beer, explore Anchorage’s craft brewery scene. Many local breweries offer unique Alaskan brews. Some popular options include Anchorage Brewing Company and 49th State Brewing Company.


  1. Northern Lights Viewing (seasonal): If you’re visiting during the late summer or winter months, consider staying up to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). Head away from city lights to maximize your chances of seeing this natural wonder.

Anchorage, Alaska, has a vibrant culinary scene with a variety of dining options to suit different tastes and budgets. Restaurants have fresh and locally sourced ingredients, so be sure to try salmon and halibut, during your visit.

  1. Simon & Seaforts: Known for its seafood, this upscale restaurant offers stunning views of the Cook Inlet and the Alaska Range. The menu features fresh seafood, steaks, and an extensive wine list.
  2. Snow City Cafe: A popular spot for breakfast and brunch, Snow City Cafe serves delicious pancakes, omelets, and locally sourced dishes. Be prepared for a wait, as it can get crowded.
  3. Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzaria: This local favorite is famous for its creative pizzas and craft beers. It’s a casual, family-friendly spot with a fun atmosphere.
  4. Bear’s Tooth Pub & Grill: Connected to Moose’s Tooth, Bear’s Tooth offers a diverse menu with burgers, sandwiches, and more. It’s also a great place to catch a movie in the theater next door.
  5. Sacks CafĂ© & Restaurant: This intimate eatery focuses on local and sustainable ingredients, offering a menu that changes with the seasons. It’s an excellent choice for a romantic dinner.
  6. 49th State Brewing Company: Located in downtown Anchorage, this brewpub serves hearty Alaskan fare and features a variety of craft beers. The rooftop deck provides great views.
  7. Middle Way Cafe: A vegetarian-friendly restaurant with a focus on healthy and organic ingredients. They offer a variety of salads, sandwiches, and smoothies.
  8. Orso: An Italian restaurant in downtown Anchorage known for its pasta dishes, seafood, and an extensive wine list. It’s a great place for a special occasion.
  9. Tommy’s Burger Stop: If you’re craving burgers, Tommy’s is a local institution known for its delicious burgers and milkshakes.
  10. Gwennie’s Old Alaska Restaurant: This classic Alaskan restaurant offers a taste of local flavors, including reindeer and other traditional dishes.
  11. International House of Hot Dogs: For a quick and unique dining experience, try this hot dog joint with a wide variety of toppings and specialty sausages.
  12. Kaladi Brothers Coffee: A local coffee chain with several locations in Anchorage, Kaladi Brothers is a great place to grab a cup of coffee or a quick snack.
  13. Fat Ptarmigan: Another excellent pizza spot, Fat Ptarmigan specializes in wood-fired pizzas with creative toppings.
  14. The Bubbly Mermaid Oyster Bar: If you’re a fan of seafood, this oyster bar offers a selection of oysters, crab legs, and other ocean delights.

Where to Stay in Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly motels and cozy bed and breakfasts. Here are some recommended areas and specific places to consider:

  1. Downtown Anchorage: Staying in the heart of the city gives you easy access to restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions. It’s a convenient location for exploring downtown Anchorage on foot.
    • The Hotel Captain Cook: A luxury hotel in downtown Anchorage, known for its elegant rooms, fine dining options, and stunning views of the city and the Chugach Mountains.
    • Anchorage Marriott Downtown: Another upscale option with modern amenities and a central location.
    • Westmark Anchorage Hotel: A mid-range hotel that offers comfortable accommodations within walking distance of downtown attractions.
    • Hostels: There are also several hostels in the downtown area that provide budget-friendly accommodation options for travelers.
  2. Midtown Anchorage: This area is a little quieter than downtown but still offers a good selection of restaurants and shops. It’s also close to attractions like the Alaska Zoo.
    • Embassy Suites by Hilton Anchorage: A well-regarded hotel in midtown with spacious suites and complimentary breakfast.
    • SpringHill Suites by Marriott Anchorage University Lake: This mid-range hotel offers a peaceful location near University Lake and the UAA Campus.
  3. South Anchorage: If you prefer a quieter and more residential area, South Anchorage may be a good choice. It’s a bit farther from downtown but offers access to natural attractions and hiking trails.
    • Alyeska Resort: Located in Girdwood, about a 45-minute drive from Anchorage, Alyeska Resort is a fantastic option if you want to explore the nearby mountains, glaciers, and outdoor activities.
  4. Airport Area: If you’re arriving late at night or departing early in the morning, staying near the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport can be convenient.
    • The Lakefront Anchorage: Formerly known as the Millennium Hotel, this hotel is located right on the shore of Lake Hood and offers great views of floatplanes taking off and landing.
  5. Chugach State Park Cabins: For a more rustic and immersive experience, you can rent cabins within Chugach State Park. These cabins are often secluded and offer access to hiking and outdoor adventures.
  6. Bed and Breakfasts: Anchorage has a number of charming bed and breakfasts, which can provide a more personalized and cozy experience.

Looking for more travel info on Alaska? Check out these posts:

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