Anchorage Destination Guide
With a backdrop of stunning snow-capped mountain peaks and a bright, up-and-coming city at its heart, Anchorage is a truly magnificent place to visit. Enjoy the urban spoils of this modern city, with excellent shopping, dining and entertainment on offer. Then, using Anchorage as a jumping-off point, venture a short distance into the breathtaking Alaskan wilderness to discover truly impressive scenery, unique local wildlife and adventurous activities to delight visitors of all ages and levels of expertise.
Read more in our article about Alaska: "The Last Frontier".
If time in your itinerary permits, dedicate a full day to exploring the largest museum in Alaska, the Anchorage Museum. The sprawling museum houses a fascinating mix of art, cultural and science exhibits. Don your walking shoes, grab your camera and get ready to take in beautiful views of the Cook Inlet and Chugach Mountains as you stroll (or cycle) through unspoiled natural surrounds on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. You may even spot a moose or beluga whale along the way.
Expand your knowledge and understanding of native Alaskan culture at the popular Alaska Native Heritage Centre. See the traditional dance, crafts and homes of the indigenous people of Alaska, then listen to their stories and take time to ask questions.
Animal lovers will enjoy passing a couple of hours at the small but charming Alaska Zoo nestled in the hillside forest area just south of Anchorage. The zoo houses many animals native to Alaska as well as orphaned, injured and endangered species. A hit with everyone who visits, be sure to get up close to the resident grizzly and polar bears, arctic foxes, Amur tigers and snow leopards.
A trip to Anchorage wouldn’t be complete without sampling the finest and freshest salmon and halibut – the region’s most popular and abundant local fish. The city also offers up a great variety of quality restaurants serving everything from Mediterranean fare and Asian fusion to classic steakhouses, Mexican and Japanese cuisine.
To roll a night of dining, drinking and dancing into one, head to downtown Anchorage where you’ll find an array of vibrant restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars and nightclubs to mix and match.
Where to Stay
Taking up a temporary residence in downtown Anchorage will ensure you’re within easy distance of the city’s restaurants, drinking holes, boutiques, popular attractions, transport options and even some great fishing spots. The diverse range of downtown accommodation options cater to bargain hunters, families, luxury travellers and everyone in between.
Running every weekend from May to September, the hugely popular open-air Anchorage Market and Festival is home to more than 300 stalls. Browse through locally made arts and crafts, gourmet food, clothing, jewellery and souvenirs while you soak up the market’s cheerful atmosphere and live entertainment.
Prefer a more traditional shop-till-you-drop experience? Hit up the retail haven that is the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall where you’ll find big name brands in fashion, technology, cosmetics and lifestyle products.
Anchorage Like a Local
If you want the best view of Anchorage and the surrounding region, locals will tell you to hike to the top of Flattop Mountain. At a moderate pace it takes around 1 hour to reach the 390-metre high summit, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas as far as the magnificent Alaska Range and Cook Inlet.
If you’re visiting during autumn join the locals who pick wild berries here, and enjoy your sweet treats while you take in the view. Flattop Mountain is located about 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of Anchorage, and a shuttle bus operates daily from May to October (fares apply).