Best Place to Stay in Anchorage
Westmark Anchorage Hotel & Convention Center in the heart of downtown Anchorage. This hotel is a perfect blend of sophistication and convenience. Enjoy awe-inspiring views of the surrounding mountains from private balconies. Near the Egan Center and Performing Arts Center and only blocks away from the 5th Avenue Mall, the Westmark Anchorage provides excellent access to downtown activities.
Creekwood Inn is conveniently located midtown near shopping, restaurants, theaters and is the closest facility to Sullivan Arena. Enjoy the comfort and quality of a truly Alaskan hotel. Suites, kitchenettes, microwaves and Wi-Fi available.
RV Parks in Anchorage Alaska
Anchorage Ship Creek RV Park is only a few blocks from downtown and Anchorage’s best attractions. Full hookups, dry sites, tent sites, Wi-fi, Laundromat, dump station, clean showers and restrooms..
Creekwood RV Park is in midtown Anchorage near shopping, restaurants, theaters and is the closest facility to Sullivan Arena. Full hookups, showers, brand new laundromat and Wi-Fi available.
Best Things to Do in Anchorage
Anchorage City Trolley Tour departs in downtown Anchorage, on the corner of 4th & F, next to the log cabin Visitor Information Center. Enjoy a fun, narrated sightseeing tour of Anchorage from the comfort of the original red trolley.
The Alaska Zoo is just 15 minutes south of downtown Anchorage. It is home to more than 100 animals including polar bears, brown bears and black bears, tigers, moose, wolves, snow leopards, lynx and caribou. There are also ravens, eagles and many species of hawks and owls that call the Zoo home. The Alaska Zoo is a nonprofit organization that provides a home for orphaned, injured and endangered animals.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center shares the rich heritage of Alaska’s eleven major cultural groups.Experience firsthand the engaging storytelling, authentic Native song and dance as well as artist and Native game demonstrations. This is an engaging experience that offers visitors the chance to interact and participate, creating an enlightening educational experience for young and old alike.
The Alaska ULU knife (pronounced oo-loo) has been used for centuries by the Indigenous people of the Arctic. Used to skin, fillet, sew, and eat, the ulu was and still is, their most popular cutting tool. Today, the ulu has become a familiar sight in many modern kitchens, as its unique design makes it perfect for chopping and slicing.
Come visit The Ulu Factory where you’ll find a huge selection of real ulu knives and bowls, made right at the factory. When you’re there, take a tour and watch how the ulus are made and used. Watch out for “Lolley”, The Ulu Factory trolley, a free shuttle service during the summer with service to and from The Ulu Factory.
Experience the best value and closest glacier cruise to Anchorage. Gray Line Alaska’s exclusive tour of iceberg-dotted Portage Lake will take guests to within 300 yards of Portage Glacier. Enjoy informative narration from a representative of the U.S. Forest Service. If you are lucky, you may witness the “calving” of ice from the face of Portage Glacier.
Lifetime Adventures offers guided tours, bike and kayak rentals at Eklutna Lake, 40 minutes outside Anchorage. You can also just go for a hike on the 26 miles of marked trails. They also offer kayak lessons on the beautiful, calm Eklutna Lake. This is a spectacular area and is a highly recommended day trip from Anchorage. Take the Glenn Highway east to the Eklutna exit at Mile 26 and follow the signs. 907-746-4644
Local hiking guide Matt Worden started Hike Alaska with a vision of offering accessible, affordable, world-class day hiking and snowshoeing opportunities in the Chugach State Park, just outside of Anchorage. Options ranging from a 2.5-hour flora & fauna nature walk, to a 7-hour mini expedition.
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) is located in Portage Valley, 27 miles south of downtown Anchorage at Mile 79 of the Seward Highway. AWCC is a non-profit sanctuary dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, education, research and quality animal care. It is common for visitors to see brown bears, moose, wood bison, muskox, wolves, porcupines and more!
Phillips Cruises & Tours
Phillips Cruises and Tours has two excellent cruise options in the calm, protected waters of Prince William Sound. Come face to face with towering tidewater glaciers, migratory whales, curious sea otters and breathtaking Alaska scenery. Cruises depart from Whittier, 90 minutes south of Anchorage. Shuttle service from Anchorage, a hot lunch and reserved seating are included.
The Matanuska Glacier is Alaska’s largest glacier accessible by car. The glacier is reached at Mile 102 on the Glenn Highway, a two hour drive from Anchorage. At Mile 101 on the Glenn Highway you’ll find the Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site with12 campsites, toilets, fire pits, and picnic tables. A Nature Trail leads 20-minute through the forest to glacier viewing platforms. Summer activities include hiking, glacier trekking and river rafting. Winter activities include skiing, snowshoeing and snow machining.
If you are looking for Glacier Ice Caves to explore, here are some ice caves near Anchorage.
Best Places for Shopping in Anchorage
Alaska Wild Berry Products offer the largest selection of original Alaskan souvenirs in the State. Sample delicious wild berry chocolates or take a kitchen tour to see how they are made. Enjoy the world’s largest chocolate fall in one of the biggest gift shops in Anchorage. Souvenir gifts, clothing, Alaskan made foods and more. Take care of all those hard to find gifts in one stop.
Come experience the warmth, lightness and silky softness that define Qiviut (ki-vee-ute), the under wool of the Musk Ox. This unique gift is the perfect Alaskan present. Over 250 Native Alaskan women are part of the co-operative who knit scarves, hats, and tunics by hand which can all be purchased at Oomingmak.
At The Ulu Factory you’ll find the best selection of real ulu knives and bowls, made right at the factory. They also carry a wide variety of Alaskan made gifts you won’t want to miss. Take a tour and watch how the ulus are made and used.
Get a taste of Alaska and try the best Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon and gourmet sausages with Reindeer. Since 1963, this family business has created top quality products and excellent customer service. Come take in the delicious tastes and aromas of the freshly smoked seafood and sausages.
Hiking in Anchorage Alaska
For guided hiking experience in and around Anchorage, contact local hiking guide Matt Worden of Go Hike Alaska. He offers accessible, affordable, world-class day hiking and snowshoeing opportunities in the Chugach State Park, just outside of Anchorage.
Flattop Mountain at Glen Alps is an easy 1.5 mile hike to the almost flat summit.. Great views of Anchorage, the Cook Inlet, Turnagain Arm, and the Chugach Mountains. There is a $5 parking fee. If you don’t want to drive take the Flattop Mountain Shuttle, available to pick up and return hikers downtown.
This 11 mile trail is a local favorite that stretches from Kincaid Park to downtown. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail can be accessed from several points in the city and offers great views of Cook Inlet and downtown.
The Ship Creek Trail begins at the Alaska Railroad depot (on 1st Ave) and travels 2.6 miles. The paved trail follows Ship Creek, and when the salmon are running you will find locals fishing in Ship Creek.
Far North Bicentennial Park is Alaska’s largest city park. Located on the eastern edge of the city, it is home to miles of trails used for hiking and mountain biking in the summer and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and dog sledding in the winter. The park is home to plenty of wildlife including moose, black bears and brown bears, bald eagles and even the occasional lynx.
Rendezvous Peak is considered an easy to moderate hiking trail. It begins at the end of Arctic Valley Road near the Alpenglow ski area. The trail is lined with berries in late August and is a favorite with locals.
The Chugach National Forest gives its visitors a chance to sightsee, bird watch, fish, hunt, boat, camp, hike, ski, snowmachine or hunt for ice worms. The Forest stretches across South Central Alaska from Prince William Sound to the eastern Kenai Peninsula all of which are world class destinations for adventurers and nature enthusiasts.
Getting Around in Anchorage
The Alaska Railroad connects over 500 miles of Southcentral and Interior Alaska, serving Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park, Fairbanks, Spencer Glacier, Seward and more. Enjoy excellent service and a relaxing rail journey as you travel between many of Alaska’s most popular destinations. The Railroad offers unique day trips and customized multi-day vacation packages, combining rail travel with memorable excursions and fine accommodations.
The Alaska Railroad is the perfect way to reach two of Alaska’s most visited destinations: Denali National Park and Kenai Fjords National Park. From Anchorage, you can take a direct rail journey to either of these incredible destinations.
Airlink’s Alaska/Yukon Trails makes traveling through Alaska & The Yukon easy and economical. Vans/mini coaches depart daily from Anchorage for Talkeetna, Denali National Park and Fairbanks via the Parks Highway.
The Ted Stevens International Airport is Alaska’s largest airport, and the hub for most of the visitor traffic to Alaska. It is a modern airport with all the amenities you would expect. They service over 5 million passengers a year and are the 2nd busiest cargo airport in the United States (after Memphis). Alaska’s own Alaska Airlines has dozens of non-stop flights a day to the continental United States..
The Anchorage Airport is also serviced by major airlines like United, Delta, American, KLM, Japan Airlines and more.
GoNorth rents Motorhomes, Truck Campers, 4×4 SUVs, Trucks and Vans. They have no road restrictions and driving on gravel roads is permitted which allows visitors to get off the beaten path and explore Alaska. Roads like the McCarthy Road to Wrangell St-Elias National Park and the Denali Highway are not allowed to be driven with most rental company’s vehicles, but GoNorth is one of the few who allows guests to go where they please.
Explore Alaska in the comfort and dependability of your mobile “living room.” ABC Motorhomes will furnish a fully self-contained motorhome. Units come fully equipped with cookware, dishes, sleeping gear, linens, and full coverage insurance. All the necessities to make your trip easy, safe and comfortable.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car has numerous car rental locations in Alaska, including four in Anchorage and one in Fairbanks.
National Alamo Car Rental has rental counters at the Anchorage International Airport.
Avis Car Rental has locations all throughout the state of Alaska.
Thrifty Car Rental has two car rental locations in Anchorage; the Anchorage International Airport and near the airport at Spenard Rd.
What is Anchorage known for?
Anchorage is Alaska’s most populated city and also home to the Dena’ina Athabaskans indigenous people. It is the commercial center of Alaska where most large statewide businesses are headquartered. Anchorage is also home to the Ted Stevens International Airport the fourth busiest airport in the world for cargo and second busiest cargo airport in the US after Memphis.
Anchorage is also known as the starting point for a million different Alaska Adventures. Check out some of the best one week itineraries out of Anchorage. Anchorage is also home to a wide variety of activities and adventures.
How cold does it get in Anchorage?
The coldest temperatures are generally in January and can drop to 10 degrees F (-12 degrees Celsius) in the evening and be around 25 degrees (-4 degrees Celsius) in the daytime. The wind can also blow in Anchorage, meaning it can feel a lot colder without good winter clothing.
What is the best month to go to Anchorage?
Every month is a good month to go to Anchorage but it depends on what you want to see and do. If you want to see the northern lights or come for some great skiing? Then come in the winter.
Want to go fishing? Come anytime between May -August
When it is the warmest? come in July
Can you see the northern lights from Anchorage?
Yes, you can see the northern lights occasionally from Anchorage when there is high auroral activity, but it is easier to see them further north and away from the light pollution of the city. The darker it is outside the better. The best time to see the Aurora Borealis is during the spring and fall equinox when the magnetic field of the solar wind change reaches its optimum configuration. It is also recommended to avoid full moons to get the most visual impact.
The University of Alaska publishes an Aurora Forecast, showing the best places are to see the northern lights and letting you know how active it potentially is. Then you just have to hope for clear skies. For more information on the Northern Lights, click here.
Are there day cruises from Anchorage?
There aren’t exactly any day cruises from Anchorage but there are a number of excellent day cruises within an hour or two. You can drive, take a bus or the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to get to the following day cruises.
Portage day cruises
Portage Glacier Cruises
Whittier day cruises
26 Glacier Cruise
Whittier also has a couple of water taxis for a more low key experience.
Seward day cruises
Kenai Fjords Tours
Major Marine Tours
Northern Latitude Adventures
Seward Ocean Excursions
Can you fish in Anchorage?
Yes, you can definitely fish in Anchorage. The best time to catch a trophy sized king salmon is from mid-May through June in Ship Creek right in downtown Anchorage. Remember that you will need a fishing license and a king salmon stamp before you cast your line.
Because the tides change so quickly in Anchorage, check tide books or visit with a local tackle shop to ask when the fishing is best. Ship creek is affected by the tide from Cook Inlet, and it’s best to fish during a rising tide.