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Your guide to Anchorage
All About Anchorage
Set at the base of the towering, snow-covered Chugach Mountains on the edge of Chugach State Park, Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska and provides easy access to the state’s magnificent wilderness. Anchorage offers visitors the best of both worlds, as you can easily spend half a day hiking through pristine forests on one of the nearby mountain trails and be back in time for dinner at one of the downtown restaurants, where you can enjoy local delicacies like king salmon or reindeer sausage.
Along the coast, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is a great way to see some of this epic landscape without traveling too far out of Anchorage, or you can head out on a kayak or paddleboard to check out Campbell Creek or the Little Susitna River.
Anchorage is home to fascinating museums like the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center, where you can learn more about the history of Alaska and the culture of the Indigenous peoples who have resided in the region for thousands of years. You’ll also find a number of microbreweries and bars, many of which offer live music. If you’re hoping to explore more of Alaska, Anchorage is an excellent jumping-off point for other destinations in the state, and it’s easy to catch a train to Denali, Fairbanks, or Seward.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Anchorage?
Alaska is a land of extremes. Winters can be brutally cold, with very short days; however, this is an ideal time to stay in a vacation rental and indulge in Anchorage’s outdoor activities, including snowmobiling, skiing, and snowshoeing. In early March, the city hosts the Alaska State Snow Sculpture Championship, when artists from around the world attempt to create artistic masterpieces from blocks of packed snow. Springs start to warm up a bit, making it easier to get out and explore Chugach National Park. By June, the days are long for exploring, with 22 hours of daylight at the summer solstice, and the weather is quite warm — you’ll need nothing but a light sweater for walking around outside.
The city also hosts events throughout the year. In June, you can attend a jazz festival, while September brings the Alaska State Fair, complete with live music, carnival rides, and a giant cabbage weigh-off. By October, the crowds start to thin out and the days get shorter, but this is a lovely time to get out in the parks and see the trees explode into a sea of colors.
What are the top things to do in Anchorage?
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
This 11-mile coastline trail gives you a taste of spectacular Alaskan landscape without leaving the city. The route begins at the Oscar Anderson House Museum, built in 1915 and the oldest-surviving home in Anchorage, and passes through Earthquake Park, where you can find information on the 1964 earthquake that devastated the city. The trail also allows you to view the city skyline, the Chugach Mountains, and Denali. If you are lucky, you may spot moose on the trail or beluga whales off the coast.
Alaska Native Heritage Center
The Alaska Native Heritage Center sits on 26 acres just east of the city. You can walk around Lake Tiulana and learn about the history and heritage of the 11 indigenous cultures of Alaska. Visit authentic Native dwellings around the lake and take in the traditions of these peoples through dancing, games, storytelling, and artists’ demonstrations. There’s a gift shop featuring work from Native artists.
This historic railway line connects Fairbanks to Seward, stretching across 470 miles of the Alaskan wilderness. The train to Denali National Park and Preserve crosses a 1,000-foot steel arch bridge over Hurricane Gulch and the historic Susitna River, popular with sport fishers.