ANCHORAGE AND PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND
Endless Recreational Opportunities Await
With all that Anchorage has to offer as a city, and its many outdoor attractions, it is no wonder that the city brand is Big Wild Life. TM Wine bars and sushi hot spots, Broadway shows and world-class musical groups, Anchorage is an exciting destination. Trails criss-cross the city for bikers, runners and inline skaters who, in summer, will often enjoy these ribbons of pavement ‘‘til the day-lit wee hours of the morning. ANCHORAGE Alaska’s most populated city at nearly 300,000 people, is a destination that draws visitors from around the world. Each year, the city welcomes more than a million travelers.
Combining cosmopolitan amenities with the creative enthusiasm of a young, progressive city, dining, nightlife and art options abound. The flourishing arts and concert scene has performances at downtown’s Alaska Performing Arts Center, the neighboring 200,000 square-foot Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center, midtown’s Sullivan Arena and at several playhouses across the city. The dining scene offers nearly any ethnic flavor you could hope for as well as Alaska seafood options. Nightlife is most easily enjoyed downtown with popular pub crawls on 4th and 5th avenues; this area also includes several wine bars.
Anchorage lies between the Chugach Mountains on the east and the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet on the west. Multiple mountain ranges encircle its location—the Chugach, the Kenai, the Talkeetna, the snow-covered peaks of the Tordrillo Mountains across Cook Inlet, and the dramatic peaks of the Alaska Range (with Mount McKinley, aka Denali, visible—with clear skies) to the north.
Wildlife adds to the eclectic quality of this city. Moose often meander across the city’s streets, nibbling on trees and shrubbery planted by residents, while black and brown bear navigate the greenbelts along their preferred salmonproducing streams. Outdoor enthusiasts may have up-close encounters with wildlife as they share the paved Campbell Creek, Chester Creek and Tony Knowles Coastal trails, part of 135 miles of paved trails across the city. There are an additional 300 miles of unpaved and wilderness trails within the city limits. The neighboring Chugach State Park offers even more outdoor adventures, within several minutes’ drive.
Anchorage is economically diverse. Its industries span government, an active oil and gas industry (with multiple large oil companies in residence), tourism, education, retail and health care. Combining city amenities with outdoor recreation, its quality of life is difficult to beat. PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND Situated off the Gulf of Alaska, this is an area famous for its scenery and wildlife. Glaciers, rainforest and mountains edge the sound, with much of it within the Chugach National Forest boundary—the second largest national forest in the nation. PWS is also home to an assortment of animals and marine life, such as humpback whales, orcas, bears, seabirds, sea otters and more. Ferries traveling to Valdez or Cordova leave from Whittier.
The most prominent city in PWS is Valdez (pop. 3,976), the southern terminus of the 800mile trans-Alaska Pipeline System. Valdez is road accessible via the Richardson Highway.
The other prominent community is Cordova (pop. 2,289), accessed by boat or plane. Commercial fishing and tourism are the prominent industries. Attractions for Valdez, Cordova and Whittier can be found at wheretraveler.com/alaska.
Hiking up Flattop to enjoy amazing views of Anchorage is the most popular trek in Alaska.