ANCHORAGE AND PRINCE WIL­LIAM SOUND

Where Alaska - - The Guide -

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.

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