Find Your Alaska

Best of, tips and how to’s

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At nearly 300,000 peo­ple, and cel­e­brat­ing 100 years in 2015, An­chor­age is Alaska’s big­gest city and re­wards visi­tors with many op­por­tu­ni­ties for ex­plo­ration, ad­ven­ture and din­ing—along with a very spe­cial history les­son this cen­ten­nial year.

Start your visit with the 1-hour, $20 city tour on the An­chor­age Trol­ley. Not only do you learn about the city, but it will pro­vide the foun­da­tion for fur­ther ex­plo­ration of var­i­ous tour high­lights on your own. De­par­tures are from the down­town visi­tor cen­ter and last only one hour. It’s the per­fect way to get an over­view of the city.

Till the Sun Goes Down

With the seem­ingly end­less day­light hours of sum­mer, there’s no rea­son to stop play­ing and ex­plor­ing un­til you feel like it. In the evening, meet at 4th Ave and L Street at 7:30 pm to learn the who’s who of An­chor­age history. This 1.5- to 2-hour Ghost Tour for history and the para­nor­mal costs $15 and is of­fered Tues­day–Sun­day start­ing mid-May and run­ning through the sum­mer sea­son.

Hike, Bike, Golf

Take the Flat­top Moun­tain Shut­tle from down­town for a 30-minute tour of An­chor­age, cul­mi­nat­ing at the trail­head of the state’s most pop­u­lar trail; round-trip is $23. Flat­top’s 360- de­gree view in­cludes Mount McKinley and Mount Fo­raker, Cook In­let, Tor­drillo Moun­tain Range and the city of An­chor­age. The shut­tle al­lows you 2.5 hours of hik­ing time, enough for the av­er­age hiker to sum­mit and re­turn on this 3-mile hike.

There are oo­dles of trails through­out the city if you want to go for a leisurely stroll, bike ride or for a jog. Bi­cy­cle rentals are lo­cated in down­town An­chor­age (ask for hel­met, lock and a trail map with your rental). The mu­nic­i­pal­ity main­tains 120 miles of paved bike strails and multi-use trails—but don’t stop there. Tons of great sin­gle-track trails travel the hills and foothills of the Chugach Range (the east bound­ary of the city) and con­nect to the 495,000-acre Chugach State Park. There are also nu­mer­ous sin­gle-track trails within 1,400-acre Kin­caid Park , which lies be­tween the air­port and the in­let. A fa­vorite route is the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, that be­gins in down­town, edges Cook In­let’s shore and ends 11 miles later at Kin­caid Park.

Guided wilder­ness ad­ven­tures are another op­tion. Nova will take you on a half- day glacier trek on the Matanuska Glacier or white­wa­ter raft­ing. Nova also pro­vides white­wa­ter raft tours on Six- Mile Creek on the Ke­nai Penin­sula.

If golf­ing is more your speed, the 18hole public An­chor­age Golf Course just off of O’Malley Road, in­cludes fan­tas­tic city and moun­tain views from its hill­side lo­ca­tion. Ex­pect wildlife sight­ings (wildlife AL­WAYS has the rightof-way) and en­joy the end­less hours of play, com­pli­ments of the mid­night sun. ( Tip: Sched­ule your tee­time online.)

Win­ter Vis­its

Wit­ness the aurora bo­re­alis from your ho­tel room win­dow; go cross- coun­try night skiing on 24 miles of lighted ski trails; en­joy ice-skat­ing on hot-mopped rinks at la­goons and ponds; work- out on the com­pe­ti­tion- length speed skat­ing oval; or try bi­cy­cling like most Alaskans do in win­ter, on a fat-tire bike. An­chor­age­based “fat-bike” de­signer 9Zero7 Bikes are avail­able for rent through Chain Reac tionCy­cles.com.

Eats & Drinks

In be­tween your city ex­plo­rations, en­joy scrump­tious break­fasts, lunches and din­ners down­town and in the greater An­chor­age area. ( Tip: Re­serve ahead for din­ner.) Go to Where­Trav­eler.com/Alaska for more din­ing ideas.

For break­fast, Snow City Café on 4th Av­enue com­bines a cof­fee house feel with a bistro-style kitchen. The fresh-squeezed or­ange juice mi­mosas pair nicely with the crab and av­o­cado omelets!

No stay in Alaska is com­plete with­out a visit to Humpy’s. The pop­u­lar eatery has 40 beers on tap, fan­tas­tic fish and

chips, and a hal­ibut sand­wich that may be re­quested if not on the menu.

Si­mon and Seafort’s makes the best Key Lime pie in An­chor­age. A top seafood res­tau­rant, try their open-face crab sand­wich topped with Til­lam­ook ched­dar for lunch. En­joy a Laven­der Mar­tini at Si­mon’s classy saloon.

The Glacier Brew­house is known for its wood-fired pizza, cedar plank grilled salmon, seafood pasta, lus­cious bread pud­ding and brew­ery beer.

Club Paris’s unas­sum­ing lo­ca­tion— tucked be­tween other 5th Av­enue busi­nesses—is al­most as sur­pris­ing as its sublime 4-inch thick filet mignon.

Orso serves up wild Alaskan salmon salad niçoise and crab-stuffed Ko­diak cod. Catch them for happy hour and get in on a blue­berry mar­tini. Tip: Try the spicy cala­mari!

The Crow’s Nest, on the 13th floor of the Ho­tel Cap­tain Cook, is a per­fect place for din­ner. ( Tip: Dine late if you want to see the sunset over Cook In­let in sum­mer.) On the first floor of the ho­tel, the Whale’s Tail wine bar of­fers 32 dif­fer­ent vin­tages from a self-serve dis­pens­ing kiosk. Pair your wine with ap­pe­tiz­ers like the kobe beef slid­ers or tuna tacos.

Crush Wine Bar, just across the street from Nord­strom, of­fers 40 types of wine by the glass plus a full lunch and din­ner menu (ta­pas start at 2:30 pm). Try their sherried cri­m­ini and spinach over po­lenta, the beef carpac­cio or melted brie with ap­ples on fo­cac­cia.

Mu­se­ums & Cul­tural Cen­ters

Don’t miss the An­chor­age Mu­seum at the cor­ner of 7th Av­enue and C Street, with its themed do­cent-led tours. Another must-see at­trac­tion is the Alaska Na­tive Her­itage Cen­ter, lo­cated east of down­town, and fea­tur­ing tra­di­tional vil­lage sites, songs, sto­ries and dance. Get the Alaska Cul­ture Pass (alaska­cul­turepass. org) and see both these at­trac­tions for a sweet price! (In­cludes shut­tle). More tips at www.where­trav­eler. com/alaska.

Down­town An­chor­age build­ings rise above Westch­ester La­goon

Hiker over­looks Wil­li­waw Lakes, Chugach State Park

Tlin­git Apron, An­chor­age Mu­seum

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