A Vibrant City an Hour Away From a Saltwater Paradise
With all that Anchorage has to offer as a city, it is no wonder that the city brand is Big Wild Life . Wine bars and sushi hot spots, Broadway shows and world-class art, and an extensive trail system that can be enjoyed by bicyclists, runners and inline skaters until the sun goes down at around 11 pm in summer. An hour’s drive to the south is Whittier, gateway to the pristine waters and glaciated coastline of Prince William Sound. ANCHORAGE Alaska’s most populated city at nearly 300,000 people (and 1,500 moose), Anchorage is an exciting destination that draws more than a million visitors annually from around the world.
Combining cosmopolitan amenities with outdoor recreation, Anchorage offers residents an enviable quality of life. The creative enthusiasm of this young and progressive city manifests in its ever expanding dining and nightlight scene and a flourishing arts and concert culture. Entertainment venues include downtown’s Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, the neighboring 200,000 square-foot Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center, midtown’s Sullivan Arena and several playhouses across the city. Restaurants offer nearly any ethnic flavor you could hope for as well as Alaska seafood appetizers and entrees. Nightlife is most easily enjoyed downtown at wine bars or on a pub-crawl on 4th and 5th avenues. Or explore local breweries and “beercentric venues” on your own or with a tour.
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 Denali—the mountain formerly known as McKinley—visible to the north (weather permitting).
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 bears 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 the city’s 135-mile paved trail system. 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 of downtown, including the hike up Flattop, the state’s most popular trail. 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 lying within the boundaries of Chugach National Forest—the second largest national forest in the nation. Prince William Sound is home to a variety of wildlife, including humpback whales, orcas, bears, seabirds, sea otters and more. Ferries provide passenger and vehicle transportation between Valdez, Cordova and Whittier. Valdez (pop. 3,976), largest Prince William Sound city and southern terminus of the 800-mile trans-Alaska Pipeline System, is also road accessible via the Richardson Highway.
Glacier and wildlife sightseeing cruises of Prince William Sound depart from Whittier and Valdez daily in summer.