The 10 Best Things to do in Anchorage

Alaska is a big state, but Anchorage is the per­fect place to ex­plore all of Alaska’s nat­u­ral won­der, wildlife and na­tive cul­tures. Here are the top 10 stops for a few days in Anchorage:

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1 Flight­see­ing – Avi­a­tion is huge for Anchorage; in ad­di­tion to hav­ing Alaska’s largest in­ter­na­tional air­port, it’s also home to the busiest sea­plane base in the en­tire world, Lake Hood. In a state as large as Alaska, float­planes are of­ten the best way to reach at­trac­tions. Char­ter car­ri­ers take off from Lake Hood for day trips to bear view­ing lo­ca­tions in Lake Clark or Kat­mai na­tional parks, or touch down at gla­cial lakes and re­mote fish­ing spots off the road sys­tem. Other trips to cir­cle Mount McKin­ley, North Amer­ica’s tallest moun­tain and tour De­nali Na­tional Park’s other peaks from the air.

2 Watch Glaciers Calve and Whales Breach – Glaciers are among Alaska’s most pop­u­lar at­trac­tions and many are ac­ces­si­ble as a day trip. Portage Glacier, is among the most ac­ces­si­ble. Just 40 min­utes south of Anchorage, catch a ride on the Ptarmi­gan, the only boat cruis­ing Portage Lake to the face of the glacier. Even more of these icy won­ders can be best viewed from the deck of a day cruise boat out of the nearby towns of Se­ward or Whittier. Whales, sea lions, otters, puffins and other ma­rine wildlife are a perk on these trips. 3 Coastal Trail Bike – Anchorage’s paved trails stretch more than 200 kilo­me­tres through the city’s parks and green­belts. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail links down­town Anchorage to Kin­caid Park some 18 kilo­me­tres away. Rent a bi­cy­cle for a few hours or an en­tire day; it’s an in­ex­pen­sive way to ex­plore the city trails. 4 Guar­an­teed Wildlife View­ing – Spend time in Alaska and with a sharp eye, you are bound to see an­i­mals in the wild. But for a com­pre­hen­sive, up-close look at Alaska wildlife head to ei­ther the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage or the Alaska Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Cen­ter in nearby Portage. It’s the best van­tage point from which to see moose, bear, lynx, ea­gles, musk ox and many other Alaskan species. 5 Ex­plore Alaska’s His­tory and Cul­tures - Visit two great cul­tural cen­tres for one price with the Alaska Cul­ture Pass. The pass pro­vides ad­mis­sion to the Anchorage Mu­seum and the Alaska Na­tive Her­itage Cen­ter. The Anchorage Mu­seum (Alaska’s largest) is the per­fect place to get an in­tro­duc­tion for your trip. With art, sci­ence, his­tory and cul­tural ex­hibits, the mu­seum chron­i­cles the events and people that have shaped the state. Don’t miss the Smith­so­nian Arc­tic Stud­ies Cen­ter, a collection of 600 Alaska Na­tive ar­ti­facts from across the state. The Alaska Na­tive Her­itage Cen­ter is a great way to learn more about Alaska’s na­tive people. The cen­tre fea­tures life-sized repli­cas of tra­di­tional Alaska Na­tive dwellings and daily dance, song, sport and sto­ry­telling demon­stra­tions. A free shut­tle de­parts reg­u­larly to both the mu­seum and Alaska Na­tive Her­itage Cen­ter from the down­town vis­i­tor cen­tre at Fourth Av­enue and F Street.

6 Alaska Rail­road – Hop aboard the Coastal Clas­sic from Anchorage to Se­ward. The train passes through un­touched for­est, crosses wild rivers and steams past glaciers nes­tled in the moun­tains above. Or catch the train north from Anchorage in­stead, and visit the pic­turesque Alaska town of Tal­keetna for a day of flight­see­ing or jet boat­ing near De­nali. 7 Anchorage Mar­ket & Fes­ti­val – Held ev­ery Satur­day and Sun­day from May to mid-Septem­ber, the Anchorage Mar­ket is the per­fect place to find Alaskan prod­ucts and art. Browse the stalls for an Alaskan trea­sure, or sam­ple sal­mon que­sadil­las, rein­deer sausage and other Alaskan cui­sine. Ad­mis­sion is free.

www.an­chor­age­mar­kets.com 8 Fish­ing – Cast for king or sil­ver sal­mon with­out leav­ing the city! With all five species of sal­mon and count­less rivers and streams in and around the city, Anchorage is a prime place for fish­ing. Head to Se­ward or Homer on the Ke­nai Penin­sula for a char­ter fish­ing trip tar­get­ing hal­ibut, rock­fish and ling cod. The aver­age sport-caught hal­ibut weighs 14 kilo­grams, but the record is more than 204 kilo­grams. www.anchorage.net/fish­ing 9 Hik­ing – There are hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres of hik­ing trails in nearby Chugach State Park, from easy hikes of a few kilo­me­tres to all day and overnight treks through moun­tain passes. Flat­top Moun­tain is ar­guably the most pop­u­lar hike in the park. En­joy beau­ti­ful views of the sur­round­ing moun­tains and the city be­low, ei­ther from the scenic over­look near the trail­head, or from the top of Flat­top af­ter an hour-long hike. 10 Dog sled­ding – Even af­ter the win­ter and snow have melted away, you can still try Alaska’s state sport: dog mush­ing. Tour the ken­nel of an Idi­tarod vet­eran, or he­li­copter up to a glacier for warm weather sled­ding with a dog team. www.anchorage.net/dog-sled­ding

Tur­na­gain Arm

Na­tive Cul­ture

Coastal Trail Bik­ing

Lake Hood Flight­see­ing

Portage Glacier

Fur Rondy mush­ing

Ea­gle River Trekking

Satur­day Mar­ket

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