Things to do in Anchorage
Anchorage, nestled between Cook Inlet and the Chugach Mountains, started in 1914, when the government decided Alaska needed a railroad between Seward and Fairbanks. The tiny settlement then known as Ship Creek was chosen as the midway point. Overnight the town boomed. Today over half the state of Alaska’s population live in or near Anchorage. While all the pleasures of civilization can be found in the many things to do in Anchorage, the delights of the wild are as close as walk in the park, where moose are often seen.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN AND NEAR ANCHORAGE
View 85 species of wildlife from the Arctic, including glacier bears, brown/grizzly bears and black bears, on this 25-acre wooded area. See caribou, moose, dall sheep, wolves, musk oxen and many others.
The Crow Creek Mine is a recreational mine in Anchorage. What was the largest mine producing area in South Central Alaska during World War II, has now become a tourist attraction where people from all over the world come here to try their luck and find gold. Local miners help the visitors through the process of the gold hunt which gives visitors a first hand experience with mining.
Planes dating from 1924-1960 are located here, painstakingly restored, and situated next to recorded entries and information about their use and pilots. Pioneer aviators’ gear and brief biographies are in the main building. Placard after placard relates stories of these aviation heroes, many of whose lives were ended prematurely by their dangerous occupation. WWII artifacts and accounts are here also, giving testament to the prominent role Alaska played during that war.
Alaska Natives built this extraordinary center to bring their cultures to visitors. It’s Alaska’s best Native cultural attraction. What makes it so is not the graceful building or the professional and informative displays, but Native people themselves, who often create a personal connection with visitors and rarely come across as practiced or distant. The three main parts of the center take half a day to absorb. First, there’s a hall where storytellers, dancers, and Native athletes perform, with three 30-minute programs rotating through the day. Next, a gallery of educational displays with a theater showing short films and a series of workshops, where artisans practice and show off traditional crafts and often teach crafts to visitors. Finally, there’s a pond surrounded by six traditional Native dwellings representing each cultural group, hosted by a member of those cultures.
Since the late ’80s, this museum has provided a place for children to learn about the miracles of science. The exhibits housed here include a bubble lab, planetarium/galaxy room, displays of reptiles and hands-on Alaska marine life. Permanent displays share the floor with traveling exhibits.
Ship Creek, found in the shadow of downtown Anchorage high-rise hotels, has more than 9000 king salmon that struggle upstream every summer. It’s North America’s most accessible King salmon stream! There are several other runs of salmon that also come into Ship Creek so it is worth checking out most of the summer.
Kenai Peninsula has countless lakes and streams which provide good fishing annually.
The Kenai River is a favorite for rainbows and Dolly Varden throughout the summer and fall with catches in the 10 pound class not uncommon. This river is one of the best all around fishing rivers in Alaska. Aspen Hotel Soldotna sits on the banks of this famous river.
Glacier & Wildlife Explorer Tour. The guided half-day adventure along scenic Turnagain Arm offers a one hour spectacular glacier cruise and non-stop wildlife. See Potter Marsh and mountain scenery where Dahl sheep are often spotted on the rocky cliffs. The waters along the way offers the best chance of seeing some of Cook Inlet’s 350 Beluga whales.
Visit Portage Glacier. Alaska’s second most visited attraction. Board a one-hour cruise, which is narrated by a U.S. Forest Service Park Ranger. View icebergs and get 300 feet from the glacier, where you can listen for the unmistakable rumbling of an active calving glacier. At the 140-acre Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center get an up-close experience of impressive bears, moose, bison, elk, reindeer, musk ox, and more. This is a picturesque holiday of a lifetime!
Anchorage City Trolley Tours
612 W. 4th Avenue (ticket office) | 907-276-5603
Step aboard Anchorage’s first trolley for a clear view of our city. A lively informative sightseeing tour of Alaska’s largest city! Relax while our Alaskan guide shows you how and where Alaskans live, the Alaska railroad, Lake Hood (the largest and busiest floatplane base in the world), mysterious Earthquake Park, Cook Inlet (where our tides are the second largest in the world), Anchorage Museum of History and Art, our famous fragrant flowers, great shopping areas, and favorite dining restaurants. Every hour on the hour 7 days a week.
People Mover Bus System
The People Mover Bus System has a day pass available for $2.50, it is good for unlimited rides that day and can be purchased from the bus driver. Passes are also available from Tesoro 2Go stores. People Mover provides transportation to most visitor attractions. For information call 907-343-6543.