Super-sized mountains, glaciers galore, wildlife (bald eagles, moose and bears), hiking, biking– there are plenty of reasons Alaska sticks out on the map. Plus with the sun always lingering, the lights are never turned off when it comes to adventure. And with more coastline than the rest of the U.S. combined, the views always enchant. Alaksa is all about the freedom to explore. Here are some ways to just that.
For a detailed look into Alaska’s native culture, stop into the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Just ten miles from downtown Anchorage, you will find replicated dwellings that represent various homes built by different cultural groups. Set aside time to absorb the beauty surrounding the museum- including sights of the Chugach Mountains, Birch forest and Lake Tiulana. In the summer months, make sure to stop by and meet the baby Alaskan huskies. For an extra $10 full-grown dogs will take you for a spin on a forested trail.
Inside you will find Native Alaskans selling traditional crafts, dancers performing traditional routings as well as the Hall of Cultures further spotlighting a more detailed history.
Prices $25 adults, $21 seniors and military, $17 children 7-16; Alaska residents $10 adults, $7 children. Discounts in winter, for families, or for joint admission to Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.
Named for it’s broad flat peak shaped by the movement of millennia old glaciers, Flat Top is one of the most popular hikes in Anchorage. Just outside of downtown Anchorage, in Chugach State Park, the 3-mile round-trip hike tops off at 3,550 feet. After walking over a wooden stairway, switchbacks and man-made steps, the real climb to the top begins. To see spectacular views of Mt. McKinley, the Cook Inlet and even the Redout Volcano, get ready to climb through a trail of steep loose rocks.
Directions: Head towards South Anchorage on the New Seward Highway. Take the O’Malley exit and head towards the mountains. Follow O’Malley for a few miles and turn right onto Hillside Drive. Turn onto Upper Huffman on your left shortly afterwards. This road T’s-off; turn right onto Toilsome Hill Drive. This eventually becomes Glen Alps Road, which winds it’s way up to the Glen Alps parking lot, where the trail begins.
**The parking lot requires a $5.00 daily parking fee or a seasonal parking pass.
Pedal to take in coastline views along the 11-mile Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. The paved path follows the Anchorage Coastline from downtown into Kincaid Park. Along the way stop at the Earthquake Park where informative boards detail the destruction of the Earthquake that rattled the south central part of the state in 1964. Time it right and planes will fly directly overhead at Point Woronzof Park. You are also likely to spot a moose or even more than a few.
The trail is open year around- come winter take on the snow with cross-country ski’s or snowshoes.
At Pablo’s Bike Rentals you can rent bikes for a full day for $30 or a tandem for $60. Hourly options are also available.
Getting There: Access the trail at the northeast end of West 2nd Ave. near the railroad depot, or the southwest end at Kincaid Chalet, and several points in between.
Soar through Alaska’s Aviation History. Learn about the first airlines to take flight in the Last Frontier, the history of seaplanes traversing Alaskan water and even planes that crashed and have since been restored. Stories of brave pilots and equally brave women who stepped behind the cockpit are detailed throughout the museum. Outside, take a few minutes to shot on the shore of Lake Hood where a g-21 Goose, an amphibious aircraft often used by the military.
4721 Aircraft Dr
Anchorage, AK 99502
Set high on a hill overlooking the water, the Anchorage Downtown Market and Festival is filled with vendors including local artists, cooks and shop owners. Hop from white-topped tent to the next find everything from ulu knives, figurines made of whale bone as well as incredible art capturing wildlife and take your breath away views. Taste Alaska made products- including flavored almonds jams and birch syrup. Entertainment also carries throughout the market with live music and acrobatic duos.
3rd Ave and E St
Anchorage, AK 99501
Sat-Sun 10 am – 6 pm
For the best views overlooking Anchorage, head to the elegant Crow’s Nest atop the Captain Cook hotel. You will find over 80 types of Scotch, different vodkas a wonderful list of classic cocktails as well as 10,000 wines in the cellar. If you are dining, both the BLT and the Charcuterie are tops. For heavier appetites, try the King Salmon or Elk rack. And when it comes to sweets- enjoy the the champagne and caramel poached pear with gorgonzola gelato as you take in views of the Cook Inlet, Downtown Anchorage and the Chugach Mountains.
939 W 5th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501
Pouring fresh brews, the Snow Goose is nestled in downtown Anchorage overlooking the Cook Inlet. Take a seat on the roof for views of a radiant sunset set behind Sleeping Lady and to watch ships take off from the port. On clear days you may even catch a view of North America’s highest peak, Mt. McKinley. In the winter cozy up at the indoor fireplace.
Three beers to try:
Gold Rush Golden Ale- Brewed with Pilsner malt and Noble German hops, this beer is light and crisp.
Portage-Porter-Dark chocolate flavors blend with toasty malt and caramel, this is a malt lover’s beer of choice!
Bravehart-Scottish Ale Rich with a smooth malty flavor, brown sugar undertones combine with Magnum hops for a balanced brew.
717 W 3rd Ave Anchorage, AK 99501
About 15 miles from downtown Anchorage, a trip to Midnight Sun Brewery is worth the trip. Shop is set up in a warehouse district, creating a casual atmosphere. Want an up-close look? Hop on a Brewery Tour on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Three Beers To Try:
Sockeye Red IPA- Crafted with a Pacific Northwest-style, two-row malt combines with specialty malts for a citrus and floral aroma and flavor.
Mammoth Extra Stout- Dark and full-bodied, this flavorful beer incorporates chocolate, caramel, coffee and nut.
Midnight Sun Kolsch- A bold balance of pills malt and noble hops create a traditional German-style beer.
Yoga in The Park
Bend, Stretch and Contort into yoga poses in the great outdoors of Anchorage. Alaska Club puts on a free “Yoga in the Park” community event on Wednesday evenings at the Delaney Park Strip. The event is from 6-7p.m. during June and July. It’s a great way to meet locals and also calm the mind.
Windows provide a clear view as craftsmen create ulu knifes that are sold in the store and throughout the state. Eskimos first created the knives. Rocks, slade and jade were used as the blade while wood, ivory or bone fashioned the handle. The ulu was used to skin seals, prepare walrus hides. Today the knives are used to cutting fish and vegetables.
Want an even closer look? Ask a staff member for a personal tour.
Free trolley rides are offered from downtown to The ULU Factory from 10-7 in June, July and August.
211 West Ship Creek Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501-1603
Explore one of the original homes of Alaska at the Oscar Anderson Museum. A Swedish butcher built the two-story wooden home in 1915. Knowledgeable and friendly volunteers share the history of the home, the family that once lived here as well as the background of Anchorage as a “tent city.”
The house museum is open for 40-minute guided tours from May 28th to September 1st. The hours are noon to 4 pm daily except Monday and the 4th of July. Admission is $10 for ages 13+ and $5 for those 3-12.
420 M Street Anchorage, Alaska 99501
For fast service without sacrificing fresh fare, check out Urban Greens in downtown Anchorage. Salads and sandwiches are among the most popular menu items but this casual lunch spot doesn’t stop there. The Thai chicken soup, made with count milk, fresh mushrooms, cilantro and lemon grass, is a favorite of regulars. Hurry and order up because this soup can sell out quick. The hummus is also a top-seller and can be found in a sandwich or as a side with bread or veggies.
304 G St Anchorage, AK 99501