Anchorage Things to Do Tips by RickinDutch Top 5 Page for this destination
Anchorage Things to Do: 182 reviews and 344 photos
View of Museum from 5th Ave Pedestrian Overpass.
An excellent museum, I always try and break away for a few hours when in Anchorage to see what is new and to just enjoy the quiet space. It has many different display areas and could take all day to see it all. But a great section on Aleut culture and history convinces me that they have handled the other regions of Alaska just as well.
The museum has a nice snack bar and gift shop.
Admission used to be by donation but now it is $8 for adults and free for 17 and under.
An major expansion is almost complete that doubles the size of the museum. The space is needed to show more of what is archived.
Downstairs on the left are several galleries of Alaskan Art and upstairs has The Alaska Gallery which is full of exhibits about Alaska's history and native cultures.
Address: 121 W. 7th Ave.
Directions: An easy walk from all downtown hotels. Just a block east of the 5th Avenue Mall.
Phone: 907 343-4326
Close up with a Tlingit carver
This is the place to learn more about Alaska Native culture is you can't get to the "bush". On about 30 acres of land in NE Anchorage, the center include a large main building with shopping, a theater, and artisans in residence working on their own pieces. Next to the main building is a cafe and then a trail leading to the Village Circle around a man-made lake. The Village Circle has 5 small sites, each representing the five main tribes of Alaska with people at each site to talk about and show examples of their culture and lifestyle.
The center opened in 1997 and has been a huge success. It is open year round and gets very busy during the summer. During the winter they have a great program each Saturday where you can learn dances and work with the native artists.
Youth 7-16 $6.96
Kids 6 and under are free.
Address: 8800 Heritage Center Drive
Directions: Take the Glenn highway as if you were heading north to Wasilla. Exit at the Muldoon Road North offramp. As you pass over the Glenn Hwy the driveway is your first right. Just follow the brown signs.
Phone: (907) 330-8000
A Little Su King
Many folks come to Alaska to fish. Anchorage isn't the best place to do so but it can be done if you can't get out of town.
Here are some suggestions....
King salmon fishing right downtown at Ship's Creek. Some downtown hotels (Hilton) will supply you all the equipment you need to catch the fish of your dreams. Be sure to use either waders or very high boots as the mud is deep.
Lake fishing for trout is another option. Most Anchorage lakes are stocked annually and have floating docks that allow access to deeper water. Jewel Lake and Sand Lake are both good and located just south of the airport. Lake trout are fairly small and the experience will be similar to lake fishing in the lower 48.
If you have a car but are limited on time, Bird Creek is about a half hour south of town on the way to Girdwood. When I lived in Anchorage I spent many an afternoon snagging humpies along the creek just inland from the Seward Highway.
There are several good fishing spots within an hour's drive north of town, such as the Little Susitna River and Montana Creek, that get strong King, Silver and Red Salmon runs. Charter boats with guides are plentiful, there are less fishermen to compete with and the drive is much shorter than a run down to the Kenai or Russian Rivers.
The Northern Lights have seen strange sights....
I get asked a lot where the best place is to see the Northern Lights. I usually tell folks the further away from city lights and the further north the better. When I lived in Anchorage, tho, there were many crisp clear nights where we could see them from the house.
If you are staying in Anchorage, a short drive north of town will get you in the middle of nowhere. You just never know when they're going to be out. I've posted a decent website with good links, but it remains an inexact science.
This photo was taken at Elmendorf AFB just north of Anchorage on a cold December night.
The chance to view the northern lights draws visitors from all over, but especially from Japan. Chena Hot Springs outside of Fairbanks used to close down in the winter and now it is their busiest time. Apparently, so they told me, it is auspicious to conceive a child under the northern lights. I'm not making this up - honest!
Musk Ox at Alaska Zoo
So you've spent a week roaming Alaska and still didn't get those wildlife photos you wanted? The Alaska Zoo is your spot then. For a medium sized city, the zoo has gotten quite good with large areas for the animals to roam. Wolf, fox, polar bear, grizzly bear, black bear, mountain goats, moose, musk ox, reindeer, seals, otters, bald eagles, etc. 77 Alaskan species on display. Even some rare animals like siberian tigers and annabelle the elephant.
Up on the hillside and spread out over many wooded acres, allow 3-4 hours to see it all. Be sure to get a map so you don't miss anything.
This photo is of the musk ox. Like the reindeer, they are donations from the airline I worked for, Flying Tigers. The muskox came from up north on the wrong day to transload to the flight to Chicago they were scheduled on. Cages were too small and shipper was unwilling/unable to provide larger cages. So off they went to the zoo. Same with the reindeer - but that's a longer story.
Open 10AM - 4:30PM Winters and 9AM to 9PM Summers.
$9 adults, $5 ages 12-17, and $4 ages 3-11
Address: 4731 O'Malley
Directions: About a third of the way up the hillside on O'Malley. Look for it on your left.
Phone: (907) 346-2133
Just at the southern edge of Anchorage, where the Seward Highway meets Turnagain Arm, is a large expanse of open wetlands. A wooden walkway has been constructed that allows you to walk out into the marsh a ways, parallel to the highway. I've always liked the open feeling at the marsh and have spotted many different species of birds over the years. A few salmon spawn in the tidal creek and the walkway goes right over that spot. I've also seen bear and moose on the far edge of the marsh, but less as the Rabbit Creek hillside gets more developed.
Directions: South on Seward highway, left just before you reach the bottom of the hill and Turnagain Arm.
Kite flying on the park strip
If you are staying downtown, a nice way to stretch your legs is to take walk around the Delaney Park Strip. It is a block wide by about 9 blocks long between 9th and 10th streets and M and E street. On the east end (toward the mountains) are several softball fields which always seem to have games going on. Adult league softball is a big deal in Anchorage.
At the corner of L and 9th are several monuments included the veterans memorial. At the far west end (by the inlet) you can walk just a little further west and find yourself in the Bootlegger's Cove area, an upscale housing area. Just past there is the Coastal trail which runs all the way out to the airport.
Activities seems to be ongoing, especially when the weather is good. Kite flying and sunbathing two of the top ones. The park is the ending point to most parades and a main gathering point for many of Anchorage's celebrations.
Anchorage has a wonderful Coastal Trail that runs from downtown out past the airport to Kincaid Park where national nordic skiing events are held. Not sure how many miles long, perhaps 10, the paved trail is mixed use with walkers, runners, cyclists and skaters all sharing. It was a favorite activity for us when we lived near Kincaid Park.
Very scenic with views out over Cook Inlet all along the trail. Earthquake Park, near the airport, is an interesting section. This was a upscale housing area that sank down to sea level during the '64 earthquake.
The coastal trail is only a portion of the trail system in Anchorage.
Directions: Check the website below for a good map of all the trails.
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