Things to do in Anchorage

Things to do in  Anchorage

The Big Apple of the north

The largest city in the “Last Frontier,” Anchorage is Alaska’s hub for nearly everything. Travelers will find immersive Indigenous sites like the Alaska Native Heritage Center, modern draws like the Anchorage Museum, and still plenty of nature—situated at the edge of the Chugach Mountains, Anchorage is the gateway into the Alaskan wilds, including Denali and Kenai Fjords national parks. The best things to do in Anchorage combine all three of these delights, leaving travelers with a longing they can only remedy in Alaska.

Top 15 attractions in Anchorage

Matanuska Glacier

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Originating within the Chugach Mountain Range, the Matanuska Glacier is a 27-mile-long (43-kilometer-long) river of ice and Alaska’s largest road-accessible glacier. A popular day trip from Anchorage, the glacier draws tourists year-round to gaze at the impressive ice formations and go ice climbing among crevasses and glacial water in brilliant meltwater pools.More

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

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Alaska is known for its wildlife, and at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center you can see an array of Alaskan species—bears, bison, moose, elk, musk oxen, and lynx among them—all in one place. Learn about each animal species from knowledgeable staff at this center that works to rehabilitate animals and reintroduce them to life in the wild.More

Denali National Park and Preserve

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The tallest peak in North America at 20,310 feet (6,190 meters), Denali, formerly known as Mt. McKinley, is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve in south-central Alaska, an enormous area covering 6 million acres (2.5 million hectares). Founded in 1917, the park protects the native animals who roam free in its remote alpine tundra wilderness.More

Portage Glacier

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Situated in Chugach National Forest about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Anchorage, Portage Glacier ranks as one of Alaska’s most visited attractions. Icebergs from the glacier bob in the waters of Portage Lake, while at the visitor center, travelers can see live ice worms, explore a simulated ice cave, and touch an iceberg.More

Lake Hood

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Just three miles southwest of Anchorage, Lake Hood serves as the runway for one of the largest and busiest seaplane bases in the world. Nearly 200 flights take off daily from the waters of Lake Hood ferrying supplies and passengers to remote Alaskan communities and secluded mountain landscapes. This steady stream of float planes delights visitors and aviation buffs.More

Cook Inlet

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Named after famed European explorer, Captain James Cook, the Cook Inlet stretches from Anchorage to the Gulf of Alaska and offers stunning coastal scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities galore. At its northern end, the Cook Inlet branches into the Knik Arm and the Turnagain Arm, which together almost completely surround the city of Anchorage.More

Denali

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For many visitors, a trip to Alaska just isn’t complete without catching a glimpse of the massive, snow-capped centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve. Topping out at 20,310 feet (6,190 meters), the Alaska Range mountain formerly known as Mt. McKinley is the highest mountain in North America. The peak is often shrouded in clouds, so there’s only a 30-percent chance of seeing it on a given day.More

Earthquake Park

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In 1964, an entire neighborhood of Anchorage slid into the ocean during what remains the most powerful earthquake recorded in North American history. Measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale, this tragic event is commemorated in Earthquake Park, where you can still see evidence of the devastating earthquake that permanently altered the Anchorage landscape.More

Chugach State Park

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Just beyond the edge of Alaska’s largest city and stretching 200 coastal miles (322 kilometers) from Anchorage to Canada, Chugach State Park encompasses nine distinct ecosystems including spruce forests, alpine tundra, and coastal wetlands. Nowhere on Earth is there so much biodiversity so close to a major city.More

Alaska Railroad

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Extending from Seward to Fairbanks in the interior, the Alaska Railroad provides travelers access to popular stops, such as Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Denali National Park. While its main line runs for more than 470 miles (750 kilometers), there are also secondary lines providing more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of extended service.More

Prince William Sound

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Tucked into the southern coast of Alaska, Prince William Sound is a spectacular wilderness area encompassing tidewater glaciers, fjords, secluded beaches, and more. Visitors are drawn to these remote waters to marvel at the marine life and coastal scenery and try a range of outdoor adventure activities, from sea kayaking, fishing, and whale watching to backcountry skiing and scuba diving. More

Lake Spenard

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Enjoy a free air show with your picnic lunch at Lake Spenard. Connected by a canal in the 1970s, Lake Hood and Lake Spenard serve as the runway of one of the world’s busiest seaplane bases. Daily, nearly 200 planes use the base to shuttle goods and passengers to and from the Alaskan interior.More

Anchorage Museum

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First-time visitors will enjoy a fascinating introduction to Alaska’s history, art, and culture at the Anchorage Museum. You can explore the history surrounding the Alaska Purchase, see how the gold rush shaped the state, and learn about the devastation caused by the 1964 earthquake. In addition, the planetarium and science center offer plenty of hands-on fun for kids.More
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Anchorage Cruise Port

Anchorage Cruise Port

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Located 60 miles (96 kilometers) southeast of Anchorage, the Whittier cruise port is the beginning and end point of many Alaskan cruises. The road from Anchorage to Whittier follows the Turnagain Arm of the Gulf of Alaska and is one of the most scenic drives in Alaska. Book extra time in Anchorage before or after your cruise to explore this magnificent coastline.More
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Alaska Aviation Museum

Alaska Aviation Museum

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Located on Lake Hood—the world’s busiest seaplane base—Alaska Aviation Museum celebrates Alaska’s aviation history. Flight is an important part of state history as it opened the remote state to the world. Through aircraft displays and exhibits, Alaska Aviation Museum tells the stories of Alaska’s aviation pioneers.More

Top activities in Anchorage

Matanuska Glacier Hike Day Tour
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Matanuska Glacier Hike Day Tour

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Wildlife and Glaciers with a walk in the Rainforest
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Matanuska Glacier Winter Tour

Matanuska Glacier Winter Tour

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Anchorage City Tour w/ Taste of Wild Smoked Salmon & Reindeer Sausage
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Anchorage Trolley's Deluxe City Tour
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Viator Exclusive: Go eBike Alaska on Tony Knowles Trail
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Alaska Wildlife Day Tour with Free Hotel Pickup
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All about Anchorage

When to visit

June through August is Anchorage’s peak season, with the city experiencing average highs around 70°F (19°C). To skip the crowds, consider planning a trip in May or September instead, but be prepared for chilly temperatures. Annual events—including June’s Summer Solstice Festival, the Anchorage Folk Festival in January, and the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in March—are all worth a visit.

Getting around

Downtown Anchorage is ideal for strolling, so many visitors choose to explore this flat and compact part of the city on foot. While Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska, it doesn’t have as robust a public transportation system as other large cities. A rental car can be convenient, especially for those who want to explore beyond Anchorage itself. The city is also bike-friendly.

Traveler tips

With dozens of breweries in the city, Anchorage is one of the country’s craft beer capitals, and no trip would be complete without sampling a few brews. Anchorage offers a variety of behind-the-scenes brewery tours and tastings; beer enthusiasts can design their own brewery crawl or join a guided tour that offers transportation.

Local Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
AKDT (UTC -10)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English
Attractions
24
Tours
139
Reviews
11,102
EN
a1a455d6-2469-46f4-94f4-b03a7b6a73c3
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People Also Ask

What is Anchorage famous for?

The city with the state's highest population, Anchorage is famous as a gateway to scenic nature and outdoor adventure. Climb aboard a boat for a glacier tour, rent bikes, or go kayaking on a trip to Anchorage. Famous landmarks include the Anchorage Museum and Alaska Native Heritage Center.

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What is there to do in Anchorage?

In Anchorage, you can see city landmarks or explore nearby parks and outdoor adventures. Popular landmarks include the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center. For nature, take a scenic drive at Turnagain Arm, a boat tour at Portage Glacier, or a hike at Flattop Mountain.

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How do I spend a day in Anchorage?

With a day in Anchorage, you might walk along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail for views of Cook Inlet, take a trolley tour in historic Anchorage, and check out Alaska’s brewing scene at a local microbrewery. For even more nature, check out Chugach State Park.

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What activities do people do in Alaska?

In Alaska, people do activities focused on the outdoors. Admire views on scenic drives, kayaking excursions, glacier boat trips, and bike tours. Many activities are also built around seeing Alaska’s incredible wildlife, so bring your camera on hiking adventures and keep an eye out for moose and bears.

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What is there to do in Anchorage for free?

Anchorage has many free things to do, including the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and the Anchorage Museum. Anchorage is a gateway to several nature destinations, which are also free, including the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing are all free activities.

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Is Anchorage worth visiting?

Yes. Anchorage is worth visiting. This city has an artistic identity, with plentiful live music and galleries. It is also the gateway to nature including glaciers, mountains, and wildlife such as moose and bears. A trip to Anchorage can be full of outdoor adventure including biking, kayaking, and helicopter tours.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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