In addition to being Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage is also a well-known visitor attraction because of its cultural history and beautiful scenic sites. With most of its activities being family friendly, a large number of visitors is often seen all-year round as they come to enjoy the attractions. Let’s look at 10 exciting things you can explore in Anchorage, for both locals and visitors alike.
Located in Elderberry, this museum has history dating back to 1915 – when it was built by early Anchorage resident, Oscar Anderson. Reportedly, Anderson was the 18th person to set foot in Anchorage and occupied the structure (initially a wood house) till his demise in 1974.
Between the years 1978 and 1982, the structure was completely restored to match its original 1915 appearance and is now open as a historic house museum. You will get a guided tour giving an insight as to how Anderson and his family lived, along with original artifacts to give you a historic genuine live-in feel.
Get a grasp of Alaska’s past history by exploring its art, culture, and science at the state’s largest museum – the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. Here, you will get to satisfy your curiosity as to how Alaska’s earliest people survived the subzero temperatures, get an insight into the gold-rush, learn about the biggest earthquake in North America, and much more.
The museum operates daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in summer, but for shorter hours in winter. Entrance fee for adults is $15 and $7 for children below the age of 12.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center has a unique way of displaying the cultures that thrive in Alaska. Located ten miles from downtown Anchorage, the Heritage Center lies on 26 wooded acres and shares heritage with Alaska’s 11 major cultural groups.
Its interior is comprised of three main parts: a gallery displaying native artifacts, a performance hall where members of Alaska’s native communities tell stories, and a group of seven traditional dwellings representing the lifestyles of the various tribes.
The center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. between May and September, but is closed in winters – all in exception to Saturdays when it is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The entrance fee is $25 for adults and $17 for children
4. Potter Marsh
Located on the southern end of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge, Potter Marsh is a perfect spot for persons seeking a scenic escapade while enjoying the bird and wildlife views.
This spot is popular for Canadian geese, red-necked phalaropes, northern harriers, and horned and red-necked grebes that come to these marshy grounds from April to September. Moose are spotted all-year-round.
Make sure to bring along some warm clothing as it can sometimes be cool and windy even in summer
The Anchorage market is a family-friendly and favorite spot to shop everything from artwork to clothes, eat local food, and enjoy live entertainment. Presence of a kids market (between age 8 to 16) selling goods crafted by fellow youngsters is another reason why this spot is everyone’s favorite – both for visitors and locals alike.
Bring your loved ones along and shop for quality unique wares, gifts, and local food available at the market while you get to explore each other’s interests.
Named after former Alaska Governor Tony Knowles, this coastal trail has an 11-mile paved path perfect for biking, roller-blading, strolling, and country skiing. Besides being family friendly, the Tony Knowles is also one of the most beautiful coastal trails in the entire nation.
Leave the busy city behind and explore Anchorage’s most popular trail while you stroll through scented forests, hunt for some moose, and keep an eye out over the Cook Inlet for beluga whales. The Tony Knowles is open and free to the public all year long. Also, remember to bring your camera along and mark your experience with some memories.
The Alaska PAC (as it is locally known) is the best spot in Anchorage to catch a play, show, or concert. Opened in 1988, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts is estimated to host over 200k patrons annually in its three theatres namely: Discovery Theatre, Sydney Laurence Theatre, and Evangeline Atwood Concert Hall.
There’s public parking available around the center (but with varying prices per lot). In addition to the fun that accompanies this spot, the food & drinks available for purchase make sure that your experience within goes on uninterrupted. Make sure to visit their official website to explore the events they have lined up.
8. Kincaid Park
With about 4o miles of walking trails, 20 miles of single-track bike runs, and over 1,400 acres of land, Kincaid Park is perfect for hiking, biking, browsing moose, cross-country ski trails, among dozens of other activities. It has more than once been referred to as an ideal place for those seeking to escape the bustling city life without actually leaving the city.
Use the well-maintained trails to explore the beautiful scenery and some of Alaska's favorite furry friends such as moose and foxes. The park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Located just 13 miles south of downtown, Chugach Park is home to a dozen of recreational and exploration spots such as hiking trails, rock-climbing spots, ski areas, and wildlife habitat.
For an entry fee of $5 and a 20-minute drive, you get the chance to explore breathtaking scenery and hikes on trails of varying length – for an entire day! If it’s your first time in the Park, I would recommend booking a guided tour to learn about some of the park’s history too.
If you love planes, the Alaska Aviation Museum should be your first priority destination. Aviation has its history in Alaska dating back before the significant growth of the roads and railway networks now available in the area.
At the Aviation Museum, you will get to learn how planes helped the Last Frontier take flight, find exhibits focusing on careers of bush pilots who mastered flying over Alaska’s rough terrain – just to mention a few.
The museum is open daily in summer between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and Wednesdays through Sundays in winter. There’s an admission fee of $25 for adults and $8 for children (aged 5 to 12).
The scenic features and culture embedded in Anchorage make it a world-class destination. Make sure to explore their official websites to familiarize yourself with upcoming events and book your tickets. Also, most of them are family-friendly which means you can tag along with your friends and kids, and still get an awesome memorable experience.