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The Nine Best Fall Activities in Anchorage

The Nine Best Fall Activities in Anchorage blog cover image

The Nine Best Fall Activities in Anchorage

Whether you are a resident or a visitor in Anchorage, Alaska, there are a variety of activities to participate in. Despite the crisp temperatures during the fall season, most of the activities you’ll enjoy in Anchorage are outdoors where you can witness some of Earth’s most breathtaking backdrops. But you don’t need to sit still while taking in the view. There’s far too much to do in Anchorage during autumn.

calm waters and a tree-filled shoreline

1. Fishing

Anchorage is one of the most desirable fishing locations in the world. It’s recognized by Field & Stream magazine as one of the best fishing cities in America. An abundance of fresh and saltwater provides opportunities to catch large species such as rainbow trout, salmon, and monster halibut. You can find charter boats and guides easily in Anchorage. Fall is a great time to fish in Anchorage; fewer fishermen and beautiful fall colors provide a serene experience for any angler.

the green Northern Lights against a black sky

2. Sightseeing

Sightseeing is the most popular activity for visitors in Anchorage. No special equipment is required. Eyes and ears are all you need to look up and see nature’s grace staring back at you. After you absorb the self-evident beauty, there are specific destinations you’ll want to explore.

Northern Lights Viewing

In Anchorage, September marks the beginning of fewer daylight hours. The early night skies offer an opportunity to view the Aurora Borealis, otherwise known as the Northern Lights. As summer transitions into autumn, the added darkness brings more opportunity to view the lively light shows.

Glacier Day Cruises

Very few natural wonders loom as mighty as a glacier, and Anchorage has many day cruises available to get you to the best locations to view these breathtaking behemoths. While checking out the glaciers. You will also see animals that make the cold weather their homes such as otters, birds, seals, and whales.

Changing Environment

Most of North America enjoys four seasons and the color changes that come with autumn. But in Anchorage, the natural experience doesn’t stop with color changes. Not only is the vegetation changing, but wildlife is obvious in their preparation for the long winter. You may see moose filling up on fall delicacies or a flock of birds heading out for warmer climates.

Fall is an ideal time to see the sights in Anchorage; with families ending their vacations to send their kids back to school, and the cold winter on the horizon, autumn offers the perfect cross-section of reduced crowds and perfect weather.

sunny day with a few clouds and just a breeze

3. Hiking

Flattop Peak

Flattop is Alaska’s most visited peak. Ascending this mile and a half vertical foot trail takes about an hour. Once at the peak, you can get a panoramic view from Denali to the Aleutian Islands. You can skip the walk if you’re feeling less energetic, just walk the short path from the parking lot directly to the overlook.

Byron Glacier Trail

This is a short hike, at just eight-tenths of a mile. It’s a great family trail, since keeping the kids on track can often become a challenge in the outdoors. At the Byron Glacier trail, the whole family can view the beauty of mountain peaks without an exhaustive test of family discipline.

Thunderbird Falls Trail

Another short one, Thunderbird Falls measures about one mile. It starts out somewhat steep and eventually levels into an easy walk. Thunderbird Falls Trail welcomes hikers to come and enjoy the crisp fall air. The canyon edge is accessible in some places so parents should keep a close eye on the kids. This trail is a great place to connect to some of the longer trails. Lakes, trees, and all sorts of plants fill this gorgeous area with plenty of eye-catching treasures.

a jazz quartet playing onstage

4. Cultural Events

Most people don’t think of Anchorage when considering a Broadway musical or other theatre experience. But cultural events are not reserved for fast-paced cities such as New York, Boston or San Francisco. Anchorage is Alaska’s prime location for entertainment.

There are many shows and events available to entertain you at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. Ballet, music and other artistic pleasures are among the offerings at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. After you thrill your senses with a live performance, hit a local spot for drinks and some fresh seafood.

If you’re a lover of art, the Anchorage museum will capture your interest. There are a variety of impressive exhibits showcasing art from around the globe as well as indigenous works that will enlighten you with the Alaskan spirit.

5. Ride a Train

You have some exciting train options available year-round in Anchorage, although fall will probably provide the best sights while chugging through Alaska’s wilderness. There are train rides ready to take you away to no less than five destinations including Fairbanks, Denali National Park, Girdwood, Portage, and the Hurricane Flag-stop Area. Sit back and enjoy the rails the way our great-grandparents did.

a paved road curves around the mountainside

6. Motor Sports

You don’t need to pay someone to navigate a boat or engineer a train to get you into the heart of the unexplored wilderness of Anchorage. If you’re a Type-A person, the best adventures can start where the paved road ends and the trails begin. You can venture out on all sorts of terrain on an All-Terrain Vehicle(ATV). For visitors, ATV rental companies and tour operators will be happy to set up beginners and experienced riders for a motorized excursion.

a polar bear seems to be smiling as he looks into the water

7. The Alaska Zoo

No city would be complete without a collection of animals to keep kids and parents fascinated with the wonder of nature’s wildlife. The Alaska Zoo, just a short drive from downtown Anchorage, fills the bill for this order. The Alaska Zoo is home to more than 100 birds and mammals.

8. Sports

Despite the abundance of outdoor activities, Anchorage doesn’t leave the sports fan out in the cold. Take in a University of Alaska, Anchorage Seawolves hockey game. Show some school spirit and wear your green and yellow. Check their schedule online and catch a game at the Sullivan Arena.

9. Escape

You might think of any vacation to a remote location like Alaska as an escape. But you can ‘escape your escape’ at Alaska Escape Rooms. Enjoy some family fun figuring out a plan for your getaway from a particular room. You get one hour to solve puzzles and put together clues that will get you out of the room. You may fail to get out in an hour, but no worries, they’ll let you out eventually.

cruise ship Queen Mary 2 moving toward shore

Anchorage has many year-round activities to indulge in. You can make a cool getaway in the summer if you live someplace where the heat is unbearable, but come autumn, the finest scenery, and crisp, cool weather make Anchorage a respite for those in need of relaxation and a playground for the adventurous.

Anchorage Grand Hotel

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