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Things to do in Anchorage

Things to do in  Anchorage

Welcome to Anchorage

Situated at the base of the Chugach Mountains—along the edge of Cook Inlet and within easy reach of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Whittier—Anchorage operates as a modern city at the edge of Alaska’s wilderness, where it's easy to combine the call of the wild with more contemporary draws. Within the city, embark on a guided tour to combine popular sites such as the Alaska Native Heritage Center and the Anchorage Museum, or drink your way through downtown on a tour of Anchorage's breweries. Get out of town, and winter rewards with dog-sledding races and a chance to spy the Northern Lights on a trip outside the city's glow, whereas summer is the season for lengthier day trips from downtown Anchorage, since near round-the-clock sunlight highlights the sights of America’s Last Frontier. Guides add historical commentary and context to the view of sparkling glaciers, Arctic wildlife, and sprawling mountain landscapes; included transporation and guided drives let you keep your eyes peeled on the 127-mile (204-kilometer) long Seward Highway, looking out for moose, Dall sheep, and the occasional black bear along the side of this National Scenic Byway. Stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center on your way down the Turnagain Arm, kayak or canoe around the glaciers at Mendenhall Lake, or take in dramatic scenery on a “flightseeing” tour from a small plane. For those with limited time, pre- and post-cruise shore excursions guide visitors to the highlights.

Top 10 attractions in Anchorage

#1
Portage Glacier

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
#2
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

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
#3
Denali National Park and Preserve

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
#4
Denali

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. Topping out at 20,322 feet (6,194 meters), Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley) is North America’s highest peak. As it’s often completely shrouded in clouds, some say there’s only a 30-percent chance of seeing the peak in any one day.More
#5
Cook Inlet

Cook Inlet

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A watershed extending from Anchorage to the Gulf of Alaska, the Cook Inlet encompasses 180 miles (290 km) of beauty and recreation. It’s surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, glaciers and volcanoes, including the active Augustine Volcano and Mount Redoubt, linking the area with tsunamis and earthquakes in the past. The Upper Cook Inlet is also one of few places in the world that experiences a tidal bore, allowing visitors to see the unusual phenomenon of waves crashing against the current rather than with it.The Cook Inlet also holds much history, from Russian fur hunters to European explorers like Captain James Cook—after whom the site is named—visiting and mapping out the area as they tried to find the Northwest Passage in 1778. Around Upper Cook Inlet were Native Alaskans from eight different villages, with some descendants of these families still living there today.Along with its beauty and heritage, the area offers a wide range of experiences. Popular flightseeing excursions allow for dramatic aerial views of the Alaskan landscape, while charter boats offer salmon and halibut fishing trips. For a unique wildlife experience, there are occasional sightings of the Cook Inlet beluga whale, an endangered subspecies of beluga whale. Drive along the Turnagain Arm and you’ll have chances to see these whales as well as dall sheep, bears and bald eagles.Insider tip: The Cook Inlet is a beautiful spot to take in at sunrise or sunset, especially with a view of 4,396-foot Mount Susitna, also known as the “Sleeping Lady,” shrouded in bright colors.More
#6
Chugach State Park

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
#7
Prince William Sound

Prince William Sound

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Looking up in Prince William Sound, you’re staring at the densest concentration of tidewater glaciers in the world. Many of them drop steeply as cliffs of ice from the mountains that tower above the coast. Coasting through the calm waters of the sound, it is not uncommon to see cascading waterfalls, as well as a variety of wildlife, including eagles, deer, bears, sea otters, and even whales. The sound is surrounded by the greenery and trees of the Chugach National Forest, which is the second largest in the United States.Explorer James Cook first discovered the sound in 1778, promptly naming it Sandwich Sound after the Earl of Sandwich. His map’s editors, however, later changed the name to honor Prince William Henry of England. Today it remains one of Alaska’s most scenic places, and the coastline’s dramatic fjords must be seen from the water. Keep an eye out also for its many islands as you cruise along the waterways.More
#8
Earthquake Park

Earthquake Park

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What remains of the most powerful recorded earthquake in U.S. and North American history is best viewed from the beautiful Earthquake Park. The 1964 Anchorage earthquake lasted roughly four minutes, registered a 9.4 on the Richter scale, and slid a whole section of south-central Alaska into Cook Inlet. Now the trail into the park offers guests unparalleled views of the Coastal Trail, Anchorage, Cook Inlet and Mt McKinley (otherwise known as Denali), and is a preferred resting spot for a day in the wilderness or an afternoon picnic. A well-loved day hike and quick escape from Anchorage, the Earthquake Park is not to be missed.More
#9
Matanuska Glacier

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 most accessible glacier. A popular day trip from Anchorage, the glacier draws tourists year-round to gaze at the impressive ice formations and trek among glacial crevasses and brilliant blue meltwater pools.More
#10
Lake Hood

Lake Hood

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Alaska is home to three million sparkling lakes, but you won’t want to swim in cement-fringed and square-edged Lake Hood. Three miles southwest of Anchorage, this lake serves as the runway for one of the world’s busiest seaplane hubs. Large swaths of wilderness and remote Alaskan communities are made accessible by seaplanes departing from Lake Hood. Nearly 200 daily flights hydroplane off the water when its not frozen over—to the delight of on-lookers—ferrying supplies or passengers on quests to find grizzlies, caribou, secluded fishing spots and wild mountain and glacier landscapes.Across from the Five Fingers docks, the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum tells the story of the importance of aviation to the vast state. Bush planes have been instrumental in Alaska’s recent history, and the museum is an homage to both pilot and craft with twenty-five planes housed inside its hanger. The nearby Ted Stevens International Airport for land-based planes is close enough to share an air traffic control tower and the Alaska Airmen’s Association, headquartered in a nook on the lake’s western side, hosts a popular airshow there each May where they raffle off a plane. Fun fact: An Island in the middle of the lake was once home to three pigs named Curly, Larry and Moe tasked with eating eggs and destroying nests of interfering waterfowl.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Anchorage

How to Spend 1 Day in Anchorage

Recent reviews from experiences in Anchorage

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Highly recommend
Malcolm_L, Jul 2021
Anchorage City Tour w/ Taste of Wild Smoked Salmon & Reindeer Sausage
Was really awesome getting to see what makes anchorage (AK) so special.
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Great Tour Guide
Aimee_R, Jul 2021
Private Tour: Anchorage 3-Hour Tour
We saw everything we had been hoping to see on our tour and so much more.
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Awesome
Amy_S, Jul 2021
Anchorage Trolley Tour
I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a tight schedule but want to see Anchorage!
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Once is a life time
Gautam_Borah, Jul 2021
Glacier Cruise and Coach from Anchorage
The coach could give every one sometime to visit Whittier marina and buy gifts.
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Fantastic
James_R, Jul 2021
Wilderness, Wildlife, Glacier Experience from Anchorage
We got to see a lot of sites near Anchorage.
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Great tour
Tuck, Jul 2021
Anchorage Trolley Tour
Wonderful trip lots of History seats were great , weather was perfect well worth the money and time to see the city of Anchorage.
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Day Drive
Ryan_S, Jun 2021
Wilderness, Wildlife, Glacier Experience from Anchorage
Great day out around anchorage to see wildlife and gorgeous views.
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Fabulous Sights and Informative Narration
Paul, Jun 2021
Glaciers and Wildlife: Super Scenic Day Tour from Anchorage
Lori provides an absolutely lovely combination tour featuring some of the best sights in the countryside around Anchorage.
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Prince William Sound tour
Steve_C, Jun 2021
Glacier Cruise and Rail from Anchorage
Got to see many glaciers and sea life.
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Excellent tour to see Anchorage POIs
David_L, Jul 2021
Anchorage City Tour w/ Taste of Wild Smoked Salmon & Reindeer Sausage
Stayed in Anchorage amd got to see so many of the sites that we would have missed without a car.
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Brown bears and glacier ice-tasting!
Amelia, Jun 2021
Wildlife and Glaciers with a walk in the Rainforest
I also got to see some wonderful wildlife at the conservation center.
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Relaxing and informative hike
Desiree, May 2021
Flora and Fauna Nature Walk
We weren’t able to see a moose or a bear (they’re unpredictable) but the hike inside the rain forrest was quite relaxing and fun.
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MUST DO it was a BLAST
CAPTMOM-AGCHIEF, Jul 2021
Anchorage Trolley Tour
What a fun way to see Anchorage and learn it's history.
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Fantastic Morning in the Chugach Mountains
Robert_C, Apr 2021
Beginner’s Snowshoeing Adventure
It was a completely satisfying experience and one of the highlights of our late winter visit to Alaska.
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Wonderful afternoon in Anchorage and surrounding area
Darlene_B, Mar 2021
Winter - Anchorage All Around City Tour
It was a girls weekend and we booked the Winter-Anchorage All Around City Tour.
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Excellent Train Ride to Seward AK
Jeffery_K, Sep 2020
Alaska Railroad Anchorage to Seward Round-Trip Same Day Return
Lots of scenery to see and the train slows down for the main sites.
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Fabulous
Ally O, Sep 2019
Wildlife and Glaciers with a walk in the Rainforest
Great way to see some of outer Anchorage, and the conservation centre is excellent.
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Glacier Discovery Tour in Anchorage
M_MWade2013, Sep 2019
Glacier & Wildlife Discovery Tour
Because of the smoke around Anchorage, she took it upon herself to substitute one stop for another to a scenic hike and waterfall, which was well worth it.
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Awesome Experience
Wanderer01445029377, Jun 2019
Glacier & Wildlife Discovery Tour
A wonderful time with him and got to see several things around Anchorage in addition to the Glacier Experience
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A Great Tour if short on time
, Aug 2018
Anchorage City Tour with Alaska Native Heritage Center
We only had one day to visit Anchorage.
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