20 Best Things to Do in Anchorage, Alaska

by Jane Sophia
Best Things to Do in Anchorage, Alaska

Alaska, one of the states in the US, is a dream holiday destination for the Americans, and the Canadians.

Not many people east of the U.S. are aware of the fact that Alaska’s western border almost touches Russia’s eastern coast. Look at the map below.

Alaska Map

Where is Anchorage in Alaska?

Anchorage is one of the large cities in Alaska. It is located on the southern coast of Alaska. It is facing Cook Inlet, an arm of the Pacific Ocean. Its port is highly developed and handles quite a bit of vessels.

How to reach Anchorage?

There is an international airport. It is known as Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. With excellent connectivity with all the major cities of Canada and the U.S, It is easily accessible. The flying durations depends from your departing city.

What are the main sights in Anchorage?

Anchorage city is famous for great beaches, glaciers, tall mountains, long trails, and unique wildlife. It is also fondly called as the ‘city of lights and flowers’.

Anchorage city’s temperature:

During winter, the temperature goes down up to -15 deg C. That is much warmer than Ottawa, where you can see the mercury touches -35 deg C.

Since, It sits on a coast, it is warmer than other parts of Alaska, a sub-arctic region.

20 Best Things to Do in Anchorage

Adventure enthusiasts call Alaska as their beloved place to explore. There are terrific glaciers and towering mountains that offer amazing views, and hiking trails.

Wildlife of Alaska State draws thousands of tourists. They are wide-eyed when they spot the bears and moose that happily live in the snowy mountains.

  1. Alaska wildlife conservation center

This is an ultimate wildlife sanctuary. From the list of animals that one can easily spot and identify, I liked the following unique species that are exclusive to subarctic region.

  • Wood Bison
  • Musk Ox

OMG! Look at its heavy and thick coat of fur! I think this huge heavyweight needs that much protection from the snow. Yes, the animal emits some strong scent during their mating season, thus justifying the ‘musk’ title. Only male oxen emit the musk smell.

Male chauvinism among animals too?

  • Great Horned Owl

The name ‘tiger owl’, or ‘winged tiger’ suits the nocturnal bird.

Other instantly recognized animals in this sanctuary in Anchorage:

  • Moose (strangely, the plural is also spelled as ‘moose’.)
  • Brown Bear
  • Elk

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is surrounded by the highly popular Chugach Mountain Range.

  1. Chugach Mountains

Chugach Mountains

The length of this breathtaking mountain range is 400 km. Its width is a whopping 100 km! Surely, it ranks as one of the scenic places to see.

The tallest summit of Chugach Mountain Range stands at a little over 13,000 feet. During the winter, the mountains wear a thick white coat of snow.

The mountains receive as much as 67 feet of snow annually. That is an unimaginable amount of snow.

Chugach Mountains are included in the Chugach National Park and the Chugach National Forest.

  1. Kincaid Park

You cannot afford to ignore the awesome beauty of Kincaid Park, listed among the top 25 places to see in Anchorage city, Alaska.

As you climb the mountain, you get an extraordinary view of the Cook Inlet and the giant Mount Denali.

Inexplicably, there is a large sand dune inside the park.

When it snows, the Kincaid Park gets busy inviting skiers, sledders, and snowshoeing veterans.

When the snow withdraws, the park is used by adventurers of all kinds such as bikers, cross-country joggers, skating lovers, and mountaineering buffs.

  1. Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords

This NP occupies a mind-boggling 670,000 acres! Kenai Peninsula is located on the north of Gulf Alaska and to the east of Seward city, one of the major port cities where all the cruise ships to Alaska dock at.

Kenai Fjords NP as the name indicates is where you can see the fjords, one of the extremely beautiful geographical phenomena.

  1. Portage Lake

Portage Lake

What a stunning place! It is a glacier lake that is fed by the Portage Glacier.

  1. Harding Icefield


An icefield is an incredible ice mass formed on the mountains. Icefields are the source of glaciers. The Harding Icefield is a souce for as many as 38 glaciers.

Three biggest glaciers include:

  • Bear Glacier
  • Aiaik Glacier
  • Exit Glacier

You must truly consider seeing the Harding Icefield, one of the incredible sights to see.

  1. Wildlife living in the glaciers

When you see the animals living in the glaciers, you would involuntarily appreciate the creator for giving them the physique and ability to bear such harsh cold conditions.

Here are the photos of a few wildlife in the glaciers that you can spot:

  • Steller Sea Lions
  • Snowshoe Hare
  • Puffin
  • Orca Whales
  • Limber Wolf
  • Bald Eagles

But this is not bald! A misnomer?

  • Steller’s Jay

What a beauty!

Kenai Fjords NP has too many natural and wildlife attractions. You need to allocate a full day to see around this national park near Anchorage.

The distance between the Seaward City and it is just 130 km south.

The Gulf of Alska is to the east of Seaward and the Cook Inlet is to the south of it.

  1. Prince Willam Sound

You don’t have to go to Norway or New Zealand to see a ‘sound’, a kind of large sea inlet. It is one of the finest places to see in Anchorage.

James Cook, the legendary explorer from the U.K, first found it in the 18th Century.

  1. Visit to see the Matanuska Glacier

Alaska is the land of glaciers. The sparkling white glaciers are astonishing to look at.

The 43 km long Matanuska Glacier is located 170 km north-east of it. It is among the best places to see in Anchorage.

Seasoned hikers dare to hike on the glacier almost throughout the year.

I can’t take my eyes off the picture.

Do you know?

Do you know glaciers keep moving due to the weight and the flow of snow? In addition, glaciers are permanent bodies of snow.

  1. Flap Top Mountain

With an altitude of just 3500 feet, and located within the Chugach National Forest near Anchorage City, adventurers hike up mainly to drink the scintillating views of Denali Mountain, and Aleutian Islands. Other mountains come into view if the visibility is good, include:

  • Foraker Mountain
  • Mountain Spurr


The trail and the Flap Top Mountain summit are habitats to unseen and unique Alaskan birds, and Alaskan wildflowers.

Seasonal sports include paragliding and skiing in on the slopes of the Flap Top Mountain.

  1. Alyeska Aerial Tram

I have never heard of a rope tram. I think the size of the rope car is much bigger than the usual capsule that slides across metal ropes.

The Aerial tram can carry more passengers than rope cars. The ride is from Alyeska Resort to the peak of a mountain with the same name.

The duration of rope ride tram is 7 minutes. You will look below at the earth from 2300 feet! That is a good height to give you stunning views of the valley below,

The sliding tram also used to reach the skiing points for sliding down the snow on your ski.

Surely, the aerial tram ride is a thrilling thing to do in Anchorage.

  1. Virgin Creek Falls

One of the lovely places to see in Anchorage, this typical Alaska beauty is located just 42 km south-east of this city.

It seems it involves a short trek through dense jungle to reach the waterfall.

The forest looked thick like a tropical forest but the flora is certainly Alaskan.

The waterfall’s height is not noteworthy but it’s really voluminous. In spite of the slight roar of the falling and flowing water, the atmosphere is filled with the silence of the forest.

The dense foliage, and the availability of abundant water means, it is a wonderful place to watch birds of all size and colors.

If you are a wildlife enthusiast, there is no better place than Alaska to watch terrific range of birds and animals. Join an organized and guided wildlife tour in Anchorage. Seek the help of your hotel reception desk to connect with such a wildlife tour.

The Potter March Bird Sanctuary is an inevitable place you will be taken to watch alpine birds of subarctic region.

I read you can spot ‘muskrat’ here along with terns. Rats generally emit nauseating smell, but muskrats? I think they are also capable of emanating musk smell. Again, this is possible only during the mating season to attract female rats. (I suppose they stink).

Birds that are spotted in this sanctuary include:

  • Terns
  • Harriers
  • Raptor species
  • Grebes
  1. Touch the Portage Glacier

You would want to touch a glacier or at least go as close as possible to a glacier. Touring Anchorage in the Arctic Region, there is no point in returning without this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The Portage Lake is your gateway to Portage Glacier. Cruising in the lake up to the base of the Portage glacier itself is a mind-boggling and ultimate experience.

The vessel will take you as close to the Portage Glacier as possible.

You just cannot afford to miss the 45 minute ride in freezing water to go up to the Portage Glacier. It is one of the biggest attractions in Anchorage.

  1. Sledging

Also known as ‘sledding’, it is all about enjoying a ride in the snow in a cart/car that is pulled by dogs that are highly trained in this winter sport.

Those who cannot ski and still want to experience a slide in the snow, sledging is an ideal alternative.

  1. Visit the Anchorage Mueum

If you are intrigued about how the Alaskans tolerate extreme cold temperatures, lesser daylight, how do they live, etc, you must visit the Museum.

The museum is the only way to make you learn about the wilder side of Alaska.

  1. H2Oasis Indoor Water-park

Can you enjoy a water theme park in Alaska if it is out on the open-to-sky ground? I dare not.

That’s why an indoor water park is developed here. It’s a huge water theme park constructed in 56,000 sq. ft area!

The star ride is the roller coaster that is powered by water! It is aptly called a, “Watercoaster”.

All the rides and slides in the water whose temperature hovers around 27 Deg C.

  1. Winner Creek

This is another naturally beautiful forest that has trails to walk or bike. The flora is fresh and new to you,

Waterfalls and mountain streams will stop you in your track and make you stop for a few minutes to listen to the sound of falling water and the gently flowing streams.

The trail is fairly long (13 km) for the walkers but the ardent biking youth would wish it is longer.

The lush rainforest is a pleasant sight in Alaska.

  1. Tour of glaciers in Anchorage in a helicopter

People like me who can’t imagine walking on a glacier because they can’t climb, can enjoy a good one hour chopper tour of mountains, glaciers, and the rainforests.

The highlight of this helicopter tour is the landing of the carrier on a high glacier. If you feel up to it, take a walk on the snow boulders.

Video clip of the chopper tour over the glaciers.

Wow! This must be a thrilling thing to do in Anchorage.

  1. Turnagain Arm

Words can’t express the breathtakingly beautiful geographical area in Anchorage.

Turnagain Arm is an extension of Cook Inlet. Here the tides at times rise up to 40 feet!

There are awesome valleys, creeks, blindingly-white glaciers to see around the waterway.

Turnagain Arm is one of the most beautiful places to see.

  1. Go bear spotting

I am sure you can find a tour for spotting the famous Alaskan Bears.

Traveling to Anchorage means you get to see:

  • Plenty of glaciers
  • Vast lakes
  • Mountains with rainforest
  • Seeing incredible wildlife
  • Tasting Reindeer soup.

Strangely it draws a large number of visitors equally during the winter period also.

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