Rent A Bike And Head Out On The Coastal Trail Summer Or Winter
Activities: Fat biking, biking, walking, sightseeing
Follow the paved trail along the shore of the Cook Inlet from downtown Anchorage to Kincaid Park. I did this in the winter on an electric fat bike and it was fabulous! I had a whole new perspective of Anchorage the views from the inlet are phenomenal. Youll also likely run into a little wildlife. Plus, check out the great views of Mount Susitna. See if you can make out why they call it the Sleeping Lady.
In the winter I actually ran into Moose on the trail. PLEASE BY CAUTIOUS AND DONT APPROACH THE MOOSE! I actually had a bit of a scare with a moose on the trail, which may be a good reason to think about going with a local guide!
Take this Coastal Trail 3-Hour City Bike Tour with a guide and learn all about Anchorage history, plus get transportation to the beginning and from the end of the trail.
You can also rent a bike . I rented from Pablos which is right by the start of the trail. The bikes were some of the best quality bikes Ive ever rented. They have an electric fleet of fat bikes with studded tires which made riding in the snow so fun and safe. The service was great too I highly recommend them and taking a half day and getting out on this trail!
Youll find Pablos bike rental near the trail at L St between 4th and 5th Ave. Pablo Bicycle Rentals
Ride Or Walk The Coastal Trail
The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is a stretch of a shared bike and walking trail that goes from the heart of downtown along the coast. There are chances to see wildlife, including moose and sea birds. As you progress along the path, the view looking back on Anchorage gets better and better. Rent some bikes from Pablos Bike Store near Elderberry Park, the start of the trail, or go it alone on your own two feet. If youre walking, I suggest going from Elderberry Park to West Chester Lagoon. If youre on a bike, then I recommend going all the way to Kincaid Park.
If you prefer to do things in a group or with a local expert, then book a group bike tour of the Coastal Trail with all your equipment included. This tour comes with a local guide, so youll learn about the history of the earthquake and be in the know about all our mountains and nature.
If youre the type that likes to ride and then cool off with a beer, then this all-day bike and beer tour is for you. This tour starts the day with a bike ride along the coastal trail and ends with a behind-the-scenes tour of some of Anchorages breweries with 12 samples. Honestly, beer and scenic outdoor adventures make my top list of best things to do in Anchorage, so this is like a dream combination!
Go On A Glacier Cruise
Of all the things to do in Anchorage, taking a glacier cruise is the most relaxing, and rewarding. Sit back and enjoy the scenery as you journey along fjords and icy lakes.
The glaciers are easy to spot, with their white-blue tongues snaking down into the water. As you view them up close you might be joined by wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for sea otters and porpoises.
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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church At Eklutna Historical Park
The United States bought Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million in 1867. Until that point, Alaska had been a Russian colony, and about 1,000 Russians lived there. Due to its remoteness, most were probably fine with moving back to mainland Russia once the sale was complete but many stayed.
The Russian people did leave their mark on Alaska as the 1,000 who lived there including numerous missionaries spread the Russian Orthodox religion to the native people.
Today, there are nearly 90 Russian Orthodox parishes in the state with a membership of over 20,000. Most of the members are indigenous people.
There are thirty historic Russian Orthodox churches in Alaska and St. Nicholas is one of them. It was first built in 1894 but it was moved and rebuilt in its current spot in 1900. If you like old and unique churches, this one is certainly worth a visit.
Mchugh Creek Day Use Area In Chugach State Park
One particularly wonderful section of Chugach State Park is the McHugh Creek Day Use Area. Its a great place for a picnic and a short walk from parking will take you to a twenty-foot waterfall.
Its only about twenty-five minutes away from downtown and its easy to find the parking area just off Seward Highway at milepost 111. This day-use area is ADA accessible which allows everyone to enjoy this beautiful spot!
If you want to go deeper, you can try the 6.4-mile, out-and-back McHugh Trail and enjoy views of the Chugach Mountains and several alpine lakes.
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Eat Baked Alaska And Other Sweets
Alaskans eat more ice cream than anyone else in the world. I just went to get an ice cream milkshake with my dad in -30 degree weather no joke. Whatever it is that makes people living in cold climates crave ice cream, Alaskans do dessert right. For the most popular ice cream in Anchorage, check out Wild Scoops downtown. Be warned, though, in the summer, the line is around the block. I think their locally sourced ingredients and unique mixes are worth the wait, but others disagree. If you have access to a car, then head to WooHoo! where the locals like to escape the crowds.
Dont miss Baked Alaska featured on the menu at Ginger. Sweet Chalet has the best artisanal chocolate with hand-painted aurora-inspired chocolates. To find all the best local sweets and culinary delights head to Alaska Wild Berry Products to bring souvenirs home and see the worlds largest chocolate fountain. If you are looking for a tasty bakery, then your local favorite Fire Island is a must.
Things To Do In Anchorage With Kids
Kids love Alaska!
Theres plenty for them to see and do in this great state. Theyll love viewing wildlife, learning about indigenous history and culture, and running along wooded trails. However, even with all that, its always good to have some specifically for-kids activities up your sleeve.
If youre looking for kid activities in Anchorage, here are some things your little ones might really enjoy during your trip to Anchorage.
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Sightsee By Seaplane At Lake Hood Harbor
Lake Hood Harbor is the largest seaplane base in the world. This is the place to come for a scenic flight over Anchorage and the surrounding wilds of Alaska.
Feel the adrenaline build as your small craft speeds across the water, skimming the surface on take-off. Then get those cameras ready to capture the beautiful landscapes unfolding below as you soar through the sky.
Kincaid Park Has A Lot To Offer
This 1,500-acre park is a short drive from downtown Alaska.
It offers a myriad of outdoor sports that is sure to please anyone looking for things to do in Anchorage.
From stunning panoramic views of Denali and Cook Inlet to over 40 miles of trails to hike, bike, or run, Kincaid Park is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts.
This is a great place to view moose and black bears. Along the coast, you may see bald eagles soaring high overhead.
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Go Snowshoeing In Anchorage Winter
Activities: Snowshoeing, Wildlife
One of the best ways to experience winter in Anchorage is to head out snowshoeing. Whats that, you didnt travel with snowshoes in your luggage?! Go Hike Alaska to the rescue! Hire a snowshoe guide who will bring you snowshoes and poles and take you snowshoeing in Chugach State Park!
Matt was a super guide teaching us about the Chugach mountains, the park, the various peaks, lichen, and wildlife! We examined wildlife tracks trying to identify them and saw one of the best views of Anchorage from above!
Want to know more about Snowshoeing check out my Snowshoeing 101 Guide: Why do it, What to wear, Where to go
I find snowshoeing so relaxing a time to take in the little things around you in nature. In fact we even saw the Alaska state bird the ptarmigan. Its a fitting state bird because it doesnt fly south in the winter, instead, it stays in the state all year long and its feathers change from brown to white in the winter to blend into its environment. Plus check out its feathers on its feet! Luckily our guide heard it and was able to spot it! Something I never couldve done on my own!
Go Hike Alaska also runs helicopter snowshoeing around Anchorage! They will pick you up at your hotel and bring all the gear you need to play in the snow! Plus yummy snacks!
Visit The Muskox Farm In Palmer Summer Or Winter
Dont miss the Muskox farm in Palmer Alaska. Its incredible to see these prehistoric-looking animals up close. The first time I ever saw one, in Nome, I honestly didnt think it was real. It looked like something from dinosaur times! But I can assure you muskox are real and thriving at the Muskox Farm. Plus, youll learn everything you ever wanted to know about this amazing animal.
This is a nonprofit organization and it is raising around 80 muskox at the foot of the beautiful Chugach Mountains. They consider themself a real farm they believe that agriculture should be done slow and gentle. What do they produce you ask? I wondered that too
Hair. The Muskox Farm is basically a farming hair! And they are harvesting it by handwith a small comb! These big animals eat, poop, and grow hair and they are crushing it! Qiviut fiber, qiviut yarn, and qiviut garments are the most coveted gift items in Alaska. The ultra-fine qiviut fiber is eight times warmer than wool and softer than cashmere! And it costs about $90 for an ounce!
How to Visit the Muskox Farm
You can go on a farm visit and walk around the farm learning all about the muskoxen and even see the frolicking calves! Just make sure you make a reservation first during COVID! Learn more at the Muskox Farm Website
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Walk The Flattop Mountain Trail
You dont have to hike far up Flattop Mountain to be rewarded with sweeping views across the Aleutian Islands and Mount Denali. Flattop Mountain is a great place for bird watching too, with warblers and siskins often making an appearance.
This popular trail loop takes you through valleys carpeted with wildflowers in the shadow of some of Alaskas most majestic peaks. Its quite rocky so sturdy footwear is advised.
Get To Know Alaskas Indigenous People
When youre in Anchorage, its pretty important to go and learn about the native inhabitants of the region. A good way to get to grips with Alaskas native history is by exploring the Alaska Native Heritage Center.
It comes complete with indigenous architecture, a lake to stroll around, and plenty of information and opportunities to learn about the people who lived here for thousands of years before Europeans turned up. Learn about how people lived, get to grips with their craft, and even try some traditional tea. One of the most important things to do in Anchorage.
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Breakfast In The Snow City Caf
Stacks of pancakes doused in Canadian maple syrup, gluten-free breakies galore, one of the most acclaimed eggs Benedict dishes in the state, crab-flavored omelettes and sockeye salmon cakes with that uber-fresh Anchorage edge all add up to make Snow City Café unquestionably the top spot in the city for starting the day. The joint is located on the corner of 4th Avenue in the downtown, boasts a sunny interior with plenty of natural light and a staff that is perpetually smiling. Dont miss the regular community events that take place here either, ranging from summertime street parties to charity fundraisers.
Look For Moose In Anchorage
Anchorage Alaska is both ruggedly cosmopolitan and ruggedly wild at the same time. Both co-exist.
And searching for moose is one of the most fun things to do in Anchorage and a great reason why Anchorage should be on your USA bucket list!
Moose are most active in the early morning and early evening. During the day they tend to spend their time in shady, marsh forested areas.
Always keep an eye out for moose when around Anchorage Alaska. You have a great chance at seeing one when driving around town, or while on a sightseeing tour.
Get great packing tips here: How To Pack Lightly For Your Alaska Trip
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Take A Plane Ride With Rusts Flying Service
With decades of experience offering flight tours over the Alaskan backcountry, Rusts is arguably the go-to place for travelers eager to case out Anchorage and its breathtaking surroundings by air. The various packages offered at Rusts is now eclectic to say the least, while the added flexibility of flying adds a whole range of attractions to the mix. There are bear viewing excursions to the sandy bays and rugged valleys of Katmai National Park across the waters of the Alaskan Gulf. There are fly-in fishing trips to some of the top salmon-catching spots in the country. There are altitudinous tours of the great Denali National Park and the snow-mantled peaks of Mount McKinley. The possibilities are endless!
What To See In Anchorage
One thing Anchorage doesn’t have is a stunning cityscape — the entire place was leveled by a 9.2 earthquake in 1964 and therefore lacks the old buildings full of character and charm found in other major West Coast cities. Nonetheless, there’s still plenty of fascinating things to see in the city. The Alaska Native Heritage Museum provides an in-depth look into the lives of the indigenous people of the north, and you won’t see just artifacts behind glass cases here — you’ll also have a chance to vibrant living history demonstrations of Native dancing, food preparation, carving, and storytelling.
Other must-sees while visiting Anchorage include Earthquake Park, which is located on a site where an entire neighborhood was destroyed during the big earthquake of 1964, the Alaska Zoo, the Alaska Botanical Garden, and the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge. Anchorage also offers an incredible trail system — the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail begins in the heart of downtown and winds through 11 miles of gorgeous northern scenery. The Bartlett Ski Trails provide winter visitors with a convenient way to get in some brisk cross country skiing during winter, and the flat, paved Chester Creek Trail is ideal for those seeking an easy, scenic walk.
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Get Tranquil At The Alaska Botanical Gardens
This 110-acre botanical garden is located inside the Far North Bicentennial Park.
Here you will step into a lush wonderland and be surprised at just what can flourish in Alaskas harsh weather.
The Alaska Botanical Gardens is considered a living museum and was established in 1993. A modest admission fee is charged to aid in its upkeep.
Open year-round, peak season is in July. But the gardens are blooming from early June until late September.
There is a one-mile trail that meanders through the gardens, and a one-half mile paved loop that is stroller and wheelchair accessible.
You can walk through the rock garden, herb garden and learn about Alaskan history when visiting the Alaska Heritage Garden. Plants grown here are donated to local food banks.
Learning about what actually thrives in Alaska is one of the best things to do in Anchorage.
Spot Wildlife At Flattop Mountain
One of the most popular things to do in Anchorage is to head up Flattop Mountain dont worry though, this is a pretty easy day hike that practically any level of hiker can do. And if youre in Anchorage, chances are you like the sound of the outdoors, right?
So get your wet weather gear on, lace up those hiking shoes, and make your way up the railway sleeper stairs of the mountain for one of the most romantic things to do in Anchorage. Its not too strenuous, and theres benches at the top to admire the view together. Cute. To get there from Downtown, take the Flattop Mountain Shuttle.
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Enjoy An Anchorage Sunset From The Crows Nest Summer Or Winter
Head to the 20th floor of the Captain Cook Hotel for a sophisticated sunset cocktail! The Crows Nest restaurant and bar offers 360 degree views of Anchorage from an incredible vantage point. Granted, in the summer you likely wont get to see a sunset but in the winter its the perfect place to see the Chugach mountains and Cook Inlet skies glow a pale pink as the sun goes down. They even have cocktails that match the sunset!
Note, most places in Anchorage are really casual, however no beanies allowed in the Crows Nest we were informed!
Check Out Some Taxidermy At The Library
Theres a library in Anchorage that isnt your usual library. Its the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services. There are 250,000 items for you to take a look at, from research databases to print journals but its the huge selection of taxidermy that you can literally check out for a fortnight at a time that makes visiting here one of the weirdest things to do in Anchorage.
The taxidermy is of Alaskan animals, which makes more sense, we suppose. Around the library itself more like a museum you can browse the taxidermy behind glass, from bears to musk ox. Definitely odd.
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