Anchorage, America’s northernmost capital city established in 1914, cannot be easily summed-up into a catch phrase. In many ways the city is defined by its latitude – the winter days are quite short while the summer’s days seem to stretch well into the nocturnal hours—but while it has a sub-arctic climate and borders the great Yukon, a lot is happening in this big little town.
Day 1: Welcome to Anchorage
If you’re just flying in, it’s best to get yourself settled and understand all that lies upon your doorstep. Look out any window and see the foothills of the Chugach State Park, the towering mountain of Denali off in the distance, and the rivers and streams that trickle down into downtown Anchorage. With so many outdoor activities to indulge in, consider spending your first day getting to know the history of your host town. Transportation is easy and readily available in bus or taxi form, and most first-timers like to spend their time walking the historic downtown district, starting at the northwestern tip of the picturesque Anchorage waterfront. Spend half the day here, learning about Anchorage’s roots as a rail-road town, the great earthquake of ’64, and grabbing breakfast and a light lunch. Then head over to West Anchorage, directly southwest of Anchorage where you can learn about the historic Bootleggers Cove and Turnagain residential areas. From there, consider renting bikes and heading up the Coastal Trail to Earthquake park where you can have a picnic and watch the sunset with a sweeping scope fo the Anchorage waterfront and Alaskan Rockies off in the distance.
Day 2: Explore Anchorage’s Borders
There are many, many options for outdoors enthusiasts to explore in Anchorage. It’s so close, in fact, to the wilderness that bears are regularly sited within the city limits. That being said, spend today getting to know what’s out there. In the morning you can ride the Alyeska Resort aerial tram up the mountainside for stunning views before gearing up with crampons and ropes and hiking to the edge of Alyeska Glacier. From here you can paraglide back down into the outskirts of town and land a soft landing in the serene Moose Meadows. Spend the night at the Bear Tooth Theatrepub where you can relax on couches and enjoy a pitcher of your favorite microbrew while watch the latest from Hollywood. Get an early night, because tomorrow’s another big day!
Day 3: Get Outside Anchorage
Many of the highlights of anchorage involve getting out into nature, and there’s no better way to see it all than by the air. Numerous airplane rides and helicopter tours operate daily, so do yourself a favor and grab an aerial view of the Alaskan wilderness. Conversely, get outside the city limits and stop into the Alaska Raptor center where you can spend the day with some of the most endangered and evolutionarily specialized birds of prey known to man. Or, if culture is what you’re after, the Alaskan Native Heritage Center specializes in bringing the past to life, and is always considered a five-star stop for anyone interested in what comprises the Alaskan Native way of life.