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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 15 attractions in Anchorage

Denali National Park and Preserve

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

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

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

Matanuska Glacier

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

Portage Glacier

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

Cook Inlet

Named after famed European explorer, Captain James Cook, the Cook Inlet stretches from Anchorage to the Gulf of Alaska and offers stunning coastal scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities galore. At its northern end, the Cook Inlet branches into the Knik Arm and the Turnagain Arm, which together almost completely surround the city of Anchorage.More

Chugach State Park

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

Earthquake Park

In 1964, an entire neighborhood of Anchorage slid into the ocean during what remains the most powerful earthquake recorded in North American history. Measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale, this tragic event is commemorated in Earthquake Park, where you can still see evidence of the devastating earthquake that permanently altered the Anchorage landscape.More


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

Lake Hood

Just three miles southwest of Anchorage, Lake Hood serves as the runway for one of the largest and busiest seaplane bases in the world. Nearly 200 flights take off daily from the waters of Lake Hood ferrying supplies and passengers to remote Alaskan communities and secluded mountain landscapes. This steady stream of float planes delights visitors and aviation buffs.More

Prince William Sound

Tucked into the southern coast of Alaska, Prince William Sound is a spectacular wilderness area encompassing tidewater glaciers, fjords, secluded beaches, and more. Visitors are drawn to these remote waters to marvel at the marine life and coastal scenery and try a range of outdoor adventure activities, from sea kayaking, fishing, and whale watching to backcountry skiing and scuba diving. More

Lake Spenard

Enjoy a free air show with your picnic lunch at Lake Spenard. Connected by a canal in the 1970s, Lake Hood and Lake Spenard serve as the runway of one of the world’s busiest seaplane bases. Daily, nearly 200 planes use the base to shuttle goods and passengers to and from the Alaskan interior.More

Alaska Botanical Garden

With more than 1,100 species of perennials and 150 of native flora, the Alaska Botanical Garden is a great spot to learn about subarctic native plants and horticulture. Despite Alaska’s harsh climate, wildflowers and hardy perennials such as poppies, peonies, iris, lilies, and roses flourish in Alaska’s nearly constant summer daylight.More

Anchorage Museum

First time visitors will enjoy a fascinating introduction to Alaska’s history, art, and culture at the Anchorage Museum. Visitors can explore the history surrounding the Alaska purchase, see how the gold rush shaped the state, and learn about the devastation caused by the 1964 earthquake. In addition, the planetarium and science center offer plenty of hands-on fun for kids.More

Mount Alyeska

Mount Alyeska takes its name from the Aleut word meaning "great land"—from which the state’s name was derived. Located in the western Chugach range, Mount Alyeska is part of the largest ski area in the state—the Alyeska Resort. The panoramic views of the Turnagain Arm and surrounding mountains and glaciers from the top of Mount Alyeska are a must-see.More

Turnagain Arm

A branch of the Cook Inlet just south of Anchorage, the Turnagain Arm is known for its high tides, incredible marine life spotting opportunities, and unparalleled access to outdoor recreation. A 50-mile (80-kilometer stretch of the Seward Highway hugs the Turnagain Arm from Anchorage to Portage Glacier and is one of the top scenic drives in Alaska. More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Anchorage

How to Spend 1 Day in Anchorage

Top activities in Anchorage

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Recent reviews from experiences in Anchorage

Good tour with knowledgeable guide
Ningyuan_L, Dec 2022
Wildlife and Glaciers with a walk in the Rainforest
We took this tour during winter and even though we didn't get to see some of the animals, bears especially, we still had a good time.
Very nice city tour
Andrew_B, Dec 2022
Anchorage City Tour w/ Taste of Wild Smoked Salmon & Reindeer Sausage
Would definitely recommend, especially if your time is short and you want to see Anchorage.
Wonderful tour.
Linda_D, Nov 2022
Wildlife and Glaciers with a walk in the Rainforest
This tour was a fantastic way to see beautiful Alaska in Anchorage without driving yourself!
We saw the lights, the Northern Lights
John_R, Dec 2022
Anchorage Aurora Quest - Northern Lights Photo Tour
Ben was our guide and took us to one his favorite viewing spots and it turned out to be great place to see the Aurora.
Mary_D, Nov 2022
Winter - Wildlife & Turnagain Arm Tour
The Wildlife Center was very nice; I'll definitely go back during the summer to see all the animals and birds.
Great local history and a fun food and beer experience !
Mary_M, Sep 2022
Downtown Anchorage FOOD & HISTORY Walking Tour OUR MOST POPULAR!
Got to Anchorage a day early and Sourdough Dans’s food tour is listed in the top 20 things to do in Alaska .
Custom made and personalized
dovidorenstein, Sep 2022
Ride & Roam: Scenic Drive & Sightseeing Tour
The tour also ventures to distant attractions far beyond downtown Anchorage .
Aunt Gary was awesome! ...
Teri_S, Aug 2022
Anchorage City Tour w/ Taste of Wild Smoked Salmon & Reindeer Sausage
A great way to see Anchorage.
Best Photography Class in Years
Verity_T, Aug 2022
Sunset Photo Safari
We were able to see some amazing views and a Beluga whale.
Amazing railroad tour from Anchorage to Seward.
Pablito_A, Aug 2022
Alaska Railroad Anchorage to Seward Round-Trip Same Day Return
It is nice to see Alaska outside Anchorage by railroad trip.
Funny narrator!
Ana_A, Aug 2022
Anchorage Trolley Tour
If you travel to Anchorage, this is the best alternative to visit it because it's a small town.
Excellent Tour
Jerome_R, Jul 2022
Wilderness Wildlife Glacier Experience. Best Vacation Value
Great tour to see wildlife and glaciers in Alaska.
Angie our guide highly recommended
Steve_N, Jul 2022
Sunset City Tour
Black bear, Bald Eagle, Moose with newborn, Salmon jumping falls
Trolley tour
sassy7372, Jul 2022
Anchorage Trolley Tour
excellent way to see Anchorage.
Best way to see Anchorage in a day!
lyndajohnson922, Jul 2022
Glaciers and Wildlife: Super Scenic Day Tour from Anchorage
The best way to see Anchorage in a day!
Friendly way to see some sights in the Anchorage area
DeborahKey_M, Jun 2022
Wilderness Wildlife Glacier Experience. Best Vacation Value
It was a time-efficient way to see a few sights in the area and he kindly shared a few casual cell phone photos as a nice momento of our day out.
Great introduction to Alaska - made us want to see more.
Julie_D, Jun 2022
Valley of Glaciers Experience with Portage Glacier Cruise and Wildlife Tour
We saw some wonderful scenery and got to see some of the native wildlife too.
Best Tour in Anchorage
Ann_S, Jun 2022
Anchorage Trolley's Deluxe City Tour
My favorite place to see & learn about was earthquake park.
Great experience
Mikhail_M, Jun 2022
Alaska Wildlife Visit and Glacier Cruise Adventure
Excellent tour, you will get to see a glacier and a park with animals.
Excellent tour and such fabulous hosts.
Kimberly_L, May 2022
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail Scenic Bike Tour
Also great to see so much of The anchorage landscape by bike.
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All about Anchorage

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People Also Ask

What is Anchorage famous for?

The city with the state's highest population, Anchorage is famous as a gateway to scenic nature and outdoor adventure. Climb aboard a boat for a glacier tour, rent bikes, or go kayaking on a trip to Anchorage. Famous landmarks include the Anchorage Museum and Alaska Native Heritage Center.

What is there to do in Anchorage?

In Anchorage, you can see city landmarks or explore nearby parks and outdoor adventures. Popular landmarks include the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center. For nature, take a scenic drive at Turnagain Arm, a boat tour at Portage Glacier, or a hike at Flattop Mountain.

How do I spend a day in Anchorage?

With a day in Anchorage, you might walk along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail for views of Cook Inlet, take a trolley tour in historic Anchorage, and check out Alaska’s brewing scene at a local microbrewery. For even more nature, check out Chugach State Park.

What activities do people do in Alaska?

In Alaska, people do activities focused on the outdoors. Admire views on scenic drives, kayaking excursions, glacier boat trips, and bike tours. Many activities are also built around seeing Alaska’s incredible wildlife, so bring your camera on hiking adventures and keep an eye out for moose and bears.

What is there to do in Anchorage for free?

Anchorage has many free things to do, including the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and the Anchorage Museum. Anchorage is a gateway to several nature destinations, which are also free, including the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing are all free activities.

Is Anchorage worth visiting?

Yes. Anchorage is worth visiting. This city has an artistic identity, with plentiful live music and galleries. It is also the gateway to nature including glaciers, mountains, and wildlife such as moose and bears. A trip to Anchorage can be full of outdoor adventure including biking, kayaking, and helicopter tours.


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