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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.

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Top 10 attractions in Anchorage

Earthquake Park
#1

Earthquake Park

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....
Lake Hood
#2

Lake Hood

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....
Alaska Native Heritage Center
#3

Alaska Native Heritage Center

The Alaska Native Heritage Center serves as a welcome wagon for all visitors to Alaska’s rich and diverse history. Here you’ll be able to experience and interact with Native people and their traditions first-hand. Native storytelling, artist demonstrations, Native dance and game performances allow visitors to feel as if they’re living an authentic experience. This is not just a museum - audience participation is encouraged! In “The Hall of Cultures” you can contemplate over artifacts, manuscripts and images of frontier days in Alaska. You’ll learn what rugged mountains and wildlife helped to make the Yukon great, and what traditional people did to stave off the cold winters and feast in the bright summers. You’ll see how earthen buildings were constructed to be structurally sound and thermally efficient, as well as have the opportunity to buy a traditional Native artifact for a loved one....
Cook Inlet
#4

Cook Inlet

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....
Lake Spenard
#5

Lake Spenard

Lake Spenard (along with Lake Hood, which it is connected to by canals) is the world’s busiest and largest floatplane runway. Visiting is a truly memorable experience, and in the summer it’s a popular place to enjoy a picnic and watch a free air show. Aircraft are almost constantly taking off and landing—about 200 per day–and heading in and out of the lesser-explored parts of Alaska. Even if you aren’t an aviation enthusiast, there are other activities to enjoy at Lake Spenard. Along with a playground and swimming area with a lifeguard—perfect for families with children—there are picnic tables, volleyball courts and other areas for sport and recreation. Additionally, photographers will love capturing the action, especially with the sparkling glaciers and soaring peaks in the background....
Anchorage Museum
#6

Anchorage Museum

Beautiful presentation, modern museum dynamics and a wealth of history makes the Anchorage Museum continually rated one of the best and most exciting museums in the entire United States. Explore the complex history of the Alaskan purchase, the chartering of the Alaskan constitution and the current controversy surrounding the great Alaskan Pipeline. Walk through over 10,000 years of history within a purpose-built 15,000 square-foot (1,394 square-meter) Art of the North gallery devoted entirely to Alaska’s history. In addition, a special Imaginarium Discovery Center and ultra-modern interactives allow visitors to see where unique arctic artifacts originated in state-of-the-art displays which transport the visitor to the past. The Anchorage Museum is a modern museum at its finest, poised at the forefront of not only museum presentation, but of every Alaskan visitor’s good time....
Anchorage Cruise Port
#7

Anchorage Cruise Port

Take a cab from the port to the Alaska Native Heritage Center. This is a good place to start your day in port, as it’s much more than a museum. Across the center’s 26 acres, you can watch artists work, see a native dance performance and check out the replica villages. Enjoy a walk around the lake and discover what life was like in native Alaskan cultures. Grab a taxi back to downtown and the Anchorage Museum (or take the shuttle that runs between the two properties). Admire the displays of Alaskan paintings and learn about the state’s long history. When you’ve had your fill of Alaskan culture, head to the Anchorage Zoo (shuttles run from downtown). Explore the zoo’s collection of northern animals, including caribou, moose and bears, of course. When you’re ready to rest your legs, enjoy a picnic in Valley of the Moon Park....
Alaska Zoo
#8

Alaska Zoo

Thirty minutes outside of Anchorage, the Alaska Zoo offers all the adventures of an Alaskan wildlife safari with the safety and comfortable atmosphere of a modern zoo. A relatively small zoo by some standards, people enjoy the intimate opportunity to see polar bears, grizzly bears, owls, moose calves and arctic foxes frolic in the sun. These arctic and sub-arctic animals on display are here by no coincidence. The Alaska Zoo has provided a home for orphaned, injured and captive-born animals for more than four decades. They pride themselves on being a safe-haven for some of the rarest and most endangered animals on Earth, and the lucky visitor is blessed with a chance at a close encounter in this well-loved zoo....
Alaska Aviation Museum
#10

Alaska Aviation Museum

Preserving Alaska’s foray into the skies, the Alaskan Aviation Heritage Museum acts to foster the public’s interest in man’s exploration into the wide open yonder. Specializing in Alaskan Airlines and the seaplanes which made Alaska accessible, this small but rich museum offers numerous planes which are open and accessible to give the viewer full insight into the mechanical evolution of flight throughout the years. Not only a good brush up on Alaskan history, but all of aviation history itself, within the walls of the Aviation Heritage Museum you’ll see what an effort it was to make the 48th state as accessible as it is today....

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How to Spend 1 Day in Anchorage

How to Spend 1 Day in Anchorage

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