15 Best Things to Do in Wasilla, Alaska
Wasilla is Alaska’s sixth-largest city, located within the Matanuska-Sustina Valley within the state’s southern central region. The city is home to a population of nearly 10,000 and gained international attention as the hometown of 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. It is named for indigenous Dena’ina Chief Wasilla and originally began to grow as a major economic and residential center in the Mat-Su Valley through the development of nearby mining town Knik, which has been all but abandoned today. The city is a major hub for dog sled racing and offers a variety of family-friendly attractions for visitors, including museums and state recreational areas. Nearby Palmer is the host of the annual Alaska State Fair and the Junior Iditarod dog sled race. Photo: Uwe Bergwitz/Fotolia
»The Iditarod Trail Headquarters
The Iditarod Trail Headquarters honor the famed dog sled race of the same name, which has been run every year in March since 1973 and takes elite teams on a 1,100-mile route from Anchorage to Nome. The museum boasts a variety of exhibits related to the race’s history, including the taxidermy of famed sled dog Togo, whose 1925 journey across Norton Sound to deliver diphtheria serum inspired the race’s route. A statue of famed raced Joe Redington, Sr. and his dog Feets stands outside the museum, and a video room allows visitors to analyze historic race footage. Dog-led cart rides are offered for visitors during the summer months for an additional fee.
Contact: 2100 S Knik-Goose Bay Rd, Wasilla, AK 99654, Phone: 907-376-5155
»Alaska Museum of Transportation and Industry
Alaska Museum of Transportation and Industry was originally opened in 1967 as the Air Progress Museum, which showcased transportation history exhibits within six refurbished retired railroad cars that were brought to the region during World War II. The rail cars earned the nickname “The Centennial Train” and operated as the state’s only museum on wheels until 1973. Since 1992, the museum has been headquartered at a 20-acre location in Wasilla and operated as a private nonprofit organization. Visitors may explore historic train cars, commercial fishing boats, automobiles, and a wide variety of farm and industrial machinery. Exhibits highlight topics such as the state’s gold mining and aviation history, and children’s displays of vintage trains and toys keep young visitors entertained.
Contact: 3800 W Museum Dr, Wasilla, AK 99654, Phone: 907-376-1211
Photo: Alaska Museum of Transportation and Industry
»The Dorothy G. Page Museum
The Dorothy G. Page Museum is named for the woman known as the “Mother of the Iditarod,” who organized the inaugural event in correlation with the centennial celebration of America’s purchase of the state of Alaska. Following her death, the Wasilla Museum was renamed in her honor. Today, it showcases exhibits tracing the city’s social and cultural history, from its early Native Athabaskan days through its industrial and mining heritage in the 19th and 20th century. Several galleries showcase exhibits highlighting the history of the Willow Creek Mining District, the Knik Trading Company, and the history of the Iditarod race. Temporary exhibits are showcased periodically, and field trips and tours are available for school groups and organizations.
Contact: 323 N, Main St, Wasilla, AK 99654, Phone: 907-373-9071
Photo: The Dorothy G. Page Museum
»Alaska Live Steamers
Alaska Live Steamers is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the preservation of the state’s railroading history. The organization is entirely run by volunteer railroad enthusiasts who work together to create miniature scale replicas and restore historic train cars. It offers seasonal train rides aboard historic trains on Saturdays and Sundays between May and September. Scenic rides last approximately 25 minutes and showcase the region’s natural sights and historic places, including the Seward and Curry train stations. Rides are available for participants of all ages, and a car for visitors with disabilities is provided upon advance request.
Contact: 300 S, Island St, Wasilla, AK 99654, Phone: 907-373-6412
»Nancy Lakes Recreation Area
Nancy Lakes Recreation Area is an expansive park that is located 90 minutes north of Anchorage on the Parks Highway, offering opportunities for hiking, fishing, canoeing, and cross-country skiing throughout stretches of unspoiled forest. The region has been preserved in its natural state due to its lack of mining potential and remains one of the few flat landscapes in the state preserved for public recreation. Lake, wetland, and forest areas serve as a vital habitat for black bears, moose, beavers, and waterfowl. 13 rustic cabins are available throughout the recreation area along Nancy, James, Lynx, Bald, and Red Shirt Lakes, with each offering wood-burning stoves, outhouses, and fire rings.
Contact: Mile 1.3 Nancy Lake Pkwy. Willow, AK, Phone: 907-495-6210
Photo: JT Fisherman/Fotolia
»Knik Museum and Musher's Hall of Fame
Knik Museum and Musher's Hall of Fame honors the region’s social culture and heritage, with a focus on its history of dog sledding. The museum was established in 1967 and is located within the Fulton and Hirshey Pool Hall building, the final remaining commercial building in Knik. Exhibits of painting and antiques are showcased throughout the museum’s two stories, outlining the history of the region as an indigenous trade center and an important route for dog sledding trails. Nearby, the Mushers’ Hall of Fame honors notable dog sled racers, and the Iditarod National Historic Trail provides access to thousands of miles of preserved trail route used by miners in the early 20th century.
Contact: Mile 13.9 Knik-Goosebay Road, Wasilla, AK 99654, Phone: 907-376-7755
Photo: Knik Museum and Musher's Hall of Fame
»Wasilla Farmer's Market
Wasilla Farmer's Market is presented by the Wasilla Knik Historical Society and offers the best in regional produce and artisan goods. The market is held weekly on Wednesdays every summer between June and September and showcases goods from local farms, including some of the freshest fruits, vegetables, and herbs available in the region. Local gardeners sell flowers, while bakers produce fresh breads, jams, jellies, and other pantry goods. A variety of Alaskan-made arts and crafts are sold by local artisans, and music performances are presented by local musicians. The market is located near the Iditapark at the corner of Weber and Nelson Streets.
Contact: 300 N Boundary, Wasilla, Alaska 99654, Phone: 907-376-2005
»Alaskan Tour Guides Day Tours
Alaskan Tour Guides Day Tours is an Alaskan-owned touring company that connects visitors with destination tour excursions to some of the state’s most dramatic outdoor and historic sights, including the spectacular sights of Denali National Park and the beautiful waters of the Kenai and Sustina Rivers. Each small group excursion takes up to 13 travelers per coach to explore sights such as expansive glaciers and historical gold mines, with fishing, kayaking, hiking, flightseeing, and river rafting excursions available. For easier-paced adventures, scenic river floats are offered, along with sled dog tours, railroading excursions, and group trips to Alaskan Native cultural sites. Customizable tours are available for small groups and organizations, and combination tours connect land, air, and sea adventures with meals and lodging provided.
Contact: Phone: 800-795-1438
Photo: jon manjeot/Fotolia
»Alaska Adventure Unlimited
Alaska Adventure Unlimited offers guided tours exploring the Alaskan wilderness, including tours of the state’s national parks and glaciers. Tours range from single-day excursions to 14-day adventures, including eco-tour opportunities and flightseeing, jetboat, and rafting adventures. Resident Alaskan tour guides lead groups of all ability levels and ages through a variety of off-the-beaten-path locations, with family-only and adult-only excursions available on select dates. All tours include meals and deluxe accommodations, with mini-coach charters available. Tours may be reserved for private excursions for small groups, including corporate retreats and family vacations, with customizable itineraries available for private groups.
Contact: 3750 N Caribou St, Wasilla, AK 99654, Phone: 907-373-3494
Photo: jon manjeot/Fotolia
»iFishAlaska Guide Service
iFishAlaska Guide Service offers guided Alaskan salmon fishing excursions along the Big and Little Sustina and Deshka Rivers, which are among the most productive salmon fishery regions in the state. The family-owned business offers excursions in custom riverboats in areas of Alaska’s wild interior that are accessed via boat or airplane. Family-friendly day charters are the closest fishing charters near Anchorage and offer supervision from a licensed tour guide and rides in jet-powered boats, with fishing instruction, rods, bait, and reels provided. Opportunities are provided to fish for the region’s five primary salmon species, with a specific focus on king and silver salmon catches.
Contact: 1741 Harvest Loop, Wasilla, AK 99654, Phone: 907-357-0131
Photo: Uwe Bergwitz/Fotolia
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»The Grape Tap
The Grape Tap was opened in 2009 within a renovated 1930s pioneer home and has quickly become a favorite within the Mat-Su Valley, offering a large menu of sophisticated New American fare. The restaurant is managed by owners Kristin and Casey Cook and has become one of the area’s top food destinations, showcasing a rotating seasonal menu highlighting Alaskan cuisine with a contemporary twist. Wine flights are available, sourced from the restaurant’s European-style wine cellar. A full draft beer list also highlights favorites from local breweries such as Bearpaw River and Denali Brewing Companies. A stone banquet room is available for private dining, and backyard tables are available in season.
Contact: 322 N Boundary St, Wasilla, AK 99654, Phone: 907-376-8466
Photo: The Grape Tap
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Evangelo's Restaurant strives to bring a taste of the Mediterranean to Alaska, operated by Greek immigrants Diana and Evangelo Lambernakis. The family-owned restaurant was opened in 1985 and has been providing the Wasilla region with high-quality service and food for more than 30 years. Menu highlights include specialty pizzas, pasta and seafood dishes, and gourmet calzones, with delivery and takeout service available for pizzas. A full wine menu is available from the restaurant’s bar, accompanying lunch and dinner service. The restaurant’s dining space may be rented for private special events, including corporate luncheons and wedding receptions.
Contact: 2530 E Parks Hwy, Wasilla, AK 99654, Phone: 907-376-1212
Photo: Evangelo's Restaurant
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»Chepo's Fiesta Restaurant
Chepo's Fiesta Restaurant has been operating out of Wasilla for more than 30 years, striving to bring the finest Mexican cuisine to the Mat-Su Valley region. The restaurant has been voted as the area’s best Mexican food every year for nearly three decades, with a number of awards given to its unique margaritas. The restaurant’s extensive menu features a variety of Mexican favorites, including chimichangas, burritos, enchiladas, tamales, and tostadas. Combination platters highlight options such as chile rellenos and huevos rancheros, while a dessert menu features Mexican classics such as flan and sopapillas. A limited menu of American fare is also available, including Southwestern-influenced burger options.
Contact: 731 W Parks Hwy, Wasilla, AK 99654, Phone: 907-373-5656
Photo: Chepo's Fiesta Restaurant
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»Bearpaw River Brewing Company
Bearpaw River Brewing Company is owned by four Wasilla brothers and strives to craft fresh, unique ales for hardworking Alaskans to enjoy. The brewery was named as one of the country’s fastest-growing independent breweries in 2018 and offers a public tap room that is open seven days a week for pints, growler fills, and to-go bottle sales. Complimentary samples allow visitors to try all of the brewery’s ales, including its flagship Hatcher Pass Pale Ale, Frontiersman IPA, and Mat Maid Milk Stout. A variety of branded merchandise is available for purchase at the brewery’s tap room, including t-shirts featuring the company’s logo. Kegs are also available for purchase for private special events.
Contact: 4605 E Palmer-Wasilla Hwy, Wasilla, AK 99654, Phone: 907-373-2537
Photo: Bearpaw River Brewing Company
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»Settlers Bay Lodge
Settlers Bay Lodge is a casual fine dining restaurant that features amazing panoramic views of the Chugach Mountain Range and Cook Inlet from its dining room. The restaurant serves a large menu of classic regional and American fare, with steak, seafood, and vegetarian options available at lunch and dinner. An extensive wine list showcases some of the best wines in the world, available for purchase by the glass or the bottle, and a draft and bottle beer list showcases local and regional microbrewery favorites. Three private rooms throughout the restaurant are available for small group and private special event rental, accommodating anywhere from 20 to 250 guests.
Contact: 5801 S Knik Goose Bay Rd, Wasilla, AK 99687, Phone: 907-357-5678
Photo: Settlers Bay Lodge
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15 Best Things to Do in Wasilla, Alaska
- The Iditarod Trail Headquarters, Photo: Courtesy of Fotolia.com
- Alaska Museum of Transportation and Industry, Photo: Alaska Museum of Transportation and Industry
- The Dorothy G. Page Museum, Photo: The Dorothy G. Page Museum
- Alaska Live Steamers, Photo: Courtesy of Rebecca - Fotolia.com
- Nancy Lakes Recreation Area, Photo: Courtesy of JT Fisherman - Fotolia.com
- Knik Museum and Musher's Hall of Fame, Photo: Knik Museum and Musher's Hall of Fame
- Wasilla Farmer's Market, Photo: Courtesy of Ronald - Fotolia.com
- Alaskan Tour Guides Day Tours, Photo: Courtesy of jon manjeot - Fotolia.com
- Alaska Adventure Unlimited, Photo: Courtesy of jon manjeot - Fotolia.com
- iFishAlaska Guide Service, Photo: Courtesy of Uwe Bergwitz - Fotolia.com
- The Grape Tap, Photo: The Grape Tap
- Evangelo's Restaurant, Photo: Evangelo's Restaurant
- Chepo's Fiesta Restaurant, Photo: Chepo's Fiesta Restaurant
- Bearpaw River Brewing Company, Photo: Bearpaw River Brewing Company
- Settlers Bay Lodge, Photo: Settlers Bay Lodge
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Uwe Bergwitz - Fotolia.com
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