Anchorage is a beautiful vacation destination, offering stunning views, great museums, diverse cultural attractions and unique wildlife. Whether you are planning a quick weekend getaway or a longer vacation, this stunning city is a must-visit at least once in your life. Best things to do in Anchorage for couples include exciting day tours during which you get to see the glaciers at Portage Lake from up close, ride the scenic Glacier Discovery Train, learn about wildlife photography, and have a picnic surrounded by nature.
© Anchorage Museum
The Anchorage Museum is the largest museum in Alaska and features over 20 exhibitions a year focusing on the history, culture and art of Alaska. Located in downtown Anchorage, the museum is a community-based institution which presents a full calendar of public programs and art classes for students and adults alike.
One of the most popular attractions is the Imaginarium Discovery Center, an interactive, hands-on and minds-on center where children of all ages can learn about science through play. Featuring over 80 exhibits, including renowned exhibits from science museums across the globe, the museum’s displays include simulated earthquakes, auroras, and tidal pools, kinetic space presentations and a journey through the center of the Earth, into the solar system and beyond.
625 C Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501, Phone: 907-929-9200
Next read: Best Time to Visit Anchorage, Alaska & Other Travel Tips
2.Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge
© Courtesy of Jody Overstreet/Anchorage CVB
Stretching for 16 miles from Point Woronzof to Potter Creek, Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge shelters a wealth of local wildlife, and serves as a critical resting and feeding place for migrating snow geese and Sandhill cranes. Both birders and wildlife lovers will delight in the wide range of animals found here and find excellent bird-watching and wildlife viewing opportunities. Located at the southern end of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge lies Potter Marsh, another refuge for wildlife and birds, and features a winding wooden walkway through the marsh for visitors to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Keep an eye out for geese, ducks and grebes as they soar above in search of prey. Moose also frequent the marsh year round and can be seen foraging for new growth in the marsh.
333 Raspberry Road, Anchorage, Alaska 99518, Phone: 907-267-2189
3.Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
© Courtesy of Roy Neese/Anchorage CVB
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center offers a variety of tours and presentations throughout the year, ranging from tours of the Conservation Center itself to feeding tours of the resident wildlife. Tours run through the summer and are narrated by professional guides with vast experience in the field of conservation and tourism.
Tours include ‘Moose & Musk Ox Calf Bottle Feeding’, where visitors can watch the calves being bottle fed several times a day, and ‘Sven the Rambling Reindeer’, which involves taking Sven for a walk around the grounds of the Center. ‘Prickly Points about Porcupines’ teaches you all about the life and habits of a porcupine, while ‘Fox and Lynx Feeding’ shows resident baby foxes and lynx kittens being bottle fed and cared for.
Mile 79 Seward Highway, Portage, Alaska 99587, Phone: 907-783-2025
4.Alaska Zoo, Anchorage
© Courtesy of Roy Neese/Anchorage CVB
Established in 1969, the Alaska Zoo has been a refuge for orphaned, injured and captive-born animals for over 40 years. Home to more than 100 animals and birds representing over 50 species, the zoo houses a variety of animals native to Alaska, as well as some exotic species, such as yaks, Amur tigers and Bactrian Camels. Discover the unique beginnings of the zoo, its rich history and progress through the years at the Discovery Center, and enjoy interpretive displays, vintage photographs, and a DVD showing archival zoo footage. The Alaska Zoo is involved in conservation, animal husbandry, and research and offers a variety of education programs, such as the Species Survival Program for snow leopards and tigers.
4731 O'Malley Road, Anchorage, Alaska 99507, Phone: 907-346-2133
5.Valley of the Moon Park
© Courtesy of ipopba - Fotolia.com
Named after the Indian title for Sonoma Valley in California, the Valley of the Moon Park is a beautiful public park in Anchorage that is popular for its excellent playgrounds and lovely picnic spots. The playground, one of the largest in Anchorage, offers an array of accessible play equipment, such as swings, slides, monkey bars, and a rocket ship-shaped playset. Other amenities at the park include a large open playfield, a Little League baseball field, access to the popular Chester Creek Trail and plenty of tables and benches for picnicking and relaxing with the family.
610 W 17th Ave, Anchorage, Alaska 99501, Phone: 907-274-1003
6.Originale, Anchorage, Alaska
Originale at The Metro Mall serves Italian fare with delectable food, a cozy atmosphere, and friendly service. Owners Sergio and Roseli Anzilotti draw inspiration from their homeland for the seasonally-changing menu that features sandwiches, antipasti, coffee and desserts. Antipasto platters groan with an assortment of mouthwatering Italian meats, aged cheeses, Caprese skewers, nuts, and olivess. Sample home baked focaccia bread which is the perfect accompaniment to meats and cheeses flown in from Italy.
530 E Benson Blvd Ste 9A, Anchorage, Alaska 99503, Phone: 907-868-7900
7.Planet Earth Adventures - Anchorage Day Tours
© Courtesy of Rebecca Coolidge/Anchorage CVB
Planet Earth Adventures provides outstanding guided tours of the city and surrounding areas. A day tour with them is one of the best ways to experience Anchorage. Tours are led by expert guides who share their knowledge and expertise on the location, as well as divulge information and interesting facts about the region. They focus on small groups and offer a range of tours to suit every need.
Outstanding day tours leaving from Anchorage include the ‘Alaska Wildlife Tour’, which takes you along the Turnagain Arm on the Seward Parkway to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. The center displays some of the country’s incredible wildlife along the way, such as caribou, eagles and moose. The ‘Anchorage City Tour’ is a fantastic new tour that explores both the historical and cultural sites of the city with visits to many famous landmarks. Other interesting tours leaving from Anchorage include the Turnagain Arm Tour, the Glacial Discovery Tour, and the Chugach Wilderness Experience.
8.Alaska Photo Treks
© Courtesy of Jody Overstreet/Anchorage CVB
Run by a trio of professional Alaskan photographers, Alaska Photo Treks offers fun, photo-centric tours and workshops around Anchorage. Catering to a broad range of photographic needs, from beginners wanting great vacation memories to professional photographers looking to capture the perfect shot, Alaska Photo Treks provides tours to some of the country’s most beautiful and scenic locations.
Alaska Photo Treks features a variety of tours, ranging from single day and multi-day treks to winter treks and custom-designed tours according to set requirements. Single day treks include a walk through Anchorage, sunset photo safaris at Cook Inlet and Turnagain and finally, a day with the bears in Katmai or Lake Clarke National Parks. Multi-day treks include Denali Backcountry, and National Park Adventures, Brown Bear photo safaris, Wrangell / St Elias National Park trips and an extraordinary Northern Lights photographic workshop.
More things to see: Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum, Alaska Botanical Garden, Alaska Native Heritage Center
9.Kincaid Park, Anchorage, AK
© Courtesy of NoraDoa - Fotolia.com
Kincaid Park in the heart of Anchorage offers residents and visitors a fantastic array of outdoor activities and adventures throughout the year. The park is situated on 1,400 acres of pristine, natural terrain with a variety of wildlife and boasts spectacular views of the surrounding mountains as well as some of the best sunsets in Alaska. Snowless months promise excellent hiking and biking paths, while the winter months offer world-class Nordic skiing tracks. Other winter pursuits include snowshoeing, sledding, cross-country skiing and biathlon. The park has a special motocross track that is open at certain times of the year. Two facilities, Kincaid Outdoor Center and Lidia Selkregg Chalet, are available for private indoor functions. The park offers a range of programs, workshops and classes for adults and children across a variety of sports.
10.The Glacier Discovery Train, Anchorage, Alaska
© Courtesy of Nicole Geils/Anchorage CVB
What better way to see and experience Alaska than on a luxury train journey, sliding through the countryside and soaking up the views as you are pampered in style! The Glacier Discovery Train travels south from Anchorage along Turnagain Arm towards Grandview, letting you take in the breathtaking natural scenery and glaciers of Whittier, Spencer Lake and the Chugach Mountains along the way. Guest can go on a glacier cruise in Whittier or head out onto Spencer Lake for hiking, rafting or canoe trips.
Visitors may explore the alpine regions of the Chugach Mountains, and see glacial runoff and snowmelt that plummets down the mountain faces in thundering waterfalls before reaching the final destination of Grandview. Once in Grandview, one of the most scenic areas of the entire journey, guests can go on a day rail tour into the historic "loop district", home to spectacular alpine scenery, wildflower and wildlife sanctuaries.
11.Snow City Cafe
© Snow City Cafe
Snow City Cafe offers all-day breakfast and brunch options for diners seven days a week since 1998. The restaurant crafts all of its fare from scratch, using locally-sourced produce and meats and striving to focus on principles of environmental sustainability and healthy eating. Diners can craft their own three-egg fluffy omelettes or choose from a variety of creative Benedicts served up with toppings such as fresh spinach, salmon or crab cakes, or biscuit-style with sausage gravy. Clever egg scramble dishes are also served up, along with delicacies such as stuffed French toast, old-fashioned oatmeal, and golden buttermilk pancakes.
1034 W 4th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501, Phone: 907-272-2489
12.Portage Glacier Cruise & Tour
© Courtesy of Anchorage CVB
Experience the icy wilderness of Alaska like never before with an exclusive glacier tour on Portage Lake. Conducted on the only operating boat on the lake and narrated by a representative from the U.S. Forest Service, this once-in-a-lifetime tour cannot be missed.
The tour begins with a visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center where you'll have a chance to explore this famous wildlife sanctuary and learn about the local fauna. Then you will be transported to the lake, where you will hop on board the MV Ptarmigan for a guided boat cruise on across Portage Lake, home to Portage Glacier. This half-day tour will take you on a one-hour journey across the lake with icebergs that date back to the Ice Age. You will have the opportunity to watch these massive hunks of ice break off and crash into the icy waters below.
12 Best Things to Do in Anchorage, Alaska
- Anchorage Museum, Photo: Anchorage Museum
- Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge , Photo: Courtesy of Jody Overstreet/Anchorage CVB
- Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Photo: Courtesy of Roy Neese/Anchorage CVB
- Alaska Zoo, Anchorage, Photo: Courtesy of Roy Neese/Anchorage CVB
- Valley of the Moon Park, Photo: Courtesy of ipopba - Fotolia.com
- Originale, Anchorage, Alaska, Photo: Originale
- Planet Earth Adventures - Anchorage Day Tours, Photo: Courtesy of Rebecca Coolidge/Anchorage CVB
- Alaska Photo Treks, Photo: Courtesy of Jody Overstreet/Anchorage CVB
- Kincaid Park, Anchorage, AK, Photo: Courtesy of NoraDoa - Fotolia.com
- The Glacier Discovery Train, Anchorage, Alaska, Photo: Courtesy of Nicole Geils/Anchorage CVB
- Snow City Cafe, Photo: Snow City Cafe
- Portage Glacier Cruise & Tour, Photo: Courtesy of Anchorage CVB
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Frank Flavin/Anchorage CVB