Anchorage is a beautiful vacation destination, offering stunning views, great museums, coffee shops 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, Alaska 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.
1. Anchorage Museum
© 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, Alaska 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
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 Native Heritage Center
© Alaska Native Heritage Center
The Alaskan Native Heritage Center can be found on land which forms part of the traditional territory of the Eklutna, a Dena’ina Athabascan tribe. Visitors to Alaska who would like to learn about the original inhabitants of the country can spend an hour or two at the heritage center, learning about the fascinating history and culture of these indigenous people. Your visit to the center will take you on a journey through more than 10,000 years of Alaskan history, presented through the mediums of art, dance, film, games and story-telling. Guided tours are available and there is a gift shop where you can purchase traditional arts and crafts.
8800 Heritage Center Drive, Anchorage, AK 99504, 907 330 8000
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5. Alaska Zoo
© 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
6. Alaska Aviation Museum
© Alaska Aviation Museum
Located on the largest float-plane base on the planet, on the south shore of Lake Hood, the Alaska Aviation Museum is a must-see attraction on your Anchorage itinerary. The museum celebrates and showcases Alaska’s unique aeronautics history and is home to a treasure-trove of memorabilia, exhibits, films, photographs and artifacts, most of which belonged to the country’s aviation pioneers. Fascinating exhibits include a variety of historic planes, the oldest of which date back to the 1920’s and 1930’s, spread over 4 enormous hangers. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm. You can get a taste of what’s in store by watching an introductory video on their website.
4721 Aircraft Dr, Anchorage, AK 99502, 907 248 5325
7. Valley of the Moon Park
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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
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.
400 D St, Ste 1B, Anchorage, AK 99501, Phone: 907-868-7900
9. 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.
10. 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.
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11. Kincaid Park
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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.
12. The Glacier Discovery Train
© 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.
13. 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
14. 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.
15. Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary
A must-see attraction for all nature-loving visitors to Anchorage, the Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary provides birders with some excellent viewing opportunities from 0.5 miles of boardwalks. The Marsh is located at the southern end of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge, where it provides an ideal habitat for a great number of bird varieties. If you visit during the summer months, from April through September, you are sure to see Canada geese, northern pintails and several other species. The march also attracts moose, muskrats and many other water-loving animals and birds. Around the middle of the boardwalk you can look out for various fish species including hump-back salmon.
Seward Highway, Anchorage, AK 99516
16. Alaska Botanical Garden
© F&J McGinn/stock.adobe.com
The Alaska Botanical Garden endeavors to protect and showcase an outstanding variety of plants in appealing, natural settings. The gardens include several individual themed gardens including a Perennial Garden, Herb Garden, Rock Garden, the Anchorage Heritage Garden and various sections of trail-side gardens. The Outdoor Classroom has been specially designed to educate children about the joys of gardening and enable them to learn where much of their food originates. There are also a couple of beautiful trails to explore. If you would like to know which plants will be at their best when you visit you can check the website to see which plants are in flower.
4601 Campbell Airstrip Rd, Anchorage, AK 99507,
907 770 3692
17. Oscar Anderson House Museum
© Oscar Anderson House Museum
Visitors are invited to come and visit the Oscar Anderson House Museum to get a rare glimpse of the everyday life of early Alaskan residents like Oscar Anderson. The house dates back to 1915, when it was the home of Oscar Anderson, who played an important role in the early days in Anchorage. The house was lovingly restored in the 1970’s and is filled with original period pieces and decorative items. An excellent time to visit is during the Swedish Christmas (first two weeks of December) when the house is beautifully decorated to celebrate the festive season and Swedish treats are available.
420 M Street, Anchorage, AK 99501,
907 206 2284
18. H2Oasis Indoor Waterpark
© H2Oasis Indoor Waterpark
H2Oasis endeavors to provide locals and visitors with a year-round tropical island experience in the heart of Anchorage. You can forget the freezing weather for a few hours as you swim, slide and splash your way through a collection of fun water activities. The facility has fun areas for all ages including a Kiddies Pool, a wave pool and a lazy river tube ride for everyone and a selection of hair-raising tubes and open slides for teens and adults. You can bring your toddlers to enjoy Toddler Time every Friday from 11am to 2pm – a great way to introduce young visitors to water fun.
1520 O’Malley Rd, Anchorage, AK 99507, 907 522 4420
19. Alaska Museum of Science and Nature
© Alaska Museum of Science and Nature
You can bring the whole family to enjoy an adventurous learning experience at the Alaska Museum of Science and Nature. Here you will be able to go on a thrilling expedition into the history, geology, culture and ecology of Alaska as you make your way through a collection of wondrous exhibits. Most visitors are keen to head directly to the Dinosaurs of Darkness exhibit where you can see replicas of various dinosaurs and enjoy hands-on exhibits of dinosaur bones, teeth and eggs. Other fascinating exhibits include Alaska Marine Life, Birds of a Feather, Bare Bones, Rocks and Minerals and Ice Age Alaska.
201 N. Bragaw St, Anchorage, AK 99508,
907 274 2400
20. Cuddly Family Midtown Park
© Jacob Lund/stock.adobe.com
If you are visiting Anchorage with children you will definitely want to bring them to Cuddly Family Midtown Park. The enchanting park and playground for children was entirely established by volunteers and has become a much-cherished meeting place for local families. The park has something to offer all ages from a paved aerobic trail and speed-skating oval to a generous children’s playground and a beautiful lake filled with paddling ducks and geese. There is plenty of open space where children can run around, kick a ball, fly a kite or power a remote-control boat on the lake. A large deck area and picnic tables complete the picture.
201 E. 40th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99503
21. Hilltop Ski Area
The Hilltop Ski Area is a non-profit year round recreational area where you can enjoy a wide range of activities. The area started off as a playground for winter sport enthusiasts but, with the addition of a mountain bike trail, the area attracts active outdoor enthusiasts all year round. In the winter you will always find an enthusiastic group of skiers and snowboarders taking advantage of the facilities which include 5km of ski runs, a chair lift rope tow and platter lift. The facility offers group and private ski and snowboarding lessons and equipment rentals are available on site. In summer the mountain bike trail becomes the center of activity.
715 Abbot Rd, Anchorage, AK 99507, 907 346 1446
22. Beluga Point
If you are visiting Anchorage between mid-July and August, when the salmon are running in Cook Inlet, you should consider a visit to Beluga Point, where Beluga whales are often spotted. The rocky outcrop is located just 6.5km south of Anchorage, where it makes an ideal lookout spot for those who would like to do some land-based whale watching. There are interpretive signs to assist. If you are lucky enough to see a few of the 300 -375 all-white Beluga whales who frequent the area, you should also be on the lookout for the tell-tale black fins of orcas, who sometime pursue the Beluga whales in this area.
Mile-marker 110.5 Seward Hwy, Anchorage, AK 99540
23. Girdwood Brewing Company
© Girdwood Brewing Company
Girdwood Brewing Company is located in a picturesque spot which offers plenty of parking, indoor and outdoor tasting areas and a wonderful atmosphere. The outdoor Beer Garden, which has fire pits and plenty of seating, is the ideal place to enjoy fresh Alaskan air and a choice of local craft beers. The brewery produces 4 core brews along with a rotating selection of fresh beers on tap. Just a few of the choices available include a Kolsch, IPA, Neipa, Stout, Pilsner, Ale and Hard Seltzer. There is usually a food truck in attendance and many of the beers can be purchased for off-site consumption.
2700 Alveska Hwy, Girdwood, AK 99587, 907 783 2739
24. Eagle River Nature Center
© Eagle River Nature Center
Located within the Chugach State Park, the Eagle River Nature Center was established in the original Visitors Center by volunteers, in order to provide visitors with educational outdoor recreational opportunities. The center works tirelessly to promote sound environmental practices, assist in park improvement and generally improve visitors’ park experience. The center hosts a number of activities throughout the summer months and assists with the upkeep of the popular hiking trails which will lead you through some exceptionally beautiful areas. There are trails for all levels of hiking ability and you can expect to encounter pristine mountain views and plenty of opportunities to see Alaskan wildlife.
32750 Eagle River Rd, Eagle River, AK 99577, 907 694 2108
25. Crow Creek Gold Mine
© Crow Creek Gold Mine
When you visit the Crow Creek Gold Mine you can take a trip back in time to the pioneer days of Alaskan gold mining. The mine was originally established in 1896 and went on to become one of the country best-known hydraulic gold mining operations. Today visitors have a choice of activities at the mine. If you just want to nosey around at your own pace you can purchase a General Entrance ticket which entitles you to visit the historic buildings, see many antique pieces of mining equipment and enjoy the gardens and hiking trails. If you would prefer a more in-depth experience you can join a guided Historic Tour of the mine, followed by some gold panning.
601 Crow Creek Mine Road, Girdwood, AK 99587, 907 229 3105
The top attractions to visit in Anchorage, Alaska near me today according to local experts:
Attraction Spotlight: Alaska Native Heritage Center
In the busy city of Anchorage is the Alaska Native Heritage Center, which aims to showcase to its visitors about the diversity of cultures within the State. Opening in 1999, the center has grown to become a renowned premier cultural center and is home to 11 major different cultural groups and 22 dialects. The entire center is based around five major culture groups within Alaska and their geographic proximity and their cultural similarities. The center strives to preserve and share Native cultures through education, language, traditions, and celebration. Through the village and center visitors are able to have a personal understanding of the energetic and vibrant societies of Indigenous people in Alaska.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center has both indoor and outdoor components to the institution. Both sections of the center provide unique learning opportunities for visitors of all ages to participate and become enlightened about the different indigenous groups present in Alaska. Inside, visitors have a first hand experience while being able to engage in storytelling, artistic demonstrations, native game demonstrations and by watching tradition house dance groups during the week. Within the museum there are three main sections of the Gathering Place, the Hall of Cultures, and the Theatre.
The Gathering Place is an area for different Native dancing styles and songs to be showcased on a stage. Within the Hall of Cultures the exhibits demonstrate Native artists. Through crafts and viewing local indigenous visitors can learn more about the five major culture groups. After viewing arts museumgoers can go to the Theatre to watch a variety of films throughout the day to continue to learn more about the different cultures, climates, and landscape in Alaska. Outside of the center visitors have the unique experiences of being able to visit the authentic indigenous village beside Lake Tiulana that has six authentic life-sized building that is open for guests to explore the traditional ways of life of the different tribes of Alaska.
Some of these groups represented are the Athabascan, Inupiaq, Yup’ik, Aleut Alutiiq, Haida and Tsimshian peoples. Throughout traditional buildings are artifacts such as whalebones in the Inupiaq site, and culture representatives at each site to provide information about their cultures. All parts of the center work together to tell the story of the indigenous populations that reside in Alaska.
In the center there are many educational programs offered to help guests continue to learn about Native heritage. Through classes, lecture, workshops, guided tours, and youth educational events people of all ages are able to absorb knowledge about indigenous culture at the center. Some of these programs include The Urban Eskimo Language Revitalization Project, Alaska Native Artists, Cultural Workshops, and Guided Tours.
The Urban Eskimo Language Revitalization Project is dedicated to reviving the Native language through free lessons, and immersion camps for members of the community. In the Alaska Native Artists program, this is offered specifically for artists of indigenous background to learn more about pricing, marketing, and managing art in a business.
The Cultural Workshops are instructed by Native from Alaska from various regions of the State who are chosen for their perspectives and professions. Each of the workshops have different emphasizes and students of the class can be taught through a variety lectures, personal reflections, films, performances, games, and interviews. Daily there are four time shots visitors can attend to have a guided tour from someone of Native origin who takes the time to give people a more personal understanding of the center.
The Heritage Center offers a variety of events that are free to the public that encourage learning about the different cultural groups within the State. Some of these events include Multicultural Drumming and Dance, Iditarod Day, and the Indigenous World Film Festival. At the Multicultural Drumming and Dance is a cultural festivity of music and movement within Indigenous groups from Alaska. During Iditarod Day visitors can join the center in celebrating the Native spirit of the Iditard on March 4th.
To honor the spirit there will be a number of dance performances and the Alaska Native games will be taking place. The public will have the opportunity to partake in traditional storytelling, view short films and documentaries, while going on site village tours. The Indigenous World Film Festival is an open event that shows a variety of movies such as By the Rapids, Dark Horse, and Chloe and Theo that highlight Alaskan Indigenous culture. All of these events help connect visitors to Native heritage.
8800 I Dr, Heritage Center, AK 99504, Phone: 907-330-8000