The 10 Best Things to Do in Anchorage

The 10 Best Things to Do in Anchorage
Credit: JodyO.Photos

Anchorage offers endless opportunities for Alaska adventures. With so much to do and see, we’ve compiled a list of the ten best excursions to experience during your trip to Anchorage.

Credit: Teri Hendricks

Observe Alaska’s Abundant Wildlife

If you’re eager to see Alaska’s diverse wildlife, head to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where one can comfortably overlook black and brown bears from the “Bears Boardwalk” vantage point. For a more controlled environment, the Alaska Zoo offers the opportunity to safely observe these species along with polar bears—Alaska is the only state in the U.S. to host all three bear species. As you take in Anchorage’s scenic beauty, be sure to watch for native moose in their natural habitat.

Embark on a Railroad Expedition

The Alaska Railroad, one of the most important rail systems in the U.S., played a crucial role in Anchorage’s development and connected vast areas of Alaska. In fact, Anchorage is still the starting point for rail travel in Alaska, with trains departing daily in the summer for Seward, Prince William Sound, Denali, Talkeetna, and Fairbanks. 

Credit: Nicole Geils

Go Dog Sledding

Did you really visit Alaska if you didn’t go dog sledding? Although the state sport may be considered more of a winter pursuit, mushers welcome visitors to their kennels year-round. You can choose from various tour operators, such as Alaska Husky Adventures, offering rides with Alaskan huskies on private trails with Denali views, and Alpine Air Alaska, providing helicopter flights to Punchbowl Glacier for summer dog sledding on snow.

Credit: Wayde Carroll

Taste the Local Fare

Anchorage’s culinary scene highlights Alaska’s finest, offering seafood delights like king crab, halibut, and wild-caught salmon at both fine dining and casual establishments, including Crush Bistro & Bottle Shops or Midnight Sun Brewing Co. Don’t miss trying a local favorite, reindeer sausage, available in the summer from downtown food stands such as Red Umbrella Reindeer.

Credit: Jack Bonney

Witness Spirit Houses in Eklutna Historical Park

Anchorage’s rich human history, spanning over 10,000 years, can be challenging to grasp. However, visiting places like Eklutna Historical Park, just a 30-minute drive from downtown, allows you to explore the region’s oldest continuously inhabited Athabascan settlement and Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, the oldest standing building in the greater Anchorage area.

Credit: JodyO.Photos

Book a Flightseeing Excursion

Aviation has been essential for rural Alaska, and a flightseeing tour offers one of the best ways to take in the state’s vast wilderness. With a shuttle service from downtown Anchorage, Alpine Air Alaska lets you soar over remote areas in North America’s largest glacier region. Only a helicopter can provide the exhilarating experience of landing on a glacier near a crystal-blue pool in the Chugach Mountains.

Credit: JodyO.Photos

View the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights, a bucket list experience for many, illuminate and dance across the sky from late August through April in Anchorage. Alaska Photo Treks offers trips from 4-hour tours to multi-day excursions, allowing you to capture the Aurora Borealis with professional help from Alaskan photography instructors. For those who simply want to take in the awe-inspiring Northern Lights dancing through the sky, Greatland Adventures guides you to the best spots for viewing.

Credit: Ralph Kristopher Photos

Visit Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park, along with the scenic Chugach Mountains that shape Anchorage’s striking skyline, offers some of the most accessible outdoor adventures in the state, with hiking trails just a 30-minute drive from downtown. Conquer the iconic three-mile Flattop Mountain hike, Alaska’s most famous peak known for its flat summit, or rent a kayak to paddle on Eklutna Lake. Whatever you choose, outdoor adventure awaits.

Credit: Kathleen Bonnar

Learn More About Alaska’s Rich Native History

For an introduction to Alaska’s Indigenous cultures, start with a tour of the newly renovated Alaska Native Heritage Center. Anchorage also features a variety of artworks highlighting its Native history, including culturally significant sculptures like the Grandma Olga installation. Crafted by Dena’ina artist Joel Isaak, this bronze piece honors the Native Village of Eklutna’s deep history and ties to the land.

Credit: JodyO.Photos

Enjoy the Midnight Sun

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to experience a day that never ends? In Anchorage, you can see for yourself. From March 20 to September 22, Anchorage enjoys more daylight than anywhere else in the U.S. The city gains five minutes of daylight each day until the summer solstice, allowing for late evening outdoor activities in peak summer.

In partnership with Visit Anchorage

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