Why You Should Visit Anchorage, Alaska, This Summer

Credit: JodyO.Photos

Far more than just a wildlife haven and outdoor fanatics’ playground, Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, provides an insight into urban culture ensconced by rugged nature. Mild temperatures ranging from 55 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit during June through August spur ideal conditions for hiking the peaks of Chugach State Park, exploring Anchorage’s downtown waterfront shops, restaurants, and art galleries, plus enjoying music festivals that stretch into the long, sunlit summer nights. Read on for ten compelling reasons to book your next summer vacation in Anchorage.

Credit: John Feng

Flying to Anchorage Is Easier Than Ever

Earn those airline miles with Alaska Airlines launching seasonal nonstop flights from Anchorage to San Diego starting May 18 and from New York (JFK) beginning June 13. United Airlines will offer nonstop service from Washington, D.C., beginning May 23, while Delta will resume direct flights from Detroit on June 7. 

Credit: Wayde Carroll

Downtown Anchorage Welcomes Back Outdoor Markets

Alaska’s leading outdoor market, Anchorage Market, returns to downtown on May 11, showcasing the work of local artisans, including art, photography, apparel, fresh produce, exotic goods, and local souvenirs.

Credit: Mike Thomas

Interactive Exhibits Debut at the Anchorage Museum

The Anchorage Museum introduces new immersive art exhibits centered around the environment. “Arabidopsis Symphony” presents an augmented reality experience using data from Arabidopsis thaliana plants in Europe to illustrate the impact of environmental changes on their growth. Meanwhile, the “Trailing” project features an interactive sculpture consisting of thousands of fiber-optic cables that glow as visitors pass through them, replicating natural light phenomena such as plankton and the aurora borealis.

Credit: JodyO.Photos

Stunning Hiking Trails for Miles on End

Chugach State Park boasts scenic trails like Byron Glacier, Winner Creek Trail, and Flattop Mountain, offering jaw-dropping scenery. While some routes have invigorating inclines, the effort is all worthwhile, and there are options for every ability.

Credit: Ralph Kristopher

Flightseeing Allows for Breathtaking Nature Views

Flightseeing tours departing from Anchorage year-round offer breathtaking views of stunning landscapes. Take in spectacular sights with Alaska Helicopter Tours, which land you on glaciers and provide stunning vistas of waterfalls, or fly with Rust’s Flying Service on a floatplane adventure to see Denali’s 20,310-foot summit and the nearby Chugach Mountains, known for their impressive glaciers and abundant wildlife.

Credit: Ralph Kristopher

Experience Unique Dog Sledding Tours in the Summer

While dog sledding is typically associated with winter, it transitions seamlessly to summer by moving to different terrain. During the summer, many dog sled teams set up camp on nearby glaciers, offering visitors the chance to experience a snow day in mild weather.

Credit: Carl Johnson

Railroad Tours Best Highlight Alaska’s Natural Landscape

A nostalgic journey awaits with the Alaska Railroad, offering day trips or multi-day adventures. The railroad’s schedule aligns with some of Alaska’s top glacier hikes, treks, and cruises, with routes available from Anchorage to Fairbanks, Denali, Seward, and more. For a glimpse of railroad life, consider the Grandview Valley Day Trip—it might be just what you’re looking for.

Credit: Dylan Vehrs

Music Festival Season Kicks Off in the Summer

In Anchorage, the extended 21+ hours of daylight around June’s summer solstice offer plenty of time to enjoy live outdoor music late into the evening. Sundown Alaska Music & Arts Festival, the largest multi-day festival, runs from June 7 through 9, featuring artists like Portugal. The Man, Diplo, and Loud Luxury. Opt for single-day passes or the 3-day package to have the whole experience.

Credit: Wayde Carroll

The Annual Fishing Derby Invites Both Fisherman and Spectators

Bring your fishing rod, slip on your waders, and head to Ship Creek to participate in Anchorage’s annual Slam’n Salm’n Derby. This 10-day fishing extravaganza raises funds for various Alaskan nonprofits, and if you’re not so much a fisherman, then visit The Bridge Co. to watch others catch their dinner while you savor yours.

Credit: Ashley Heimbigner

Indigenous Projects Shine Light on Alaska’s Native Cultures

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Alaska Native Heritage Center reopens after an extensive renovation, offering upgraded facilities to continue sharing traditions, stories, and values of Alaska Native peoples. The Indigenous Place Names Project also highlights the Dena’ina language and culture through art installations, including place name signs in 32 locations across Anchorage and the Native Village of Eklutna. The latest installment is Point Woronzof, or “Nuch’ishtunt,” meaning “place protected from the wind” in Dena’ina.

In partnership with Visit Anchorage

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