Visit Anchorage, Alaska

Visit Anchorage Alaska

Welcome to our article about why you should visit Anchorage, Alaska. This destination promises adventure, natural beauty, and unforgettable experiences. If you’re seeking a thrilling and serene getaway, look no further than Anchorage. This city has everything from towering mountains to pristine glaciers and many foodie options.

Join us as we explore the wonders that make Anchorage a must-visit destination for travelers of all ages. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or simply craving a unique escape, Alaska offers something for everyone. So, pack your bags and prepare for an unforgettable journey in the Last Frontier!

Anchorage Wildlife Conservation Center

Alaska’s summer months, from May to September, are the ideal times to visit the Anchorage Wildlife Conservation Center. Because the animals are more visible and active during the warmer months, this is the best time to observe them out and about. The center is open for extended hours during these months compared to the winter.

Of course, the highlight of any visit to the center is the animals. You can expect to encounter grizzly bears, black bears, moose, caribou, muskox, and more. The center serves as a haven for these creatures. Many of them were injured, orphaned, or in need of a safe environment due to various circumstances. They weren’t captured just to be put on display.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game or local wildlife authorities bring many animals to the center when they cannot survive in the wild. The center’s staff provides care, medical attention, and a safe environment. Some are released back into the wild when they have recovered, while others remain at the center due to injuries or other reasons that make it unsafe for them to return to their natural habitat.

As you explore the center, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about each species, their behaviors, and the importance of preserving Alaska’s rich wildlife heritage. The animals’ enclosures are designed to mimic their natural habitats as closely as possible, offering you a unique chance to witness these incredible creatures in a setting that prioritizes their well-being.

Visit Anchorage Alaska
Our family at the Conservation Center

Is the Conservation Center Like a Zoo?

This wildlife viewing area isn’t a zoo-like setting, as the Conservation really does try to give the animals a natural home. The only animals that made me sad were a fat squirrel and the porcupines. Their enclosures were much too small, so the animals paced back and forth like zoo animals. I hate seeing that!

In a world where wildlife preservation is paramount, the Anchorage Wildlife Conservation Center symbolizes dedication and care for Alaska’s majestic animals. Visiting this center not only offers a remarkable experience with some of Alaska’s most incredible residents but also allows you to support the critical work of conservationists in safeguarding the state’s diverse and extraordinary wildlife.

Steve tries to get the perfect shot!

Remember to stop in their gift shop! We don’t generally buy much more than stickers and postcards, but this is actually a pretty good shop. Outside, we stopped for a very expensive but tasty reindeer hot dog. You could also get cup ramen, mac and cheese, chicken strips, and other quick foods. But they’re all expensive, so there’s that.

From the Conservation Center, we drove through the tunnel to Whittier. Exploring that city and seeing the animals made for a full day. These were two of my favorite side trips in our visit to Anchorage.

Kincaid Park: Go Here When You Visit Anchorage!

Kincaid Park is a sprawling urban park on the western edge of Anchorage, and it’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With over 1,400 acres of forested land, it offers an extensive network of trails, a scenic coastal area along the Cook Inlet, and a chance to spot wildlife in its natural habitat.

It’s a perfect spot for hiking, cycling, skiing, or simply taking a leisurely walk while enjoying the stunning Alaskan landscapes. Years ago, when Steve and I looked at things to visit in Anchorage, Alaska, we saw our first moose in the park. I remember being stunned at how huge the mama and her calf were. They walked past a stop sign, and the mama moose was taller than it! Her neck was at the top of the sign.

It was about that time when a local runner yelled at us to get the heck away so we didn’t get trampled. Apparently, we were much closer than we should have been for safety. Fast-forward to this past summer, when our daughter and son-in-law took me back to this same park. We saw another moose, but this time, my grandson yelled at me to get back. He also thought I was much too close for safety!

If you visit Anchorage, definitely make time for Kincaid Park. We very much enjoyed hiking around and exploring. Just watch out for the bicycle riders whizzing by. I thought they were more of a safety hazard than the wildlife!

Moose Sighting at Kincaid Park

Flattop Mountain Trail

This popular hiking trail in Anchorage offers both locals and visitors a fantastic opportunity to explore the Chugach State Park and witness breathtaking panoramic views of Anchorage, the Cook Inlet, and the surrounding mountainous terrain.

While steep in parts, the trail is well-maintained and accessible, making it suitable for hikers of various skill levels. It’s an excellent option for those looking for an outdoor adventure without venturing too far from the city. Reaching the summit of Flattop Mountain is a rewarding experience, and it’s a popular spot for watching the Northern Lights during the winter months.

About fifteen years ago, Steve and I hiked Flattop in mid-September. We arrived in Anchorage a week after the last cruise ships left, so we had the town to ourselves! One morning, we awoke early and hiked to the top of Flattop Mountain with only a few other people, probably locals. It was crisp and clear, so we had great views. We only needed light jackets at the start of the hike, but we were wearing them around our waists by the time we hit the summit!

Alaska Aviation Museum

The Alaska Aviation Museum is a must-visit for aviation enthusiasts and history buffs. This museum provides an extensive collection of aircraft, artifacts, and stories that trace the history of aviation in Alaska. You can explore vintage planes and learn about the role of aviation in connecting this vast state. Honestly, I’m not much of an airplane buff, but our son-in-law is career Air Force, and he wanted to go. Then, I was surprised by how much I loved it once we got there.

There’s quite an Alaska Airlines memorabilia collection, which makes sense when you realize that’s where the company started. We also got to walk through a giant Boeing 737-200, which was pretty cool. Most of the seats were gone, but our grandson and his buddy enjoyed being the pilots! The museum does a great job of making kid-friendly exhibits, so even young kids have something to do.

My favorite part of the museum was going into Seybert Tower to watch seaplanes taking off from Lake Hood. Speakers will let you hear a live radio feed from the Lake Hood tower. That made it seem like you were on an active flight deck. We stayed up there for quite a while, and even the kids enjoyed watching the seaplanes landing and taking off.

Visit Anchorage Alaska
Our grandson checking out the exhibits

Alaska Native Heritage Center

Located in Anchorage, the Alaska Native Heritage Center is a cultural institution that celebrates the rich heritage, traditions, and cultures of Alaska’s indigenous people. Visitors can explore traditional Native dwellings, enjoy captivating performances, and engage with local artisans to better understand Alaska’s diverse indigenous communities.

The center provides an immersive and educational experience that showcases the history and ongoing contributions of Alaska’s Native peoples. It is centered in the traditional territory of the Native Village of Eklutna, a Dena’ina Athabascan tribe.

The Heritage Center is great to visit, but it also has many programs to empower Alaska Native youth. Summer internships provide employment while also enriching cultural heritages. Young people learn from Master Artists. Other programs include opportunities for youth to travel around the state to share their cultures, strengthen their connection to their cultural heritage, and network with other Alaska Native Youth.

Foodies Visit Anchorage, Alaska

You’ll find great food options in Anchorage. It’s hard to narrow down, but here are our top three favorites.

49th State Brewing Company

If you’re a fan of craft beer and good food, stop at the 49th State Brewery. This brewery offers a range of locally brewed beers and a menu that features a mix of Alaskan and international cuisines. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors alike to relax and savor excellent food and beverages.

We like sitting outside on sunny days and drinking one of their cold beers. People-watching with great views and tasty beer is a must for your Alaska vacation.

If you have a car or camper rental from Anchorage, head up to 49th State Brewing in Healy, Alaska. That’s where the movie bus from Into the Wild resides. The real one is on Fairbanks University property, but the bus from the movie set is much more accessible. We walked through it and read about the wilderness experience and the filming.

Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria

If you’re looking for a delicious meal in Anchorage, consider dining at Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria. Known for its mouthwatering pizza and extensive beer selection, this popular restaurant serves a variety of tempting dishes in a lively atmosphere. It’s a favorite among locals and travelers alike.

I’m proud to say that we raised introverts like ourselves, so when our daughter asked if takeout was okay, we both rejoiced! We each chose our small pizza from their vast menu, and some of us had leftovers the next day while others did not!

I chose The Popeye, and it was delicious. I’d definitely have it again! Steve got the Carnivore and loved it, too. Although I can’t remember what our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson ordered, I do remember that they were not the ones with leftovers! Haha.

Moose’s Tooth is a local favorite, and Steve and I have fond memories of visiting in person during our first visit to Anchorage years ago. But the takeaway is pretty awesome, too!

Kami Ramen: Great Food When You Visit Anchorage

You might not think of ramen when you think of Alaska since seafood is at the top of many lists. But our daughter and family took us to Kami Ramen, and we actually liked it enough to go there for a second time. I had the Shoyu on one visit and Tonkatsu on the second stop. Both were flavorful and tasty.

Steve had chicken katsu with house curry sauce and gave it a 7 out of 10 points. I’d say that’s pretty good since he’s spent so much time in Japan during his career. He loves Coco Ichibanya, which we visit whenever we come across one of their restaurants. He was delighted that one of our hotels in Hanoi was directly across the street from his favorite restaurant. But back to visiting Anchorage!

Kami Ramen was an excellent find for us through our daughter’s family. I think they eat there regularly and I recommend it when you’re in town.

Kami Ramen: It’s all good!

Shopping: Grizzly’s Gifts

Grizzly’s Gifts is a boutique shop in downtown Anchorage that sells unique souvenirs and Alaskan gifts. It offers an assortment of handcrafted Alaskan goods, from jewelry and clothing to artwork and native crafts. You’ll find something special to remember your trip by, and it’s a great way to support local artisans.

Our daughter suggested we do the bulk of our souvenir shopping here. She’s been to all the shops around town and finds Grizzly’s to have the best selection and prices. We think she’s right.

Of course, if you want gold or furs, there are numerous shops within walking distance of Grizzly’s. So, no matter your shopping budget, you’ll find something to take home from your Anchorage, Alaska, visit.

Other Things To Do When You Visit Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage is also home to several other attractions and activities for tourists, including:

  • Anchorage Museum
  • Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
  • Anchorage Botanical Garden
  • H2Oasis Indoor Water Park
  • Ship Creek

Anchorage’s unique blend of urban amenities and natural splendor makes it an exceptional destination for travelers, providing a wealth of experiences highlighting the allure of Alaska’s largest city and the surrounding wilderness.

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