Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, offers a variety of fun things to see and do throughout the year. In addition to outdoor recreation and scenic touring, you can enjoy great museums, a botanical garden, and the Alaska Zoo.
Here are my recommendations for fun things to do in Anchorage.
The amazing Anchorage Museum at Rasmussen Center offers exhibits covering the state's art, history, and science. Visitors can view contemporary and traditional art, learn about the state's history and native peoples, and participate in a variety of hands-on, interactive exhibits. The Anchorage Museum's Chugach Gallery allows you to rest and enjoy fabulous mountain views. Museum amenities include a cafe, gift shop, and guided tours. The Imaginarium Science Discovery Center moved into the Anchorage Museum in 2010. Highly recommended.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is the place to learn about Alaska's indigenous people. Exhibits feature traditional art and artifacts, the impact of Alaska statehood, and contemporary art and issues. Outdoor exhibits recreate the traditional structures of native Alaskans, including the Tlingit, Athabascans, Inupiaq, and Yup'ik. Be sure to take in one or more of the presentations offered at The Gathering Place, the Center's indoor amphitheater. The Alaska Native Heritage Center also offers classes, workshops, and special events.
Located just south of Anchorage in Girdwood, the Alyeska Ski Resort provides year-round outdoor recreation and activities. The Alyeska Aerial Tram will take you to their facility at the top of the mountain, where you can enjoy great views, hiking, paragliding, or snow skiing, depending on the time of year. Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and dog-sledding are other winter recreation opportunities available at Alyeska Resort. Whether you're an overnight guest of the resort a just a day visitor, you can also enjoy Alyeska's full-service spa, gift and gear shops, and fine or casual dining.
Sightseeing Tours and Cruises from AnchorageThere are many Alaska tours and cruises available out of Anchorage, focusing on everything from wildlife viewing and fishing adventures to whale watching or glacier sightseeing. Some of the more popular and established tour companies include:
- Alaska Railroad Scenic Rail Tours
- Gray Line of Alaska
- Kenai Fjords Tours
- Major Marine Tours
- Phillips Cruises and Tours
No doubt you'll see lots of wildlife during your Alaska adventure, but if you want to make sure you get an up close view, be sure to visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. The facility takes in injured and orphaned animals. Those that can't return to the wild become permanent residents at the center. Moose, grizzly bears, musk ox, wood bison, black bears, and a bald eagle are just some of the creatures you'll have to opportunity to see and learn about. Located an hour's drive southeast of Anchorage off of Highway 1, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center also offers a very nice gift shop.