Anchorage is the most populated city in Alaska. Because of this, there are plenty of activities to do in and around the Anchorage area. We mainly took advantage of the extensive amount of hiking trails around the city and would encourage you to do the same. Never have we visited somewhere where there are so many hikes close to the city that all have rewarding views. Also, Sam lived in Anchorage for 6 weeks while in graduate school, giving us a bit more local perspective of the area. We recommend spending at least 2 days here but you could easily spend upwards of a week here with all the different hiking and activities in the city. Here is our quick guide on Anchorage, Alaska.
FYI: This post was written based on a trip taken in mid August
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What to do in Anchorage
Hike one of the Many Trails
There are so many wonderful hiking trails in the greater Anchorage area and most have stunning mountain and water views. Here are some of our favorites that are within 1 hour of Anchorage.
Please see Top 5 Most Picturesque Alaska Hikes post for more details about each of these hikes.
- Flattop Mountain Trail in Chugach State Park (3.3 mile hike round trip, 1,430 feet of elevation gain)
- Alyeska North Face Trail in Girdwood (2.2 miles one-way, take tram down, 1,998 feet of elevation gain)
- Twin Peaks Trail at Eklutna Lake (5 miles roundtrip. 1,879 feet of elevation gain)
- April Bowl Pass in Hatcher Pass (2.2 miles round trip, 856 feet of elevation gain
Bird Ridge Trail in Chugach State Park
This hike is not featured in our top 5 hiking blog post because it is very difficult; however, if you are up for the challenge, the views are worth it. This 5 mile out and back (2.5 miles one-way) trail is very steep with approximately 3,400 feet of elevation gain in less than 2.5 miles. The panoramic views of the Chugach State Park and part of the Turnagain Arm at the summit are unparalleled. Approximately, the first ⅓ of the hike is wooded but the views are quite amazing once you emerge from the wooded area on the trail. You get these views even before reaching the summit.
Visit Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center specializes in wildlife conservation through caring for native Alaskan animals that were either injured or abandoned at a young age in the wild. These animals would not survive in the wild on their own and have a safe home at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Here, you can get up close to the native Alaskan wildlife safely, including Moose, Grizzly Bears and Black Bears. It was cool to get within 5 feet of these animals to look at the size of their hooves, paws, jaws, etc. We also liked seeing these animals in the wild but this gave us the unique opportunity to see them up close, something not done safely elsewhere. The center is also located at a beautiful spot off the Turnagain Arm and has some great water and mountain views.
What/Where to Eat in Anchorage
Glacier Brewing Company
We loved the fun woods-y atmosphere and delicious food here. The menu has a wide variety and there are plenty of fresh brews to choose from. We actually stopped here for a meal twice because we had a couple hours to spare before our flight home. You know it’s good when you eat there more than once on a short trip.
This cute small batch ice cream shop has delicious homemade ice cream. We split an order of the ‘Frozen Nachos’ and were not disappointed. It is also within walking distance from Glacier Brewing Company.
Turnagain Arm Pit BBQ
This restaurant is located right off the Turnagain Arm with a nice view of the water. It is the perfect spot to stop for a meal after hiking Bird Ridge. We enjoyed some fresh BBQ here, and it was nice to have some variety from the abundant, yet delicious, Alaskan seafood.
Where to Stay in Anchorage
Mountain Views Airbnb
This cute, exposed basement apartment abuts the Chugach State Park. The windows in the apartment make you feel like you are sleeping right in the woods. We loved the location of this Airbnb too as it was within 5 minutes of the Flattop Mountain Trailhead.
We hope this post helps you plan your trip to Anchorage. Anything else you’d add to our Anchorage, Alaska guide? We’d love to hear your feedback or questions. Please leave us a comment. For more Alaska information, please see Alaska Road Trip: The Perfect Guide.
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