If you’re looking for the best things to do in Downtown Anchorage, Alaska and the surrounding areas, you’ve come to the right place!
In this blog post, we’ll be showcasing the 15 best activities and attractions that you can enjoy in this stunning city. From hiking and fishing to visiting museums and taking scenic tours, there’s something for everyone downtown.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today with our list of recommendations!
1. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in Anchorage, Alaska is one of four green belt trails that crisscross the city. This 11-mile-long path links Kincaid Park with 2nd Avenue near Cook Inlet and provides stunning views along its way—especially when you’re able to enjoy the crashing waves along the shore or watch cargo ships steam into port!
You can pick up any segment of this trail for a beautiful bike ride or even take a walking tour at different points throughout town. In addition, there are plenty of bikes available to rent nearby thanks to the convenience of Downtown Bicycle Rental. Whether hiking or biking it, this breathtaking trail is easy enough even for beginners.
2. Anchorage Museum
The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center is a great place to start your Alaskan historical adventure. Here, you can learn about the rich history of Alaska from objects on loan by The Smithsonian Institution that brings different indigenous cultures into focus, including those of the native people who lived through subzero temperatures and fought in battles against each other, way before European settlers came along.
Plus, if you want your kids to enjoy a hands-on learning experience during your stay here, the Anchorage Museum is one of the best places to preoccupy their young minds!
3. Oscar Anderson House Museum
What was it like for a family living in Anchorage in 1915? The Oscar Anderson House Museum is the perfect way to find out. Located at 5th Avenue and M Street, inside the beautiful Elderberry Park, you can explore life as an early resident of Alaska’s largest city through restored furnishings from this historic period home!
4. The Fur Rondy
The Anchorage Fur Rendezvous, also known as The Fur Rondy Festival, has been going strong since 1935, and it’s not your average festival! In fact, this is Alaska’s oldest and largest winter festival.
Each year in late February or early March, The Fur Rondy brings out a plethora of fun things to do and plenty to see, such as shopping at their native arts market, snowshoe softball games (that you can actually play), and even reindeer racing. Here, you’ll also be able to take part in dog mushing events like the “running of the reindeer.”
5. Alaska Railroad Depot
A trip on the Alaska Railroad is an unforgettable experience. On this train, you’ll ride through some of America’s most scenic landscapes, passing by incredible mountain ranges and extraordinary views that will take your breath away every time!
During the summer months, you can choose from the two daily routes: southern between Seward and Anchorage and northern between Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali, and Fairbanks. You can also choose between the basic Adventure class and the upscale GoldStar Class for your ride.
6. Anchorage Log Cabin Visitor Information Center
Located on the corner of F Street and West Fourth Avenue, we recommend that you check out the visitor center when you first arrive to downtown Anchorage. This is your best pitstop for maps, brochures, tour guides, and more.
Plus, you can grab a free postcard here and ask the friendly staff about sightseeing recommendations. You can even book a few excursions here, like Anchorage trolley tours!
7. Alaska Public Lands Information Center
Likewise, just across from the Log Cabin Visitor’s Center, the Alaska Public Lands Information Center is a popular spot for tourists. Here, you’ll find a variety of educational programs, events, family activities, interactive displays, and short films on Alaska’s national parks, wild animals, and culture.
Also, you can get more information here about how to explore Alaskan wildlife in your own time. We especially recommend making a stop here if you’re interested in taking scenic drives, as the staff here can let you know the most current best spots for wildlife viewing.
8. Town Square Park
Whether you’re in the mood for a picnic or just looking to take it easy on a pleasant stroll, there are plenty of spots around downtown Anchorage, Alaska that will leave your heart warm. For instance, the beautiful park right off 5th Avenue called Town Square Park is a lovely place to visit when you want to relax.
Located in the heart of downtown Anchorage, this park has an ice-skating rink during winter months that’s lit with stunning trees decorated with lights so bright, they can be seen from blocks away! Plus, it has an amphitheater built in the center of the park for outdoor concerts in the warmer months.
9. Flattop Mountain
While not technically downtown, this must-see peak is located just 15 miles from downtown Anchorage and is too beautiful to not include on our list! It takes about 2.5 hours on average to complete the entire 3.3-mile loop trail on Flattop Mountain, but the incredible panoramic views you’ll get to take in making it absolutely worth the trek. At the peak, you’ll get to experience breathtaking views 3,500 feet above sea level!
10. Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
The Iditarod Trail, now a National Historic Trail, had its beginnings as an intrepid mail and supply route from coastal towns to mining camps, as well as beyond the west coast communities. The long-distance race that takes place on this trail every year is not only historic, but it also aims to save the sled dog culture as well as the Alaskan huskies.
If you’re visiting Anchorage in March, you’re in for a treat because Downtown Anchorage is the starting point of the race. Just witnessing this race is a good reason to make the trip here!
11. The Alaska Zoo & Imaginarium Discovery Center
Located just 15 minutes from downtown Anchorage is The Alaska Zoo, where you can experience Arctic wildlife and find the widest variety of animals native to the state of Alaska. This famous zoo is open from 10 am to 5 pm every day and houses an array of beautiful species including moose, caribou, wolves, musk oxen, and several different types of bears, among other animals.
On the zoo grounds, you can also find the Imaginarium Discovery Center, which is the best place to learn all about the creatures that call Southeast Alaska home. From big sea stars like the sunflower, which can move at speeds up to 10 feet per minute; to tiny phytoplankton with 9000 legs, there’s plenty to learn about that will satisfy your curiosity in this hands-on experience!
The Discovery Center offers over 80 science exhibits, including many interactive displays that will keep yourself as well as your kids entertained for hours on end.
12. The Ulu Factory
You don’t have to be a chef to enjoy a trip to the Ulu Factory!
Ulu knives are used in many different cultures around the world to fillet salmon and trout. The old-fashioned ones were typically made from slate or bone, but today’s versions usually sport stainless steel handles with hardwood grip panels for maximum control while easily slicing through fish!
You can find these high-quality utensils at the local factory near Ship Creek where they’re handmade by skilled craftsmen who follow an age-old tradition.
13. Resolution Park and Captain Cook Monument
Take in the same gorgeous views that Captain Cook and his crew experienced at this park. The bronze monument in this park features an image of him standing on a large wooden deck. He’s depicted looking out over sea toward where his ship was when he explored Cook Inlet back in 1778 while aboard the HMS Resolution—never actually reaching Anchorage, but happy enough with two weeks’ worth of exploration in Alaska before leaving again!
Whether or not you’re interested in the history of Captain Cook, this is a great spot to just unwind and empty your mind while enjoying the captivating views Anchorage offers.
14. Williwaw Nature Trail
Another great place to spend your Downtown Anchorage day trip is to hike the Williwaw Nature Trail. After all, this trail offers the perfect spot to view spawning salmon in the fall. Aside from the usual wildlife viewing, you can also take the opportunity to get Insta-worthy photos in front of the beautiful 30-foot bridge here!
The best part about this location is that it’s wheelchair accessible, so it can be enjoyed by everyone in your group!
15. Anchorage Symphony Orchestra
The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra has been a symbol of musical excellence in this city for over 70 years. Plus, this organization is so committed to its craft that they have influenced what it means to be an accomplished musician and dancer, not only locally but also across the entire United States!
Downtown Anchorage is a vibrant and eclectic district that offers something for everyone.
Plus, if you’re a lawyer, did you know that you can complete your CLE requirements while on an exciting vacation in Anchorage, Alaska?
You can do this thanks to the eduvacation℠ of Destination CLEs!
Whether you’re looking to explore the art scene here, take in some history, or enjoy a day outdoors, you can find it all in downtown Anchorage.
If you’re looking for more recommendations on what to do in this amazing city, be sure to check out our related content here at Destination CLEs.
Have you visited Downtown Anchorage before? If so, tell us your favorite parts in the comments below!
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