24 Best Things to Do in Anchorage, Alaska | 2024 (with Photos)

Ata Ahmadi

Ata Ahmadi - Travel Writer

Published: July 26, 2023

Hey there! I'm Ata, a travel enthusiast who has explored the breathtaking city of Anchorage, Alaska. Delve into this guide, based on my personal experiences, to discover the top attractions and activities Anchorage has to offer. Enjoy your trip to the fullest by planning ahead, and have an unforgettable time in this remarkable city!

Anchorage, Alaska

You're in for a treat if you're thinking of taking a trip to Anchorage, Alaska. Anchorage has a wide variety of fun things to do because of its stunning natural beauty and energetic city life.

There is something for everyone in this diverse and dynamic city, whether it's strolling through Downtown Anchorage, taking in the rich cultural legacy at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, or getting up close and personal with wildlife at the Alaska Zoo.

There are many entertaining things to do in Anchorage, whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, a history nerd, or a wildlife enthusiast.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Chugach State Park

Top Choice Hotel

The Hotel Captain Cook

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Snow City Cafe

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Bernie's Bungalow Lounge

Best Time to Visit

Summer for outdoor activities, winter to see Northern Lights.

Average Temperature

Cold climate with temperatures around freezing or below.

Transportation Options

Car rentals, taxis, buses, bikes, walking, rideshares, trains, ferries.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

Anchorage, nestled in the heart of the stunning United States of America, offers an unforgettable experience for adventurers seeking a blend of urban charm and natural wonders. Spend your days exploring the vibrant city center, lined with cozy cafes and quaint boutiques, while in the evenings, immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of the surrounding landscapes, offering endless opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and wildlife spotting.

Get ready to embrace the unique Alaskan spirit as you indulge in mouthwatering seafood at local seafood shacks and delve into captivating stories about the indigenous cultures at the Anchorage Museum. Don't miss the chance to embark on an extraordinary journey along the scenic Coastal Trail, boasting breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains and the sparkling waters of the Cook Inlet. With its perfect blend of urban sophistication and untamed wilderness, Anchorage promises an intimate and personalized travel experience that will leave you spellbound.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Warm clothing: Due to its cold climate, it is essential to bring layers of warm clothing such as jackets, sweaters, hats, scarves, and gloves.

  2. Outdoor gear: Anchorage offers a wide range of outdoor activities, so it's a good idea to pack hiking boots, waterproof shoes, a backpack, a water bottle, and other necessary outdoor equipment.

  3. Camera: Anchorage is known for its breathtaking landscapes and wildlife, so bringing a camera will allow you to capture the unique sights and experiences.

  4. Travel adapters: If you are traveling from outside the United States, remember to bring the appropriate travel adapters for your electronic devices.

  5. Insect repellent: If you plan on spending time outdoors, especially during summer, consider bringing insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquitoes and other insects.

  6. Maps and guidebooks: Having maps and guidebooks can be helpful to navigate the city and plan your activities.

  7. Personal toiletries: Don't forget to pack your personal toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and any other essentials you may need.

  8. Travel documents: Remember to bring your passport, travel insurance, ID cards, and any other necessary travel documents.

  9. Medications: If you take any regular medications, ensure you have enough supply for the duration of your trip.

  10. Snacks: It's always a good idea to have some snacks handy during your travels to keep you energized, especially if you're going on outdoor excursions.

What Not to Miss

  1. Anchorage Museum
  2. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
  3. Alaska Native Heritage Center
  4. Chugach State Park
  5. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
  6. Flattop Mountain Trail
  7. Anchorage Market and Festival
  8. Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary
  9. Downtown Anchorage
  10. Earthquake Park

What to Avoid

  1. High Crime Areas
  2. Walking alone at night in unfamiliar areas
  3. Leaving valuable belongings unattended
  4. Overpacking and carrying excessive luggage
  5. Ignoring local customs and traditions
  6. Being disrespectful to wildlife and nature
  7. Venturing off marked trails or into restricted areas
  8. Engaging in illegal or prohibited activities
  9. Overindulging in alcohol or substances
  10. Exposing sensitive personal information or documents.

1. Alaska Native Heritage Center

Alaska Native Heritage Center

The Alaska Native Heritage Center, which is roughly 10 miles outside Downtown Anchorage, is a cultural gem that chronicles the rich history of 11 indigenous cultures in Alaska.

Through interesting displays, performances, and demonstrations, this Alaska center provides a special opportunity to learn about Alaska's Native peoples, their traditions, customs, history, and Alaska art.

A visit to this cultural treasure can be combined with breathtaking outdoor experiences thanks to the center's convenient location just a 20-minute drive from the scenic Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.

As a result, it is a must-visit location for anyone looking to better understand Alaska's rich cultural heritage.

2. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, which borders the scenic Chugach Mountains on the north, presents a rare chance to observe local animals up close.

At this Alaska center, visitors may view and learn about Alaska's iconic wildlife in their natural habitats, including mighty brown bears, caribou, moose, and more.

After that, a visit to the Alaska Zoo provides more chances to see wildlife. After wildlife encounters and cultural activities at Alaska Zoo, end the trip by visiting the Anchorage Market or local restaurants in the city center where you can indulge in the regional cuisine.

3. Alaska Railroad

Alaska Railroad

Take the Alaska Railroad on an incredible adventure through the Alaska range. Awe-inspiring views of spectacular peaks, pure wilderness, and an abundance of animals may be seen from the railroad's mainline as it travels past the Denali National Park and Anchorage Museum.

The Alaska Railway, which departs at the southern part of the Kenai Peninsula, offers a distinctive and elegant way to experience Alaska's natural grandeur, giving passengers a close-up view of some of the planet's most breathtaking vistas.

The Alaska Railroad gives travelers looking for a real Alaskan adventure a truly memorable experience from a trip on the Alaska Railroad.

4. Eagle River Nature Center

Eagle River Nature Center

A must-see location is the Eagle River Nature Center in Downtown Anchorage. This nature center provides possibilities for hiking, birdwatching, and learning about the local flora and fauna.

The Eagle River Nature Center is only a few kilometers from the famed Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and you can view the northern lights from the Eagle River Nature Center at night.

You can arrange a day trip to see the spectacular coastal environment and possibly observe beluga whales in the waters.

The Eagle River Nature Center, conveniently situated not far from the city center, is the ideal refuge for those looking to fully appreciate Alaska's natural beauty.

5. Alaska Aviation Museum

Alaska Aviation Museum

The Alaska Aviation Museum provides a distinctive look into the state's rich aviation history and is situated in the magnificent Lake Hood area.

You can easily combine your museum visit with outdoor excursions, such as hiking trails, skiing, or wildlife watching, because of the museum's proximity to the beautiful Chugach National Forest and the majestic mountain slopes of the Chugach Mountains, where you can go mountain biking.

For those who enjoy aviation as well as the outdoors, the Alaska Aviation Museum is a must-visit location. 

It offers the ideal fusion of natural beauty, culture, and history, making it one of the best things to do in Anchorage.

6. Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge

Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge

For those who enjoy the great outdoors, the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge, which stretches from Kincaid Park to Potter Creek, is a haven.

This refuge presents a special chance to discover Alaska's coastal wilderness and is only a short drive from the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and the Alaska Native Heritage Center.

For visitors looking to take in the natural beauty of Alaska's coastline, the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge is a must-visit location thanks to its hiking trails and diverse wildlife, such as eagles, moose, and bears.

7. Kincaid Park

Kincaid Park

Kincaid Park boasts some of the most popular hiking trails in Anchorage and provides a variety of leisure options, such as biking, hiking, and animal viewing. There are also sand dunes to explore.

From Kincaid Park, you can see the shores of Cook Inlet and the magnificent views of Fire Island.

Due to its long history as a former section of the Chugach National Forest, the park is also renowned for its rich heritage.

Additionally, Kincaid Park and Downtown Anchorage are connected by the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, which offers outdoor lovers a gorgeous route to discover this pristine natural area's splendor.

8. Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park

The spectacular solitude of the almost 495,000-acre Chugach State Park preserves the scenic value of the Chugach Mountains.

Chugach State Park is a destination for wildlife photographers looking for incredible Alaska photo treks because of its breathtaking vistas. Additionally, you could take the glacier discovery train with Chugach Park to the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop.

The Chugach State Park also offers you the chance to see the Northern Lights on a clear day.

Chugach State Park, conveniently situated just a short drive from Anchorage's city center, offers a great getaway into the Chugach mountains and gives both nature lovers and adventure seekers a memorable experience.

9. Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours

Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours

For those interested in the outdoors who want a distinctive trip, the Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours provides an amazing experience.

This Alaskan backcountry trip offers memorable experiences with the chance to see polar bears in their natural habitat, sail close to the magnificent Portage Glacier, and take a thrilling voyage to the beautiful Eagle River before returning to the city center.

Join Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours on an exhilarating trip for an amazing trek into Alaska's majesty wilderness.

10. Katmai National Park

Katmai National Park

Near Anchorage, the Katmai National Park is famed for its towering mountains, breathtaking scenery, and numerous brown bears.

As one of Alaska's top national parks, Katmai provides outdoor adventures with a distinctive wilderness experience. Explore this amazing park for a half day while taking in the breathtaking surroundings and the stunning brown bears in their natural habitat.

For anyone looking for an amazing Alaskan wilderness experience, Katmai Park is a must-visit location.

11. Lake Clark National Park

Lake Clark National Park

One of the top national parks in the area is Lake Clark National Park, which is close to Anchorage.

This gorgeous park offers unrivaled chances for hiking, wildlife viewing, and outdoor excursions as it contains virgin rainforests along the shoreline of Cook Inlet.

For both nature lovers and outdoor explorers, Lake Clark Park is a sanctuary because of its breathtaking landscapes, hiking trails, and different ecosystems.

The stunning Seward Highway is a short distance from the park and offers quick access to the area. Don't miss the opportunity to see this wonderful park while you are in Anchorage.

12. Denali National Park

Denali National Park

Denali National Park, home to North America's tallest peak, offers unparalleled natural beauty and diverse recreational opportunities.

Visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing on beautiful paths throughout the winter, while wildlife watchers could be fortunate enough to see polar bears in their native environment.

Outdoor adventurers, environment lovers, and wildlife aficionados all adore this renowned national park.

13. Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park

For those who love the outdoors, Kenai Fjords Park offers a singular and breathtaking experience. For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, the park's untamed landscape, towering glaciers, and a plethora of species offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

To experience more, you can purchase a scenic trip with Rust's Flying Service to take in more of the park's breathtaking vistas, including Ship Creek. You can also find more activities in Seward nearby.

In Downtown Anchorage, you may also take part in the exhilarating activity of dog sledding. Discover Kenai Fjords Park's natural splendor and make priceless memories.

14. Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary

Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary

Anchorage's Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary is a well-loved tourist attraction, particularly among bird watchers. Both resident and migratory bird species are abundant in this stunning wetland habitat.

The beautiful boardwalk and breathtaking views at the sanctuary are also highlights. The Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary is adjacent to Lake Hood, the busiest seaplane station in the world.

15. Lake Hood

Lake Hood

Alaska's Lake Hood is a lively center of seaplane activity and a well-liked vacation spot for aviation aficionados.

You have a rare opportunity to experience the excitement of seaplanes taking off and landing on the water at Lake Hood, the busiest seaplane base in the entire world.

A day trip to Lake Hood enables close-up views of these amazing aircraft and offers insight into Alaska's aviation culture.

Lake Hood is conveniently close to other well-known sites including the nearby Seward Highway and is situated close to Anchorage's city center, making it possible to explore the surrounding area like the Anchorage market.

16. The Flattop Mountain Trail

Flattop Mountain Trail

In Anchorage, there is a well-known hiking trail called the Flattop Mountain Trail. This trail, which is a favorite of hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, provides spectacular views of the Chugach Mountains in the area.

For anyone looking for breathtaking vistas and a sense of Alaska's natural splendor, the Flattop Mountain Trail is a must-visit. Iit is very accessible.

This trail offers a remarkable trip in the middle of Alaska's wilderness. You can also go to one of the Gold Panning attractions in Anchorage if you're interested in learning more about the history of gold mining in Alaska.

17. The Byron Glacier Trail

Byron Glacier Trail

The Byron Glacier Trail is an alluring hiking route that leads to a magnificent glacier in Anchorage.

The Byron Glacier is a sight to behold and the Byron Glacier Trail provides awe-inspiring views of Alaska's landscapes.

You can visit the Anchorage Market to sample some delectable dishes and immerse yourself in the local culture after a satisfying hike past some of Alaska's major landmarks.

18. Spencer Glacier

Spencer Glacier

One of the outdoor adventures in Anchorage is the train ride and rafting or kayaking at Spencer Glacier.

You can go on an adventurous rafting or kayaking expedition to Spencer Glacier where you can navigate through chilly waters surrounded by massive glaciers or go dog sledding.

The Matanuska Glacier is also close by for those looking for additional glacier activities. In the untouched wilderness of Anchorage, this exhilarating pairing of train rides and glacier exploration gives a memorable experience.

19. Earthquake Park

Earthquake Park

Earthquake Park is located in Anchorage off the Seward Highway. The Earthquake Park provides a fascinating look into the geological past of the area.

This park recalls the tale of the catastrophic earthquake in 1964 that altered the topography. You can explore the educational exhibits and picturesque paths that provide expansive vistas of the surroundings.

20. Alaska Center for the Performing Arts

Alaska Center for the Performing Arts

In the city center of Anchorage, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts presents a wide variety of plays and performances.

This cutting-edge theater provides a wide variety of events that suit all interests, from concerts and plays to ballets and operas. 

Discover Anchorage's thriving arts and cultural scene and take in a performance at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts.

21. ATV Tour at Knik Glacier

ATV Tour at Knik Glacier

Take an ATV tour at Knik Glacier in Anchorage to experience an amazing adventure. With its majestic wildness, towering mountains, and breathtaking glaciers, the Knik Valley is yours to explore on an exhilarating journey.

Prepare to see Alaska's breathtaking natural beauty up close and personal on an incredible ATV trip at Knik Glacier.

22. Breakfast at Snow City Café

Breakfast at Snow City Café

In Anchorage, the Snow City Café serves you delectable breakfasts and lunches to get your day off to a great start.

Both foodies and tourists should visit this Café because of its delectable menu and welcoming ambiance.

Make the most of your day in Anchorage by enjoying a wonderful breakfast at Snow City Café.

23. Alaska Botanical Garden

Alaska Botanical Garden

The Alaska Botanical Garden is a natural wonderland that is just waiting to be discovered in Anchorage. Wander through its lovely trails, which are lined with brilliant flowers, native plants, a wildflower trail, and tranquil scenery.

The Alaska Botanical Garden is the ideal location for nature enthusiasts and tourists looking for a relaxing getaway because of its breathtaking beauty and serene atmosphere.

24. Oscar Anderson House Museum

Oscar Anderson House Museum

The Oscar Anderson House Museum is a charming historical site that provides a window into the city's past and is situated right in the center of downtown Anchorage.

Explore this well-preserved section of Anchorage's past, which includes exhibits showing the way of life of early settlers, and travel back in time.

FAQs About Things to Do in Anchorage, Alaska

Let's look at some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting Anchorage, Alaska.

How do I spend my day in Anchorage?

Visit the Anchorage Museum to start a perfect day, then go hiking through Kincaid Park's magnificent trails and cross-country skiing through the breathtaking scenery and natural landscapes of Anchorage. If you only have a short time in Anchorage, following the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is a great way to see a lot in a short space of time.

Is it worth spending a day in Anchorage?

Yes, it is worth spending a day in Anchorage for the spectacular scenery alone. A day in Anchorage allows you to enjoy great activities, such as a trip to the Kenai Fjords National Park or a trip to the Anchorage Museum to learn some Alaska history. You might even spot beluga whales in Cook Inlet.

What is Anchorage famous for?

Anchorage is famous for its dramatic landscapes, brown bears and other wildlife, and national parks. Visit Earthquake Park for an unforgettable time exploring Alaska's wilderness. It is also known as a transport hub from which you can reach other parts of Alaska by train or car. Ride the rails to Prince William Sound from Anchorage, or hop onto Glenn Highway to visit the Matanuska Glacier.

Is Anchorage good for tourists?

Anchorage is an amazing place for tourists to visit. Whether you want to go glacier trekking, kayaking, cross-country skiing, or cruising on a boat, Anchorage provides all of this and more to tourists. You can book sunset photo safaris and if seeing the Northern Lights is on your bucket list, you may be in luck if you visit Anchorage.

Summing Up: Best Things to Do in Anchorage, Alaska

As you can see, Anchorage is rich with amazing attractions, dramatic landscapes, and stunning wildlife. 

From wilderness exploring in Chugach State Park to taking in a performing arts show, there are endless things to do. Anchorage is a city that has it all.

Explore the busy streets of Downtown Anchorage, learn about the indigenous cultures of Alaska at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and spot the fascinating wildlife in the national parks. 

Anyone looking for adventures with a splash of culture and stunning nature should travel to Anchorage, Alaska.

So grab your bags and travel to Anchorage for an unforgettable experience.