It’s 2023, you’re planning your next adventure to Alaska, and Anchorage is at the top of your list. So what’re you doing when you arrive in this urban wilderness? If you’ve still got a few blank spaces in your itinerary or haven’t started planning, that’s where we come in.
As Anchorage aficionados, we’ve rounded up the best things to do in our hometown when you visit. From exploring the wilderness on foot or on two wheels, to getting to know the city streets and attractions, join us to get to know the largest city in the state.
The team at Alaska Trail Guides has more than 30 years of combined experience leading guided tours around Alaska, meaning we know the must-sees and how to get there!
So, let’s kickstart your vacation planning with our recommendations for the top five outstanding things to do in Anchorage.
1. Take the Scenic Route on Anchorage’s Coastal Trail
Looking to get a flavor of Anchorage’s beautiful coastline and more? Join us on our most popular bike ride: Anchorage Coastal Cruise Bike Tour. From ocean views to mountainscapes, this ride offers plenty of great photo opportunities and the best chance to see moose!
We take care of the details on this leisurely 9.5-mile guided bike ride, with transportation, equipment, and snacks included, so you can focus on enjoying the experience. You will bike the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail from Kincaid Park to Westchester Lagoon, including biking through Earthquake Park. Explore urban wilderness through the woods and along the coast, with amazing mountain views.
If you’re new to cycling, don’t worry. This ride is a comfortable, easy pace suitable for all levels of fitness, all you need to know is how to ride a bike! If you’re a more avid cyclist, looking for trails with more miles, check out our Anchorage Greenbelt Bike Tour.
2. Discover Anchorage’s Native Heritage and Culture
If you’re interested in museums and history, the Alaska Native Heritage Center is a must-visit destination on your trip to Anchorage. Journey through 10,000 years of Indigenous history through various mediums, including art, dance, exhibits, films, traditional dress, and more!
The center is a cultural hub that shares the heritage of Alaska’s 11 major cultural groups that can be explored in immersive educational programs, life-sized village sites, and interactive craft activities for the whole family.
Situated on Lake Tiulana, the center is surrounded by beautiful scenery to enjoy in between the cultural information. Be sure to check the Summer and Winter opening times coincide with your visit.
3. Be An Urban Angler For a Day!
If you’ve ever wanted to experience the thrill of reeling in a salmon, Fish Creek in Downtown Anchorage is a great place to try your luck!
Fish Creek is not only the original tent site of Anchorage, but one of many rivers in Southcentral with strong salmon runs every summer. King Salmon and Silver Salmon return to Fish Creek, making it an easily accessible spot to see or try fishing in Alaska during the summer months.
The Slam’n Salm’n Derby is held every June. Urban angling is made easy with local shops ready to rent fishing poles and boots, and sell licenses. If you’re not looking to partake in the action, combat fishing is also fun to watch!
4. Get Back to Nature in Chugach State Park, Anchorage
Glen Alps is a great jumping-off point for Chugach State Park’s nearly 500,000 acres of mountains, lakes, and glaciers. As one of the four largest state parks in the US, it can feel a little overwhelming to decide where to begin!
Like any vast landscape, we like tackling this epic space on two wheels, on our Chugach Mountain Biking Tour. You’ll get the full fat tire mountain bike experience as you spend 2.5 hours riding through the mountains, down to the valley floor, and up toward a summit pass.
Our trail is off the beaten path, meaning you could see moose, mountain goats, a variety of birds, including Alaska’s state bird the Ptarmigan, and possibly a black bear, amongst other wildlife. If you’d prefer to hike the park, there are plenty of trails for hikers of all ages and abilities.
Are you a passionate mountain biker? If you’re looking for more technical trails, check out our Private Singletrack Sampler Tour!
5. Take a Drive Down One Of The Most Scenic Byways In The Nation
Our final recommendation is to explore the Turnagain Arm. Whether you rent a car or join a day tour, you won’t be disappointed. Turnagain Arm is known for panoramic views of the mountains and ocean, wildlife viewing, hiking, and a natural phenomenon known as the Bore Tide.
Stop in Girdwood for lunch; this small ski town got its start during the gold rush. Ride the Alyeska Tram for aerial views, and depending on the weather, a chance to see seven different glaciers.
Also down Turnagain Arm is the Wildlife Conservation Center, home to injured and orphaned wildlife and the only Wood Bison rehab project in the nation.
Ready to bike your way around Anchorage? Not only do we offer year-round guided bike trails, but you can learn how to ride a mountain bike with us, too! Whether you want to tune up your skills or learn something new, our experienced guides will go at your pace in these sessions.
If you have any questions about bike tours around Anchorage before you hit the open road, please get in touch. Our local team has been on wheels for years and is here to help make your trip extraordinary. We can’t wait to meet you on your trip to Anchorage!