What to Do in Winter in Anchorage

Did you know Anchorage, Alaska has cemented a reputation as a popular winter vacation destination? While some places may shut down when the mercury drops and the snow falls, here in the land of the Midnight Sun, we embrace winter like a long-lost friend!

This is because there’s so much to see and do in Anchorage and the surrounding areas, even (or especially) when the longer nights draw in. Our hometown is a playground of snowy wonders waiting to be explored! 

When the snow falls and the water turns into ice, our fat bike winter tours in Anchorage take center stage! Our city has hundreds of miles of groomed and maintained trails ready to welcome you for an unforgettable adventure.

But for now, scroll down to find our recommendations for some of the best winter activities in Anchorage. If you have any questions while you read, please contact us for all the information you need.

Watch the Dazzling Northern Lights in Alaska!

Buckle up for a celestial spectacle! Alaska’s clear night skies in winter are a canvas for the mesmerizing Aurora Borealis. Venture outside the city to escape the light pollution and enhance your chances of witnessing this ethereal dance of colors. 

You may want to join a guided Northern Lights tour to increase your chances as they will know the best secluded spots and how to get to them.

Of course, as a natural phenomenon, there is no guarantee of seeing the Aurora. However, if you keep an eye on the Aurora forecast and find yourself in the right place on a clear night, you may get lucky!

Looking for more mind-blowing experiences for your vacation? Check out our picks for five epic things to do near Anchorage, Alaska.

Hit the Slopes for Skiing and Snowboarding Near Anchorage

You can find incredible skiing and snowboarding conditions at multiple destinations a short drive from Anchorage. Alyeska Resort in Girdwood receives around 650″ of annual snowfall, the perfect deep covering for its 1,400 skiable acres.

You can also find the North Face at Alyeska Resort. This is the longest continuous double black diamond run in North America!

With all the full-service ski amenities you would expect — such as PSIA-certified instructors, demo rental equipment, and ski-in/ski-out lodging — Alyeska Resort welcomes snow enthusiasts from near and far.

The Hilltop Ski Area is a little closer to home. Sitting in the south of Far North Bicentennial Park to the east of Anchorage, this skiing facility is beloved by locals and visitors alike! With plenty of child-friendly runs, it’s a great place for families to spend a day.

Hilltop Ski Area offers slopes catering to all levels. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time snowboarder, you can find adrenaline-pumping adventures with breathtaking vistas a stone’s throw from the heart of the city. And keep an eye out for wildlife sightings!

Go Fat Tire Biking in Anchorage’s Winter Wonderland!

Nothing beats hopping on one of our fat tire bikes and conquering snow-covered terrains. Traverse trails and scenic routes, immersing yourself in the winter landscape while enjoying the thrill of biking on snowy paths.

Our bikes have wide handlebars and fat tires with serious tread, so they’re designed to go just about anywhere in the winter! And because they’re perfect for riders of all skill levels, fat tire biking has become one of the most popular winter activities in Anchorage.

Feel the sensation of floating on the snow while enjoying a fun and fascinating guided ride through Anchorage’s stunning scenery.

Discover even more about our fat bike winter tours in Anchorage and book your spot with Alaska Trail Guides.

Step into an Idyllic Winter Scene with Ice Skating in Anchorage

If you love strapping on your skates and gliding gracefully across frozen landscapes, Anchorage has numerous picturesque ice skating spots waiting for you in winter!

Westchester Lagoon offers the quintessential city skating experience. At popular times, you can expect hundreds of people to gather here for an afternoon of outdoor fun. There are smooth winding paths to follow and burn barrels to warm up by!

Some of the other great ice skating lakes in and around Anchorage include:

  • Cuddy Family Midtown Park
  • Goose Lake
  • Delong Lake
  • Jewel Lake
  • Cheney Lake

For your peace of mind, the Anchorage Parks Department consistently monitors the ice thickness at these skating locations. They then authorize hop mopping and maintenance in the skating zones. You can check their reports here.

Our blog What are Memorable Things to Do in Anchorage? has even more incredible ideas for your Alaska itinerary.

Experience Dog Sledding in Anchorage!

When it comes to true Alaskan winter experiences mushing along snowy trails is toward the top of the list! From October through March, you can find various ways to join a dog sledding adventure in Anchorage and the surrounding areas.

Sitting back as a pack of powerful huskies pulls your sled and musher through beautiful snowy landscapes will connect you with nature in ways you might never have expected.

This is an Alaskan tradition that links you with our state’s past and present.

While we love winter, you may still be undecided on when you want to visit Alaska. Check out our recommendations for what to do in Anchorage in every season for year-round inspiration.

Embrace the Patient Approach with Anchorage Ice Fishing

Try your hand at ice fishing and feel the tranquility of our frozen lakes. Anchorage’s pristine waters host an abundance of fish waiting to be hooked. Join locals in this beloved winter pastime and savor the serene beauty of the icy landscapes.

You can expect to find plenty of Arctic char, pike, grayling, and maybe even some landlocked salmon.

Some of the Anchorage-area lakes worth your consideration are Campbell Point, Beach, Mirror, Delong, Goose, Sand, and Jewel lakes. These are all easily accessible and within minutes of city hotels.

Delve into Alaska’s Rich and Varied Heritage and Cultures

Dive into Anchorage’s cultural tapestry at the Alaska Native Heritage Center and Anchorage Museum. Learn about Alaska’s indigenous cultures, its Russian influences, the Gold Rush history, the contemporary art scene, and more. 

Connect with the stories of the people who have called this land home for thousands of years and gain a deeper appreciation for those who helped shape it into the place we call home today.

Discover even more of the great attractions to visit in Anchorage, Alaska.

Go Winter Wildlife Viewing in Anchorage

No trip to Alaska is complete without seeing some of our famous wildlife. The good news is that Anchorage is a prime location for sightings!

Moose munch their way around our city, so you never know when you might see one of these giants. And don’t forget to look up — you never know when you might see a bald eagle. 

For easy wildlife refuge access, head to Kincaid Park, Potter Marsh, or Carr-Gottstein Park. These natural wonders are home to a remarkable range of animal species.

Read our blog The Best Moose-Viewing Spots in Anchorage for even more local insights into wildlife viewing in our city.

Remember to treat wildlife with respect and caution. Do not approach wild animals or attempt to touch them. It’s for your own safety!

Get the Authentic Anchorage Winter Experience at Fur Rondy!

Last but by no means least is the historic Fur Rendezvous, known locally as Fur Rondy. This is our country’s premier winter festival and has proudly represented the Alaskan spirit since 1935! And best of all, there’s wild and wacky fun for all ages.

A man named Vern Johnson, along with some friends, established Fur Rondy as a three-day winter festival and sports tournament that coincided with the arrival in town of miners and trappers… and their winter yields!

Today, Fur Rondy is a 12-day festival held every February that attracts people from all over the world to Anchorage.

This event is a true Anchorage and Alaskan icon and a winter experience like no other.

Build Your Trip Around Winter Fat Biking in Anchorage!

Now you know what to do in winter in Anchorage, it’s time to start planning your visit! And trust us when we say there’s so much more to see and do in Alaska at this time of year. There’s also snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice hockey, ice climbing, and the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race!

But, of course, our fat bike winter tours in Anchorage are still the star of the show. Read all about our excursions to find out more about the adventures waiting for you here.

And if you have any questions for us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for the answers you need.

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