Things to Do in Anchorage
Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum
4721 Aircraft Dr.
Mid-May-mid-Sept., daily 9-6; mid-Sept.-mid-May
Tues.-Sat. 10-4 or by appointment.
Small but interesting and informative facility presents the state’s aviation history with vintage aircraft, a theater, observation deck along Lake Hood, and a gift shop. A historic Fairchild American Pilgrim and a Stearman C2B, the first plane to land on Mt. McKinley in the early 1930s, are highlights. Volunteers are working to restore many of the planes.
Alaska Center For The Performing Arts
621 W. 6th Ave. at G St.
907/263-2900; 907/263-2787 for tickets.
Daily 8-5; tours Wed. 1 PM.
This distinctive stone and glass building faces a park filled with brilliant flowers all summer.
Alaska Heritage Library And Museum.
301 W. Northern Lights Blvd., at C St.
Late May-early Sept., weekdays noon-5; early Sept.-late May, weekdays noon-4.
This museum in the lobby of a large midtown bank displays a variety of Alaskan Native artifacts including baskets, dolls, paintings, and rare books.
Alaska Native Heritage Center.
Take 4th Ave. Trolley
8800 Heritage Center Dr. (Glenn Hwy. At Muldoon Rd.), 907/330-8000.
Mid-May-Sept., daily 9-6; Oct.-mid-May, weekends noon-5.
Situated on a 26-acre site facing the Chugach Mountains, this spacious center offers an introduction to Alaska’s Native peoples through interpretive displays, artifacts, photographs, demonstrations, live performances, and films. Next to the lake outside, five village exhibits representing Alaska’s varied Native heritage acquaint you with the traditional structures and culture of Native peoples.
Alaska Public Lands Information Center
605 W. 4th Ave. at F St.
Memorial Day-Labor Day, daily 9-5:30
Labor Day-Memorial Day, weekdays 10-5:30.
This is a great one-stop source of information on all of Alaska’s public lands, including national and state parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges. Make reservations for a state ferry, watch nature videos, learn about plants and animals, or view films highlighting different areas of the state.
Alaska Railroad Depot.
411 W. 1st Ave.
Daily, depending on train schedules.
Built in 1942, some of the original woodwork can still be seen inside the lobby. In front are totem poles and an historic engine used in the building of the Panama Canal before it hauled freight in Alaska. A monument in front of the depot relates the history of the railroad, which played an important role in the city’s growth.
2 miles east of the New Seward Hwy. 4731 O’Malley Rd.
May-Labor Day, daily 9-6; Labor Day-Apr., daily 10-dusk.
Siberian tigers, musk oxen, seals, moose, and a variety of Alaskan birds call this home, but the main attractions are Oreo, a brown bear, and Ahpun, a polar bear. You can hop a city bus here from downtown.
Anchorage Museum Of History And Art.
121 W. 7th Ave.
907/343-4326; 907/343-6173 for recorded information.
Mid-May-mid-Sept., Sun.-Thurs. 9-9, Fri.-Sat. 9-6; mid-Sept.-mid-May, Tues.-Sat. 10-6, Sun. 1-5.
Visitors can join an informative 45-minute tour or watch a film on Alaska.
Permanent collection depicts 10,000 years of Alaska history, including Native subsistence lifestyles, European exploration, Russian-America and contemporary times. Also features art of the north from travelers, adventurers and Native artists. Daily presentations by local artists and authors take place from June through August.
Chugach State Park
Headquarters, Mile 115, Seward Hwy.
HC 52, Box 8999, 99540
Alaska’s most accessible wilderness, Chugach State Park is nearly half a million acres in size. Bordering Anchorage to the east, it has nearly 30 trails - from 2 to 30 miles long - suitable for short hikes, weeklong backpacking, and mountain biking.
Eklutna Native Village
Fee for tours
Mid-May-mid-Sept., daily 8-6
Eklutna, Inc. an Alaska Native Corporation, established Eklutna Historical Park in 1990 to preserve the heritage and traditions of the Athabascan people, and to portray the rapidly disappearing lifestyles of the Dena'ina Athabascan Indians in Southcentral Alaska.This small indigenous community 26 miles north of Anchorage on the Glenn Highway, is the oldest continually inhabited Athabascan site in the area. At the village cemetery is the hand-built St. Nicholas Siberian-style prayer chapel, traditional Russian Orthodox crosses, centuries old Russian icons, and 80 Native spirit houses, structures traditionally erected over the grave of a deceased relative. This custom comes from the melding of Athabascan and Russian Orthodox beliefs and practices. Often a family uses specific colors for their Spirit House to identify their clan. The cost of admission includes informative 30-minute tours, and the gift shop sells Native crafts.
Elmendorf Air Force Base Wildlife Museum
8481 19th St., Bldg. 4-803
907/552-2282 for recorded information.
Free. Mon.-Thurs. 3-4:45, Sat. noon-5.
Mounted grizzlies, polar bears, birds, and moose live at this self-guided museum.. There are also hands-on displays
737 W. 5th Ave.
Mon.-Sat. 10-6, Sun. noon-5.
Children can stand inside a giant soap bubble at the bubble lab, hold a starfish in the marine exhibit, learn about the northern lights, or take a galaxy tour in the planetarium at this experiential science museum. Featured attractions include an iguana, an alligator, and even a 19-ft python.
Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers Co-op
604 H St. Step inside for a look - and feel - of qiviut (pronounced key-vee-ute), the soft underwool of the musk ox. The wool--eight times warmer than sheep wool of equal weight--is hand knit into warm garments by Natives in Western Alaska. 272-9225.
Old Anchorage City Hall
524 W. 4th Ave.
This 1936 building now houses offices of the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau. A few exhibits and historic photos are right inside the lobby. Out front, check out the marble sculpture of William Seward, the secretary of state who engineered the purchase of Alaska from Russia.
Oscar Anderson House Museum
420 M St., 907/274-2336
June-mid-Sept., Tues.-Sat. 11-4; mid-Sept.-May, by appointment.
City butcher Oscar Anderson built Anchorage’s first permanent frame house in 1915 at a time when most of Anchorage consisted of tents. A Swedish Christmas open house is held the first two weekends of December. Half-hour tours are available whenever the museum is open.
Canada geese and other migratory birds and the occasional moose or beaver frequent this marsh about 10 miles south of downtown on the Seward Highway. An elevated boardwalk makes viewing easy. The Potter Point Section House, an old railroad service building just south of the marsh, operates as a state park information center. Out front is an old engine with a rotary snowplow that was used to clear avalanches. Seward Hwy.,
A cantilevered viewing platform dominated by a monument to Captain Cook is found in this tiny park. Mt. Susitna, known as the Sleeping Lady, is the prominent low mountain to the northwest. Mt. McKinley - referred to by most Alaskans by its traditional name, Denali - is often visible 125 miles away. Located on the Western end of 2nd and 3rd Aves.
The creek is dammed here, with a footbridge across the dam. You’ll see a waterfall, salmon running upstream, anglers, and, above it all, the tall buildings of downtown. Located on Whitney Rd.
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.
Access points are on the waterfront at the ends of 2nd, 5th, and 9th avenues and at Westchester Lagoon.
On summer evenings, this recreational trail can be crowded with strollers, runners, bikers, dog walkers, and in-line skaters. In winter, cross-country skiers take to it in droves. The trail begins off 2nd Avenue, west of Christensen Drive, and curls along Cook Inlet for approximately 11 miles to Kincaid Park, beyond the airport.
Alaska Native Heritage Center
The Center is located in Anchorage, Alaska at the corner of Muldoon Road and Glenn Highway, 15 minutes from downtown.
A trail introduces visitors to Native Tradition Bearers, artists and performers as they tour five village exhibits surrounding a lake on the 26-acre campus. The Alaska Native Heritage Center is the first-ever visitor attraction to share Alaska Native traditions through educational programs for everyone; the center opened in May 1999.
Five Traditional Villages
Visitors enter the Center through the Welcome House, which includes interpretative displays, a theater hosting a film presentation and daily performances of traditional Native dance troupes.A 30-member Academy comprised of Elders and Tradition Bearers was formed to help guide the Center’s staff in program and building design. The five traditional villages represent the five major Alaska Native cultures and offer a look into each culture’s crafts and lifestyle.
45 min. south Hanging glacier visible from the highway. Look northeast up the Twenty Mile River valley just before you reach Portage.
50 min. south Viewable from the road to Portage Glacier, look for this hanging glacier near the Bear Creek Campground.
1 hr south Near the visitor center at Portage Glacier. A 3/4-mile walking trail takes you to the snowfield at the base of the glacier. Join a guided "iceworm safari" or explore on your own.
2.5 hrs. south A short walking trail just north of Seward takes you right up to the glacier. Adventurous hikers can take a (long, strenuous) climb up to the 300-square-mile Harding Ice Field.
2 hrs. north/east This glacier stretches 27 miles long. Look down over parts of it from the Glenn Highway or drive closer (over private land) for a lowland perspective of its 4-mile-wide terminus.
Begich-Boggs Visitor Center on the shore of Portage Lake
One of Alaska’s most frequently visited tourist destinations, this is 54 miles southeast of Anchorage via the Seward Highway and Turnagain Arm. A 6-mile side road off the Seward Highway leads to the. Unfortunately, the glacier is receding rapidly, so the view across the lake is not as good as it used to be. southeast of Anchorage.