Alaska Native Heritage Center
Muldoon and Glen Hwy, Anchorage AK; Tel. 907.263.5170
Opened in May 1999, the Alaska Native Heritage Center is the first Anchorage attraction to share Alaska Native traditions, stories, costumes, dance and language with visitors through educational programs. The Welcome House resembles a traditional meetinghouse and inside there are interpretative displays, a theater with a film presentation, a gift shop and daily performances of traditional Native dance troupes. The outdoor trail leads visitors on a tour of recreated native villages that represent the five major Alaskan Native cultures and ways of life.
4731 O'Malley Road, Anchorage AK; Tel. 907.346.1088
Located on a hillside in Anchorage, the Alaska Zoo is home to wildlife from the Artic and Sub-Artic regions, as well as many Alaska native species. From polar bears and moose all the way to Siberian tigers and snow leopards, the non-profit Alaska Zoo takes in orphaned and rescues animals and recreates their natural environment. The Alaska Zoo is open year round, seven days a week (except for Christmas and Thanksgiving).
Anchorage Museum of History and Art
121 West 7th Avenue, Anchorage AK; Tel. 907.343.4326
Anchorage's Museum of History and Art is one of Anchorage's most visited attractions. The world-class Anchorage Museum covers Alaskan history from Native American cultures to European and Russian exploration to American colonization. Located in downtown Anchorage, the Anchorage Museum also showcases a stunning collection of Alaskan art, including work by Sidney Lawrence and Eustace P. Ziegler. The gift shop at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art is one of the best place in Alaksa to buy Alaska Native arts and crafts.
Chugach National Forest
3301 C Street Anchorage Alaska 99503; Tel. 907.743.9500
The great outdoors is by far Anchorage's top attraction and makes Alaska an outdoor enthusiast's dream in any season. The Chugach Mountains rise up behind Anchorage while the Chugach National Forest is home to countless wildlife as well as being a treasure trove of Alaska hiking, camping, fishing and exploring. Highlights accessible from Anchorage include Thunderbird Falls and Wolverine Peak.
Anchorage's Lake Hood and Lake Spenard are both close to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and Lake Hood is the world's largest and busiest seaplane base. Many privately-owned aircraft call Lake Hood their watery home base, as well as air taxi services and air charters that offer flight-seeing tours of Anchorage and fly-in fishing or hunting in many remote parts of Alaska.
Log Cabin Information Center
Fourth and F streets, Anchorage AK; Tel. 907.247.3531
For a self-guided walking tour of downtown Anchorage's architectural and structural history, pick up a map at Anchorage's Log Cabin Information Center. From there, follow the information-packed, bright-blue kiosks to such Anchorage attractions as the Old City Hall, the Anchorage Hotel, the 4th Avenue Theatre, the Alaska Statehood Monument and several historic homes.
Begich-Boggs Visitor Center; Tel. 907.783.3242
One of Anchorage's most popular attractions, Alaska's Portage Glacier is about an hour drive south of Anchorage. Cold blue chunks of ice float like foam around Portage Lake that is created as the Portage Glacier slowly recedes over time. Walk around the lake the see Portage Glacier, but the first stop for Portage Glacier visitors should be the Begich-Boggs Visitors Center, which contains exhibits as well shows several films on glaciers.
Summer Solstice in Anchorage
Alaska is known as "The Land of the Midnight Sun" and an Alaskan summer brings long days and brilliant sunsets, when the sun just dips below the horizon without actually ever "setting" as in lower latitudes. June 21 is the longest day, when Anchorage residents catch more than 19 hours of sunrays. Anchorage celebrates with a festival, music, food and all out revelry in downtown Anchorage.
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
Second Avenue west of Christensen Drive, Anchorage AK
Anchorage Mayor Tony Knowles is the namesake for this popular Anchorage attraction, a paved, 11-mile trail that starts in downtown Anchorage and meanders along the coast all the way to Kinkaid Park. Many Anchorage residents use the Coastal Trail for a late jog, so the it's a great place to mingle with the locals and the Anchorage scenery.
Town Square Municipal Park
E Street, Anchorage AK
Stroll down the granite walkways, made up of more than 13,000 engraved bricks, of downtown Anchorage's civic outdoor amphitheatre. During the summer months, this downtown Anchorage gathering ground comes alive with colorful flowers and families.
--Attraction capsules by Erica Pedersen, Boulevards.com