Between the wildlife and the expansive tundra, what is most often overlooked is the number of the First Nations communities that reside throughout the state. Within the school district there are over 100 different languages spoken. Be sure to check out Oomingmak Musk Ox Cooperative for perfect Alaskan souvenirs of hand knitted mittens and scarves. Or look for some authentic mukluks at the Alaska native Arts Foundation Gallery
Unique Things to See and Do in Anchorage
- Fly over a glacier
- Alaska Botanical Garden
- Alaska Native Heritage Center
- Alaska Aviation Museum
- Oscar Anderson House
- Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
- Bird watchers! – Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge
- Gold Panning
Activities in Anchorage
- Glacier Tours
- Day Cruises
- Flight Tours
- Bear Viewing
- Fishing Charters
- Dog Sledding
Best time of year to travel to Anchorage
The best time of year for most people to visit Anchorage is during the summer when the climate is warmer and the activities are abundant. Between the months of May to July the daylight averages about 19 hours, which is a rare sight for most people and worth the experience. If you are planning on travelling up north and hiking, the temperatures are quite a bit cooler and the tundra melt doesn’t happen until the end of June, so plan out your route.
When many people arrive in Anchorage, they are often surprised by the bigger city feel, and it is understandable because it’s so far north. Anchorage, however, enjoys all the amenities that most cities have. With a thriving entrainment culture, the city offers everything from great restaurants, local museums, theatre, and of course a ton of outdoor activities. With flights arriving everyday there is very little that Anchorage goes without. In all fairness though, the city really got its start after the discovery of oil in Purdhoe Bay and the pipeline was constructed. This discovery made Anchorage the perfect spot for activity in and out of Alaska, which is why it is a thriving city today.
One of the big attractions to Anchorage is the local fishing. Fishing is all year round, whether you’re ice fishing frozen lakes or salmon fishing Ship Creek, to even halibut fishing in the Cook Inlet, there is something for anyone. And that includes eating! If you don’t fish you can certainly enjoy the fruits of the activity in most Anchorage restaurants. Anchorage is such a casual city too, so you don’t get the same high prices you would down south.
The city is also known for its flowers during the summer months. Most people think of ice and snow when dreaming about Alaska, yet during the summer the local areas are teeming with wildlife and beautiful natural fauna. If you are looking to experience some wildlife activity and are a little Intimidated going out alone, Anchorage has many naturalist tour guides that are willing to take you out. And provide you with all the necessary equipment and expertise should you happen to stumble on bears or such.
Did you know…?
That Anchorage receives on average 78 inches of snow per year, and in Talkeetna (2 hours north) they receive 178 inches per year! That’s a lot of snow!
Did you ALSO know…?
You can view polar bears on Barter Island through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Getting To Anchorage
Flying into Anchorage is the most popular way to enter the state, and it’s only a short 3 hour flight from Seattle. The Ted Stevens International Airport is the main airport with international connections and domestic flights. Taking domestic flights to some remote locations is the only way to go, but if you are limited for time too this can be a great option. To get to your hotel the taxis run from the airport to downtown for about $20US.
Some travellers will venture out on an epic car trip up to the great white north, in which case you want to make sure you have additional supplies, like sleeping bags, oil, rope, water, flashlight, etc. There are long sections of pure wilderness, and you’ll want to fuel up at ever spot you can. The highway that connects to Anchorage is the Glenn Highway.
Getting around from the different cities and towns, you can take the Alaska/Yukon Trails bus for reasonable rates between Anchorage and Fairbanks.Within in Anchorage you can pick up a day pass for the public transit system (called the People Mover), for $5.00.
Weather in Anchorage
Springtime in Anchorage is still pretty cold, and the frost is still present. The temperatures range from -7C to a high in May of 12C. So not very warm which means you’ll need layer up.
During summer, June – August, the temperatures can rise to a high of 19C but still have a low of around 8C. Expect some windy days too. The city will be in full bloom at that point and the daylight hours will average about 18. This is peak season for travellers with many cruise lines coming through too.
During the autumn months, the leaves will turn and fall all within a day or two, and the temperatures will drop quickly. Since Anchorage is on the coast, they do experience quite a bit of rain. Temperatures will range from -1C to 12C
The winter months fall between November and February. Those willing to dare the northern winter coldness can expect temperatures as low as -12C. This is, however, the time for winter sports such as skiing, snowmobiling, and dog sledding, plus this is the time for the great Northern Lights.
Ready to plan your visit to Anchorage? Check out these popular guides and trips.