2023 Guide: 10 Exciting Things to Do in Anchorage

As the heartbeat of Alaska, Anchorage offers unending possibility for adventure and discovery. In this 2023 guide, we’ve curated a compelling selection of 10 awe-inspiring activities to inject your itinerary with thrill and wonder. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast ready to lock eyes with Alaska’s grizzly bears, or an art lover wishing to immerse in the local culture, there’s a seat saved for you in Anchorage. Prepare yourself for breathtaking landscapes, unique wildlife encounters, and culturally rich experiences; Anchorage is ready to welcome you into its astonishing world! So without further ado, let’s unravel the must-do activities that will transform your Anchorage visit from ordinary to extraordinary.

Some of the top attractions and activities to do in Anchorage in 2023 include hiking through scenic trails like Albert Loop and Church State Park, experiencing the ceremonial start of Iditarod, visiting museums like the Anchorage Museum and Native Heritage Center to learn about Alaskan culture and history, exploring Eklutna Glacier, taking a tram ride up the double black diamond for breathtaking views, and enjoying sunset views by taking a train ride to Seward. There are also plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing during the summer months.

Things to do in Anchorage in 2023

Must-See Attractions in Anchorage in 2023

Anchorage, with its breathtaking natural beauty and vibrant cultural scene, offers visitors an array of attractions to explore. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or art lover, there’s something for everyone in this captivating Alaskan city. Here are a few must-see attractions that should be at the top of your list when visiting Anchorage in 2023.

Imagine embarking on a journey through time and culture as you step into the Anchorage Museum. This renowned institution houses a remarkable collection of Native Alaskan artifacts and modern art that showcases the rich heritage of the region. As you make your way through the museum, you’ll be able to admire beautifully labeled Native Alaskan artifacts displayed in the Smithsonian wing. The exhibitions shed light on the fascinating history and traditions of Alaska’s indigenous peoples.

But the Anchorage Museum isn’t just a treasure trove of historical artifacts; it also celebrates contemporary artists and their work. While the art section might be poorly lit, once you reach the modern/Alaskan artists section, the well-lit space will captivate you with its diverse range of paintings and sculptures. From thought-provoking contemporary pieces to works inspired by Alaska’s stunning landscapes, this section offers a glimpse into the vibrant artistic scene of Anchorage.

In addition to admiring exhibits within the museum’s walls, visitors can also enjoy other exciting experiences offered in 2023. For instance, taking a tram ride provides an excellent opportunity to soak in breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and waterways. The awe-inspiring vistas from above will leave you mesmerized by the natural beauty that surrounds Anchorage.

If you’re interested in immersing yourself further in Alaska’s rich cultural heritage, consider exploring the Native Heritage Center. This immersive center offers demonstrations by traditional artisans who showcase their skills and share insights into indigenous customs. Additionally, the outdoor replicas of cultural houses allow you to experience firsthand the architecture and way of life of Alaska’s native communities.

Beyond these attractions, Anchorage has so much more to offer. From biking trails and hiking through scenic landscapes to visiting historic sites that tell tales of the city’s past, there is no shortage of adventures awaiting you. Whether you’re a history enthusiast delving into the past, an art lover appreciating creativity, or a nature lover soaking in the beauty, Anchorage offers an unforgettable experience for every visitor.

Keep reading to learn more about specific exhibits at the Anchorage Museum that you won’t want to miss during your visit in 2023.

Anchorage Museum Exhibits

The Anchorage Museum prides itself on providing a captivating museum experience. In 2023, there are several exhibits that are expected to draw in visitors from near and far.

One exhibit to look out for is “Arctic Illuminations.” This exhibit explores the unique natural phenomena of the Arctic region, such as the mesmerizing Northern Lights and the midnight sun. Through immersive displays and interactive elements, visitors will gain a deeper understanding of these captivating phenomena and their significance in the Arctic ecosystem.

Another highlight is “Alaska Native Voices,” which offers an immersive journey into Alaska’s indigenous cultures. Through engaging storytelling and interactive displays, visitors can learn about traditional practices, values, and how Alaska Native communities have adapted to modern times while preserving their heritage. This exhibit provides a rare opportunity to connect with Alaska’s rich cultural tapestry.

For those interested in contemporary art, “Art Alaskan” showcases works by local Alaskan artists pushing boundaries and exploring new artistic frontiers. From experimental installations to thought-provoking sculptures and paintings, this exhibit celebrates the creative spirit that thrives within Alaska’s art community.

To get a taste of scientific exploration in Alaska, make sure not to miss “Exploring the Last Frontier.” Through informative displays and multimedia presentations, visitors can learn about the ongoing scientific research being conducted in Alaska and its impact on our understanding of the environment and climate change. Gain insights into the challenges faced by scientists working in this unique and fragile ecosystem.

With these captivating exhibits at the Anchorage Museum, you’re in for an immersive experience that will leave you with a deep appreciation for the art, culture, and natural wonders of Alaska. Whether you’re exploring the rich heritage of Native Alaskan communities or marveling at contemporary artworks, the Anchorage Museum offers something for everyone.

Native Heritage Center Demonstrations

If you’re eager to immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Alaska’s Indigenous peoples, a visit to the Native Heritage Center in Anchorage is an absolute must. This unique center offers a captivating experience where you can learn and explore the traditional and contemporary ways of Alaska’s diverse Indigenous cultures.

Upon stepping into the center, you’ll be greeted with daily guided tours that provide in-depth insights into the Alaska Native cultures. Knowledgeable guides will walk you through the exhibits, showcasing artifacts, artwork, and handicrafts that highlight the vibrant cultural tapestry of the region.

As you wander through the Hall of Cultures, prepare to be captivated by exhibits dedicated to the five major culture groups of Alaska: Athabascan, Inupiaq/St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Yup’ik/Cup’ik, Aleut/Alutiiq/Sugpiaq, and Eyak/Tlingit/Haida/Tsimshian. Each exhibit offers an opportunity to delve into the traditions, practices, and beliefs of these distinct Indigenous communities.

But it doesn’t end there. The Native Heritage Center truly comes alive during its demonstrations and performances. Head to the Gathering Place at the center to witness mesmerizing Alaska Native dancing. Feel the rhythm pulsate through your body as skilled dancers showcase their intricate movements accompanied by traditional music. It’s a powerful display of culture and storytelling that leaves a lasting impression.

Looking for more activities? The Village Sites at the center are a visual feast for those interested in experiencing authentic Native dwellings. These life-sized structures represent different Indigenous peoples of Alaska, each with its own distinctive architectural style and artifacts used in daily life. Don’t forget to snap a photo at the Iñupiaq site where whale bones serve as a picturesque backdrop.

  • As per recent surveys, approximately 45% of the tourists visiting Anchorage prioritize cultural and historic sites like the Anchorage Museum and Native Heritage Center.
  • About 39% of visitors in Anchorage opt for nature and wildlife exploration activities, such as biking trails, hiking at Albert Loop, or visiting Eklutna Lake.
  • Approximately 60% of tourists who visited Anchorage in the past few years have been inclined towards unique local experiences, including the ceremonial start of Iditarod, the renowned dog sled race.

Outdoor Activities in Anchorage

Anchorage is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with a myriad of activities that allow you to fully embrace the breathtaking natural beauty surrounding the city. From thrilling adventures to peaceful hikes, there’s something for everyone.

Lace up your hiking boots and explore the expansive network of trails nestled in and around Anchorage. One of the most popular spots is Flattop Mountain, which offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains. The challenging hike is well worth it once you reach the summit and take in the stunning vistas.

If you prefer a more leisurely pace, rent a bike and pedal your way along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. This 11-mile route hugs the coastline, offering stunning views of Cook Inlet and majestic Mount McKinley (Denali). Keep an eye out for wildlife sightings as bald eagles soar overhead or moose wander through the forests.

For those seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures, Anchorage has got you covered. Explore the wild rivers on a thrilling whitewater rafting expedition or unleash your inner angler on a fishing trip where you can reel in trophy-sized salmon or halibut. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try your hand at paragliding and soar high above the Chugach Mountains, taking in unforgettable aerial views.

Whether you’re seeking cultural enrichment or exhilarating outdoor experiences, Anchorage has ten exciting things to offer. From Native Heritage Center demonstrations that celebrate Alaska’s Indigenous cultures to outdoor activities that embrace the awe-inspiring landscapes surrounding the city, this bustling Alaskan metropolis will leave you with unforgettable memories.

Hiking Trails and Biking Routes

Anchorage is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering an abundance of stunning hiking trails and exciting biking routes. The city boasts an impressive network of well-maintained trails that cater to all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned adventurers. Whether you prefer traversing lush forests, conquering mountain peaks, or pedaling along scenic paths, Anchorage has something to offer everyone.

One of the hiking trail highlights is the Chugach State Park, located just a few miles from downtown Anchorage. Here, you’ll find picturesque views, dense foliage, and an array of wildlife. Two new hiking trails are currently under construction as part of a job-boosting program. These trails include re-routes to popular destinations such as the Glen Alps and Prospect Heights parking lots. The improvements aim to enhance visitors’ experience while preserving the natural environment.

Picture yourself ascending the summit of Flattop Mountain, known for its unrivaled panoramic views overlooking Anchorage and the surrounding mountains. As you hike up the trail, you’re surrounded by vibrant wildflowers and majestic spruce trees. The crisp mountain air fills your lungs, invigorating every step. Reaching the top rewards you with a breathtaking vista that seems to stretch to infinity.

For those seeking a thrilling biking adventure, Anchorage also offers fantastic routes tailored specifically for mountain bikers. Imagine embarking on a heart-pounding ride along the Far North Bicentennial Park and Chugach State Park connector trail. This scenic route takes you through diverse terrain where you can challenge yourself on technical sections, conquer steep inclines, or revel in exhilarating descents. The creation of these new mountain biking trails will expand opportunities for riders to explore Anchorage’s rugged landscapes.

Now let’s transition from hiking and biking adventures to another remarkable natural wonder that can be found near Anchorage – Eklutna Glacier.

Eklutna Glacier Visits

Nestled within the picturesque Chugach State Park, just a short drive from Anchorage, lies the awe-inspiring Eklutna Glacier. This rugged glacier presents an incredible opportunity to witness the impacts of climate change firsthand while immersing yourself in a raw and primal-looking landscape.

To reach the glacier, visitors embark on a captivating 26-mile round-trip multi-use trail journey. Keep in mind that access is limited to certain days for ATVs. As you venture into the gorge, you’ll be captivated by the magnificent scenery – shattered rocks, fresh slides, and dirty ice paint a vivid canvas of nature’s power.

The highlight of your expedition unfolds as you approach the boulder-choked terminus of the glacier, where fluted ice formations tower above. It is here that you truly comprehend the grandeur and fragility of these frozen giants. The dynamic nature of Eklutna Glacier provides an unforgettable experience that serves as a stark reminder of our changing world.

Imagine standing at the base of the glacier, surrounded by breathtaking beauty. The sound of cascading waterfalls fills your ears as you admire the mesmerizing blue hues embedded within ancient ice. You can almost feel history unfolding before your very eyes.

For those seeking a more extended adventure, consider booking a night at Serenity Falls Hut to immerse yourself fully in this striking wilderness. Spend your evenings gazing at star-filled skies while reflecting on the indescribable beauty that surrounds you.

Now that we’ve explored the glorious hiking trails and biking routes as well as experienced the wonder of Eklutna Glacier, let’s dive deeper into Anchorage’s local culture and all it has to offer.

Experiencing Anchorage’s Local Culture

Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska, offers a rich and vibrant local culture that reflects its unique history and diverse population. From exploring museums to enjoying traditional performances, there are countless ways to immerse yourself in the local culture during your visit to Anchorage.

An excellent starting point for experiencing Anchorage’s local culture is a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Center. This center serves as a gateway to understanding and appreciating the indigenous cultures of Alaska. Whether you choose to embark on a self-guided tour or join a guided tour, you’ll have the opportunity to explore exhibits showcasing the customs, traditions, and artistry of Alaska’s Native people. Immerse yourself in the stories told through beautiful artifacts and interactive displays, gaining a deeper appreciation for the rich heritage of this land.

If you’re an art enthusiast looking for a more immersive experience, participating in authentic Native art and craft tours is highly recommended. These tours offer a closer look at various art forms while allowing you to interact with talented local artists themselves. Witness the intricate process of creating traditional crafts like beading, carving, or basket weaving firsthand. Engage in conversations with the artists, learning about their inspirations and deep connections to their cultural heritage. The insights gained from these tours can be truly enlightening and provide a unique perspective on Anchorage’s local culture.

Authentic Native Art and Craft Tours

One popular Native art and craft tour in Anchorage is offered by the Alaska Native Heritage Center itself. This guided tour takes visitors through workshops where they can observe skilled artisans as they create pieces of artwork right before their eyes. Witnessing carvers using traditional tools to transform blocks of wood into finely detailed sculptures is nothing short of mesmerizing. Meanwhile, beaders delicately weave stunning patterns with colorful glass beads, showcasing their expertise honed over generations.

Another exciting option for art enthusiasts is to explore the local galleries and studios that are scattered throughout Anchorage. These spaces often feature exhibitions of contemporary Native artwork, providing a glimpse into the evolving artistic expressions of Alaska’s indigenous communities. Whether it’s painting, ceramics, or multimedia installations, these galleries offer a platform for both established and emerging artists to share their stories and perspectives with visitors.

A visit to Anchorage’s bustling Fourth Avenue is particularly rewarding for those seeking an authentic Native art experience. Known as “Gallery Row,” this street is home to numerous art galleries showcasing works by Native and non-Native artists alike. Stroll along the avenue, admiring the diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and jewelry that reflect the vibrant artistic spirit of Anchorage.

Remember to take your time exploring these art spaces, allowing yourself to be captivated by the talent on display and embracing the connection between storytelling and art in Alaska’s native culture.

Memorable Family Activities in Anchorage

Anchorage, the picturesque city nestled in the heart of Alaska, offers a plethora of exciting activities for families to enjoy together. Whether you’re seeking adventure in the great outdoors or looking for unique cultural experiences, Anchorage has something for everyone.

One of the most memorable family activities in Anchorage is visiting the Alaska Zoo. This 25-acre zoo is home to a diverse range of animals, including native Alaskan species like brown bears, wolves, and moose. Kids will delight in watching playful sea otters and adorable puffins. The Alaska Zoo also offers educational programs and interactive exhibits, providing an enriching experience for visitors of all ages.

If your family enjoys exploring nature, taking a trip to Chugach State Park is a must. Covering over half a million acres, this stunning park offers endless opportunities for hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing. With its towering mountains, scenic trails, and pristine lakes, Chugach State Park provides a truly immersive Alaskan wilderness experience that the whole family can enjoy.

For an educational yet fascinating outing, consider visiting the Anchorage Museum. This world-class museum showcases the rich history and culture of Alaska through engaging exhibits and hands-on activities. From learning about native Alaskan art and traditions to exploring the science behind earthquakes and glaciers, the Anchorage Museum offers an entertaining and enlightening experience for visitors of all ages.

If you’d like to immerse yourselves in local tradition and history, attending a Native Alaskan dance performance at the Alaska Native Heritage Center is highly recommended. Here, families can witness mesmerizing traditional dances performed by indigenous groups while gaining insights into their vibrant cultures through storytelling and art demonstrations. It’s a fantastic way to foster cultural understanding and appreciation among family members.

While these family activities offer incredible experiences, none quite compare to witnessing one of Alaska’s most iconic events – the Iditarod Dogsled Race.

Iditarod Dogsled Race

The Iditarod Dogsled Race, known as “The Last Great Race on Earth,” is a grueling and thrilling event that captivates both locals and visitors alike. This iconic race commemorates the historic dog sled mail route from Anchorage to Nome, spanning over 1,000 miles of treacherous Alaskan terrain.

Imagine the excitement in the air as the mushers and their teams of loyal dogs gather at the starting line in Anchorage, ready to embark on this epic adventure. The race showcases the indomitable spirit of both humans and canines as they navigate through icy landscapes, harsh weather conditions, and rugged wilderness for days on end.

Every year, thousands of spectators line the streets of Anchorage to cheer on the brave competitors at the ceremonial start of the race. It’s an exhilarating sight to witness as the dogs’ paws hit the snow-covered streets while mushers skillfully lead their teams through town. The atmosphere is electric with anticipation as everyone eagerly awaits the official start of this extraordinary race.

The Iditarod Trail Committee meticulously plans and organizes this prestigious event, ensuring the safety and well-being of both mushers and dogs throughout the course. From highly experienced veterans to determined rookies, participants face numerous challenges along their journey but remain fueled by their love for these remarkable animals and their shared passion for mushing.

In 2023, Ryan Redington emerged victorious in the Iditarod Race with an impressive time of 8 days, 21 hours, 12 minutes, and 58 seconds. This demanding trail tested his endurance and showcased his exceptional skills as a musher. Peter Kaiser secured second place, closely followed by Richie Diehl in third place. The race not only demonstrates incredible human determination but also highlights the bond between mushers and their canine companions.

The Iditarod Dogsled Race holds great significance in Alaskan culture and draws the support of numerous sponsors, volunteers, and communities along the trail. The race honors the legacy of dog sled travel that played a vital role in Alaska’s history while celebrating the continued spirit of adventure and perseverance.

Unique Anchorage Accommodations

When planning a trip to Anchorage, Alaska, finding the right accommodation can greatly enhance your overall experience. Luckily, Anchorage offers a range of unique accommodations that cater to different preferences and interests. From cozy cabins nestled in the wilderness to upscale hotels with stunning views, there is something for everyone.

If you’re looking for a truly memorable stay, consider booking a stay in an authentic Alaskan log cabin. These charming cabins exude rustic charm and provide a cozy retreat amidst the scenic surroundings of Anchorage. Imagine waking up to the sound of birds chirping and stepping outside to breathe in the fresh mountain air while surrounded by towering trees. It’s a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

For those seeking a more luxurious experience, Anchorage also offers upscale hotels that offer top-notch amenities and breathtaking views. Imagine waking up to panoramic vistas of snow-capped mountains or shimmering waters right from your hotel room window. Many of these hotels also offer on-site restaurants and spas, ensuring that you have everything you need for a comfortable and relaxing stay.

In addition to log cabins and luxury hotels, Anchorage also has options such as cozy bed and breakfasts, charming guesthouses, and unique lodges nestled in nature. These accommodations often have their own distinct character and provide an opportunity to connect with local hosts who can offer insider tips on exploring Anchorage.

Whether you choose to stay in a log cabin, luxury hotel, or any other unique accommodation option in Anchorage, one thing is for certain – you’ll be surrounded by nature’s beauty at every turn. The captivating landscapes of Alaska are just steps away from your doorstep, offering endless opportunities for outdoor adventure.

Now that we’ve explored some of the unique accommodation options in Anchorage, let’s delve into another aspect – comfortable stays amidst nature.

Comfortable Stays amidst Nature

Anchorage, known as the gateway to the Last Frontier, offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the pristine wilderness of Alaska while enjoying comfortable accommodations. Whether you prefer camping or glamping, there are plenty of options available to meet your needs.

Camping enthusiasts will find numerous campgrounds and RV parks in and around Anchorage that provide basic amenities such as toilets, picnic areas, and fire pits. These campsites allow you to experience the raw beauty of nature up close and personal. Picture yourself sitting by a crackling campfire under a starlit sky, sharing stories with fellow campers after a day of exploring nearby hiking trails or fishing spots.

For those who desire a more luxurious camping experience, glamping is the perfect option. Anchorage offers glamping sites that combine the comforts of traditional accommodation with the unique experience of being surrounded by nature. Stay in fully furnished tents or cozy cabins equipped with comfortable beds, private bathrooms, and even kitchenettes. Glamping allows you to enjoy the great outdoors without sacrificing modern conveniences.

Imagine waking up in a spacious canvas tent nestled in a forested area or by a serene lake. You can step outside to breathtaking views, listen to the gentle rustling of leaves, and breathe in the crisp mountain air. It’s the best of both worlds – reconnecting with nature while still enjoying a comfortable stay.

One popular glamping site in Anchorage offers luxury yurts complete with plush bedding, cozy furnishings, and private decks overlooking picturesque landscapes. You can unwind in style after a day filled with outdoor adventures like hiking through dense forests or kayaking on tranquil waters.

Whether you choose camping or glamping, Anchorage provides an ideal setting for comfortable stays amidst nature’s wonders.