Anchorage is located in Southcentral Alaska at 61 degrees north; just farther north than Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki and Saint Petersburg. Surrounded by the sparkling waters of Cook Inlet and towering peaks of the Chugach Mountains, Anchorage encompasses wild adventures and metropolitan appeals that form larger-than-life experiences.
It is the northernmost city in the United States with more than 100,000 residents and the largest community in North America north of the 60th parallel. Anchorage is a unique, year-round destination with once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Step foot on a glacier, fish for king salmon, hike to a mountain vista, fly out to Mount McKinley, cruise in comfort through Prince William Sound and enjoy hip, metropolitan amenities with frontier flair.
Anchorage offers you an endless list of activities and sightseeing throughout the season;
Summer: With Alaska’s extended summer daylight hours, visitors to Anchorage can pack in a lot of adventure. Flightsee over vast, snow-covered mountains, reel in fresh Alaska king salmon, hike across a rainforest or get up close to a glacier. Solo or with a guide, there’s plenty to see and do in and around Anchorage.
Winter: From cool views of the northern lights to hot times in the ole’ town, Anchorage is the quintessential winter city for both adventurer and socialite. Mild temperatures, bordering mountains and miles of untamed snow.
Alaska Railroad For over 90 years, the Alaska Railroad has helped to connect people and places across Alaska. Several routes offer you a different look into the Alaska’s diverse terrain in comfortable and state of the art railcars; most with two class service. -The Denali Star, the Alaska Railroad’s flagship train, links Anchorage to Fairbanks with stops in Wasilla, Talkeetna and Denali Park. On this route, sparkling salmon streams and stands of birch and spruce come into view, while carpets of fireweed add dramatic purple to the landscape. -The Coastal Classic Train is a local favorite that winds through the stretch of wilderness between Anchorage and Seward. A string of massive glaciers visible from the track enriches the journey. This train travels to the shores of Resurrection Bay for convenient connection to Kenai Fjords National Park, whale watching, sea kayaking, tidewater glacier viewing, fishing, and dog sled rides. -The Glacier Discovery Train travels from Anchorage south along Turnagain Arm. Passengers can visit Whittier for glacier cruises or head to Spencer Lake for canoe tours, rafting, and hiking. As an option, guests can choose to continue into the alpine regions of the Chugach Mountains for scenic tours of Grandview, the tunnel section, and the historic loop district. -The Aurora Winter train travels north from Anchorage to Fairbanks each Saturday and south from Fairbanks to Anchorage each Sunday of the winter season.
Alaska Wildlife Anchorage’s surrounding parkland is the ideal habitat for Alaska’s diverse wildlife populations. Spot Dall sheep along the Seward Highway and beluga whales in Turnagain Arm. See moose, fox, beavers and an occasional bear along trails and in city neighborhoods. Watch salmon travel upstream in Ship Creek and leap at nearby William Jack Hernandez Hatchery. Anchorage is also a great start point for multi day trips (or even day trips) to remote lodges such as Redoubt Bay and Brooks Falls for bear viewing opportunities.
Fishing The dream of landing a trophy fish lures people from around the globe to Anchorage, where urban angling is just a stone’s throw from downtown and remote fly in fishing in the Alaska wilderness is an easy day trip. In Anchorage, it’s not unusual to see businesspeople step out of the office, throw on a pair of hip waders and head down to Ship Creek (a salmon stream right in downtown Anchorage!) to reel in an Alaska king or silver salmon – especially during the Slam’n Salm’n Derby in June. With divisions for visitors and kids, not to mention specially tagged fish, you don’t need to reel in the big one to land great prizes.
Exploring Central Alaska/Cruise start point Anchorage is a major international gateway in Alaska which provides the best start point in your Alaskan exploration to Central Alaska such as Denali National Park as well as a great pre/post stopover from your Alaskan cruise with Seward and Whittier being the closest cruise ports accessible by a scenic ride on the Alaskan Railroad or coach.
Alpine Skiing & Snowboarding Skiers and snowboarders have three choices for alpine skiing within 45 minutes of downtown Anchorage – all of which offer stunning views, something for every skill level and the most awesome terrain found anywhere. The long season includes enough daylight to ski for an average of 7.5 hours a day in December and a stunning 16 hours a day in April. Alyeska Resort being Alaska’s premier ski resort has been recognized as one of the top 25 ski destinations by Skiing Magazine. It boasts 650 inches of average annual snowfall, 2,500 vertical feet of diverse terrain over 1,400 skiable acres and an alpine ski season that can stretch past 150 days.
Shopping When you are exploring the great outdoors, don’t forget to spend time exploring the great indoors. The wide variety of products available in Anchorage means your suitcase should go home just a little, or a lot, heavier than when you arrive. You’ll find there is something for the most dedicated shopper, the one who’s just along to hold the purse and everyone who falls somewhere in between. No sales tax is an added benefit, and most of the local gift shops will ship purchases around the world.
The Anchorage marketplace is a treasure trove for finding interesting and authentic Alaska gifts and souvenirs. Browse art galleries, souvenir and gift stores, as well as craft shows and outdoor markets to find just the right piece to take home with you. Books by regional authors, gourmet edibles and wild-caught Alaska seafood shipped direct from the source make excellent gifts for the loved ones back home.
Dining Anchorage dining includes some of the freshest seafood in the world, which Alaska chefs offer up in a variety of mouth-watering creations in Anchorage restaurants. From plump, cold-water Kachemak Bay oysters, to Alaska king crab, fresh-caught halibut, and wild Alaska salmon – the staple of Alaska seafood, Anchorage restaurants have it all!
Anchorage’s local cuisine includes a broad variety of fish and shellfish harvested right in Alaska. Annual migrations in the cold North Pacific contribute to the superior flavor and texture of wild Alaska seafood. It’s a taste and quality prized around the world.
King crab and king salmon may reign supreme when people think of Alaska seafood, but they are just two of the species in Alaska’s vast bounty. Five salmon species are found throughout the state as well as halibut, grayling, rockfish and rainbow trout. From shrimp to razor clams, snow, king and Dungeness crab, Alaska shellfish have unique flavors that integrate beautifully into bouillabaisse and delight eaten simply out of the shell.
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race: Early March Snow, trails and wild tails! The Last Great Race is an endurance race through wide-open spaces of Alaska for the four-legged, gold-medal athletes of the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Downtown Summer Solstice Celebration: Summer Solstice/Mid-late June Alaskans celebrate the longest day of the year in Town Square and along Fourth Avenue with tons of events packed into one sweet celebration. Live musical performances keep downtown hopping until the sun goes down, a tall order on a day with 22 hours of functional daylight. A highlight of the celebration is the Hero Games, which pits teams from the police, troopers, fire department and military in “friendly” challenges such as “rescue the cat” climb, the bucket brigade and tricycle races.
Alaska Pride Fest Parade & Festival: June Each summer Anchorage’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight-allied community (led by Identity, Inc.) hosts Pride Fest, a weeklong roster of special events including drag queen bingo, movies, barbecues and more. It is all topped off by the parade and a festival on the Delaney Park Strip.
Anchorage 4th of July Celebration & Downtown Parade: 4th July Join us on July 4th from 8:00am-6:00pm at the Delaney Park Strip. the festival features over 50 local vendors, activities for the kid in all of us, free entertainment and Alaska’s biggest (and best) parade!
Anchorage International Film Festival: December Provocative and independent films are screened at Anchorage’s best big screens and venues. The festival is a showcase of “films worth freezing for.”
The climate of Anchorage, Alaska is a subarctic climate due to its short, cool summers. Average daytime summer temperatures range from approximately 55 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 26 degrees Celsius); average daytime winter temperatures are about 5 to 30 degrees (-15 to -1 degrees Celsius).