Anchorage Adventure Guide: From Railroads to Northern Lights
Arts & Culture
Food & Wine
Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city and a rich Native Heritage Site. Known for wildlife and glaciers, Alaska is the last frontier. We went in August, and it was surprisingly warm. I love watching the mist curl over the tops of the mountains on the ride from the airport. Anchorage makes a fantastic home base for vacations to Alaska. With the city in the middle of Alaska's coast, you'll find passage into the wilderness, culture and adventure in every direction. Based on my trip, these are my recommendations:
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Where to stay
Hotel Captain Cook
Polished hotel in downtown Anchorage with sophisticated rooms and suites offering views of the Cook Inlet or Chugach Mountains.
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Honestly, I didn't know what to expect from Alaska. It was nothing short of majestic!
Take a Railroad Day Trip: We saw a little bit of everything. The train took us past amazing views and made occasional stops for animal sightings. We had lunch and gazed out at the train's large picture windows. As we rode the train, our guides shared facts about the surrounding area. All-in-all, it was a 4-hour journey to the town of Seward, where we spent the day frolicking and then rode the train back to Anchorage.
Visit the Anchorage Museum: A dose of culture and history. I was most drawn to the discovery center and its interactive displays. This section has something for every age, from hands-on activities to the planetarium shows, the whole family can find an exhibit of interest. I had a little too much fun with the bubble section myself. Apart from the discovery center, there are art displays and live presentations, which can be subject to change.
Take a boat tour/see a glacier: There are plenty of day cruises to choose from. Some of the tours do fishing and will provide the equipment. Others focus more on glaciers and sailing the Turnagain Arm waterway, which flows parallel to Anchorage. Both tours include information about local flora and fauna and are sure to include stunning views.
Go to see the Northern Lights: The best times to see the lights are from September through April. To escape the city's light pollution, you can drive to the Glen Alps Trailhead parking lot.
Things to consider
One thing to look out for is the price of food. Many things in Alaska have to be imported, sometimes by plane or boat. This drives up the price of a lot of items. For example, if you are a Pepsi fan, a pack of twenty-four might usually be $13.28, and in Alaska be $22.49.
Need to Know
This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Anchorage. In need of further inspiration? Check out Taylor Morris’s guide, Your Jumping-off Point to The Last Frontier: Things to Do in Anchorage, Alaska.
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