5 interesting things you absolutely have to do in Anchorage, Alaska

ANCHORAGE, AK - MARCH 05: A general view of downtown Anchorage, Alaska along the Knik Arm during the Fur Rendezvous on March 5, 2020. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
ANCHORAGE, AK - MARCH 05: A general view of downtown Anchorage, Alaska along the Knik Arm during the Fur Rendezvous on March 5, 2020. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

The state of Alaska conjures up all kinds of images in the heads of travelers. It’s a place synonymous with nature, adventure and so much more. And Anchorage is a dream city to visit for people from around the world.

At almost 300,000 residents, Anchorage is the biggest community in the state by far. Most cruises that run up and down the coast of North America make a stop there before heading south, again. But the reason for being there is irrelevant. Anchorage is a unique city with lots to do.

Alaska Native Heritage Center

The history and culture of Alaska is tied to the multitude of cultures who have contributed to its growth and development. That includes the Native peoples who have called the region home for centuries upon centuries.

Visitors to Anchorage should make plans to stop by the Alaska Native Heritage Center. It allows for the exploration of the living aspects of Native culture that still help to define Alaska as well as the opportunity to view it from a historical perspective.

Explore Chugach State Park

Anchorage, Alaska
PALMER, ALASKA – SEPTEMBER 07: The Matanuska glacier is seen on September 07, 2019 near Palmer, Alaska. Some studies show that as global temperatures rise, Alaska’s 19,000 glaciers will lose between 30% and 50% of their mass by the end of the century. Scientists continue to investigate what this means to the environment as well as the rising level of the oceans. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) /

Alaska is filled with incredible wilderness and  a seemingly endless array of wildlife. And when you’re in Anchorage, it’s fortunately not too far away. Chugach State Park is contained almost entirely within the Municipality of Anchorage.

That doesn’t mean it’s a small park, though. Chugach is almost half a million acres in size, making it the fourth biggest State Park in the United States. It’s made up of glaciers, ocean shoreline, lakes and dense icefields. There are no shortage of experiences in Chugach.

Check out Anchorage Market

Not surprisingly, Anchorage is home to Alaska’s largest open air market which is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. For obvious reasons, Anchorage Market only operates from May to September. Otherwise, it’s a little cold and snowy to be wandering around an open air market.

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The number of vendors in attendance usually exceeds 100, with a nice variety of food and arts related stalls. It’s a great place to go to find a unique memento of your trip that’s a bit different from what you usually find in most shops.

Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center

Anchorage, Alaska
ANCHORAGE, AK – JANUARY 06: An ice rainbow appears through ice fog at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on January 6, 2020 in Anchorage, Alaska. These rare rainbows occur when the sun interacts with ice crystals suspended in the air. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

Art, culture, design, science and history all collide at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. Housed in a stunning building in downtown, the Anchorage Museum is a Smithsonian affiliate. This gives it access to some incredible exhibits and resources.

The scope of this facility is impressive to say the least, offering visitors outstanding experiences year round. There are several rotating exhibits and installations so keep an eye on their website. You never know what might be around while you’re in town.

Stop by Alaska Zoo

Considering you are in a state renowned for it’s natural beauty and incredible opportunities to view wildlife, it might seem a little odd to recommend going to a zoo. But wildlife isn’t always cooperative, and this is a really nice zoo.

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The Alaska Zoo is home to an interesting range of animals, including Brown Bears, Black Bears and Polar Bears. They also offer a variety of animal encounter experiences. That apparently includes the Brown Bears under what one would assume to be very controlled circumstances.