Anchorage – In the Heart of the Great Wilderness
Located in the South-central part of Alaska state, and considered Alaska’s “largest village”, this unique city shares its wealth of native culture and wildlife and welcomes all who wish to experience the northern life. Do you think that Anchorage is only a snow-covered and cold place just because it’s so far north? You would be pleasantly surprised to find that in summer the beautiful bloom of a variety of flowers decorates the city everywhere you go, giving it a burst of a spectrum of colors. This city of flowers is like a giant botanical garden in the middle of the wilderness!
The climate in Anchorage is a lot more comfortable than one would expect. The ideal time to visit if you want to maximize the use of daylight in June, when the longest days occur. In winter, the days average 5 hours long, with December 21 being the shortest day, and it is only in February when the days begin to feel a little longer. Summer temperatures can be as mild as the mid-70s and the deepest winter chill can hit -20° to -30°F.
Getting To and Around Anchorage
There are some direct flights to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport from Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago, Portland, and San Francisco, to name a few major cities. Connect to one of those outgoing flights if convenient. It is also accessible by road from the US from the “lower 48” region and from British Columbia, Canada, through which the Alaska Highway runs, leading into Fairbanks in Alaska. From Fairbanks, take the Parks Highway onto Anchorage.
Unless you are staying close to the downtown area which is compact and easy for walking, the rest of Anchorage is spread out, with a lot of the land uninhabitable, so having access to a car is recommended. The streets are laid out in a grid pattern with east-west roads being numbered and north-south roads alphabetically labeled, so finding your way around should be fairly simple.
What to See and Do in Anchorage
Downtown Anchorage is where most of the tourist attractions will be. Most of the surrounding areas are residential or commercial locations. But be adventurous and find out more from the locals.
Visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center located on the east side of Anchorage and learn about the first people of Alaska, and get some hands-on experience through interactive performances and demonstrations. See 6 life-sized replicas of Native dwellings up close on this 26-acre site. Get to understand their cultural survival at the Anchorage Museum in the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center exhibit, sharing more than 600 artifacts for the world to see.
Anchorage is known to have the best trails for hiking, biking and running, so if you enjoy any, if not all three of these activities, then Anchorage is your heavenly place to be. There are more than 400 miles of trails where you can also ride an ATV, go horse-back riding, or even in-line skate! Venture on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail that is accessible from downtown. At the end of that trail, connect to Kincaid Park and continue on your adventure. Enjoy another 7.5 miles of trails in Hillside Park. And the list goes on.
Why wait for winter weather when you can go ahead and try a dog-sled ride in the summer? And what better place to have a day out with powerful huskies pulling you along but under the summer sun on a glacier! Heli-tours are available to take you up. If you prefer to stay on lower ground, you can tour a kennel and visit with the mushers, try a training run, and cuddle with these outstanding dogs.
Spend some time in town and join the locals in some of the festivities that may include music festivals like a jazz fest or a blues jam, annual traditions, and of course local entertainment such as live on-stage performances by local actors and musicians.
There’s more to Alaska than just glaciers! So head north for your next vacation and enjoy the natural settings, the wilderness and just go wild! Guaranteed you’ll have a most memorable trip to Anchorage!