Perched on the edge of Alaska’s wilderness, Anchorage is surrounded by mountain peaks, pristine glaciers, and gorgeous coastline. You’ll be surprised at how much you can pack into one day in the city, especially in summer, when the sun stays bright past 11pm. Here’s how to make the most out of one day in Anchorage.
For a quick introduction to Anchorage’s rich history and culture, hop on the city’s popular trolley tour, which passes many top landmarks including Earthquake Park, Lake Hood, Westchester Lagoon, and, if you’re lucky, one of Anchorage’s resident moose. Alternatively, take a tour that explores the rich heritage of Alaska’s indigenous people and includes a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Center. If you want a more active way to see the city, rent a bike and explore the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, which follows the Anchorage coastline along Cook Inlet and provides sweeping views of downtown and the Chugach Range.
The Seward Highway, just south of Anchorage, follows the breathtaking shoreline of the Turnagain Arm of the Gulf of Alaska. This 50-mile (80-kilometer) stretch of highway runs from Anchorage to Portage Glacier and is one of the most scenic drives in America. To make the most of your afternoon, take a guided tour from Anchorage, which can include a trip up the aerial tram at Alyeska Resort and a tour of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where injured and orphaned elk, eagles, grizzly bears, and other animals are treated. Alternatively, explore the Turnagain Arm at your own pace on the hop-on hop-off Turnagain Arm Shuttle.
Anchorage has a lively craft beer scene, so start your evening out with a tasting tour of Anchorage’s top breweries. If beer’s not your thing, you could opt for an evening wildlife safari or a sunset viewing tour. If you visit between the months of September and April, head outside the city limits for a chance to view the Northern Lights; a guided tour will give you the best chance of seeing the stripes of dancing color lighting up the night sky.