America’s northernmost city, Anchorage lies at 61 degrees north on the Cook Inlet coast of south-central Alaska. Overlooked by the snow-bound peaks of the Chugach Mountains and set close to active volcanoes, the city makes for a unique holiday destination during the short summer, with its long days and glowing nights. The hardy residents here share their city with bears, moose, mountain goats, foxes and the occasional lynx or wolf; local creeks display beaver dams and urban streams sport salmon runs in season. If getting close to nature is your thing, Anchorage is your place.
The majority of visitors to this unique destination arrive for the fishing or to explore the dozens of nature parks and conservation areas, and the city’s range of winter sports is a popular attraction. For an unforgettable experience of nature at its most pristine, the month of June is the best time to visit, with its 19-hour days, clear weather and warm afternoons. One of the world’s most ethereal sights is the glittering nighttime cityscape seen from a boat in the harbor, with its glow reflected on the snowy peaks.
The far northern city of Anchorage is home to hardy residents and ethnic peoples living in a land of snow under the shadow of the Rocky Mountain range. Its landmarks are its superb, snowy natural beauty and the wildlife inhabiting the region.
Native Heritage Center
The traditional lifestyles of Alaska’s diverse ethnic peoples is displayed at the Native Heritage Center, home to cultural events and dance performances, and the centre expands around the lakeshore to recreations of each culture’s unique, traditional way of life.
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Dedicated to the protection of Alaska’s diverse and unique wildlife, the center cares for injured, sick or orphaned local wildlife including eagles, bison, elk, black and grizzly bears, ensuring they can be safely reintroduced into the Katmai or Denali National Parks along the Seward Highway to live out their lives. The national parks themselves give stunning opportunities for wildlife viewing, hiking, trekking and walking.
Anchorage Museum of History and Art
Offering both permanent exhibits and traveling exhibitions from many world countries, Anchorage’s museum is focused on the history of this unique state and its development at the northern tip of the earth’s inhabitable landmass. Alaskan native art form a large part of its collection, and the children’s museum is a big draw for families.
The city and its immediate surroundings are hubs for winter skiing, with pistes located 15 mintues from downtown as well as farther out into the snowy countryside. Arctic Valley and the Hilltop Ski Area are popular locations.
Eating and drinking and shopping nearby
The chilly offshore waters around Anchorage provide cold-water oysters, Alaska king crab, ultra-fresh salmon and halibut, with seafood high on every restaurant’s menu. Everything from ethnic cuisine through a wide choice of international eateries and specialist seafood venues is available at prices to suit all wallets, and Japanese restaurants take full advantage of the daily deliveries of fresh-caught seafood on their sushi and sashimi menus. The popular Nino’s serves New York-style Italian dishes, and the Crow’s Nest at the quaintly-named Hotel Captain Cook is quite simply the best fine dining hub in town.Given that Anchorage is an American city, it’s no surprise to find a huge selection of shopping malls in the downtown district, set close to popular hotels such as the Ramada Anchorage Downtown. For unique native crafts, Oomingmak Musk Oz Producers’ Co-operative sells hand-knitted items made from the silky underhair of the animal.
For exploring at will outside the city, self-drive is best, and public transport within Anchorage is by hourly bus or taxi. Hotels such as the Westmark Anchorage provide courtesy shuttle bus links from Ted Stevens International Airport but, even for inner city journeys, car hire is the most convenient form of transport.