Anchorage City Guide
Anchorage is the largest city in the state of Alaska. This picturesque city, which is surrounded by the wilderness of the tundra, mountains, forests and rivers, is often referred to as the ‘the city of lights and flowers’.
It is believed that Anchorage was discovered in 1778 by English explorer Captain James Cook on his voyage of discovery. Later on Russian explorers established a presence in Southern Alaska in 1784 .However the actual establishment of Anchorage is associated with the construction of the Alaska railroad in 1915. The city then developed rapidly after oil was discovered at its Prudhoe Bay in the 1960’s and the trans-Alaska pipeline was constructed.
Today Anchorage is a cosmopolitan, sprawling American city which remains true to its heritage even while forging ahead with technological advances. Alaskans have a strong sense of culture and seek to preserve the traditions of their ancestors.
Tourism today is big business in Anchorage and the city which offers excellent museums, much native culture and a good selection of restaurants is a popular vacation destination that is often visited as a starting point for an Alaskan cruise.
Where to stay in Anchorage
Downtown Anchorage which occupies the Anchorage Bowl(a strip of coastal lowland that extend the slopes of the Chugach Mountains to the east)is the heart of the city and is home to prominent landmarks, stores, restaurants and cultural attractions. Accordingly it is the favored accommodation option for most tourists on a vacation to Anchorage. Downtown Anchorage offers a variety of hotels that range from expensive luxury hotel properties to mid-range, business hotels and discount hotels and budget accommodation options.
Around the Airport
The well connected Anchorage airport is located close to downtown and is surrounded by a variety of well-priced hotels of all grades.
Anchorage offers a variety of budget accommodation options which are scattered all over the city. However if you choose to stay beyond the downtown area, you will probably need to rent a car to get around for public transport in Anchorage is scarce.
Places to see in Anchorage
Denali National Park and Reserve
The Denali National Park and Reserve is Anchorage’s prime attraction which showcases Alaska’s spectacular wilderness that encompasses wildlife, glaciers, huge expanses of sub-arctic tundra and the highest mountain in North America, the snow topped, Mt McKinley which rises to a height of 6096m (20,320 feet). The Denali National Park extends over six million acres and is divided into two sections by the peaks of the Alaska Range which offer hiking and mountaineering opportunities for visitors to the park. The park is inhabited by much Alaskan wildlife like grizzly bears, caribou, moose, dall sheep, wolves and numerous species of birds and it offers a wide range of recreational activities like mountain-biking, hiking, white-water rafting, ice climbing and camping. The Denali National Park and reserve is definitely a must-do on any vacation to Anchorage.
Anchorage Museum of History and Art
Yet another prominent attraction of Anchorage is the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. This museum is perhaps the most visited attraction in Anchorage that chronicles Alaskan history, art and culture from Alaska’s Native American origins to present times.
Alaska Native Heritage Center
The Alaska Native Heritage Center showcases the culture and heritage of the Alaskan people. The exhibits at the heritage center feature various artifacts like tools, clothing, artworks and drums all of which illustrate the traditions, customs and lifestyles of the Alaskan people. The center also hosts storytelling, dance and craft events and is open during the summer months.
Best time to visit Anchorage
Most visitors tend to believe that Anchorage is covered with mounds of snow all year round; the city does receive 70 inches of snowfall during its winter season during which average daytime temperatures range from 5F to 30F(-15C to -1C). Average daytime highs during the summer months range from 55F to 78F(13C to 26C) and visitors aver that the best time to visit Anchorage is during the Alaskan summers from May to early September when the days are long and warmer temperatures prevail.
Getting around in Anchorage
Anchorage is served by its extremely well connected Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport which is situated two miles south of Anchorage. This airport receives a slew of domestic and international flights daily. This makes getting to Alaska infinitely easy from any part of the world. In fact Fare Buzz periodically announces flight deals for Anchorage and if you are in the market for cheap air tickets for Anchorage, you would do well as to check with Fare Buzz often for cheap air flights to Anchorage.
The public transport system in Anchorage comprises of a bus network and a people mover system. However these public modes of transport are only convenient to use if you are based in downtown Anchorage. If you want to explore the city and its environs, it makes sense to rent a car for the duration of your stay in Anchorage.
All the major car rental companies have a presence in Anchorage but if you need rent a car for your Anchorage vacation, you would do well to contact Fare Buzz for its travel deal repertoire encompasses a good selection of affordable car rentals for Anchorage which can be booked via its regular travel booking platforms.
Where to shop in Anchorage
Anchorage levies no sales-tax so if you love shopping, you can definitely revel in your favored past-time during your visit to this North America’s northernmost city. Anchorage in fact offers a whole range of souvenir-shopping options at its various art galleries, seafood and game shops, specialty stores and breweries. Popular haunts for souvenir shopping in Anchorage, include stores like the Alaska Museum Gift Shop, The Alaska Native Arts Foundation Gallery, Alaska Sausage and Seafood Company, 10th and M Seafoods, David Green Master Furrier and Alaska Fur Exchange.
For main-street shopping options try locales like the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall, a five-level shopping center located in downtown Anchorage that hosts more than 100 stores, offering a whole host of products that range from jewelry to women’s apparel from well-known brands like the Fred Meyer Jewelers, the Gap, the Apple Store, Coach, Banana Republic, Bebe and more. Also onsite at the mall, are various chain and specialty restaurants like Auntie Annie’s, Subway, Arby’s, Thai Place and Sullivan’s Steakhouse.
Similar mall-shopping experiences can be had at other locales in Anchorage like the Diamond Center reputed to be Alaska’s largest mall and the Northway Mall.
Where to eat in Anchorage
Alaska is known for its abundance of fresh seafood. Anchorage in fact is littered with several excellent seafood restaurants which offer delectable dishes crafted with easily available fresh catch like Alaska King Crab, fresh-caught halibut, Alaska salmon and more. Well-known and highly regarded seafood restaurants in Anchorage include establishments like Simon and Seafort’s, Seven Glacier’s Restaurant, Southside Bistro Inc, The Marx Brothers Café and Jack Sprat.
However, it’s not all about seafood in Anchorage and the city’s dining scene also features restaurants that offer various local and global eats. Well-ranked restaurants in Anchorage include joints like Club Paris (steakhouse), Gwennies Old Alaska Restaurant (traditional American), Spenard Roadhouse (American), Ginger (Asian fusion fare) and ORSO (Italian).
Nightlife in Anchorage
Alehouses, brewpubs, cocktail lounges, dance clubs et al, Anchorage’s nightlife landscape offers a varied entertainment scene. Favored nightlife haunts in Anchorage include spots like Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse, Subzero Microlounge, Center Bowl, Bear Tooth Theatre Pub and Grill, Darwin’s Theory (cocktail bar), Chilkoot Charlies (live-music bar), Platinum Jaxx and the Last Frontier Bar (both dance clubs).