Day 1 You'll See:
Day 2 You'll See:
- Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Festival (Feb 24-Mar 5)
- Redoubt Bay Bear Viewing (Aug)
- Anchorage Half-Day Hike
- Bear Tooth Theatrepub
Day 3 You'll See:
- Ceremonial Start to Iditarod Race (Mar 4)
- Snow City Cafe Brunch
- Free Time in Girdwood
- Alaska Naturally Aurora Show
Day 4 You'll See:
Day 5 You'll See:
If you are heading to Anchorage, you’re going to want to take a look at this sample week-long itinerary, highlighting all the best in local culture, food, ecology, and attractions!
Arrive at Ted Stevens Airport - This is the spot where your group will most likely arrive in Anchorage unless you opted for a cruise or road trip. Lucky for you, we have our first stop right down the road, about a half-mile away at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum.
Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum - Welcome to the Alaska Aviation Museum, the only spot in the state that will tell you all about how interesting, innovative, and in-depth Alaska’s flight history is. This museum was created in 1988 with the mission to ‘preserve, display, and honor Alaska’s aviation heritage, by presenting and displaying historical aircraft, artifacts, and memorabilia to foster public interest in aviation and its history’. Here you and your group will see over 30 different historic aircraft, as well as the Lake Hood Seaplane Base itself, the busiest seaplane base in the world. This spot sees over 87,000 takeoffs and landings each year, plus it is only ½ mile away from the Ted Stevens International Airport, making it the ‘air crossroads of the world’. It takes an average of two hours to see this whole museum, with several historic aircraft inside (sometimes even being currently restored for guests to view), various exhibits, films, and even a really fun and educational flight simulator.
Dinner at Simon and Seafort’s - This Anchorage local eatery is consistently being voted the best in Alaska, serving up some of the highest quality steaks, freshest local seafood, and most breathtaking views since 1978. Not only is the food good, but the service is great and the atmosphere is warm, something every Alaskan can appreciate. The beautiful dining room inside will give you sweeping views of the surrounding area, mostly showing you panoramic scenes of Cook Inlet, Mountain Sustain, and the Alaska Range. Aged steak, Alaskan Gulf Pacific Cod, Char Boiled Rib-eye, and even Crab and Macadamia nut stuffed Halibut all top the list for most delicious and popular dishes, as do the bacon wrapped meatloaf and cajun chicken fettuccine. It will be easy to see why Simon’s has earned ‘Best of Alaska’, as well as various best steak, best seafood, most romantic, best business lunch, and best business dinner awards from the local press. Just take a bite and look around, you'll understand!
Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Festival (Feb 24-Mar 5) - Welcome to the nation’s premier winter festival, the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Festival, often times referred to as the Fur Rondy or just Rondy. This nationally and internationally renown festival began in 1935 as a sports tournament, including skiing, hockey, basketball, boxings, and children’s sled dog racing. It originally lasted 3 days and in its first year it brought out all 3,000 inhabitants of Anchorage. Now the Fur Rondy lasts 10 full days and brings out hundreds of thousands of guests, from locally excited families and supporters to worldwide media and news sources, each and everyone excited to be a part of this unique piece of Alaskan history. There is something fun and interesting to do everyday during this festival, so don’t worry about being here on a certain day! Make sure you stop by the Fur Rondy shop and Cafe for some award winning espresso at some point during the festivities as well!
Redoubt Bay Bear Viewing (Aug) - If you happen to be in or around Anchorage during the month of August, this is a must-do experience! During this month the bear viewing is excellent, which is why Rusts Flying Service offers Natural History Day Tours of the area, giving guests one of the absolute best opportunities to view both black and brown bears in their natural habitat! To start out this amazing 6-hour tour your group will fly just southwest of Anchorage in a seaplane, the round trip to Redoubt Bay Lodge included in the total cost of the tour (around $700 total). Once there, lakeside near the entrance to the Lake Clark Wilderness Preserve, you will receive a detailed orientation on bears, safety, and the environment from an expert. Then you will hop on board a boat and travel to bear country itself, a massive 171,000 acres of critical bear habitat!
Anchorage Half-Day Hike - Take a hike, literally, with a local professional hiking company by the name of Ascending Path. This company, around the area since 1995, allows visitors to spend 4 hours hiking the gorgeous Chugach Mountains with a professional naturalist guide, showing you all the local scenery, geography, and wildlife along the way. Explore the unique coastal alpine mountains, ‘one of the most accessible wilderness areas to anchorage with the best Alaskan wildlife viewing’. You will learn about geology, animal tracks, life zones of habitat, and get to see so many beautifully iconic Alaskan sights. You will get to see the Alaskan Range, Mount McKinley, Cook Inlet, Turnagain Arm, and several different glacial volcanoes during your hike! When preparing for this hike keep two key things in mind: 1). The hike cost $99 per person, and 2). You need to wear comfortable clothes, layers, and boots. Bringing a camera and/or binoculars and plenty of water is recommended as well.
Bear Tooth Theatrepub - If you are looking for something warm, delicious, and entertaining all at once, then you need to head over to Bear Tooth Theatrepub. This local theater house and dining hot spot is an Anchorage classic located on 27th Avenue. Officially a 2nd run-indie moviehouse, Bear Tooth is also a pub, and eatery, and an occasional concert venue. Bear Tooth will provide you with freshly prepared food, drinks if you are of age, and your choice of the feature film to go along with it. The theater plays around 5-7 feature films over the span of a week, allowing you to eat inside the theater actually during the movie! What more could you ask for, it’s an Alaskan dinner and a movie! Try the Harvest Quinoa Salad, Snowbird Cod Tacos, or Rueben Pizza while here, each knocking you right in the taste buds.
Ceremonial Start to Iditarod Race (Mar 4) - Get ready for this once in a lifetime opportunity to view the beginning of “The Last Greatest Race on Earth”, the Alaska Iditarod. This race pits man and animal versus nature as they travel down 1000 miles of the roughest and most beautiful terrain, encountering harsh mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forests, desolate tundra land, and miles of windy coastline. The conditions can be brutal, with far below zero temperatures, zero visibility winds, hours of darkness, and dangerous steep climbs. Thousands upon thousands of guests gather annually the first Saturday of March to see the start of the sometimes two-week long historic trek from Anchorage to Nome, gathered along various towns on the path along the west Bering Sea Coastline.The purpose of the race will be easily seen by your group, as they witness up close the majesty and power of the sled dogs, an Alaskan Husky breed that needed help being preserved after the introduction of snowmobiles in the area.
Snow City Cafe Brunch -This popular spot serves breakfast all day, and they do so quite well. So well, in fact, that the locals have been consistently voting this the ‘Best Breakfast’ in the region since 2003 (Anchorage Press). Opened in 1993, this cafe serves the freshest ingredients available, using local vendors when they can. Their food is mostly all from scratch, the company focusing on ‘good food, community, the environment, and making people happy’. That’s quite the goal to take on, we agree, but after you taste their food and meet their staff your group just may understand a little bit better. There are several healthy, vegan, and gluten-free options, as well as weekly specials featuring classics like fried egg sandwiches. Try the crabby omelet, sockeye smoked salmon cake, or nuevo huevos, the later packed with black beans and guacamole, the perfect breakfast kick.
Free Time in Girdwood - Girdwood is a small Alaskan mountain town about 36 miles south of Anchorage. Unlike Anchorage, however, Girdwood strives to provide a small town vibe and takes pride in allowing guests to escape all the city hustle and bustle of Anchorage. Girdwood is known as the new ‘recreation capital’ of Alaska, home to the only year-round resort in Alaska, the Alyeska resort. Within this resort, you will be able to do almost any winter sport you desire, plus have the opportunity for several unique outdoor activities such as canyoning or snowy disc golfing. You will also have ample chances to sample local fine dining and fine drinking (if you are an appropriate age, that is). The city is situated between peaks of the Chugach Mountain Range and is nestled in a lush temperate rainforest, giving the area a completely unique geographical setting.
Alaska Naturally Aurora Show - The Alaska Naturally Aurora Show, or AurorA, is one of the most unique and comfortable ways to see ‘Alaska’s Great Northern Lights’. This show displays one of the most unique and breathtaking sights of the North, the iconic Northern Lights. This local specialty is a hugely impressive 40-minute show, a big screen, high-def, relaxingly warm experience in which you will see thousands of photos of the lights streamed together. The creator of this venture, Dave Parkhurst, was one of the very first people to capture the Northern Lights on camera, the man now streaming those photos onto a 28 by 16-foot screen within the Sydney Laurence Center for Performing Arts .Located in downtown Anchorage, this $70 million complex will allow you one full hour of warmth and comfort as you enjoy what is considered to be a ‘shifting kaleidoscope of colors and grand shapes of the aurora’.
Alaska Zoo - If you really want to get to know the area you are visiting, always go visit the local zoo. This is an excellent way to get to know the local ecosystem, the geography, and the animal science, and of course, the Alaska Zoo is no exception. This zoo is 25 acres full of educational fun, located on a hillside in rural Anchorage. Within the boundaries of the zoo, you will see over 100 animals from 35 different species, mostly birds, and mammals. It takes a typical group about 2 hours to see the entire zoo, so plan accordingly. Over 200,000 visitors each year have come to explore the gravel trails leading to natural settings, the local flora, and fauna plus a few more exotic residents. In this zoo’s 45 years of service, they have given countless homes to different animals and encouraged thousands of successful animal and educational programs.
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center - The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is an Anchorage local non-profit animal refuge dedicated to ‘conservation, education, and quality of animal care’. This center works to preserve the state’s wildlife by providing a refuge for the sick, wounded, and orphaned animals that can no longer be on their own in the wild. The staff provides spacious enclosures and quality care to the animals, giving the animals a second chance and the visitors the chance to see them up close and personal.Fans of photography, ecology, and even geography will absolutely love this chance to observe and learn, with several tours, lessons, educational programming, and feedings happening regularly. See coyotes, bald eagles, grizzlies, wood bison, and even salmon within the boundaries of this 200-acre wilderness, 65 of those acres being tidal flat terrain, a spot packed with wildlife!
Dinner at Moose’s Tooth - If you liked the Bear Tooth Theatrepub, you’re going to love this next tasty food-filled stop, the Moose’s Tooth Pub, and Pizzeria. Owned by the same people, the Moose’s Tooth Pub is located on Old Seward Highway, opened daily from 10:30 am to 11pm. You will find inventive pizzas, homemade brews, and a busy and vibrant interior here at Moose’s Tooth, not to mention all that funky, yet attention grabbing, psychedelic art hanging up on the walls.While here be sure to check out the current specials, always something new and inventive to try, even for the locals always stopping in. Right now you can enjoy the lime and cheese covered Tequila Sunrise Pizza, Honey Ghost Pepper Vampire Sticks, or sweet potato Sweet Whoopie Pies. Each pizza pie is hand tossed and stone baked, made from scratch daily, a difference you can really taste!
Alaska Native Heritage Center - Alaskan knowledge, heritage, and tradition are all the focus in this facility, as are the native traditions and customs of the past and present, shown through workshops, demonstrations, and guided tours of exhibits and village sites. Take a tour of the Welcome House, which consists of exhibits that come together as a celebration of contemporary Alaskan cultures, or step outside for a tour of the village sites to get a glimpse at ancient tradition and hear stories of the past.The whole facility serves as a sense of pride for native Alaskans, highlighting their contributions to the state of Alaska, the United States, and the north in general. Explore the native language of the Athabaskan and Tlingit tribes or view ancient tribal masks and artifacts to learn more about the materials they were able to gather and use in past, brutal Alaskan winters. Walking through the Alaska Native Heritage Center will allow your group to engage and interact with the local culture, the entire collection showing a span of 10,000 years of native history and culture.
Picnic at Kincaid Park - Kincaid Park is a very large, very fun, outdoor greenspace and park that will allow your group to exercise, visit with the locals, take in local wildlife, and experience one of the most beloved regional parks! Kincaid is a 1,516-acre park located in between Turnagain Arm and the Anchorage International Airport, the entire park a really great location for photography, hiking, biking, outdoor recreation, skiing, and wildlife watching. Many travelers like to use this as a rest area for larger groups, a great spot for a picnic, stretching your legs, and spending a really fun hour to half-day! This local landmark is completely family-friendly, about ⅓ of the trails here are even lit up during the night, ensuring your safety and giving you better views of the rolling forest area surrounding the park itself. Stop by the Outdoor Center located in an old Nike Hercules Missile Silo, go fishing in Little Campbell Lake, or even take advantage of the over 60 km of perfect mountain biking trails after you eat!
Anchorage Museum -Before you leave the city you have to head to the Anchorage museum, the modern glass-fronted building in the heart of the city that holds some of the most educational information on Alaska and the arctic in general. This large museum contains art, history, ethnography, ecology, and science all under one roof, making a really unforgettable and informational experience for any group, of any size. You can appreciate local art, learn the history of the land you are standing on, and learn all the interesting facts about Alaska along the way while visiting this museum! After you get an eyeful of the design and the artwork, head over to the hands-on science center and planetarium, this kid-friendly education station perfect for student groups and field trips. If you work up an appetite and need a little brain food head over to the onsite eatery with your group, Muse Restaurant.