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Best Things to Do in Anchorage, AK

So you’re thinking Alaska for your next adventure? I’ve rounded up the best things to do in and around Anchorage, AK so you can plan a trip full of adventure & good eats.

When is the best time to visit Alaska?

The best time to travel to Alaska is June-August where the weather is warm and, depending on when in June you go, you’re in summer solstice so there is 24 hours of daylight! The weather is perfect too, averaging 70 degrees (it does drop later in the evening) with some days getting in the mid 80s. As someone from South Carolina, it’s a total dream. If you’re looking to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), you’ll want to go September-late March/early April.

Best hiking trails with a view near Anchorage

Portage Pass Trail | Difficulty level: moderate | Length: 4.2 miles, in & out
Okay, the beginning of this trail is tough. It’s a steep incline of rocky gravel for about 1 mile. We took a few breaks but we had a 6 month pregnant gal with us and she pushed through, so I have faith in you! Once you get through the rocky terrain, the trail is well maintained so it’s easy to see where to follow. Depending on the time of year, some snow too! Even in June there were some patches. Once you get to the top, it’s absolutely breath taking. It’s a 360 view of the lake, mountains, and glacier, with grassy flowery fields surrounding. This trial is also a great alternative to doing a glacier cruise if you’re wanting to cut down on cost.

Thunderbird Falls | Difficulty level: easy | Length: 1.8 miles, in & out
Slightly steep in the beginning, not for long though. Dirt path leading up to a bridge that shows a beautiful overlook to the waterfall. Go back down the path you came up & see to your right another trail that takes you down to the creek where you can see the waterfall up close. 10/10 recommend!

Flattop Mountain | Difficulty level: easy | Length: 0.8 miles, in & out
Not sure if this qualifies as a trail as its really just a walkway up to a view point that is in the bald of the mountains. It’s a paved road so it’s handicap friendly and anyone can make it up to see the beautiful views!

Must-sees in Alaska

Whittier, AK
My favorite so far. It’s just so quaint and full of character. Leading into the small town is a tunnel that goes straight through a mountain for 2 miles. It’s a one-way tunnel so there are scheduled times traffic may pass through as it’s a shared tunnel for the visitors, natives, & trains of the area.

Knik River
Our group camped along Knik River on the well maintained camp site of Knik River Ranch & it was one for the books. Along the river we skipped rocks and just enjoyed the view.

Portage Glacier Cruise
So while we did not get the chance to do this cruise on our trip, it was on the list because we’ve heard so many great things about it. It is $45/person for a 1 hour tour. Along Turnagain Arm, it’s great to add to the itinerary for things to do near Whittier, AK – you can hit the city afterwards for shopping & a meal. Check out all the details here.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want all you can get in a glacier cruise, check out the Fjord Glacier Cruise. This one is $166/person for a 6 hour tour, lunch included. You’re almost guaranteed to see some whales with this much time on the water!

If you’re looking to save money and still get awesome views of the glacier, do the Portage Pass Trail.

Best restaurants in Anchorage

Pretty much everyone we spoke to when looking for recommendations on good eats in Anchorage said Moose’s Tooth, & for good reason. The pizza is insanely delicious and they have some awesome merch, be sure to scoop some!

Moose's Tooth Pizza
yes, that’s a Mac & cheese pizza and yes…it’s yum

Sushi Ya
If you’re like me and love sushi, you HAVE to go to Sushi Ya. It is DELICIOUS and I can’t recommend it enough! It is on the pricier side, be prepared to spend a good amount. My husband & I each got a roll, 2 pieces of nigiri, and each a soup/salad as well as large sake and spent ~$85 with tip. Well worth it in my opinion – the food is fresh, the service is awesome, and the overall atmosphere of the restaurant is a little more upscale (don’t let the outside deceive you). Also ladies, they have bidets and heated seats in our bathrooms!!!

Flattop Pizza + Pool
Safe place for food lovers of all types – seafood, pizza, and burgers. The salmon is incredible, and if you’re in Alaska you just can’t leave without having some type of salmon dish. Get the salmon burger! Check out their locations & menus here.

Best shops in Anchorage

I highly suggest going to downtown Anchorage, AK to find all the best shops. It’s full of gift shops, which I love, and they all have their own unique touch.

Marijuana is legal in AK so be on the lookout for all the dispenseries in town. The service is great at all of them & they offer awesome discounts/incentives for birthdays if you’re visiting around that time!

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