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Anchorage is the entry point for many Alaska visitors, who fly in to board a cruise ship or climb into a rental car and never look back. But this city is well worth visiting. The Alaska Native Heritage Center offers insights into the area's earliest inhabitants, and the Alaska Zoo is the place to see animals you might not spot in the wilderness. The Chugach State Park and Chugach National Forest are within an hour's drive of Anchorage, so you can go hiking, fishing or whale-watching during the day and then kick back in a brew pub or top restaurant at night.
Things to Do
If you visit only one place in Anchorage, make it the Alaska Native Heritage Center. In addition to exhibits, it's an opportunity to forge a personal connection with Native cultures through storytellers, dancers, handicraft workshops and six different dwellings each hosted members of individual Native groups. The Anchorage Museum offers a broad look at Alaskan culture and history, both heavily influenced by the grandeur of the state's wilderness.
Mittens and scarves hand-knitted from soft, gray musk-ox wool are sold at the Oomingmak Musk Ox Cooperative, owned by approximately 200 Native Alaskan members. Carved bone animals, ivory jewelry and exquisitely woven baskets are sold at the Alaska Native Arts Foundation Gallery, and shops throughout downtown Anchorage display Alaska-made sweaters and mukluks.
Nightlife and Entertainment
The big outdoors is the draw in Anchorage, not nightlife. Still, there are places where you can have a drink, relax and rub shoulders with the locals. Glacier Brewhouse has cask-conditioned ales on tap, the tanks visible through a glass wall. There's also a microbrewery at Moose's Tooth Pub and Pizzeria. Patrons sip Polar Pale Ale inside or fortify themselves with barley wine in the restaurant's year-round outdoor tent.
Restaurants and Dining
Fresh, locally caught seafood and wood fire-grilled steaks are the specialty in Anchorage, and after a long day exploring the wilderness they taste like the food of the gods. Simon and Seafort's Saloon and Grill, overlooking the sunsets on Cook Inlet, is an Anchorage mainstay, serving up slabs of prime rib and wild salmon. The Marx Brothers Café offers a diverse menu, from local game to halibut cheeks, from Asian specialties to Italian fare.
American Airlines flights to Anchorage make it easy to experience a wonderful Alaska vacation that the whole family will treasure. From the pristine waters to majestic mountains, you'll find a wealth of things to do in Anchorage that focus on the area's heritage and gorgeous great outdoors.
One of our favorite activities in Anchorage is catching glimpses of the region's wildlife, which can happen almost anywhere while you're out and about (which is why brushing up on your safety skills is a must before you go). But if you want to guarantee spotting wildlife, head to the Alaska Zoo. With a natural, wooded environment, the zoo features nearly 50 species; making it the only place in Alaska to see this large a variety. The zoo is home to many orphaned, injured and endangered animals. Here you'll be able to see both polar and brown bears, moose, caribou, wolves, musk ox, arctic foxes and more. Or head to the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery near downtown, where you can watch salmon swimming upstream.
If you want to look for indoor things to do in Anchorage (great for when the temperatures drop), there are many museums and historical sites to keep you busy. The Alaska Museum of Natural History features prehistoric fossils and hands-on exhibits, while the Alaska Aviation Museum displays vintage planes as well as a flight simulator. You can also learn about the state's unique cultural heritage at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, which covers 26 acres and includes traditional village settings around a lake.
If you have extra energy you'd like to burn, try one of many outdoor activities in Anchorage, such as sledding, skating or snowshoeing.
One of the lesser-known things to do Anchorage that is fun to discover: local breweries and wineries. Choose from brewpubs and microbreweries and find a new favorite ale. Or discover a favorite new vintage of Alaskan wine at a local shop or winery.
If it sounds like this is a destination full of wonder and surprises, start planning your trip today. Fly to Anchorage with American Airlines and spend some time connecting with the great outdoors.
|Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon||Jun 2013 (annual)||Anchorage|
|Anchorage Fourth of July Celebration||Jul 2013 (annual)||Anchorage|
|Bear Paw Festival||Jul 2013 (annual)||Bear Paw Festival Site|
|Saturday Market||May - Sep 2013; Sat only (annual)||Parking Lot at 3rd & E Streets|
|Wednesday Market||Jun - Oct 2013; Wed only (annual)||Northway Mall Parking Lot|
|Anchorage International Film Festival||Nov - Dec 2013 (annual)||Anchorage|
|Anchorage Folk Festival||Jan 2014; Thu, Fri, Sat, and Sun only (annual)||Williamson Auditorium|
|Anchorage Fur Rendezvous||Feb - Mar 2014 (annual)||Anchorage|
|Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race||Mar 2014 (annual)||Anchorage|
|Bear Tooth Grill||American Regional||Beyond Downtown||2||3|
|Chair 5 Restaurant||American||Around Town||2||2|
|Double Musky Inn||Cajun||Around Town||4||4|
|Harley's Old Thyme Café||American||Beyond Downtown||1||2|
|Jens' Restaurant||International||Beyond Downtown||3||4|
|Kincaid Grill||American||Beyond Downtown||3||4|
|Snow City Cafe||Cafe||Downtown||1||2|
|Snow Goose Restaurant||Chicken/BBQ/Grill||Downtown||2||3|
|Spenard Roadhouse||American||Beyond Downtown||2||2|
|The Golden Corral||Buffet/Cafeteria||Beyond Downtown||2||2|
|The Greek Corner||Mediterranean||Beyond Downtown||2||2|
|The Marx Brothers Cafe||American||Downtown||3||4|
|The Moose's Tooth Pub and Pizzeria||Pizza||Beyond Downtown||1||3|
|Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum||Museum||3|
|Alaska Botanical Garden||Park/Garden||2|
|Alaska Bound||Travel Provider||1|
|Alaska Museum of Natural History||Museum||2|
|Alaska Native Heritage Center||Performing Arts Venue||4|
|Alaska State Troopers Museum||Museum||1|
|Alaska Tour and Travel||Travel Provider||1|
|Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center||Museum||4|
|Crow Creek Mine||Natural Attraction||2|
|Eklutna Historical Park||Neighborhood||2|
|Mt. Alyeska Tram||Tour||2|
|The Alaska Zoo||Zoo/Aquarium||3|
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