The Anchorage Top Ten List (Our Alaska Adventure Part 3)

We left Juneau via a pretty flight over glaciers for our 2 night stay in Anchorage. Despite the fact that I have traveled all over the state of Alaska, I had never been in downtown Anchorage before.  So I was excited to explore someplace new.

Flying over glaciers in Alaska

The Captain Cook Hotel is by far the favorite of most visitors, whether traveling by car, train, or cruise.  It’s a great hotel run by a longtime Alaska family, and a major hub of activity.  We wanted something quieter, so we stayed in a small B&B a couple blocks away, the Copper Whale Inn.  I really enjoy the bed and breakfast experience, but it’s not for everyone.  And since all inns are different, it’s important to know what to expect to make sure it’s a good fit.

Copper Whale Inn, Anchorage, Alaska
Porch and garden at Copper Whale Inn
Copper Whale Inn, Anchorage, Alaska
Room at The Copper Whale Inn

Captain Cook Hotel, Anchorage, Alaska
Captain Cook Hotel Lobby

Here’s my top ten list of things to do while visiting Anchorage.

1.    Visit the Anchorage Alaska Center located in the historic Old Federal Building.  I highly recommend the movie about the 1964 earthquake.  It’s good to watch at the start of your trip so you can watch for sights mentioned.


2.    Rent bikes for a ride along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.   You’ll find Earthquake Park interesting if you watched the movie in the visitor center.

Bicycle trail in Anchorage

3.    Hike to Flat Top Mountain in Chugach State Park for 360 degree views.

4.    Have a cup of coffee at the historic Fur Rondy shop, which is home to the Dog Mushing Hall of Fame.    A statue outside marks the ceremonial starting location for the Iditarod, and on Wednesday afternoons you can meet a musher and his dog.

Iditarod Race ceremonial start
Statue dedicated to dogs & mushers,
often referred to as the “Balto Statue”

5.    Spend a day driving south of Anchorage about 40 miles to visit Girdwood and Alyeska Resort.

6.    Drive 9 miles further south to take the 1 hour Portage Glacier Cruise.
Portage Glacier, Alaska

7.    On the way back to Anchorage, stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center to see rescued bears, moose, musk ox, bison, caribou, and brown and black bears.  There are lots of cute babies, too!

Brown bear at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Bison at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

8.    Visit the Captain Cook Monument on the waterfront at Resolution Park.

9.    Drive 45 miles north to the Iditarod Race Headquarters in Wasilla. (This is also a good stop on the way to Talkeetna or Denali).   You can see videos and memorabilia about the history of the race, see the actual trophy, and take a dog sled ride.
Sled dog puppy
4 week old puppy

Iditarod trophy
Original Iditarod trophy, retired in 1999

10.  On weekends visit the Anchorage Market and Festival, Alaska’s largest open air market.  You can grab a bite in the Eat Local section, and find souvenirs at good prices.

Anchorage market

If you’d like assistance planning your own custom Alaskan adventure, just drop me a note at suzette@family-treks.com.

  1. Jess
    Jess says:

    I love the Anchorage weekend market! I was there last week – I got the salmon quesadilla and some wonderful reindeer egg-rolls.