The Best Attractions to See and Visit in Anchorage, Alaska

When you visit a new destination, how do you connect with it?

At Alaskan Footprints, we’re big believers in getting to know new places through food. There’s often no quicker way to connect with the local culture and people!

And once you’ve satisfied your appetite, hitting the streets and visiting the best attractions is a great way to deepen that connection.

As a leader for guided walking food tours in Anchorage, we’ve got all the local insights you need for the best things to see and do in our special city.

For more information about our tours, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions you may have.

For now though, let’s take a look at the best attractions to visit in Anchorage, AK.

Explore Downtown Anchorage

No trip to Anchorage is complete without a visit to the city’s downtown area. In fact, your Anchorage experience will likely start here!

This vibrant neighborhood is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions, including the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and the Anchorage Museum (more on this below). 

There’s no better way to get to know our fascinating city’s history, culture, and culinary scene than by joining our Anchorage Walking Tour – Downtown Food & History Tour.

Led by one of our local guides, we show you the best that modern Anchorage has to offer while immersing you in its past, myths, and legends.

Eat and Shop at the ANC Market Social

If you’re in Anchorage between May and September, head to the ANC Market Social in the heart of downtown.

During this time, it runs on Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm.

Located on E Street, next to Town Square Park and between 5th and 6th Avenue, this is a weekly street fair and market run “by locals, for locals”.

ANC Market Social is a one-of-a-kind collaboration that brings together local artisans, growers, makers, and the best downtown vendors.

You can find unique, handmade items made right here in Alaska, as well as food stalls, fresh homegrown produce, a beer garden, live music, and much more!

Are you unfamiliar with Alaskan food? Check out our blog What is Alaskan Cuisine? to find out more about the tasty treats you can expect to enjoy here.

Feel the City’s Excitement at Fur Rondy

Fur Rendezvous — known locally as Fur Rondy — is Alaska’s oldest and largest winter festival.

Held annually in late February and into early March, Rondy is a 12-day event that marks the end of the long winter and the transition to spring.

Fur Rondy dates back to the mid-1930s, when Anchorage was a small town with around 3,000 inhabitants.

To help lift spirits in the back end of long, hard winters, Vern Johnson and his friends established a 3-day winter festival.

They timed it to coincide with the arrival in town of trappers and miners, all of whom came with the fruits of their hard winter labors.

Over the years, Rondy has grown into the internationally recognized event that it is today.

Some of the highlight events, of which there are well over 100, include:

  • Rondy Grand Prix
  • World Championship Sled Dog Race
  • Snow Sculpture Competition
  • Running of the Reindeer
  • Outhouse Races

Discover Quirky Spenard and Its Dark Past

There’s no hiding the fact that Anchorage was wild and dangerous in the late 1960s and 1970s.

With the pipeline being built, oil money was pouring into Alaska — and so were working men and women all over the US!

The population of the city doubled in the blink of an eye, and crime rates ticked upward as a result. 

Spenard was the epicenter of some of the most remarkable stories from this era.

Today, the neighborhood is a vibrant and eclectic area that is home to some of Anchorage’s best food and drink spots. 

You can visit a whole host of restaurants, cafes, and bars, each with its unique flair. 

On our Spenard Food & True Crime Walking Tour, you can take a deeper dive into the neighborhood’s past with a true crime twist!

Outdoor Enthusiasts Love Chugach State Park

Located in the mountainous region immediately east of Anchorage, Chugach State Park sprawls across an incredible 495,204 acres.

And as you would expect from the fourth-largest State Park in the US, Chugach has a varied terrain, from huge glaciers and ice fields to sparkling lakes and winding ocean shorelines.

It’s no surprise, then, that this massive park offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and camping.

In Chugach, you can also walk Alaska’s most-hiked trail and climb to the state’s most-visited peak — Flattop Mountain at Glen Alps.

You may see it referred to as the Glen Alps parking lot, while locals call it the Flattop parking lot.

From this perch high above Anchorage, you can soak up some of the most spectacular views in all of Alaska.

The park is also home to a diverse range of spectacular wildlife.

With moose, bears, and bald eagles living in their natural habitat, Chugach State Park is a great destination for nature lovers.

Are you wondering when you should visit the Land of the Midnight Sun? Read our guide What is the Best Season to Visit Alaska? to help make your decision.

Follow the Stunning Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is another absolute must-visit attraction in Anchorage for those who love the outdoors. 

This scenic trail runs for 11 miles along the coast of the city, from Second Avenue in Downtown Anchorage to Kincaid Park in the west of the city. 

Along the way, you can visit Westchester Lagoon, a wild urban oasis that’s only a 15-minute walk from downtown.

The trail is paved from start to finish and supports two-way traffic.

Point Woronzof Park — a large wooded area with running, hiking, and biking trails and jaw-dropping views across Cook Inlet — is another popular spot on the route.

And this is just one of numerous points from which you can marvel at the stunning views of the mountains across the Cook Inlet as it splits into the Knik Arm and Turnagain Arm.

The Sleeping Lady, also known as Mount Susitna, is one famous example.

The name Sleeping Lady refers to the mountain’s resemblance to a supine woman.

One local legend says that a woman from a race of giants vowed to sleep until her loved one returned from battle!

The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is popular among hikers, bikers, and joggers, and is a great way to experience Anchorage’s natural beauty at your own pace.

Head North to the Matanuska Valley

OK, so the Matanuska Valley technically isn’t in Anchorage, but it’s less than 100 miles north of the city, so it’s easily accessible for an amazing day trip.

And a visit to Matanuska Valley offers complete immersion in Alasksa’s wilderness.

The sights, sounds, smells, and awe-inspiring landscapes — this is the real Alaska at its best.

To continue your journey through the very best that the 49th State has to offer, consider our Anchorage City Tour – Local Sightseeing and Food by Van Tour.

This adventure is the perfect way to satisfy your appetite for mouthwatering food and curiosity about our one-of-a-kind city.

Due to high demand, booking dates for this tour are limited. Please book early to avoid disappointment.

Learn about Native Culture at the Alaska Native Heritage Center and Eklutna Village Historical Park

Back in Anchorage, two similar popular attractions are the Alaska Native Heritage Center and the Eklutna Village Historical Park. 

The cultural center showcases the history and traditions of Alaska’s 11 major cultural groups, with exhibits on traditional crafts, music, and dance. 

You can also take part in hands-on workshops and demonstrations, making it a great destination for those interested in learning about Alaska’s rich native cultural heritage.

Eklutna Village Historical Park is located around 25 miles northeast of Anchorage itself.

Dating back to 1650, this park is the Anchorage area’s oldest settlement continuously inhabited by the Athabaskan people.

In the early 1800s, Russian Orthodox missionaries arrived here, and the two cultures co-existed for some time.

This is why you can see St Nicholas Church here, the oldest building in greater Anchorage still standing.

Alaskan Sights & Bites would like to add the following land acknowledgment:

A land acknowledgment is a formal statement recognizing the Indigenous people of a place. 

It is a public gesture of appreciation for the past and present Indigenous stewardship of the lands that we now occupy. 

It is an actionable statement that marks our collective movement toward decolonization and equity.

Alaskan Footprints would like to acknowledge that Anchorage is located on the traditional lands of the Dena’ina Athabascans. 

For thousands of years, the Dena’ina have been and continue to be the stewards of this land. 

It is with gratitude and respect that we recognize the contributions, innovations, and contemporary perspectives of the upper Cook Inlet Dena’ina.

Enjoy the Discovery Center and Planetarium at the Anchorage Museum

The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center is another cultural cornerstone here in the city.

This museum is a valuable gateway into the history, art, and culture of Alaska, with exhibits on everything from Native Alaskan art to the state’s rich history of aviation. 

But perhaps best of all, the museum is also home to a fantastic planetarium and the interactive Discovery Center. 

A trip to the Anchorage Museum is a great day out for families, couples, and solo travelers alike!

Give Your Support to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Located just outside Anchorage, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a sanctuary for injured or orphaned animals native to our state.

This is a brilliant way to get up close and personal with animals such as brown bears, moose, and lynx in a natural setting. 

And because the center is dedicated to animal care, conservation, education, and research, your visit will support an amazing non-profit organization.

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center also offers educational tours and programs, so it’s another great destination for all ages.

If you want to see even more of our iconic animals on your visit, check out our blog Wildlife Watching Around Anchorage.

Our Anchorage Walking Food Tours Offer the Authentic Experience

We hope this guide to the best attractions to see and visit in Anchorage, Alaska, has inspired you to start planning your visit.

Whether you’re interested in culture, outdoor activities, or you simply want to experience the natural beauty of Alaska, Anchorage has something for everyone.

Browse our range of guided walking food tours in Anchorage to discover more about the adventures waiting for you in Alaska.

If you have any questions about our tours, please feel free to get in touch.