Top Fall Ideas in Anchorage

1) Northern Lights Viewing

By the time September rolls around, true night skies have returned to Anchorage and that means the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, can be viewed again. You don't have to go far to increase your chances to see the aurora and its vibrant displays.

2) Whale Watching & Wildlife Viewing

Score a front row seat with great views of glaciers, whales, sea otters and maybe even a bear. Through the end of September and into the first weeks of October, one of the most popular Alaska activities is a glacier and wildlife cruise of Kenai Fjords National Park or Prince William Sound.

3) Ride the Rails

The Alaska Railroad offers year-round service. Hop a train to Fairbanks for fantastic views of the changing fall colors and maybe even a clear shot of Denali. Or take a day trip up to scenic Hurricane on one of the last whistle stop trains in America.

4) Changing Colors

You'll see bright reds, glowing yellows and rusty oranges during a typical autumn day in Anchorage. Grab the camera and be prepared, you never know when you'll find a moose filling up on fall delicacies or a flock of birds heading out for warmer southern climates. Anchorage hiking trails range from easy walks to almost technical climbs. But the journey is worth it when you see the stark contrast between the colorful leaves and berries and the mountaintops covered in a dusting of fresh snow.

5) Events Galore

The activity never stops in Anchorage. Celebrate Oktoberfest with members of the German community. Grab a brat, pretzel and pint of beer before sitting down to listen to traditional music. Or tip-off with one of the longest-running preseason basketball tournaments in the nation, the Great Alaska Shootout.

6) Fish On!

Fall is a great time to fish! With fewer fishermen, beautiful fall colors and crisp days, time will fly by as you cast for rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, grayling, steelhead and silver salmon. You don’t even need to bring your gear or worry about where to go; guide services for individuals or groups can hook you up with the best fishing spots.

7) See a Show

With world-renowned musicians and Broadway hits as well as local theatre and dance troupes, Anchorage is Alaska’s prime spot for entertainment. The performing arts community offers something for everyone. Catch your favorite artists as they tour the West, or catch a locally produced show in an intimate playhouse. Before (or after) the show, stop in to a local restaurant serving up regional specialties such as halibut, salmon or shrimp.

8) Hit the Trails

Lace up those running shoes and take a jog through beautiful scenery! Dozens of fall runs are held around Anchorage, and mild temperatures will keep you cool mile after mile. Whether you’re looking for some fun or going for a personal record, you’ll find a long list of races to join.

9) Museum Shows 

The Anchorage Museum has a pair of fall shows for 2016. In "Unipkaaġusiksuġuvik (the place of the future/ancient)" artist Allison Warden envisions a futuristic recreation of a Iñupiaq ceremonial house. Warden allows her audience to gently explore what these spaces might have felt like, but in a contemporary context. It opens in October.

How do we hide in plain sight? How do we stand out from the crowd? "Camouflage and Other Markings of Concealment and Disruption" explores the dichotomy from historical, military, scientific, artistic and pop culture perspectives.

Pair these two exhibitions with the museum’s stunning permanent exhibits on Alaska art, history and science, and you have a stop that should be on any itinerary.