Top 10 Fall Travel Ideas for Anchorage, Alaska
Autumn in Anchorage dazzles with bright colors, crisp fall air, and opportunities to enjoy fishing, hiking, sightseeing, and everything in between. See Chugach State Park awash in shades of crimson, copper, and gold, and watch for the brilliant green glow of the northern lights. A fall visit to Anchorage is the perfect time to fall in love with the best of Alaska.
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.
Glacier Day Cruises
Score a front row seat with great views of glaciers. You might also spy otters, birds, seals, and whales. 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.
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.
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.
The activity never stops in Anchorage, no matter the interest. Celebrate Oktoberfest by grabbing a brat, pretzel, and pint of beer before sitting down to listen to traditional music. Or relish one more dose of downhill biking at Alyeska Resort. Click here to find upcoming events.
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.
The snow typically doesn't fly in this part of Alaska until November, but mushers and their teams are already on the trail. A visit to a kennel meets meeting the friendly furry athletes, learning the art of managing an enthusiastic team, and might entail a training run using a wheeled cart or ATV.
See a Show
With world-renowned musicians and Broadway hits as well as local theater and dance troupes, Anchorage is Alaska’s prime spot for entertainment. The performing arts community offers something for everyone. Get cultural with live or virtual performances, see your favorite artists as they tour the West, or catch a locally produced show in an intimate playhouse or on an outdoor stage. Before (or after) the show, stop in to a local restaurant serving up regional specialties such as halibut, salmon, or shrimp. View this calendar to find upcoming shows.
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, from the Oktoberfest run, to Climbathon to the Zombie Half.
Admire Museum and Gallery Exhibits
The Anchorage Museum showcases artful Alaskans and Arctic subjects, with exhibits rotating throughout the year. Fall 2021 exhibits include "Listen Up: Northern Soundscapes" and "Ron Senungetuk: A Retrospective," both on view through Oct. 3; "Black Lives in Alaska: Journey, Justice, Joy" on view through Nov. 28; and "Counter Cartographies: Living the Land," on view Oct. 8, 2021 through Sept. 25, 2022. Other Anchorage galleries feature rotating shows and exhibits throughout the year, featuring the work of a variety of Alaskan and out-of-state artists. Watch for special First Friday events on the first Friday of every month.