NASAA 2018 takes place in the heart of the city. The William A. Egan Civic & Convention Center and the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center are in the center of downtown Anchorage. The convention centers are just two blocks apart, and meeting hotels with 3,000 rooms are in walking distance.
Anchorage is a pedestrian-friendly grid of streets, with numbered avenues running east to west, and lettered streets running north to south. In a few compact blocks, you’ll find restaurants, brewpubs, coffee shops, tour companies, visitor information and shops.
Many activities and attractions are downtown, or have easy transportation connections from downtown. The collections at the Anchorage Museum (including a Smithsonian gallery) explore the whole of the state, and are the biggest in Alaska. The Alaska Native Heritage Center focuses on Native culture through live song and dance performances, as well as life-sized examples of traditional buildings. There’s a combined admission, the Culture Pass, for both attractions. There’s also a free shuttle connecting the two stops.
The crown jewel of Anchorage’s vast paved trail network is the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. Access the trail downtown from 2nd Avenue and H Street or 5th Avenue and M Street. It’s a good spot for a walk or morning run. The trail stretches 11 miles, but for a shorter trip, try out the first section between downtown and Westchester Lagoon.
When you are ready to venture beyond downtown, Anchorage is the heart of rail, road and air travel in the state. The Alaska Railroad Anchorage depot has the most trains of any city or town. Rental cars, taxis, Uber and Lyft can get you anywhere in the city, or beyond. And with more pilots per capita than anywhere in the U.S., sightseeing flights are the perfect way to accesses exclusive remote lodges, or backcountry views of glaciers and peaks.