Hours of Daylight
Long Summer Days
With so much natural beauty and so many things to see and do how could anyone pack in all that Southcentral Alaska offers in the summer? Anchorage’s extended summer daylight hours pack in a lot of adventure, especially during summer solstice.
Between March 19 and September 23, Anchorage gets more hours of daily sunlight than anywhere in the other 49 states. Alaska adventures fill all those daylight hours. Hiking, biking, flightseeing and dog sledding continue well past 8 p.m. Restaurants make use of decks or set out bistro tables on the side walk. The long summer holds a special treat for golfers. Tee times can be as late as 10 p.m. for each of Anchorage's three 18-hole golf courses.
On June 21, Anchorage gets 22 hours of functional daylight. But the midnight sun still hangs in the sky a long time even after sundown, the sun merely dips under the horizon. The streetlights don’t even flicker on. There’s plenty of time to explore, celebrate and enjoy Anchorage to the fullest.
A whole host of events are traditionally scheduled on the longest days of the year. The Solstice Festival fills Town Square and downtown streets with live entertainment, musicians from Alaska and beyond, rides, games, family fun. The Hero Games is a friendly competition that pits local police, firefighters and military units against one another in skills competition.
Down on the Delaney Park Strip, runners in the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon and Half Marathon cross the finish line under the midnight sun in another solstice tradition. Runners from all over the world convene for the marathon, half marathon, relay, 5K and youth events.
Flattop Mountain in Chugach State Park is a popular hike year-round, but solstice is something special on the mountain. Mountaineers and families, visitors and locals alike make the trek to the mountains flat, rocky summit. Once you reach the top, you’re likely to find musicians, friendly faces, and a lot of good cheer, not to mention stunning views of the Anchorage skyline, Cook Inlet and the Chugach Mountains.
Bright Winter Weather
In the winter, Anchorage receives more hours of daylight than most other parts of the state, making it one of the brighter places to enjoy iconic seasonal activities from skiing to dog sledding. Even the shortest day of the year brings nearly 5.5 hours of daylight.
By February, the average amount of daylight has nearly doubled, and the low-angled winter light paints the landscape with a unique palette of gold, pink and blue pastel. When night falls, the extended evening hours provide ample opportunity for aurora hunting.