Downtown Anchorage is easy to walk, with a grid of numbered and lettered streets, wide sidewalks and plenty of parks and paths. More importantly, there’s a lot clustered in the city center. Follow these step-by-step instructions for a great itinerary in Anchorage, no car needed.
Day 1: Start the Trip Feet First
Grab a smoothie, some pastries or a breakfast sandwich at a nearby coffee shop, then head to the Alaska Public Lands Information Center. Rangers lead a 45-minute walking tour around downtown detailing Alaska history, and Anchorage’s connections to national parks, state lands and other public spaces. It might inspire you to roam a little farther.
Need a quick respite before continuing? The center also has free, informative movies and regular presentations with topics ranging from animals, science, and the outdoors in Alaska.
Find a casual meal for lunch, then walk over to the Anchorage Museum. Home to art, history and science exhibits with an Arctic focus, the museum’s centerpiece is a Smithsonian gallery with the single largest collection of Alaska Native artwork on public display anywhere in the world.
Alaska Native culture is on display in more ways than one. Buy the Alaska Culture Pass when you arrive at the museum, enjoy the galleries, and then use the free shuttle to visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center on the same admission.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center brings traditional buildings to life, with full-size dwellings situated around a lakeside trail. The center hosts daily artist demonstrations, music and dance performances and other talks on indigenous culture in Alaska. It’s an excellent way to gain an understanding of the different traditions and languages that make up Alaska.
Head back on the final shuttle from the center to downtown and take one more wander. Ghost Tours, Sunset Photo safaris and other tours squeeze a little more into the day. Or, as the sun slowly dips into Cook Inlet and the horizon, head out on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail on your own. Moose prefer the cooler evening hours, so this is one of the best times to spot them. Alaska animals aren’t the only ones browsing; find a filling dinner before turning in for the night.
If you’re ready to explore more, but your dogs are barkin’, consider renting a car or RV. Many sightseeing tours also include transportation as they show you some of the best of Alaska, and the Alaska Railroad depot is within easy walking distance.