Day 1 You'll See:
- Arrive at Ted Stevens Airport
- Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum
- Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
- Bear Tooth Theatrepub
Day 2 You'll See:
Day 3 You'll See:
Arrive at Ted Stevens Airport - This is most likely where you and your group will arrive in Anchorage first thing unless you opted for a cruise or road trip. Lucky for you, we have our first stop right down the road, about a half-mile away at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum.
Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum - Welcome to the Alaska Aviation Museum, the only spot in the state that will tell you all about how interesting, innovative, and in-depth Alaska’s flight history is. This museum was created in 1988 with the mission to ‘preserve, display, and honor Alaska’s aviation heritage, by presenting and displaying historical aircraft, artifacts, and memorabilia to foster public interest in aviation and its history’. Here you and your group will see over 30 different historic aircraft, as well as the Lake Hood Seaplane Base itself, the busiest seaplane base in the world. This spot sees over 87,000 takeoffs and landings each year, plus it is only ½ mile away from the Ted Stevens International Airport, making it the ‘air crossroads of the world’. It takes an average of two hours to see this whole museum, with several historic aircraft inside (sometimes even being currently restored for guests to view), various exhibits, films, and even a really fun and educational flight simulator.
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail - Spend your afternoon taking a stroll down one of the most beautiful trails in the whole nation, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. This trail is the most popular in Anchorage by far, running 11 miles from downtown Anchorage to the chalet at Kincaid Park. The trail was named after the governor in the 1980’s, Tony Knowles. Following his trail will give you insight on natural and human history in this area, as you will be able to follow the fault line from the ‘64 earthquake that devastated the area. You will also be able to walk through the forests of the area and spot local wildlife, commonly being moose on this trail.While walking along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail you will see multiple scenic beach vistas populated with beluga whales, the breathtaking Fire Island, the majestic Chugach Range, and even Mt. McKinley! During the summer visitors love to hike, bike, run, ski, and roller blade along the path, with a popular bike rental place near the beginning of the trail (Alaska Pablo’s Bicycle Rentals).
Bear Tooth Theatrepub - If you are looking for something warm, delicious, and entertaining all at once, then you need to head over to Bear Tooth Theatrepub. This local theater house and dining hot spot is an Anchorage classic located on 27th Avenue. Officially a 2nd run-indie moviehouse, Bear Tooth is also a pub, and eatery, and an occasional concert venue. As the owners will tell you, this place is definitely ‘not conventional’, which makes us like it all the more. Perfect for student groups, Bear Tooth will provide you with freshly prepared food, drinks if you are of age, and your choice of a feature film to go along with it. The theater plays around 5-7 feature films over the span of a week, allowing you to eat inside the theater actually during the movie! What more could you ask for, it’s an Alaskan dinner and a movie! Try the Harvest Quinoa Salad, Snowbird Cod Tacos, or Rueben Pizza while here, each knocking you right in the taste buds!
Alaska Zoo - If you really want to get to know the area you are visiting, always go visit the local zoo. This is an excellent way to get to know the local ecosystem, the geography, and the animal science, and of course, the Alaska Zoo is no exception. This zoo is 25 acres full of educational fun, located on a hillside in rural Anchorage. Within the boundaries of the zoo, you will see over 100 animals from 35 different species, mostly birds, and mammals. It takes a typical group about 2 hours to see the entire zoo, so plan accordingly. Over 200,000 visitors each year have come to explore the gravel trails leading to natural settings, the local flora, and fauna plus a few more exotic residents. Explore all the different animal sections then head over to see if any of the adventure camps, learning programs, or field trip outreach programs are taking place.
Half-Day Hike - (May 28 - Sept 18)
Take a hike, literally, with a local professional hiking company by the name of Ascending Path. This company, around the area since 1995, allows visitors to spend 4 hours hiking the gorgeous Chugach Mountains with a professional naturalist guide, showing you all the local scenery, geography, and wildlife along the way. Explore the unique coastal alpine mountains, ‘one of the most accessible wilderness areas to anchorage with the best Alaskan wildlife viewing’. You will learn about geology, animal tracks, life zones of habitat, and get to see so many beautifully iconic Alaskan sights. You will get to see the Alaskan Range, Mount McKinley, Cook Inlet, Turnagain Arm, and several different glacial volcanoes during your hike! When preparing for this hike keep two key things in mind: 1). The hike cost $99 per person, and 2). You need to wear comfortable clothes, layers, and boots. Bringing a camera and/or binoculars and plenty of water is recommended as well.
Simon and Seafort’s - Welcome to Simon and Seafort's Saloon and Grill, or as the locals more commonly refer to it as, Simon’s. This Anchorage local eatery is consistently being voted the best in Alaska, serving up some of the highest quality steaks, freshest local seafood, and most breathtaking views since 1978. Not only is the food good, but the service is great and the atmosphere is warm, something every Alaskan can appreciate (especially after a long hike!). The beautiful dining room inside will give you sweeping views of the surrounding area, mostly showing you panoramic scenes of Cook Inlet, Mountain Sustain, and the Alaska Range. Aged steak, Alaskan Gulf Pacific Cod, Char Boiled Rib-eye, and even Crab and Macadamia nut stuffed Halibut all top the list for most delicious and popular dishes, as do the bacon wrapped meatloaf and cajun chicken fettuccine. Be sure to check this Anchorage landmark for any daily events or promos going on, as well!
Alaska Naturally Aurora Show - The Alaska Naturally Aurora Show, or AurorA, is one of the most unique and comfortable ways to see ‘Alaska’s Great Northern Lights’, as well as the perfect way to end your first night in Anchorage. This show displays one of the most unique and breathtaking sights of the North, the iconic Northern Lights. This local show is a hugely impressive 40-minute show, a big screen, high-def, relaxingly warm experience in which you will see thousands of photos of the lights streamed together. The creator of this venture, Dave Parkhurst, was one of the very first people to capture the Northern Lights on camera, the man now streaming those photos onto a 28 by 16-foot screen within the Sydney Laurence Center for Performing Arts. Located in downtown Anchorage, this $70 million complex will allow you one full hour of warmth and comfort as you enjoy what is considered to be a ‘shifting kaleidoscope of colors and grand shapes of the aurora’.
Snow City Breakfast - This popular spot serves breakfast all day, and they do so quite well. So well, in fact, that the locals have been consistently voting this the ‘Best Breakfast’ in the region since 2003 (Anchorage Press).
Try the crabby omelet, sockeye smoked salmon cake, or nuevo huevos, the later packed with black beans and guacamole, the perfect breakfast kick. The Snow City Cafe is opened from 7am to 3pm daily (4pm on weekends), quickly filling up in the morning, sometimes with lines forming outside on the 4th and L Street corner. After you’ve grabbed a bite to eat check out all the clothes, apparel, and even cups they have for sale, you may want a souvenir after such a good breakfast!
Alaska Native Heritage Center - Welcome to the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the whole facility that serves as a local sense of pride for native Alaskans, highlighting their contributions to the state of Alaska, the United States, and the north in general. Explore the native language of the Athabaskan and Tlingit tribes or view ancient tribal masks and artifacts to learn more about the materials they were able to gather and use in past, brutal Alaskan winters. Walking through the Alaska Native Heritage Center will allow your group to engage and interact with the local culture, the entire collection showing a span of 10,000 years of native history and culture. Through art, dance, native game demos, exhibits, dwellings, and movies, you and your group will feel like you yourselves are natives to this proud state. Visit the on-site Heritage Cafe for brunch, lunch, or maybe just a coffee or smoothie while you’re taking in all that Alaskan information!
Anchorage Museum - If you truly want to get to know the city you are staying in, head to the Anchorage museum, the modern glass-fronted building in the heart of the city that holds some of the most educational information on Alaska and the arctic in general. This large museum contains art, history, ethnography, ecology, and science all under one roof, making a really unforgettable and informational experience for any group, of any size. The Anchorage Museum is dedicated to ‘studying and explaining the land, people, art, and history of Alaska’, a task it does quite well with it’s entire permanent and temporary collection. You can appreciate local art, learn the history of the land you are standing on, and learn all the interesting facts about Alaska along the way while visiting this museum! Head over to the hands-on science center and planetarium, pay attention to the daily events that may be occurring during your visit, or just head over to the delicious onsite Muse Restaurant before you go!