Alaska's big city — with an ideal location between the Chugach Mountains and Cook Inlet — started as a tent camp in 1914 and still feels like a sleepy frontier town more than 100 years later. Cruise passengers tend to fly in and head right to the ports of Seward and Whittier. But linger in Anchorage, and you gain a better understanding of the state's history and people.
What We Love
Wildlife: Bald eagles fly above the office buildings, moose regularly annoy gardeners, and even bears occasionally show up on city streets.
Food Scene: Sample local products at favorite spots, including Snow City Café, where you can dive into a Kodiak Benedict (poached eggs on Alaska Red King Crab cakes) or the Ship Creek Benedict (eggs on salmon cakes). You can also grab a reindeer sausage (with or without chili sauce) from one of the vendors on Fourth Street.
Best Known For
Alaskan History: Historic and cultural attractions abound at places like the top-flight Anchorage Museum, where you can learn about Arctic aviation and view a large Smithsonian collection of historic Native Alaskan artifacts.
Views: Anchorage is surrounded by wilderness, and there are lots of opportunities to get a closer look, including scenic drives, mountain climbs, and flightseeing trips with a bush pilot to Denali.
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Who It's Best For
Cultured Travelers: Discover something new about the history of our 49th state at the city's museums and other attractions. There is much for adults and kids alike — including a small zoo where you can meet Alaskan wildlife.
Active Types: The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail comes right into downtown and runs along the water for 11 miles. Choose whether you want to hike or bike (rentals are readily available).
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It's an Expensive City: If you decide to add time in Anchorage, you'll find rental cars running upward of $55 a day, and hotels starting around $200 per night.
Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.