Situated on a flat peninsula on Cook Inlet, and backed by the Chugach Mountains, Alaska's largest city is worth exploring. Blessed with an abundance of parks and an attractive downtown walking district, the city offers attractions such as a botanical garden, a musk-ox producers' co-op, the Alaska Zoo, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, and the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.
The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center is one of Alaska's most visited attractions and features displays of Alaska's cultural heritage and more than 1,000 historical artifacts. You'll find displays on Alaska's Native cultures, Russians, New England whalers, gold rushes, World War II, statehood and Alaska today. There are even full-scale recreations of early-day dwellings.
The Log Cabin Visitor Information Center on 4th Avenue is a good first stop for visitors, with its colorful display of summer flowers and photo worthy milepost, not to mention free walking tour maps and brochures about what to see and do in Anchorage. Adjacent the information center is Peratrovich Park, whichs hosts a popular Music in the Park series in summer.
Shopping—from Laura Wright Alaskan Parkys and David Green Furs to the the big 5th Avenue Mall and Nordstrom's—is one of the major attractions in downtown Anchorage. On weekends there's also the Saturday Market, featuring crafts, food, fresh produce and entertainment. Other downtown attractions include Iditarod Champion Mitch Seavey's Wildride Sled Dog Rodeo, an exciting sled dog demonstration, and the Ulu Factory, with demonstrations of this traditional Native implement.
The Anchorage Alaska Public Lands Information Center, located in the historic Old Federal Building, has natural history exhibits, fun activities for children, trip planning help, films and special programs for visitors.
Anchorage also has one of the most popular hiking trails in the state—Flattop Trail. (There is a Flattop shuttle from downtown that brings hikers to the trailhead.) On a sunny day, Flattop offers spectacular views of Anchorage and the Alaska Range, even if you don't make it to the top.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is a short drive east of downtown. This 26-acre facility features a 2-acre lake and a walking trail to 5 traditional village settings representing the Native people of Alaska. The dramatic Welcome House at the center's entrance houses exhibits, arts and crafts, and a theatre.
Other attractions in the Anchorage area include Potter Point State Game Refuge at Potters Marsh south of town, where you can see more than 100 species of waterfowl. Longer day trips include the tram ride at Alyeska Resort near Girdwood, a popular activity for visiting friends and relatives, or a drive out to the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and a visit to the Musk Ox Farm, Hatcher Pass or—in late August—the Alaska State Fair. Another highly recommended days trip is south on the Seward Highway to Portage Glacier and the Whittier Tunnel, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and the old gold rush town of Hope.
Anchorage is a hub for arranging flightseeing, boat or train tours to scenic attractions like Denali/Mount McKinley, Prince William Sound, Kenai Fjords and Portage Glacier.
If you come to Anchorage in February, you can attend the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous, which includes a blanket toss and the World Championship Sled Dog Race.
Another race, the famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, begins in March in Anchorage. Mushers race their dogs from Anchorage to Eagle River, and load the teams onto trucks to Wasilla, where the race officially begins. The race ends about 1,000 miles later in Nome.