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  • Writer's pictureVicky Lopez

Anchorage - The Big Wild



With nearly 300,000 residents, Anchorage is Alaska’s biggest city and a gateway to the state’s vast wilderness expanses. Backdropped by towering snow-capped peaks like Mount McKinley in nearby Denali National Park, Anchorage offers both urban amenities and endless nature adventures right on its doorstep.



Start your Anchorage visit in the lively downtown district, where you can browse an eclectic mix of shops, galleries, and museums that pay homage to Alaska’s rich cultures. Pop into the iconic log cabin Visitor Information Center for trip planning tips or check out the acclaimed Anchorage Museum with its extensive native Alaskan artifacts and prominent fine arts collections. 



Just a short drive from downtown leads to scenic Chugach State Park – one of Anchorage’s treasured “backyards” covering nearly 500,000 acres. Hiking trails cater to all levels here, like the easy coastal trek to Eklutna Lake with panoramic Chugach Mountain views or more demanding routes that lead deep into alpine terrain peppered with alpine lakes and abundant wildlife.


Another classic Anchorage experience is driving the Seward Highway southbound along Turnagain Arm – a beautiful stretch where you can gaze at towering peaks reflecting off the calm inlet waters. Stop at one of the roadside belvederes as the bore tide comes in, a natural phenomenon where the incoming high tide builds up a visible wave that rushes up the narrow arm. You may even spot beluga whales frolicking in the saltwater here.


Before your stay is up, dine your way through Anchorage’s growing foodie scene centered around fresh-caught Alaskan seafood and seasonal produce sourced from local homesteads nearby. Be sure to try the king salmon dip made from wild Copper River Reds or the popular halibut tacos with crisp Alaskan brews. Anchorage also has several craft breweries and urban wine rooms to sample, many featuring spruce tip beers and fruit wines from local foraged berries.  



If you have more time to venture farther afield, drive two hours north to the Matanuska Glacier where you can hike out to behold deep blue crevasses. Or make your way south to potter around quaint port towns like Seward – the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park with its abundant orcas and calving tidewater glaciers. You can even continue following the Seward Highway to Whittier, where daily cruises and kayaking adventures launch deep into ice-strewn Prince William Sound to spectacular tidewater glacier viewing as well.


With its perfect blend of urban cultural attractions and endless outdoor recreation right off its doorstep – combined with road-trip-worthy destinations further afield - Anchorage serves up everything you want out of an Alaskan escape.

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