Anchorage Travel Guide

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Anchorage Travel Guide

Anchorage Local History

In 1978 Captain James Cook found his way to the area situated between the arms of Cook Inlet and the formidable Chugach Mountains but Anchorage was only founded in 1914. It was established as a 'tent city' for the contract workers of the Alaska Railroad. A year later, in 1915, the first land plots were sold for $25 per plot.

During World War II, army bases were established there and in 1957 oil was discovered in Cook Inlet. Four years after the Good Friday Earthquake in 1964, another oil reserve was discovered in Prudhoe Bay. Today Anchorage is the financial and commercial centre of Alaska.

Anchorage Attractions

Top Attractions

Northern Lights - This magical display of nature, also known as the 'aurora borealis', will blow you away! The green, blue, crimson and magenta ribbons of light parading across the sky in shimmers and waves of light, culminates into a spectacular show of light. The appearance of this phenomenon is unpredictable, but February and March are good times to watch out for it.

Dog Mushing - The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race takes place every year in March. Hundreds of dog sleds take part in this 1000mi (1609km) race across the wilderness between Anchorage and Nome. If you've always dreamt of riding sled and you feel adventurous enough to try your hand at mushing a team, there are several local companies who can accommodate you. Contact the Visitor Information Centers for details.

Festivals - Feel like celebrating the days of yore? Then you are in for a treat if you attend the Alaska Renaissance Festival which takes place every year in June The Summer Solstice Festival takes place yearly in Moose Pass on the 21st of June which is the longest day of the year.

Heritage Library Museum - tel 907/265-2834 - A visit to this centre is a must if you are interested in Native Alaskan history and artwork. The museum features several collections of Native American costumes, tools, weaponry and original paintings. West Northern Lights Boulevard, http://www.wellsfargohistory.com/museums/alaska.html

Polar Baar Offers a fun, friendly atmosphere for all who go there. Play pool, shuffleboard or just listen to the great jukebox.
submitted by Billie Milstead, 01/05/05

Anchorage Shopping

Every week on a Wednesday, the Northway Mall parking lot transforms into a market during the summer months. Stalls sell everything from crafts, clothes, arts, food and much, much more.

Shopping in and around Anchorage is like taking a quick trip through the entire state. Fare range from fur, ivory and jade jewelry and Native basketry to local specialties like smoked salmon, reindeer sausage and preserves and candies made from the local wild berries.

The art collector will find the local galleries provide a wide selection of local paintings, pottery and wood carvings. This is the perfect place to shop around for a gift for that special someone at home.

Anchorage Activities

Imaginerium - The Imaginerium is located in downtown Anchorage. It serves as a living laboratory, where kids can have a hands-on experience where you can ponder the universe and the magic of the Northern Lights in a planetarium, explore marine life in a touch tank and observe and touch exotic reptiles. The more than 20 exhibits featuring earthquakes, oil exploration, bears, the northern lights and other Alaskan topics, will keep the kids entertained for hours.

Ice Skating - Anchorage offers a number of venues where both kids and adults can skate around for a few hours. Some venues provide free day and night skating (Delaney Park) and the Fire Lake Recreation Center provides public skating and lessons if required.

Fishing - Pack a picnic basket and take the kids to the Eagle River for a refreshing day in the outdoors. They can fish for salmon and trout but it's important to know that salmon fishing is restricted to the month of June and on weekends only. Various other local lakes are stocked with trout and Dolly Varden, a fish from the Artic Char Family named for its flashy appearance after a Charles Dickens character with the same name.

Anchorage Parks & Gardens

Chugach State Park - This gorgeous park is the second-largest state preserve in Alaska. It's perfect for the avid bird watcher and is beyond compare for eagle-spotting. It's ideal for mountain biking with trails beginning at the Hillside area. A variety of developed hiking trails are available for all levels. This park is close to the city, but it's the wilderness never the less, so come prepared.

Earthquake Park - The Good Friday earthquake of 1964 caused 130ac (53ha) of land on the city's west side to slip 2000ft (610m) seaward. Earthquake Park, situated on the other end has an interpretive walkway with displays describing the effects of the quake and the tsunamis that followed.

Far North Bicentennial Park - This park comprises of 4000ac (1619ha) of forest and features 20mi (32km) of hiking- and mountain biking trails. The centre of the park is home to the Bureau of Land Management's Campbell Tract, a 700ac (283ha) wildlife oasis providing shelter for bears and moose.

Alaska Botanical Garden - tel 907/770-3692 - The growing season for planets in the arctic is summer, so the best time to visit these gardens is from May through September. The garden, which was established to enhance the beauty and value of plant material, contains 150 plant species native to Alaska and 1,100 species of hardy perennials. http://www.alaskabg.org/

Anchorage Restaurants and Bars

Anchorage Restaurants

The Greek Corner - tel 907/276-2820 - This restaurant, close to downtown, is open for lunch and supper. On the menu is homemade Greek and Italian favorites, such as pizza, pasta, salads and vegi dishes. Come relax in the warm and cozy atmosphere with a beer or wine and a daily special.

Glacier Brewhouse tel 907/274-2739 - A very popular restaurant and bar featuring at least six house-brewed beers to be enjoyed with wood-baked pizza (11$), spit-grilled peppercorn prime rib (20$) or steamed Alaskan King crabs (30$). http://www.glacierbrewhouse.com/home.htm

The Marx Bros tel 907/278-2133 - Located in a historic house overlooking the water, this restaurant is recommended for and all around fine dining experience. Specialties include sauteed alligator with crawfish tails as an entree followed by baked halibut in a macadamia nut crust served with a curry and chutney sauce.

Humpy's - tel 907/276-2337 - A popular watering hole with live music and a relaxed atmosphere with fare such as charbroiled salmon, burgers, soups and salads (mostly under 10$) washed down with a variety of local micro-brews and English and Belgian beers.

Anchorage Bars & Clubs

Bernie's Bungalow tel 907/276-8808 - A more stylish hangout with a martini and cocktail bar built out of an old wooden house. Smooth Latin and jazz sounds groove the smartly dressed set.

Chilkoot Charlie's tel 907/272-1010 - This barn with sawdust-strewn floors features a bar, pool tables, foosball and two dancing floors with live music from 9.30pm.

Darwin's Theory tel 907/277-5322 - This local bar is popular for moderately priced boozing while mingling with colorful local characters. The bartenders make drinking an experience that you will want to do every day.

Anchorage children's activities

Imaginerium - The Imaginerium is located in downtown Anchorage. It serves as a living laboratory, where kids can have a hands-on experience where you can ponder the universe and the magic of the Northern Lights in a planetarium, explore marine life in a touch tank and observe and touch exotic reptiles. The more than 20 exhibits featuring earthquakes, oil exploration, bears, the northern lights and other Alaskan topics, will keep the kids entertained for hours.

Ice Skating - Anchorage offers a number of venues where both kids and adults can skate around for a few hours. Some venues provide free day and night skating (Delaney Park) and the Fire Lake Recreation Center provides public skating and lessons if required.

Fishing - Pack a picnic basket and take the kids to the Eagle River for a refreshing day in the outdoors. They can fish for salmon and trout but it's important to know that salmon fishing is restricted to the month of June and on weekends only. Various other local lakes are stocked with trout and Dolly Varden, a fish from the Artic Char Family named for its flashy appearance after a Charles Dickens character with the same name.

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