Downtown Anchorage, Alaska
Language and Currency
What is Anchorage Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss" Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
English is the language spoken in Alaska and the U.S. dollar is the currency.
Anchorage is a large city (the largest in Alaska with a population over 1/4 million people, a full 25% of Alaska's population) and offers an abundance to see and do. Compared to the ports on the way up (or down) the Southeast Alaskan coast, Anchorage is a relatively new and modern city that was founded in 1915. Its location was the base for the construction of the Alaskan Railroad that connects Seward to the south with Fairbanks to the north. The city itself is interesting (but not quaint in any way as the rest of the ports), the area surrounding Anchorage is full of activities for everyone to enjoy.
Anchorage enjoys a temperate climate as it is influenced by the summer sunshine and influence of the ocean miles away. While its summers are short, Anchorage can get warm enough for shirt sleeves during the long days. (during the early summer it can stay light almost 24 hours per day). However be sure to dress in layers as the temperature can dip quickly should clouds or wind come up.
Only the smallest of ships can make their way into Anchorage. Generally folks arrive in Anchorage either before or after a southbound or northbound itinerary after transferring to/from the port in Seward approximately 125 miles south of Anchorage.
NOTE: The best way to get from Anchorage to Seward is on the public train. It is inexpensive and is an adventure all its own. The train ride from Anchorage to Seward follows a separate route than the highway and is extremely scenic. I have seen just about every type of wildlife that Alaska has to offer while riding this train. Dall sheep, moose, bears, eagles and miscellaneous smaller animals are commonly seen enroute.
The first time I visited Anchorage (on the way to Seward to pick up a ship) I called Grayline in Anchorage. They told me the only way to get there was on their motor coach transfer and that space was very limited making advance reservations necessary. They required that I pay in full at the time of reservation and also required me to fill out a form with my signature and fax it back to them before they would confirm my transfer. I subsequently cancelled the transfer after finding the truth out about the train and they refused to refund the money. I made a mental note to be sure to share the scam with others.
The coach transfer is crowded and while scenic, can't compare with the train.
While there are shops throughout Anchorage, you will find many shops of interest to tourists on West 4th and 5th Avenues. The Log Cabin Visitor Center is located on the corner of F Street and 4th Avenue (just down from the Sunshine Mall on 4th Avenue) Here you can find guides to Anchorage's many shopping pleasures and help finding specific items you may be looking for.
Everything Alaskan is represented here. Furs, gold jewelry, Alaskan knick-knacks, ivory carvings, jade and local artwork and basketry are all available in abundance. Also there are some excellent outdoor and sporting goods stores here for outfitting yourself for the Alaskan wilderness.
Anchorage sits in the center of Southern Alaska's vast wilderness. You will find substantial sightseeing opportunities and also fishing, hunting, hiking, trekking, wildlife viewing, flight seeing, day cruises, kayaking, canoeing and taking scenic day trips in a rental car.
One of the most popular trips is to take the train up into Denali National Park and Mt. McKinley. Due to the train scheduling you will need to spend at least one night in the Denali area before returning to Anchorage, but this is a great trip. Another variation of it would be to fly into Fairbanks, spend a night or two and then board the train to Denali, and then spend another night before heading on into Anchorage. This option allows you to see much of Alaska's interior.
If you are not taking a cruise, by all means take the train into Seward and the ride itself is well worth it. Spend the night in Seward and the return the following morning to Anchorage.
By all means be sure to visit Porterage Glacier. The best way to do this is by taking a flight seeing trip to experience rugged beauty of the entire area. It is very memorable. You can also rent a car and drive south stopping at the Mt. Alyeska Ski Resort for a quality lunch before reaching the glacier.
Day cruises are offered from Anchorage into several areas for wildlife and glacier viewing that are quite interesting. There is so much to do in and around the Anchorage area that one could spend a couple of weeks here without exhausting the possibilities.
Hmmmmm, This area is pretty spectacular, but I am not sure I can assign this rating to any one thing. Overall, I would say the Anchorage area is a "Don't Miss" rating.
Again, while there are quite a few excellent restaurants in Anchorage, one doesn't stand out as being more excellent than the others. However I admit to only trying a limited number of different spots and would need substantially more time in Anchorage before being able to determine this. Anyone know of any?Anchorage Restaurants
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