We are planning on staying a few days at the end of our Alaskan Cruise from Vancouver to Whittier(and Anchorage). Please advise me, from your personal experiences, on your Top Ten things to do, see, flightsee, etc., while in Anchorage and the surrounding area.
Anchorage offers plenty, but how much is a "Few days" and will you have a car. Will make a big difference in recommendations. But if you can, I strongly encourage you to consider more time.
Spending time in Seward or Denali Park is way superior and if Alaska isn't going to be a frequent trip, a far better experince. But with only 2 days I would suggest you get out of Anchorage for at least 1 of those days and consider an overnight in Talkeetna with plenty of stops on the way there. Eklutna Spirit House tours, Eagle River nature center, Hatcher Pass to Independence Mine. In Talkeetna, flightseeing is the top choice here. Spend a day in Anchorage request their visitor guide- plenty to see and do www.anchorage.net
Thanks Karen, We were anticipating staying 3-4 days, but that's why I was asking to see what I could do that was interesting per day so I could kinda sorta plan out an itinerary before making plane reservations back home after the cruise. Your ideas are good ones . . . . anything else to add? Anyone else care to chime in?
Frankly, I suggest you add more time, at least 5 days, then you can experience and do some great Alaska touring. Top highlights are Denali Park and Seward. Plenty else too, if of particular interest, but those are the most "must dos". With 5 days, I would suggest you consider an overnight in Talkeetna, 2 at Denali Park, 2 in Seward.
If you continue to be short on time, I highly suggest you consider a costly one way car rental Whittier/Anchorage with Avis. Early morning arrival in Whittier with a 8am car pick up at the Harbor Store will have you in Seward in time for the 11:30am Kenai Fjords boat tour. One overnight, next day Talkeetna, 2 nights in Denali Park- needing the park SHUTTLE to at least Fish Creek. Doable with proper planning and doing your homework. Especially with a lot of overnight flights, it can give you an added day for the drive Denali Park /Anchorage.
If you are going to be in Anchorage I suggest:---Anchorage Museum of History and Art on 5th avenue & A street. ------Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum out at Lake Hood along side Anchorage International Airport-----Alaska Native Heritage CenteróOut near Tudor Road and Boniface Parkway. For dining I suggest---The Marx Brothers Cafe on 3rd Avenue almost across the street diagonally from the Anchorage Hilton-----Kincaid Grill owned and operated by Chef Al at 6700 Jewel Lake Rd.-------Villa Nova 5121 Arctic and International Airport Road. The first two are gourmet restaurants and two of the finest if not the best in all Alaska. Villa Nova is Greek/Italian and ran by a fellow named George. Some time back George sold out and the new owners didnít live up to his previous reputation. George took it back a couple of years ago and it is now one of the best again. Another excellent Italian place is right down town on 5th called Orsos. For steaks try The Club Paris, also on 5th avenue or the Pepper Mill 4101 Credit Union Dr. off of C Street. Make reservations very early for Club Paris or Orsos as they are extremely popular with the visitor crowd and often sold out for the evening.
You've already had some great advice, and here's a bit more.
First, stay as many days as you possibly can! There is so much to see and do!
In Anchorage I found Earthquake Park quite interesting, a site commemorating the powerful 1964 quake that shifted land 2000 feet towards the sea. The account of the disaster is interesting, and also the park provides great views of Anchorage's skyline and the impressive Mount McKinley. (And I got to see the entire mountain--what a rarity! The top usually disappears into the clouds.) Also enjoyed the bus-tour of the city (I know, it's a "touristy" thing to do--but, hey, I was a tourist!) The driver was very entertaining and informative, answered all our questions, and gave us ideas about what to go back to see in detail. I rented a car and explored quite a bit, making Anchorage my home-base.
If you like glaciers, take a boat tour out of Whittier--and boy, will you see glaciers! We saw some fantastic calving when we were there.
In Seward, don't miss one of the Kenai Fjords tours for wildlife (with a couple of glaciers thrown in). Also there's Exit glacier (one of the few you can walk right up to) and the SeaLife Center (partially funded from the oil spill settlement fund--remember the Exxon Valdez?) So plan to stay at least a full day in Seward. It's a lovely little town and you can walk the whole length of it in less than an hour!
Next year I'm going to Denali (thanks to Karen, I'll be taking the park shuttle and not the tour bus--do a search of her old posts for some wonderful advice on this!) and then up to Fairbanks to do the goldmine & riverboat "touristy things". Oh, and somewhere along the way we're going to visit a husky sled dog kennel....maybe meet a past Iditarod champion, or a future one!
BTW, if you don't want to drive from Anchorage to Seward, or to Denali, you can take a train or bus instead. Of course, you also might want to head west or north and do some river-rafting. Do you fish? There's some great fishing available too.
Just don't get so busy that you forget to take notice of some of the most awe-inspiring scenery you will ever see!
We are booked next August (7 night Seward to Vancouvar) and are flying into Anchorage 2 days early to spend time with an old friend that lives there. We are trying to figure what we want to do wtih the short time-span!