Originally Posted by You
we (group of 12 friends and family for wedding) disembark in whittier and there are never any flights back to LA that leave earlier (or should i say later) than midnight.
fine for me to have a full day to explore anchorage... figure will just put our bags in storage in the airport and take a bus to go do downtown sites, maybe also the heritage center... but i am concerned about my fiance's grandma... she has a bad hip and can walk ok but not for very long... i am trying to think of good activities to do where she wouldn't have to walk too much and just can't think of anything!
The major cruise lines usually set up a hospitality suite at the Egan Center located right downtown (IIRC, on 5th Avenue) with free shuttles from there to Anchorage International Airport (ANC). The hospitality suite offers a place to check your carry-on luggage while you explore the downtown.
The downtown area of Anchorage is imminently walkable and safe, and there are plenty of shops where you can browse and plenty of good restaurants and cafes where your fiance's grandmother can hang out. On weekends, there's also an open air market on 3rd Avenue in the vicinity of D Street and a series of street festivals in the downtown area. The only issue is that the last shuttle to the airport usually leaves the Egan Center at 6:00 PM, which means that you probably will have to go to the airport and find a restaurant in the terminal for dinner while you await your flight.
The other option would be to go directly to the airport upon arrival and rent a couple vehicles for your party for the day. This would give your party the option to remain in the city until 9:00 or so. I think that most of the shops close around 6:00, but the downtown area does have a lot of great restaurants where you can get dinner.
Renting vehicles also would give you the option to take a day trip outside of the city. I think that Talkeetna, with its views of Mount McKinley, would be a bit far for the time that you will have, but the Mount Alyeska Resort is certainly within striking distance!
And best wishes to you and your fiance for a long and happy marriage!