We spent a portion of several days in Anchorage as we explored different parts of Alaska. While there, we found a variety of places to visit and some excellent restaurants. Below are some traveling tips for Anchorage.
Where to Stay in Anchorage
We were a little reluctant to stay near the airport, but it turned out to be fine. The La Quinta Inn & Suites Anchorage Airport has a shuttle and when it is not going to and from the airport, it will drop off its guests anywhere in Anchorage. We got door to door service to two different restaurants for dinner.
The other hotels where we stayed (because we had some plans change and had to bounce around) also had a shuttle, but they only went to certain places like Walmart and downtown and then walking is required.
Places to Eat in Anchorage
Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria
Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria might be the most popular restaurant I have ever been to in my entire life. I tried three different times to eat at this pizzeria. The first two times I didn’t even ask the host the wait time given ordering a take out pizza was going to be 1.5 hours!
There are three lines at the restaurant…one for take out, one to order a drink at the bar, and one to be seated. The third time I visited with Ross and Tina, we arrived at 5:15 on Friday, and it was a 30 minute wait. We didn’t mind the wait because it was sunny and the outdoor patio includes a fire pit. Not to mention, we intentionally arrived before we were hungry!
By the time we were seated at exactly 5:45, we had perused the menu and already knew what we wanted. I ordered a salad as an appetizer that was fair, but Ross and Tina got the Hungarian mushroom soup that was off the charts good! Then of course, we all got pizza as the pizza it what draws the crowd and 1.5 a hour wait time (that’s what is was when we left). The pizza was spectacular…a perfectly cooked crust and fantastic flavor. I’m uncertain that I like pizza enough to regularly wait so long, but waiting for 30 minutes once was worth it. The food was excellent!!
F Street Station
F Street Station, established in 1944 is the oldest downtown bar located in its original location and the second oldest in the city. The original bar was an Irish Pub called the Mur-Mac which was very popular bush pilots and federal employees who worked across the street.
The Mur-Mac was purchased and renamed to the F Street Station in 1983. It still attracts bush pilots and locals along with tourists. The atmosphere was sort of chaotic and great. With no hostess at the door, patrons weave their way through the masses to find a place to sit. Tina and I found a corner of the bar next to some rowdy boys. Tina had a salmon salad which she enjoyed and I had fantastic clams!
I love places with good atmospheres. This is one of them!
Top Things to Do in Anchorage
Visit the Anchorage Museum
I was expecting the Anchorage Museum to be small and boy was I mistaken! Visitors could easily spend a half day touring all the unique floors. The museum included a combination of history, science and art! It was like all different museums in large cities combined into one. I particularly liked the art gallery as well as the area dedicated to the history of Alaskan natives.
Stroll through the Saturday Market
Anchorage holds a market near downtown on Saturdays. Check out the merchants’ local wares before trying the fried halibut and corn fritters with honey butter at the tent with the yellow sign. According to locals, only go to the tent with the yellow sign…Kind of like only get a Fletcher’s corn dog at the Texas State Fair.
Tour the Ulu Factory
Just down the hill from the market is the Ulu Factory. An Ulu is a knife traditionally used by the Inuit, Yupik, and Aleut. Tourists can see the process used to make the curved knives and handles as the factory machines line the outside of the gift shop. Don’t want to walk back up the hill…a trolley will return tourists up the hill to the Visitor’s Center.
Stop by the Visitor’s Center
The visitor’s center supplies stamped post cards for free. Pick up a post card and write home! Also, there is a giant piece of jade, Alaska’s state gem, outside the front door.
Visit Beluga Point
The tide differential in Alaska is crazy…sometimes 30 feet! Visit Beluga Point during high tide and try to catch a glimpse of Beluga Whales as they come up for air. It is also a nice place to watch the sunset.
Take a Trip to Talkeetna
Talkeetna, located at the confluence of three rivers began in 1916 when the area was chosen as a district headquarters for the Alaska Railroad. The town, which is the base for expeditions to Denali, may be reached by car or train in two to three hours. It’s main street is lined with retail shops and restaurants that cater to tourists. More information on Talkeetna may be found here.
Take a Hike at Portage Glacier
Portage Glacier is located about 1.5 hours Southeast of Anchorage. Before heading out for a hike, stop at the visitor’s center to walk through a simulated ice cave, view live ice worms, and touch an iceberg. I followed a well maintained trail two miles round-trip to Byron Glacier. As I strolled down the trail, I ran into some fellow hikers that asked if I saw the bear. I replied, “No, when?” They said, “Now! We went back to get more people.” Apparently, it had already run off by the time I passed by on the way to the glacier. If hiking isn’t an appealing option, there is also an hour-long boat tour on Portage Lake. ETB
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