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Located along Cook Inlet and backed by the dramatic Chugach Mountains, Anchorage is home to 300,000 people — nearly half Alaska's population. First-time visitors are surprised to find many features of a Lower-48 city, from shopping malls and big-box stores to fine restaurants and bustling nightclubs. Anchorage has two universities, semi-pro baseball and hockey teams, and several excellent museums, including both the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Anchorage's airport serves as a major stopover for cargo flights connecting Asia with the United States, and as a gateway for visitors from around the ...

Located along Cook Inlet and backed by the dramatic Chugach Mountains, Anchorage is home to 300,000 people — nearly half Alaska's population. First-time visitors are surprised to find many features of a Lower-48 city, from shopping malls and big-box stores to fine restaurants and bustling nightclubs. Anchorage has two universities, semi-pro baseball and hockey teams, and several excellent museums, including both the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Anchorage's airport serves as a major stopover for cargo flights connecting Asia with the United States, and as a gateway for visitors from around the globe.

Overflowing flower boxes are a summertime delight, hanging from streetlamps and festooning Town Square. An excellent paved trail system links downtown with other parts of the city, providing pleasant walks and bike rides. The 11-mile Coastal Trail is especially popular, heading south from downtown along picturesque Cook Inlet. Nearby Chugach State Park (the nation's second largest) has more challenging hiking trails, while a scenic highway heads south along Turnagain Arm to Alyeska Ski Resort and the Kenai Peninsula. Visit the downtown Alaska Public Lands Information Center for an introduction to Alaska's national parks and other wild places.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Don Pitcher for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Nearly everyone comes in the summer, when Alaska's natural areas are most accessible and temperatures are mild.