Whether you’re staying in Anchorage for an extended vacation or find yourself with a free day in your itinerary as you travel through town on to the next location, here is a roundup of fun and free things you can do in and around Anchorage for a day.
There’s no cost to enjoy the great outdoors and the memories you make will be priceless (especially if you spot wildlife like a moose or bear).
1. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
This 11-mile paved trail is the perfect way to explore where Anchorage meets the wilderness. The trail runs from downtown Anchorage to Kincaid Park with plenty of places to hop on and off in between so you can walk for as long (or short) as you’d like. This trail is a favorite for walkers, runners and bikers alike.
2. Kincaid Park
Right on the edge of the city, explore nearly 40 miles of walking trails and 20 miles of single-track bike runs without ever leaving Anchorage! Kincaid is at the end of the Coastal Trail with plenty of gorgeous views all around. Done hiking? Fish in Little Campbell Lake or play disc golf on the 18-hole course. Make sure to watch for wildlife.
3. Winner Creek Trail
If you have a car, drive 45 minutes to Girdwood (the views on the Seward Highway are worth it) and take a stroll on the Winner Creek Trail. The trail starts at mile 2.9 of Crow Creek Road and travels through beautiful forest and over the Winner Creek Gorge. Check signs for trail status!
4. Byron Glacier
After hiking in Girdwood, continue down the Seward Highway towards Portage Glacier. While Portage Glacier is accessible by a beautiful day cruise, the nearby Byron Glacier trail is a rewarding trek that’s easy to access.
5. Flattop Mountain Trail
For something with a bit more elevation, head to Flattop, perhaps one of the most-hiked mountains in Alaska. Take the trail all the way to the top or explore one of the many loops below including a short wheelchair-accessible loop complete with a beautiful view.
6. Potter Marsh
(pictured, above) Walk the boardwalk at Potter Marsh and try your best to spot wildlife. The marsh is a hot spot for moose and birds especially, depending on the time of year.
7. Ship Creek
Venture to Ship Creek to watch the salmon swim up the river to spawn. Bring polarized sunglasses to help you spot the fish through the water!
Experience Museums, Arts and Culture Around Town
Anchorage is bright with music and culture and we’re eager to share. No need to pay a premium to get a dose of the arts!
8. Alaska State Troopers Museum
Visit this downtown museum to learn more about the history of law enforcement in the state going all the way back to its U.S. Marshall days. Exhibits include a restored 1952 Hudson Hornet patrol car.
9. Music in the park
Every Wednesday, visitors can go to Peratrovich Park from noon to 1 p.m. to enjoy a different band from around the state and the country. There’s plenty of room to set up a picnic or dance around to the music. Check the Anchorage Downtown Partnership Facebook page for dates and information.
10. Live after Five
Right in the center of downtown, you won’t want to miss Live after Five every Thursday night from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Town Square Park. The free event features a beer and wine garden, prizes, live music and good food. Check in with Anchorage Downtown Partnership for dates and information.
11. Lunch on the Lawn
Every summer the Anchorage Museum hosts Lunch on the Lawn from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Come listen to live music and take part in outdoor science labs and family activities. You can bring your own lunch or order food from favorite local food trucks! Check the Anchorage Museum website for information.
12. Farmers markets
Anchorage has a number of great farmers markets around the city every summer. Come explore the markets to get a taste of the local food and art Alaska has to offer and treat yourself to a purchase or two!