Posted in Things To Do In Alaska

Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, has a rich and diverse history that traces back to its indigenous roots. Originally inhabited by Dena’ina Athabascan people for thousands of years, the city was officially recognized as a city in 1920 with the development of the Alaska Railroad. This led to the growth of downtown Anchorage, which grew significantly due to World War II and the 1970s oil boom, establishing itself as Anchorage’s center for culture, entertainment and business. Today, there are so many things to do in downtown Anchorage.

Visitors can enjoy everything from tours and museum visits to shopping and a lively food and bar scene. Designed for easy navigation, downtown Anchorage was built as a walkable grid with lettered and numbered streets, making exploring a breeze. Download our Google map list of every destination we recommend while visiting downtown Anchorage. Keep reading to get the scoop on some of the best attractions and activities in downtown Anchorage.

Historical Landmarks and Family-Friendly Options

1. Anchorage Trolley Tours

The Anchorage Trolley Tour is one of the best ways to see downtown Anchorage and areas beyond. With daily operations running from early May to late September, this 15-mile tour takes you around the city and highlights historical sites and attractions. There are three tour options to choose from ranging from one to two hours. Tours depart beginning at 9 a.m. with the final tour departing at 8:15 p.m.

2. Anchorage Museum

The Anchorage Museum, Alaska’s largest museum, is located in the center of downtown Anchorage and offers a broad range of exhibits. It features everything from contemporary to indigenous Alaska art and history. The museum is home to permanent exhibitions that highlight Alaska’s long history as well as rotating exhibitions from local artists reflecting the community. Check out their current exhibitions to see what’s on display.

Anchorage Museum

3. Log Cabin Visitor Center

The Log Cabin Visitor Center is an iconic landmark that serves as the perfect welcoming point for those staying in downtown hotels or attending events in the area. Staffed by knowledgeable local volunteers, it offers brochures, maps and expert advice on exploring Anchorage and its surroundings.

4. Alaska Escape Rooms

Get ready for game night! This interactive activity, suitable for all ages, offers fun-themed rooms designed to challenge your wit. Solve riddles and puzzles, find hidden doors and aim to escape the room in under an hour. Alaska Escape Rooms is accepting bookings as late as 10 p.m., so there’s plenty of time to grab a bite and energize before diving into the adventure!

5. Oscar Anderson House Museum

Step back in time at the Oscar Anderson House Museum. Built in 1915 and recognized as the city’s first wood-framed house, this historic bungalow has been preserved to showcase the lifestyle of early residents. Now a National Historic Place, it’s a unique museum that offers a detailed look at Anchorage’s formative years through original architecture and period furnishings.

6. Alaska Center for the Performing Arts

For those who love the arts and culture, find a show at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts (PAC). From theater to dance, music and community programs, the PAC has a little bit of everything — even a special Broadway Alaska series! Be sure to check what is playing during your time in Anchorage.

Photo Credit: Visit Anchorage

Outdoor Activities

7. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

The perfect mid-day activity! Take a break from the bustling streets to bask in the outdoor beauty of Anchorage while walking on the outskirts of downtown. Ideal for biking, walking or wildlife spotting, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail offers stunning views of Cook Inlet, marshes and forested areas, where you might encounter eagles or moose. The 11-mile trail features scenic views and historic sites like Earthquake Park, marking the profound changes from the 1964 earthquake.

Photo Credit: Visit Anchorage

8. Anchorage Light Speed Planet Walk

Experience our solar system on a cosmic scale with the Anchorage Light Speed Planet Walk. This walk, set to a scale where each step equals the distance light travels in a second, stretches from a model of the Sun in central downtown to Pluto at Kincaid Park. It takes about five hours and 30 minutes to complete the walk, mirroring the time light takes to travel from the Sun to the distant dwarf planet, offering an educational journey through our solar system.

9. Ship Creek Overlook Park

In north downtown, you will find Ship Creek running from Cook Inlet into Anchorage, carrying salmon upstream through summer and fall. At Ship Creek Overlook Park, you can try your hand at angling an Alaska salmon or observe local shorebirds in the area. Read our full guide to salmon fishing in Alaska to learn more about the type of fishing Ship Creek has to offer.

Local Shopping

10. The Kobuk

Nestled in Anchorage’s historical Kimball Building since 1915, The Kobuk is a favorite among both tourists and locals. This award-winning one-stop shop has a gift for just about anyone. In the back of the shop, you can savor a cup of freshly roasted coffee or the shop’s signature Samovar tea with an old-fashioned donut. Browse through a selection of artisan jewelry, soaps, lotions, ornaments and more.

11. David Green Master Furrier

Discover a century of craftsmanship at David Green Master Furrier, an Alaskan family-run business established in 1922. With its roots in personalized, handcrafted fur garments, the business has become an Anchorage staple with a store selling everything from jackets, hats, handbags and more. Choose from a selection of beautiful pieces that will be sure to keep you warm and stylish.

12. Ulu Factory

If you’re looking for a unique Alaska souvenir, look no further than The Ulu Factory. Ulus are traditional Alaska Native tool used for skinning, sewing, cooking and more. The tool is still used today in both traditional and everyday practices. The knives come in various sizes and can be specialized with different carvings or handles, making it the perfect Alaska trip memento.

13. Anchorage Farmer’s Market

During the summer months, pop by the Anchorage Farmer’s Market for a Saturday morning stroll. Local vendors sell Alaska grown vegetables, fruits, herbs, animal products, baked goods, flowers and more. Despite being a colder state, the short growing season can be robust. Try some samples and pack a picnic lunch with what you find!

farmers market

Restaurants and Bars

14. Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse

Start your night at Humpy’s, a popular spot for Alaska seafood and pub fare, with specialties like king crab nuggets and fried halibut, complemented by a choice of 60 beers on tap. Enjoy their outdoor patio in the summer and join both Alaskans and tourists in a lively, welcoming atmosphere.

15. Flattop Pizza + Pool

After enjoying some beer and seafood at Humpy’s, head next door to Flattop Pizza & Pool for a game of pool or to satisfy any lingering hunger with their pizza. Flattop stands out with its modern Alaskan twist on Italian cuisine, offering everything from house made gnocchi with fresh halibut to pizzas with quality dough and a range of toppings.

16. Glacier Brewhouse

A local gem, Glacier BrewHouse is renowned for its wild Alaska seafood, rotisserie roasted meats and award-winning handcrafted ales and pilot brews. This restaurant is a top pick for tourists eager to experience the state’s culinary excellence, offering a diverse menu that showcases the best of local produce and brewing artistry.

17. Mad Myrna’s

Myrna’s is the perfect place to dance the night away. A premier LGBTQ+ nightclub and entertainment venue with a full bar and plenty of room to dance. Find a reason to celebrate and check out the live drag and stage shows where you can reserve a table, order delicious food and enjoy a champagne toast with your friends.

18. Tent City Taphouse

This family-owned and operated modern gastropub is located in downtown Anchorage and honors the city’s roots. Serving locally sourced seafood and meats, as well as produce from sustainable farmers, this restaurant is committed to providing a unique experience with a friendly atmosphere.

19. Snow City Café

Since its establishment in 1998, Snow City Café has become a go-to brunch destination in downtown Anchorage. Locals and visitors alike rave about its award-winning breakfast, featuring from-scratch bakery items, creative egg dishes and specialties like sockeye salmon cakes benedict. The café also delights with a variety of lunch options, espresso drinks, and weekly, catering to all dietary preferences.

20. K Street Market

A newer addition to downtown Anchorage, K Street Market conjoins all of the things you could ask for in one place — a coffee and plant shop, a juice and produce shop, a boutique liquor store and a bakery. That Feeling Co. offers crafted coffee beverages and a variety of beautiful plants, creating a little sanctuary in its space. Johnny’s Produce brings local produce and high-quality products from around the world to Alaskans in their specialized store, along with a juice bar featuring fresh fruits and vegetables. La Bodega is a boutique liquor store with select wines, beers, liquors and a growing selection of non-acholic beverages. Lastly, Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop opened in 2009 and quickly stole Alaskans’ hearts with traditional, artisan baked goods ranging from croissants to cupcakes.

21. F Street Station

This restaurant and bar is Anchorage’s oldest bar still in its original location. Established in 1944, F Street Station has been a longstanding, quintessential spot for Alaskans. The French Onion soup is infamous as well as the assortment of seafood dishes and hearty sandwiches.

Looking for more things to do in Anchorage? Check out these 17 unique things to do and if you’re on a budget, 12 fun and free things to do to give your wallet a break!