TAP INTO YOUR SENSE OF ADVENTURE
Many Alaska adventures begin in Anchorage. The majestic mountains, glistening glaciers and crystal-clear streams and lakes beckon for exploration. Explore the rich culture of Alaska's first people and feel their pride.
Anchorage is a big city in a secluded state; it remains true to its heritage while forging ahead with revolutionary new sites and museums. Some of the facilities are top-notch establishments technologically, while others continue to provide an authentic look at the ancient past of the area, and have remained unchanged for decades. Alaskans have a strong sense of culture, and they want to stay faithful to the traditions of their ancestors.
The restaurants in Anchorage are extraordinary, and you can find all kinds of dining options that are sure to please even the most well-tuned palate. Savor the taste of fresh Alaska seafood. You don't have to go looking for breathtaking scenery in Anchorage; it is everywhere, and will surprise you at every turn. The horizon is glorious, and the mountains and ocean create magnificent backdrops. Many of the regions in Alaska are quite populated. Anchorage is Alaska's largest city with more than 260,000 residents, which is 42% of the state's population.
In addition to acting as the center for oil development in the state, Anchorage hustles its living as a government, banking, transportation, and communications hub. While Anchorage may be rather built up, and sections of it are somewhat commercial, you do not have to go far to find yourself deep in the Alaskan wilderness. In fact, a tour on a floatplane will take you into regions that are remarkably remote, where the only life you will see is a bear hunting the Alaskan waters for a fresh salmon dinner.
The wide array of public parks in Anchorage proves to be one of the best features of this diverse and gorgeous area. Those who just want to relax, can stroll through the city and admire the amazing views Anchorage has to offer. You can see three of Alaska's 39 mountain ranges, the Chugach, Kenai, and Alaska, from downtown Anchorage. The only distraction will be the gorgeous flowers throughout the city. Now in its sixth year, Anchorage's City of Flowers Program has grown into a citywide effort, with more than 80,000 plants tended throughout the municipality. In 2004, volunteers planted more than 20,000 flowers and logged more than 25,000 hours keeping Anchorage fragrant and litter-free. So make sure you take time to stop and smell the roses!
Amid the wild countryside that crowds around it on all sides, Anchorage has grown into a spirited, cosmopolitan city - by far Alaska's largest and most sophisticated. The relative affluence of its largely white-collar population - with a sprinkling of olive drab from nearby military bases - attracts fine restaurants, great shopping, first-rate entertainment, and world-class sporting events. Flashy modern towers punctuate the skyline, and colorful flowers spill from hundreds of baskets on downtown lamp posts.
The rugged countryside is just a short drive away. First incorporated in 1920, Anchorage is still a young city. Its citizens' median age of 30 years and an aggressive style make this - and not the capital city of Juneau - the state's power center.
Cosmopolitan Anchorage is a city that has its own symphony and ballet. Art enthusiasts will enjoy the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, as well as many other galleries. Shoppers will discover unique native Alaskan arts and crafts. Anchorage is the place to tap into your sense of adventure!
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Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge
Stop by the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge and see up to 120 species of birds or visit the Eagle River Nature Center, which offers wildlife viewing, interpretive trails, and hikes.
Anchorage Museum of History and Art
Occupying an entire block, this museum contains exhibits of historical and contemporary Alaskan art, history displays, and a special children's section. There is an excellent café that is open for lunch.
Alaska Native Heritage Center
This extraordinary center contains a spacious Welcome House that introduces you to the Alaskan Native Peoples through displays, artifacts, photographs, demonstrations, performances, and films.
Crow Creek Mine
Check out the Crow Creek Mine where you can tour eight original buildings and pan for gold.
In 1964, the Anchorage area was severely rocked by the most powerful earthquake ever felt in North America, registering an astounding 9.2 on the Richter scale. This park features interpretive displays detailing the earthquake, as well as local geology and wildlife.
Lake Hood Air Harbor and the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum
Visit a display of over 21 vintage aircrafts, Japanese artifacts and historical photographs from World War II, in addition to a theater showing short movies demonstrating early aviation in Alaska.
Cruise on the mv Ptarmigan on Portage Lake and cruise within 300 yards within the glacier and learn how glaciers are formed.
A monument of the British explorer Captain Cook comes in the form of a cantilevered viewing platform looking out toward Cook Inlet and the mountains beyond. Often called the "Sleeping Lady" by the locals, Mt. Susitna is the prominent low mountain to the northwest. To her north is the famous Mt. McKinley, often visible 12.5 miles away. The traditional native name for this majestic mountain is Denali.
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
This is a great 10-mile bike trail carved along the spectacular sea coast of Cook Inlet.
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Nearly everything in Anchorage was built in the last few decades. An Anchorage home dating from the 1950s almost merits historic status. Anchorage got its start with the construction of the federally built Alaska Railroad, completed in 1917, and traces of the city's railroad heritage remain today. Once the tracks were laid, the town grew because its pioneer forerunners actively sought growth by hook and - not infrequently - by crook. City officials used to delight in telling how they tricked a visiting member of Congress into dedicating a site for a not-yet-approved federal hospital.
Boom and bust periods followed major events: an influx of military bases during World War II; a massive buildup of Arctic missile-warning stations during the Cold War; reconstruction following the devastating Good Friday earthquake of 1964; and in the late 1960s the biggest bonanza of all - the discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay and the construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline. Not surprisingly, Anchorage positioned itself as the perfect home for the new pipeline administrators and support industries, and it attracts a large share of the state's oil-tax dollars.
In the last decade, Anchorage has become an increasingly important focus of travelers to Alaska. The central location, relatively mild climate, and excellent transportation system make it a natural place to begin or end a trip. Anchorage has grown steadily to become the business, cultural, and distribution center of Alaska.
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