Anchorage Travel Tips
Keep in Mind...
- No off-roading Most rental agreements restrict the use of cars to paved roads only. Make sure to avoid gravel routes like McCarthy Road and the Denali Highway.
- Dress in layers If you're heading out of town for some outdoor activities, bear in mind that temperatures are known to fluctuate dramatically. Be prepared for all weather scenarios by wearing layers.
- Beware the Bears Prime wildlife habitats (including those for black and grizzly bears) surround Anchorage, and sometimes, animals make their way into town. Keep your distance. For more safety information, check out the National Park Service website.
It's hard to believe that not even a century ago, Alaska's most sophisticated city was simply a collection of tents. Founded in 1914 during the construction of the Alaska Railroad, Anchorage has since blossomed into the Last Frontier's financial and commercial hub and now houses a whopping 40 percent of the state's population. But while you're sure to find all the amenities of a cosmopolitan American city, that's not what draws tourists. Most people only catch a glimpse of this major northernmost U.S. city on their way to discovering the snow-capped peaks of the surrounding mountain ranges or the vast wilderness that lies beyond.
Sure, Anchorage is a paradisiacal home base for skiers, hikers, fishermen and wildlife watchers, but that doesn't mean the city itself should be ignored. Alaska's metropolis boasts a plethora of attractions, including museums, shops, nightlife venues and a fantastic zoo. And if nature is your true calling, bear in mind that you don't have to skirt the city limits to get your fill: Visit during the summer to experience the City of Flowers (home to more than 400 flower beds) in full bloom or during any other season to be dazzled by the sparkling Northern Lights.
How To Save Money in Anchorage
- Book all at once Reserving your flight and your hotel at the same time is a great way to ensure availability and the lowest room rates possible. For a summer trip, book at least a month in advance.
- Rent a car in town Airport concession fees can significantly increase the price of renting a car. While you can expect significant taxes at any Alaskan rental agency, you can avoid the extra 10 percent by renting in the city.
- Take the bus If you're not planning to leave the city, consider relying on the People Mover. Although they only operate every half hour, People Mover buses stop at major attractions and are cheaper than a rental car.