Anchorage Travel Guide

USA  #6 in Best Cheap Vacations in the U.S.
Credit

Courtesy of Blue Poppy/Getty Images

Free Things To Do in Anchorage

If you have extra time, Potter Marsh is worthwhile.
  • #1
    Things to do in Anchorage
    View all Photos
    #1 in Anchorage
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    For a family-friendly outdoor excursion, grab your camera and hit the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, named for the for former Alaska governor Tony Knowles. Winding its way from the downtown area past the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum to Kincaid Park, this 11-mile paved path is perfect for biking, rollerblading, cross-country skiing and strolling. If you're visiting during the summer, keep your eyes peeled over Cook Inlet for beluga whales, while winter trailblazers should look out for moose in Kincaid Park.

    Many recent visitors hail this trail as the best site in Anchorage, but they also offer a few words of advice, saying you should take your time while exploring the park, as there will be a lot you'll want to stop and see. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is free and open to the public throughout the year. You can access the trail at the northeast end of West 2nd Avenue near the railroad depot and at the southwest end at Kincaid chalet, as well as several points in between. For more information, check out the trail's website.

  • #5
    Anchorage Market & Festival
    View all Photos
    #5 in Anchorage
    Festivals, Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Festivals, Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    A local favorite since it first opened in 1992, the Anchorage Market and Festival started out as a Saturday-only market with just two dozen vendors, but it quickly grew to host more than 300 vendors and now also operates on Sundays. Situated on 7 acres in downtown Anchorage, the market is the place to shop for clothes, food, crafts and more while enjoying live entertainment and snacking on locally grown eats. There's also a kids market suitable for ages 8 to 16 that sells goods crafted by other youngsters.

    Recent visitors spoke highly of the quality and quantity of unique wares, gifts and local food available at the market, while others warned that finding parking can be a challenge. Plan ahead and take public transportation: People Mover route Nos. 13 and 15 drop passengers off a couple blocks from the market, which is located at the intersection of 3rd and E Street. The market is open from mid-May to September on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit the market's website.

  • #6
    Potter Marsh
    View all Photos
    #6 in Anchorage
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    At the southern end of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge is Potter Marsh, a wooden boardwalk that winds through a half-mile of marshlands. This is a popular destination for birders, as Canada geese, northern pintails, canvasback ducks, red-necked phalaropes, horned and red-necked grebes and northern harriers come to this wetland from April to September. Summertime visitors can also glimpse gulls, Arctic terns, shorebirds and trumpeter swans. Keep an eye out for eagles and their nests, usually located in the cottonwoods near the base of the bluff.

    Moose can also be spotted year-round. If you're interested in seeing salmon spawn, walk about halfway down the boardwalk to Rabbit Creek, where every May to August spawning salmon can be seen on their swim up the creek. Recent visitors appreciate that the boardwalk is wheelchair accessible and recommend bringing a camera and a jacket, as it can be cool and windy even in the summer.

  • #7
    Kincaid Park
    View all Photos
    #7 in Anchorage
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Kincaid Park is the ideal place for when you need an escape from city life without having to actually leave Anchorage. Overlooking Cook Inlet from the city's southwest corner, this 1,400-acre park is home to dozens of hiking, biking and cross-country ski trails, gardens and even some of Alaska's favorite furry friends like moose, fox and porcupines. With so much to offer, this park is a perfect urban escape for both a wilderness adventure and a leisurely day outdoors. Recent visitors said the trails are kept in top shape, making it easy to spend the day wandering as you please.

    Kincaid Park is open to nature lovers every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is reached by both Raspberry Road and the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. And the best part: You don't have to pay to play. For more information, visit Anchorage's Parks and Recreation website.

Explore More of Anchorage

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

30 Top Florida Weekend Getaways

Spend sun-filled days exploring Florida's beautiful beaches, cities, parks and small towns.

Gwen PratesiDecember 9, 2019

The Best Travel Backpacks for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel backpacks using recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019

30 Top Wellness Retreats

Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at one of these relaxation-focused properties.

Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019

The Top Pyramids in Mexico to Visit

Add these ancient marvels to your Mexico vacation itinerary.

Lyn MettlerOctober 28, 2019

30 Top Babymoon Destinations, Trips and Ideas

From romantic beach getaways to big city adventures to glamping in the forest, these locales will inspire your babymoon planning.

Gwen PratesiOctober 15, 2019

15 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

These tips will help pregnant women travel the world in comfort and style.

Holly JohnsonOctober 10, 2019