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Time Out: Anchorage

Downtown Anchorage

Downtown Anchorage. Lucas Payne.

With anchorage’s snow and chilly temps lasting far longer than those of most lower 48 cities, locals take their summers very seriously. While the rest of America slows down once the season hits, Anchorageites go full tilt. Nature offers up extended hours of daylight—22 at the summer solstice—making it easy to go, go, go. There’s no time to be tired and no excuses for not doing some learning, hiking and plenty of tasting. Although more cosmopolitan than first-timers expect—there’s a Nordstrom and a sizable performing arts center—the city never lets visitors forget they’re in Alaska. The Chugach Mountains rise high to the east, bush planes zip overhead and, now and again, a moose wanders downtown.

Long before the tent city of Anchorage popped up to house workers building the Alaska Railroad, the land was home to the Dena’ina people. Spend the morning in quiet contemplation of the history, present and future of the Dena’ina, as well as Alaska’s other Native cultures, at the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center at the Anchorage Museum.

After ambling through the museum, get your legs moving more briskly by hitting the trails. Unless you have experience hiking in bear country (there are moose, too), don’t do it alone. Sign up for an organized day hike with a volunteer guide via Sierra Club Alaska or MeetUp.com’s biggest hiking group, The Anchorage Adventurers.

Duck into one of the wee but bold businesses that make up the downtown dining scene. Take a seat at the boat-shaped bar at Bubbly Mermaid, where the menu celebrates the classic pairing of oysters and champagne. Can’t handle another big sit-down meal? Head to Urban Greens, the city’s top sandwich shop. The Israeli-owned spot also serves some of America’s best hummus. Seriously. Then chill out at Wild Scoops, an “Alaskan microcreamery” that infuses flavors from other local purveyors and loads of grown-in-Alaska produce into its ever-changing ice cream offerings.


There’s plenty of taste on tap at one of the city’s growing number of breweries, including Cynosure Brewing or Resolution Brewing Company—or, for cider fans and gluten-free types, Double Shovel Cider Co. Want to combine adventure and beer? Sign on with Big Swig Tours for a combo bike trip and brewery tour.

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