What to do with a 4-8 hour lay over in Anchorage?
Favorite thing: Pass thru Anchorage many times a year. With that long of a layover think about renting a car a driving somewhere. A cab downtown is $20, so for the price of a roundtrip cab you can pay for the car rental. I use Expedia to book the lowest price. Just remember whatever the sticker cost is listed, the taxes and fees for renting a car are going to double the listed daily rate.
An hour south along very scenic Turnagain Arm gets you to Portage Glacier. On the way back stop in Girdwood for dinner - Double Musky or one of the Alyeska Prince Hotel restaurants.
Or you could drive north to Talkeetna and catch a glimpse of Denali (maybe).
Or stay in Anchorage and drive downtown, see some sights such as Alaska Cultural Center and then a nice meal at some of the many good restaurants. Then off to the movies or Blues Central from some jazz....
Then, maybe, you'll be tired enough to sleep in the terminal for a few hours.
Denali (Mt. McKinley)
Favorite thing: It may seem a little strange that I'm putting Denali/Mt. McKinley in a tip for Anchorage but on a clear day you can see it from here. Even if seeing it up close is more of a priority, it's really quite amazing to see it from Anchorage, when it's hundreds of miles away. I remember flying into Anchorage a few years ago and we were told we could see it. At first, I just thought it was because we were circling the area and maybe ended up well to the north of Anchorage, but we landed a couple minutes later. Then I was trying to think how it was possible to see it from so far away. But just as unfathomable to someone who is used to the rolling hills of the Appalachians (in the eastern US), is how tall a 20,000'+ (6,194m) mountain really is. And it's certainly tall enough to be viewed from Anchorage.
Good points to see Denali/McKinley in Anchorage are at Earthquake Park and Airport Park. Airport Park might be the better of the 2 because they have a sign there to help orient you. Both are located near the International Airport. Pretty incredible stuff....
Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanoes (oh my...)
Favorite thing: I am not putting this in a warning because I'm a huge admirer of and have great respect for Mother Nature's power:)
Anchorage, like most of Alaska, has frequent earthquakes. In fact, the state has more earthquakes than the rest of the US states combined. While the risk is greater in some places, Anchorage has already been devastated by a major earthquake and it’s very likely to happen again (the major earthquake part). Small earthquakes happen here all the time….we had one last night about 30 miles away and in the past 24 hours, 30 have occurred. But these are so tiny that we don’t even feel them. This does give you an idea of how frequent they are.
Here’s a list of averages for the southern part of Alaska:
One magnitude 8 or larger earthquake every 13 years.
One magnitude 7 to 8 earthquake every year.
Four and a half magnitude 6 to 7 earthquakes per year.
Twenty magnitude 5 to 6 earthquakes per year.
Ninety magnitude 4 to 5 earthquakes per year.
Fondest memory: There’s really no way to plan your vacation around an earthquake that hasn’t happened yet, but the state does have a ton of information on what you can do to prepare yourself in the event it does happen. In Anchorage, we have alarms, tests, literature, websites, information on TV, people and instruments to monitor activity. Since it is a coastal area, we also have a risk of tsunamis. There are evacuation areas that take you up to higher ground with shelters. Luckily, in the event something happens in another part of the pacific, there is enough time to put out a warning. Oh, there’s lot of volcanoes not that far away, too but they give you a little more time to get out and there's none right in the city.
W/ the picture...looks like if you're in that situation, you're probably already in trouble;-)
Turnouts along the highways
Favorite thing: Alaska planned their highways extremely well. The Seward Highway (which leads to…can you guess? Seward!) follows the Turnagain Arm for quite a distance and along the way, there are numerous turnouts and places to park for either resting, wildlife viewing, a small hike or just to look out at the water and watch the incredible tides. I say incredible because when it’s low, you can look out forever at the mudflats. Of course, these parking areas do get crowded, but if you feel like you don’t want to stop at one, another will be right down the road. Common sense tells you to look before you pull back onto the road and signal well ahead if you’re going to pull off one to one of these. It’s a 2 lane highway with heavy truck traffic. Also, there are plenty of areas that do not allow you to stop, so definitely just wait until the next parking area.
Favorite thing: We have trails everywhere…in the city, outside of the city, in parks, along major highways…there’s no lack of hiking in the Anchorage area. If you drive out of the city and come to a turnout, you’ll see, in one tiny area there are many options for trails. They range in length and difficulty, catering to anyone. Raised boardwalks, paved paths, steep dirt trails, interpretive signs…you can hike forever in or around this city. It’s wonderful…each day you can choose something completely different or revisit the same place and it’s still spectacular. A lot of the time, the weather may not seem in your favor for hiking, but you get so used to the cold or rain, that you might decide to go anyway just to get out for awhile. Some of the trailheads have zero facilities (not even trashcans) so take everything with you. Definitely get a topographic map or the USGS quadrangles because those that are more out of the way may not be marked all that well. You may be visiting the city, but it doesn’t mean you have to do city things here. Big points for Anchorage on this one.
Your Pet-Kennel Stays in Anchorage/Wasilla/Palmer
Favorite thing: If you need to leave your pet in a kennel for anytime in or around Anchorage, be aware that there are lots of kennels to choose from. We left our dog and cat at TLC Kennels in Wasilla (formerly Greatland Kennels) 745-5380 for more than 10 days. I must say that though the physical location looks dismal, the people who run the kennel are true animal lovers and clearly enjoyed our dog. She came out of her stay a happy animal as did our cat.
We did have one major problem with TLC, however. We asked that our dog have a bath before we pick her up. She was bathed and her nails were cut so short that they were bleeding when we got her. That was a major disappointment. Clearly, though the owners are animal lovers, their groomers are not knowledgeable and may have some streaks of cruelty in them.
Other choices for kennels include Rabbit Creek Kennel (345-1152) and the various VCA sites. If you want other choices feel free to contact me.Related to:
- Travel with Pets
- Family Travel
Drink lots of local brews
Favorite thing: Try out every brewpub in Anchorage. The wide variety will keep you engaged, and the local drunks at bars like Darwin's Theory will keep you entertained. Remember, the only bad beer is a beer that doesn't get you happy!
INFORMATION WHERE ??
Favorite thing: INFOCENTER ANCHORAGE
FIND ON THE 4th AVENUE / F STREET DOWNTOWN
OR ON THE FOLLOWING PAGE
Fondest memory: IF DON´T KNOW WAHT YOU LL SEE , YOU GET ANY INFORMATION AT THE INFORAMTIONCENTER DOWNTOWN , WHAT I LOVE MOST IS THAT THE INFOS ARE FREERelated to:
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
- Museum Visits
Favorite thing: This trail was one of my best friends in Anchorage, when I moved in there without knowing anybody. I lived very closed to it and soon discovered the peaceful trail with many natural wonders. I ran there some 4-5 times in a week, so if you noticed red-faced little blond jogging around (slowwwwly) in the summer 2004, it was probably me;)
Campbell Creek's northern trail head is located at 54th and the Old Seward Highway, next to Peanut Farm (restaurant). From here, the trail stretches 4 miles to its southern trail head located at West Dimond Blvd and Northwood Drive. The trail parallels the banks of the Campbell Creek crossing it many times, via wooden bridges, along the way.
Fondest memory: I saw mooses almost everytime I were there, also some salmons and rabbits. Campbell is not as pretty as Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, neither as interesting as Chester Creek or nothing compared to Kincaid. But it is an nice spice added into the husstle and busstel of the midtown itself. Along it is Taku lake, where is a good parking lot and it is a great place to chill out and enjoy beautiful summer day. But watch out of the bushes, those things are FULL of mosquitos with their long teeth...;)Related to:
- Travel with Pets
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Hiking and Walking
US Flag 7/4/1959 to 7/3/1960
Favorite thing: Alaska was admitted to the US on 1/3/1959. The 49th star was added to the flag and it flew in the United States for the period shown. Hawaii was admitted to the US on 8/21/1959 A new flag cannot be flown until the 4th of July following admission to the Union.Our present 50 star flag was official on July 4, 1960.
View of Mt. Susitana and Beluga Whales
Favorite thing: This view of Mt. Susitana across the Cook Inlet, is taken from Resolution Park in Anchorage. According to an ancient native legend Mt. Susitana is a giant sleeping lady. When friends came to tell her that her lover had been killed in battle, they could not bear to wake her. Instead they asked the gods to protect her until peace returned forever to the land. The gods complied and now she sleeps under a blanket of grasses in summer and soft snow in winter.
In summer pods of 15 or more Beluga Whales may sometimes be seen from this point. In the distance they appear as small white specks, as they search for spawning Salmon making their way up the Cook Inlet.
On a clear day you can see Mount McKinley from this point, 120 miles to the north.
Glorious Summer Flowers
Favorite thing: If you are one of those who has always thought of Anchorage as a city mantled in perpetual ice and snow, think again. Summers are glorious here, and the long daylight hours and mild temperatures are perfect for growing some of the most beautiful flowers you will see anywhere. I lived for several years in the deep south and our flowers did not do nearly so well there because of the heat.
Downtown Anchorage is a riot of bloom throughout the long days of summer. You will see flowers of every color in planters, beds and hanging baskets along virtually every street, and especially in parks and in front of public buildings as those in this photo, in a small park in front of the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts.
Oscar Anderson House
Favorite thing: Built by Swedish immigrant Oscar Anderson, an early pioneer and businessman in Anchorage, this is one of the oldest privately built homes, and the only house museum, in the city. Guided tours of approximately 45 minutes tell not only of Oscar Anderson and his family, but also of the early tent city of Anchorage and the building of the Alaska Railroad. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places.
420 M Street
Anchorage, AK 99501
The Oscar Anderson House is on the western edge of downtown Anchoage, at 5th Avenue and M Street, in Elderberry Park.
Monday - Friday, Noon - 5:00 p.m.
June 1 - mid-Sept.
Christmas Tours: 1st two week-ends in December.
Oscar Anderson HouseRelated to:
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
Air Crossroads of the World
Favorite thing: Anchorage is roughly equidistant from three of the world's major markets: New York, London and Tokyo, making it a strategic location for international air commerce.
It is also interesting to note that Anchorage shares a similar latitude with Stockholm, Sweden and St. Petersburg, Russia, and a similar longitude with other regions explored by Captain James Cook, including Tahiti, Hawaii and the Cook Islands.
This signpost, in front of the Log Cabin Visitor Information Center in downtown Anchorage, gives the distance to major cities in Alaska and around the world.
542 West 4th Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501
Wyland Whale Mural
Favorite thing: On the east side of Town Square, on E Street, you will see a huge whale mural, or Whaling Wall, which was painted freehand by sea-life artist Wyland in 1994. This is one of 84 such life-size ocean murals which Wyland had painted in cities throughout the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The famous artist, known only as Wyland, was born Robert Wyland in a Detroit suburb in 1956. He has overcome personal poverty and physical handicaps to paint these murals which are now seen by an estimated one billion people per year. Wyland's goal is to make people all over the world aware of the struggle of whales, dolphins and all ocean life.
You may take a very interesting virtual journey with Wyland by clicking the web link below.
- Whale Watching
- Arts and Culture
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