What to See & Do
Traveling Solo? Six Ways Anchorage Makes it Easy to Go It Alone in Alaska
Alaska is no stranger to welcoming solo travelers. Nearly 20 percent of visitors to Alaska travel alone for either business or pleasure. Those who love to vacation alone know that going solo offers unique opportunities for spontaneous discovery unburdened by the demands of others. Travelers looking for a big adventure in the great outdoors or the intimate experience of a immersing themselves in a place steeped in beauty and rich with culture find Anchorage makes it easy to vacation on their own.
Here’s why solo travelers want to make Anchorage their base camp to adventure:
Adventure on a shoestring Alaska may be large, but the best the state has to offer is easy to experience on a solo budget, especially from Anchorage. In fact, there’s no need to leave Anchorage to experience Big Wild Life. Embraced by six mountain ranges and warmed by a maritime climate, Anchorage is alive year round with recreation, seasonal festivities, wildlife and sightseeing opportunities. In the Anchorage area solo travelers can go bear viewing, bird watching, whale watching and watch for other Alaska wildlife, including moose, Dall sheep, black bear, brown bear, grizzlies, orca whales and more. Unarguably the state’s most scenic highway, the Seward Highway, leads from Anchorage to the bedroom community of Girdwood and the Alyeska Ski Resort. Glaciers surround the Girdwood valley, which features numerous scenic hiking and biking trails, parasailing and horseback riding activities, dog mushing in winter and a visual arts center.
Culture without a cab ride One of the most compelling joys of going it alone on vacation is the chance to immerse oneself in the culture of a place without the distractions of traveling in a large group. Anchorage’s many museums and cultural heritage centers are designed to encourage one-on-one interaction with Alaska Native artists and craftspeople. Numerous free shuttles between cultural attractions provide remarkable access to Alaska’s cultural heritage. It is entirely possible to visit Alaska’s largest museum, it’s Native heritage center and numerous attractions offering films and educational programs on the state’s history within one or two days and without ever having to take a taxi or rent a car.
Self-guided made simple In downtown Anchorage alone there are dozens of self-guided walking tours of the city’s surrounding wilderness and recreation areas and culture and heritage venues. Anchorage’s extensive trail system is one of the best in the United States, according to a past issue of “Bicycling Magazine.” The American Hiking Society agrees, naming Anchorage second on a recent list of Top Trail Towns. Anchorage’s well-kept trail system offers 120 miles (193 km) of paved and 300 miles (482 km) unpaved and wilderness trails. Every trail is accessible via public transportation.
The Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau offers free walking maps of the city and trail system at www.anchorage.net . For those wanting a guide, Alaska’s Public Lands Information Center offers guided walks to historic downtown sights daily in summer and has information on all of Alaska's public lands, including national and state parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges.
Clean, safe and friendly Anchorage has a reputation for the congeniality of its residents as well as its walk-able and tourist-friendly downtown center. Committed to the philosophy that a clean, attractive and vital city enhances its public safety and enjoyment, this self-proclaimed City of Lights and Flowers is filled with thousands of twinkling lights in winter and colorful blooms in summer in fact, city gardeners plant 461 flowerbeds and hanging baskets at 81 sightsto the delight of visitors. The presence of the city’s team of friendly security ambassadors clad in bright yellow jackets enhance safety and security downtown, patrolling streets, welcoming and assisting thousands of visitors and helping keep the city clean.
Base camp to adventure - Anchorage is the perfect base camp for solo travelers who want to venture farther into the great outdoors. Denali National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park and the Chugach National Forest are all within a few hours drive from the city’s downtown area. Alaska has the nation’s greatest concentration of glaciers, covering almost 30,000 square miles, and Alaska's top visitor attraction featuring Alaska glaciers is just a short, spectacular drive away from Anchorage - Portage Glacier and the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center are located just 50 miles south of Anchorage. Dependable operations offer year-round charters from Anchorage via floatplane, fixed wing and helicopter. Flights depart from the Anchorage International Airport, Merrill Field, and Lake Hood Air Harbor the world’s busiest floatplane base.
Planning Tools - The Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau’s award-winning Web site (www.anchorage.net) is the perfect tool for travelers to plan itineraries step-by-step and learn about travel packages, local events and activities. The city’s cartoon moose mascot, Seymour of Anchorage, leads online visitors through a seven-day Anchorage adventure with recommendations for morning, afternoon and evening activities based on seasons and interests. Explore the virtual visitors guide or order the Official Anchorage Visitors Guide.
The Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau’s mission is to attract and serve visitors to the Municipality of Anchorage. ACVB’s marketing functions are funded by one-third of the bed tax collected by the lodging association. One-third goes to the Municipality’s general fund and one-third goes to the Anchorage Civic and Convention construction project. ACVB receives no state or federal funds.
What to See & Do
The Explore Fairbanks 2019 Official Visitors Guide, a 78-page, full-color booklet that describes Fairbanks year-round opportunities is now available for free. The annual publication is designed to capture the features and attractions specific to life in the region. Fairbanks is defined by the midnight sun, the aurora borealis, the centrally located Chena and Yukon rivers and many miles of wilderness.
Fairbanks delineates the Aurora Season as August 21 through April 21, when visitors have the opportunity of seeing the aurora borealis. Fairbanks’ location is ideal for northern lights viewing because it is under the “Auroral Oval,” a ring-shaped zone where aurora activity is concentrated. Additionally, low precipitation in Fairbanks contributes to consistently clear nights. Conversely, the Midnight Sun Season runs from April 22 through August 20. The midnight sun shines brightly for the whole summer with the most sunlight occurring between May 17 and July 27, when the sun never dips far enough below the horizon for the sky to actually get dark
The "Golden Heart of Alaska," Fairbanks is the gateway to the vast Interior and the Arctic. Places situated nearby are Denali National Park, the Arctic Circle, Chena Hot Springs, North Pole and a myriad of villages, refuges and parks. The Arctic is featured prominently as Fairbanks is the home base for travel, research, supplies and transportation to the area. The guide highlights year-round activities available in the frontier community that include fishing, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, hiking, visiting museums and floating the Chena River. Additional activities take place during the winter months, such as dog mushing, ice sculpting, snowmobiling and skiing. The guide also features exhibitions, attractions and performances focused on Alaska Native heritage, contemporary arts and gold rush history.
The calendar of events points out significant events including the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race and the World Ice Art Championships. The guide also lists a wide variety of seasonal and year-round accommodations, services, restaurants, shopping and attractions.
For a free copy of the 2019 Fairbanks Visitors Guide and the companion piece, the 2016-2017 Fairbanks Winter Guide, contact Explore Fairbanks at 1-800-327-5774 or (907) 456-5774 or write to Explore Fairbanks, 101 Dunkel St, Suite 111, Fairbanks, AK 99701-4806. View the guide online at explorefairbanks.com.
Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center
Visitors are most welcome to the new home of the FCVB. The Morris Thompson Center is also home to Alaska Public Lands Information Center (APLIC)/National Park Service, Alaska Geographic, and Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) Cultural Programs. Envisioned as a combined facility for world-class visitor services, public lands interpretation and Athabascan cultural center, there are many exciting plans in the works.
The 10,000 sq ft. exhibit hall showcases life in the Interior.
APLIC shows free films in the 100-seat theater at 9, 10, Noon, 2, & 4 daily in the summer. Check the FCVB Online Calendar of Events at www.explorefairbanks.com for a listing of current films.
Fairbanks Convention & Visitors Bureau
has a new interactive web site. For details contact Chris Harper, firstname.lastname@example.org, (907) 459-3778
Alaskan Hummer Tours
Explore the rugged backcountry roads of the Interior with a military-issued hummer.
For details contact Brad Horsley, email@example.com, 888-386-4648
Adventure in Alaska RV Rentals
offers new guided caravan tours designed to fly the guest into Fairbanks, pick them up and bring them to the private RV park, where they supply the RV and the guided tour. All they need to do is enjoy the adventure.
For details contact Suzanne Spanjer, Suzanne@adventureakrv.com, (907) 458-7368
Airlink Shuttle & Tours
Added a motorcoach to its fleet to accommodate transfers and tours for larger groups.
For details contact Jeff Heber, firstname.lastname@example.org, (907) 452-3337
Fairbanks Paddle & Pedal
take a leisurely float down the Chena River, have lunch at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge before biking back downtown with a stop at Pioneer Park.
For details contact Bradley Hodges, email@example.com, (907) 388-4480
offering 45-minute cooking demonstrations using the freshest ingredients while highlighting Alaskan delicacies throughout the day or a 2 1⁄2 hour dinner demonstrations in the evening.
For details contact Richard Stout, firstname.lastname@example.org, (907) 328-9030
nightly showing of “Auroras: The Crown of Light” at the Lacey Street Theatre. A widescreen, panoramic, visual masterpiece created by Alaska’s only photo laureate.
For details contact LeRoy Zimmerman
Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race
the Fairbanks headquarters have moved to their new home on First Avenue in the Yukon Quest Log Cabin. Stop by for a look at dog mushing memorabilia and a chance to pick out memorabilia to take home from their store. Open Mon-Fri 10-8, Sat 11-7, Sun 12-5.
For details contact email@example.com, (907) 452-7954
From Puppies to Pullers
interactive presentation with veteran Yukon Quest musher, Brent Sass. Pet the puppies. Learn about what it takes to run the toughest international 1000-mile sled dog race. Show runs Sun-Mon, 11-3.
Downtown on 3rd Avenue, featuring 100% local and 100% handmade items. Also offering craft classes and yoga instruction.
For details contact Janie Magelky, 907-457-8274, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to Eat
offers The Finish Line, a recently renovated restaurant and lounge offering full-service breakfast, lunch, and dinner for small and large groups.
For details contact Yvonne Temple, email@example.com, (907) 328-6300
Red Couch, LLC
Small deli and convenient store on the corner of 2nd and Dunkel St, downtown.
For details contact Edith Desmond, firstname.lastname@example.org, (907)374-3414
Serving breakfast Monday thru Friday, 7-11 am. Assortment of sweet treats, breakfast sandwiches, omelets, and frittata.
For details contact Lisa Gambardella, email@example.com, (907) 456-3417
A fine art gallery featuring Alaskan artists and unique gifts featuring items such as wooden story knives, woodcrafts, masks, paintings, handcrafted jewelry, kuspuks and more.
For details contact Marty Hintz, firstname.lastname@example.org, (907) 322-2494
Where to Stay
The Lodge at Black Rapids
Located on the historic Valdez-Fairbanks Trail, newly opened for guests in spring 2009 with a variety of backcountry activities available. The original lodge is a 100-year registered historic landmark.
For details contact Annie Hopper, email@example.com, (907) 455-6158
has opened the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, featuring over 60 rare and historic automobiles from 1898 to 1938. The display also features period clothing and photos from early Fairbanks. Be sure to also check out the Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary, complete with miles of handicapped accessible nature trails. Increased meeting space with the addition of a new Interpretive Center which is available for rental for up to 120 people.
For details contact Diane Shoemaker, firstname.lastname@example.org, (907) 458-6117
Hotel North Pole
new 71-room hotel located in the city of North Pole with extended stay suites, meeting and banquet facilities, smoke-free, with free Wi-Fi.
For details contact Melissa Conatser, email@example.com, (907) 488-4800
Offering first-class amenities within the coziness of an early time log cabin with all the comforts of home.
For details contact Jack Bennett, (907) 455-9115
Hampton Inn & Suites
new hotel located on the north side of town near shopping and restaurants. 102-rooms, swimming pool, Wi-Fi, fitness center, business center. Free hot breakfast. 15-minutes from airport.
For details contact Don Black, (907) 451-1502
Brand new hotel, 67 rooms, Wi-Fi, fitness center, business center. Free hot breakfast, free shuttle from airport and close to airport.
For details call(907) 328-3500
Chatanika Gold Camp
Hostel lodging, restaurant, and saloon. Offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sunday champagne brunch.
For details contact Valerie Scullion, firstname.lastname@example.org, (907) 389-2164
River City Café & Expresso
located on 2nd Avenue. Serving sandwiches, salads, soups, baked goodies, and expresso. Featuring Kaladi Bros coffee and Fairbanks’ own Hot Licks Ice Cream. Free Wi-Fi.
For details contact Bobbi Eller, (907) 456-6242
What to See & Do
Boardwalk Lodge - A Fishing Paradise
Alaska’s Boardwalk Lodge is a fishing paradise supplemented with multi-sport adventures. Located on Prince Wales Island, the unique setting creates fantastic saltwater fishing in the calm, protected waters of the famed Inland Passageway and offers exhilarating freshwater fishing in up to 23 lakes, streams, and rivers; all accessible by auto and within a one hour drive of the lodge. Alaska’s Boardwalk Lodge offers both excellent Freshwater and Saltwater fishing experiences and is one of only six lodges in Alaska that carries the famed Orvis Endorsement. Whale watching, mountain biking, kayaking and ice cave exploration are just a few of the additional adventures available. The luxurious rooms, amenities and gourmet dining also set the lodge a step above the norm.
The all-inclusive packages include lodging, gourmet food, most beverages, round-trip float plane (Ketchikan to Boardwalk Lodge dock), guided adventures, fishing licenses, fishing guides, waders, outerwear, plus all salt and freshwater fishing gear. Not included are gratuities, liquor and taxes. Rates are per person based on double occupancy and four guests per saltwater cabin cruiser or two guests per freshwater guide.. Discounts are available for non-fishing partners. Children under 12 receive a 25% discount; ages 12-15 receive a 10% discount. Children under 10 must have proper parental supervision. With accommodations for up to 20 guests, Boardwalk is the perfect family or corporate retreat, offering special, exclusive use booking prices.
For more information, check web site www.boardwalklodge.com.
For more information on Alaska’s Boardwalk Lodge gourmet dining call 800-764-3918 or 801-295-1196. The Alaska’s Boardwalk Lodge administrative office is located at 991 Deborah Circle, Bountiful, Utah 84010.