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Nestled between six different mountain ranges, Anchorage, Alaska, is the jumping-off point for many adventures into the wilderness. But Anchorage also provides a unique mix of all things Alaskan: stunning surroundings, Russian and Alaska Native culture, and urban amenities. Anchorage has arguably some of the best views in the nation; on clear days, Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America, can be seen 130 miles away. Known as the City of Flowers, the city showcases more than 400 flowerbeds with vibrant plants like fireweed and forget-me-nots (the official state flower) during the summer. Throughout the rest of the year, the Northern Lights dance across the nighttime sky. Visitors can whet their appetite for adventure by fishing for salmon at Ship Creek or by biking along the coastline. The friendly residents of this city love any opportunity to get outside and experience the majestic beauty of the neighboring Alaskan wilderness, and outdoor enthusiasts will have plenty of options to choose from, ranging from kayaking and horseback riding to skiing and snowmobiling. There's plenty to do indoors as well, and guests can experience more than 10,000 years of Alaskan history at the Anchorage Museum. Or, tourists can learn about the traditions and customs of the eleven Alaska Native culture groups at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. With service from carriers such as Alaska Airlines, Delta, and US Airways, finding flights to Anchorage should be an easy task.

When To Go

Protected by the Chugach Mountains and well south of the Arctic Circle, Anchorage does not have as inhospitable a climate as more northern regions of Alaska. Its mild summers and snowy, cold winters more closely approximate those of Western U.S. cities. Anchorage is therefore accessible and open to tourism year-round. The peak travel months correspond with the best summer weather. Cruise passengers move through the city from May through September. The best salmon fishing takes place between June and August, and the best skiing from December through April. Visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights should plan their trip between September and March.
  • High season: June through August
  • Low season: October through April
  • Shoulder season: May, September

Weather Information

Summers in Anchorage see average highs of 63 degrees, though temperatures can get up into the 70s. Winters are snowy with highs in the 20s. Near the longest day of the year, Anchorage will get close to 24 hours of sunlight, but on the shortest day, the city still sees five-and-a-half hours of sunlight.

Crowd Information

October through April typically have the fewest crowds. However, special events draw in visitors, such as the Iditarod in March and conventions throughout the off-season.

Closure Information

A few of the tourist-oriented sites only remain open from mid-May through mid-September. But, Anchorage hosts conventions and visitors through the winter, so most hotels and services operate year-round.

When to Save

The peak summer months of June, July, and August find RVers, cruise passengers, and other tourists fighting over hotel rooms, restaurant reservations, and plane tickets. Don't expect to find many savings at this time. The best month for great deals is wintry January.

When to Book

For summer travel, the general rule is to book at least three months in advance. However, a better strategy is to book hotels and tours as soon as air reservations are set. In the low season, visitors can sometimes score last-minute deals one to three weeks before their intended trips.

Information provided by the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau