We arrived in Anchorage, Alaska in the late afternoon after an incredible morning hiking in Denali National Park. We did some light exploring that evening and the following morning before catching our flight back to Seattle.
When I researched things to do in Anchorage, most of the suggestions involved leaving town and heading to Denali, Seward, or other nearby areas. While we weren’t in Anchorage long, we did find a few fun things to do downtown that I would recommend!
Things to Do in Anchorage, Alaska
Kincaid Park. Near the airport, Kincaid Park is one termination point of the highly recommended Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.
We found ample parking and did a short out-and-back hike toward the coast for tree-covered views of the water. It was a really nice, low-key walk with lots of people and pets on the trails.
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. We spent several hours walking the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, starting by the Captain Cook monument. This paved trail along the coast had quite a few walkers and bikers and awesome views.
There is a planetary system display at various places along the trail to tell you how far you’ve gone. We started at Mars (Elderberry Park) and walked to Jupiter (Earthquake Park) and back!
Delaney Park. After our coastal walk we turned toward the long strip of park in the middle of town. We couldn’t believe how open and grassy it was – no trees! Along the way we did come across a painted grisly bear statue, and my favorite in-park experience was the steam train.
Engine 556 was a steam locomotive built in 1943 for wartime service. Outnumbering other war-time railroad engines, they were simple to maintain with the close clearance required for the narrow bridges and tunnels on European railroads. They were stripped down for war action, and acquired the nickname”Gypsy Rose Lee” locomotives after the famous burlesque dancer. Instead of being shipped to Europe, twelve of these locomotives were sent to Alaska by the U.S. Army to become Alaska Railroad Class 550. All twelve locomotives saw service over the 460 miles of the Alaska Railroad. For 13 years, No. 556 hauled passengers and freight from Seward through Anchorage and on to Fairbanks. In 1959, No. 556 was taken out of storage and moved to its present location, where it has been an educational display and object of play for three generations of Anchorage youngsters. Of the thousands of USRA Consolidation Type locomotives originally built for war service, only three remain in North America, and only this one is publicly owned.Train Engine 556
Places to Eat and Drink
We weren’t in town long but we managed to find a great place to eat each meal. Probably the more interesting spot was the International House of Hot Dogs food truck where we tried a caribou hot dog – yum!
- Breakfast: Biscuit Club. If you want a fast and easy breakfast – for there or to go – this is the spot! Bowls of homemade biscuits in a very interesting gravy as their classic with options for sprucing it up with other breakfast food items like eggs, bacon, etc.
- Dinner: F Street Station. The oldest bar in downtown Anchorage, this fun spot has seating around both the bar and kitchen areas and very tasty halibut and chips!
- Dessert: Wild Scoops. This Alaskan microcreamery is known for local flavors, like fireweed, which Brian tried! My favorites were the Autumn, which has a tart and tasty elderberry swirl, and the apple cider doughnut, which is just as it sounds (delicious)! Brian ended up getting the Baked Alaskan – vegan chocolate ice cream with torched marshmallow on top!