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Spotlight: Anchorage

A sophisticated outpost on the Last Frontier

There’s good reason why Alaska is often called The Last Frontier. Vast tracts of untamed wilderness still dominate its rugged tundra landscape, while small coastal communities and even smaller stepping-stone outposts string the state together across a quilt of rocky mountain ranges, jagged fjords, ancient glacial ice flows and dense taiga forests.

This is wild country, to be sure. Yet it’s also one of the most richly rewarding vacation spots in the country, and any proper exploration of its bottomless well of natural treasures is best begun at the state’s unofficial doorstep: Anchorage.

Tucked snugly at the end of gorgeous Cook Inlet, the city of Anchorage is one of the few areas in Alaska that’s directly accessible by air (including major airlines), water (including cruise ship transfers and state ferries), railroad and well-maintained year-round highways. It’s also the only place in Alaska where all of the comfort and amenity of big city life exists alongside easy access to some of the country’s most stunning environments. Explore glaciers by lunch, kayak with orcas by dinner, dine on gourmet seafood by sunset and enjoy world-class entertainment by bedtime. It’s just par for the course.

© State of Alaska/Frank Flavin

© State of Alaska/Frank Flavin

City Life, Alaska Style

The city itself is communal in feel and the downtown area is an easily walkable district teeming with locally owned and operated restaurants, shops, outfitters and tour companies. Far south of the Arctic Circle, protected by the Chugach Mountains and warmed by Pacific Rim ocean currents, the climate is mild and the city is generally spared from extreme cold. Nevertheless, dress in layers and arrive prepared, as weather conditions can shift quickly.

Of course, outdoor action is the name of the game here, and Anchorage has it all. Ice climbing, white-water rafting, paragliding, mountain biking, kayaking, zip lining, skiing, snowboarding and heli-skiing options abound for the more adrenaline-prone adventure seekers.

For More Information

Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau
Alaska Travel Industry Association