• Kat Fenton

Adventure in Anchorage, Alaska

Enjoying the last frontier



First things first, go to Alaska in the summer (June-August)! There's still snow in the mountains if you're dying to go skiing but down in the valley and near the coast, it's warm, sunny, and most importantly, gorgeous. If you've read some of my previous travel blogs, you'll know that I'm a big advocate for avoiding tours and tourist traps. Alaska is a place where you can pretty easily avoid those.


When you're starting to plan your trip I highly recommend renting a car or if you're up to it, an RV. Looking for a more homey vibe for your time, I'm a big advocate for AirBnBs. Alaska has some beautiful houses with, of course, gorgeous views. You can find a more unique experience without the price tag of a hotel. There's also some bed and breakfasts in the area too, but I've never been to them.


Speaking of breakfast, lets dive right on in to some tasty places to eat while you're exploring the last frontier! There's a lot of places in downtown that are good to eat. Moose's Tooth is probably the most famous. They serve up delicious, one-of-a-kind pizzas that you literally can't get anywhere else. Next up on the menu is Peanut Farm. They have a back room with a perfect view of a little creek. You can often see wildlife such as moose, eagles, fish, and if you're lucky, a bear! They also have reindeer sausage and a few other signature dishes that are pretty amazing. If you're a football fan, this is a great place to be on Sunday mornings!



I took this photo right outside Peanut Farm, can you spot the eagle?

Anchorage is a super diverse little town, so be sure to try some different cuisine while you're there. Phonatik is a great little shop with warm pho, perfect for if you are still adjusting to the cooler weather. Looking for a hole in the wall, check out Kansha. It's the perfect mix of Hawaiian and Japanese cuisine. They have pork katsu, poke bowls, and a wide array of cool dishes with names I couldn't even try to pronounce. Kansha also has cool deserts and refreshing drinks. There's pretty much something for everyone! If you're looking for more, here's a solid list of places I've been and can vouch for their food:




Breakfast

• Snow City Cafe - This place is always packed, so be prepared!

• Southside Grill - A little diner that is a local favorite, they have a huge menu

• Steamdot Coffee - Perfect place for a pick-me-up

• Bagel Factory - A little on the expensive side when compared to other bagel shops


Lunch

• Phonatik - Great for a windy day

• Peanut Farm - They have that cute back room

• FireTap Alehouse - Try one of their pot pies, they are amazing

• Kansha - A great hole-in-the-wall


Dinner

• Moose's Tooth - Very popular, you might need a reservation

• 49th State Brewing Company - Also good for dinner, they have a very 'Alaskan' vibe

• Texas Roadhouse - For the not very adventurous

• Seward's Folly - Warm, homey and great food


So now you're stuffed, it's about time to hike off those calories. There's no place more perfect for that then Mirror Lake (also known as reflection lake). The trail, an easy hike that takes about 45 minutes, goes around a crystal clear lake. On clear, sunny days you can see the nearby mountains reflected in the water. Flattop is a shorter hike that also has a great view. A short trail, only about a 10 minute hike, will take you to the top of a mountain. From there you'll be able to get a spectacular view of all of Anchorage!



Summertime at mirror lake! Photo by yours truly


Check out some of the glaciers around Anchorage as well. Many of them can be found only two to three hours drive away from the city. Portage is a popular one as there is often lots of wildlife in the area. On your way, stop by Beluga Point and see if you can spot any beluga whales. I've gotten the chance to see them several times from this lookout in August! You can also take a boat tour in the Kenai Fjord during the summer. It's pretty much guaranteed that you'll see not only a variety of whales but also mountain goats, eagles, bears, and more!


During the summer, expect around 18 hours of daylight!

If you are looking for something more historic. Alaska has a variety of museums and mining buildings. The Anchorage Museum will give you the best overview of history and culture in the area, but if you're looking to learn more about the natives check out the Alaska Native Heritage Center. There's something for everyone downtown!


Famously, Alaska has the salmon run. There's many spots near Anchorage that are prime fishing territory as well as a few that are great for just watching. Potters Marsh is a beautiful hike on a boardwalk over, can you guess? A marsh! The salmon swim through a several channels hidden throughout the marsh. This is also a popular spot for eagles as not only are the fish easy to catch, there's also eagle nests in the trees across the marsh. *Please note you cannot fish at Potters Marsh


I've only been fishing once and I've never caught anything but we did get to watch a bear fail just as much as me. Look for rivers around the Kenai and a bit further out from the city. You'll often see lots of other fishermen at rivers near the roadside so don't be afraid to stop by and check out the scene. There's also a variety of charters and tours that will take you to private fishing spots.


I love to hear from my readers, so if you liked this blog post leave a comment. It's always great to hear where other people recommend going when they visit Tahoe too! So please, drop by the comments section. I am always looking for feedback and critique, not just on this post, but all of them.

Kat Fenton | Cincinnati, OH | fentonke@mail.uc.edu

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Kathryn Fenton