Our guide to the best free things to do in Anchorage for a memorable Alaskan adventure.
Alaska is one of those destinations that demands a place on people’s ‘must visit’ list. With stunning scenery, fascinating wildlife, and a truly unique atmosphere, the opportunity to board a memorable Alaskan cruise shouldn’t be missed. The capital city, Anchorage, is an exciting destination all on its own and in this guide, we are going to highlight some of the wonderful free things that you can enjoy during your stay. From markets to mountainous treks, there’s so much to look forward to.
Don’t forget to also check out our guide to 48 Hours in Anchorage.
Image credit: Anchorage Market
Each weekend between 11th May and 8th September, Alaska’s largest open-air market proves to be a big draw for those visiting Anchorage. Anchorage Market is the perfect place to pick up some unique souvenirs during your Alaska holiday, with more than 300 vendors selling a diverse range of goods and Alaskan cuisines such as salmon tortillas and Russian tea. Spread across two acres, the market is a great day out for all, with live music and entertainment adding to the experience.
Mike Fox from Anchorage Market explains that visiting “is a great way to support the small business community in Alaska while also finding hidden treasures, many of which are made in Alaska.” Mike also said that the likes of “clothing, Alaskan gold, handmade jewellery, Alaskan Honey and nectar,” can also be found at the market.
Valerie, creator of the travel blog, ‘Valerie & Valise’, has lived in both London and Alaska, and has fond memories of visiting Anchorage Market. She loves that it’s in the heart of downtown Anchorage and its focus on regional and local crafts.
“I highly recommend the corn fritters with honey butter!” she said.
The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
When in Anchorage, many of the best free things to do involve getting out and soaking up the wonderful natural scenery. One way to do this is on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, an 11-mile trail that perfectly winds its way through Anchorage’s best parks, providing must-see views of the Alaskan mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Whether taking a relaxing stroll or renting a bike, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail won’t fail to delight, offering opportunities to spot local wildlife such as the Alaska moose in the city’s wooded areas.
SEE ALSO: First timer’s guide to Alaska
In 1964, a massive 9.2 magnitude earthquake hit Anchorage, causing devastating damage to the city. The 134-acre Earthquake Park is the perfect place to visit to uncover this important piece of history, with signs explaining the details of the event.
At the park, you can also see first-hand the impact of this natural disaster by looking down into the canyon, lined with trees that were felled when the ground gave way. Earthquake Park is also one of Anchorage’s most beautiful natural spots, with wooded areas along the coast, providing dramatic views of Mt. Denali (the highest peak in North America), as well as plenty of wildlife. It’s also a great place to take a picnic.
Music in the Park
If you’re visiting Anchorage during the summer months, one of the best free things to go and enjoy is the event known as Music in the Park. Every Wednesday at noon, a different band will perform live music in Peratrovich Park for listeners to enjoy.
Peratrovich Park is situated next to the Anchorage Visitor Centre and is a great place to relax while enjoying local Anchorage cuisine.
There is no end to the natural beauty that Alaska has to offer and just one more free treat that visitors can look forward to during their time in Anchorage is hiking up to Flattop Mountain. This is the most-climbed mountain in Alaska and it’s easy to see why with its phenomenal views of the surrounding wilderness.
The three-mile hike has a visual delight at every turn and, while being a fairly easy ascent for most of the way, you’ll have to work a little harder to reach the glorious summit. Thankfully, the 360-degree views of Anchorage and Chugach State Park are a fantastic reward.
What to do in Anchorage for free
– Anchorage Market & Festival
– The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
– Earthquake Park
– Music in the Park
– Flattop Mountain
As you can see, Anchorage is a great place to visit and it can be a really affordable holiday destination too. Make sure to check out some of the above suggestions during your cruise to Alaska and Canada for a memorable break.
And don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more Alaska guides and Canada tips.