Kids and moose antlers in Anchorage Alaska

Pre-/Post-Cruise: 48 Hours in Anchorage

I never realized how truly unique my home city was until I began to travel. Growing up, it was normal to reroute my way to school due to a moose along the path or to ski to the supermarket because our car couldn’t make it out of our snow-filled driveway.

Anchoragites have a close relationship with nature, and city life is wilder than it is urban. This remote lifestyle led to a bustling local scene surrounded by stunning views in Alaska’s largest city. Visitors to Anchorage can experience this closeness with nature and the quirky culture us locals enjoy with these five ways to make the most of your time in Anchorage.

Anchorage For Foodies

You won’t find any chain restaurants here, which makes every foodie experience something special.

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The best all-around restaurant in Anchorage, which boasts great views, an upscale old-time saloon ambiance, helpful staff, fresh seafood, and a fine-dining experience, is Simon & Seafort’s (420 L St). Start with one of their craft cocktails and order the crab-stuffed halibut for a meal you’ll remember.

If you’re into craft beer, Anchorage hosts a healthy scene. Head to the 49th State Brewing Co. (717 W 3rd Ave), for a beer sampler and locally sourced yak burgers. You can also venture out of downtown for Moose’s Tooth (3300 Old Seward Hwy), voted the third-best pizzeria in the country. Order a reindeer sausage pizza and wash it down with a beer.

For those saving dimes, don’t miss Anchorage’s food-truck scene. Order a reindeer hot dog from one of the 4th Avenue vendors. A local favorite is Tiki Pete’s Alaskan Grill, but you can’t go wrong ordering from any of the stands with the smell of grilled meat wafting through the air.

For breakfast, head to Snow City Café, where President Obama ate during his visit in 2015. They also serve up great coffee and homemade milkshakes.

For vegetarians or vegans who might have a hard time finding suitable options, Ginger (425 W 5th Ave) has flavorful tofu dishes on an Asian-Alaskan fusion menu.

For View Seekers

For a bird’s-eye view of the city and its surroundings — with a chance of seeing Denali, (at 20,310 feet, the highest mountain peak in North America) — head to the Flattop Mountain trailhead on a $23 RT shuttle. A short, flat, half-mile trail gives you panoramic views of the Cook Inlet, city, and mountains. Residents enjoy coming here for summer solstice to start a midnight hike; the sun just barely dips below the horizon, giving us 19 hours of daylight.

If you don’t want to get up high but still want to see Anchorage’s iconic skyline with the Chugach Mountains in the background, head to Point Woronzof. Take in the view and watch planes flying to and from the airport, which is just a stone’s throw away. Moose are often spotted here, so keep an eye out for one of the 1,500 lumbering giants that call Anchorage home.

For those who prefer to take in their view with a cocktail in hand, head up to….

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By Susanna Kelly

Photo: Wade Caroll Photography/Visit Anchorage Alaska

Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!