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Local attractions

IAMSLIC List of Attractions – Anchorage 2012 (PDF version)
posted August 17, 2012
This list will be included in the conference bags.

Fun Activities in Anchorage before/during/following 2012 IAMSLIC Conference

  • Alaska State Fair:  Luckily, the Alaska State Fair (August 23 – September 3) overlaps with IAMSLIC! See the record-setting giant vegetables you’ve heard about (like 105 pound cabbages!). The Fair is held in Palmer, just an hour north of Anchorage. Nestled in the heart of the Chugach Mountains in the fertile Matanuska-Susitna Valley, the Fair showcases many of the unique aspects and flavors of Alaska. Adult admission is $11-13 (concerts are usually extra).
  • Galleries: Visit Anchorage’s many art galleries, featuring local arts and crafts of all sorts. Mainly in the downtown shopping district, but venture off to the SoNo (South of Nordstrom’s) district for the off-beat and quaint.
  • Anchorage Museum:A very impressive museum and Alaska’s largest, located at the corner of 6th Ave and C, downtown. Open 9-6 daily. The Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center exhibit, featuring 600 Alaska Native cultural treasures on loan from the Smithsonian, is a fascinating exhibit. Great gift shop. Special exhibits the week of IAMSLIC include:
    • Ascent 20,320: Science on the Slopes of McKinley (re: scientific expeditions)
    • Bradford Washburn: Glories of the Greatland (b&w landscape photos)
    • Inspiring Generations: The Olympic Legacy of the Last Frontier (photos of Alaskan Olympians)
    • Romantic North (landscape paintings by renowned Alaskan artists)
    • The High One: Reaching The Top (climbing Denali)
    • True North (photos, film, multi-media from artists worldwide)
  • Tasting local brews – according to, Alaska lays claim to more breweries per capita than any other state. Midnight Sun Brewing Company is an award-winning favorite, but Moose’s Tooth and Glacier Brewhouse also feature their own brews.
  • Enjoying local music – Anchorage has lots of funky pubs, themed bars, and dance halls.
  • And much more, check out:

Dine Around Anchorage

more info in “Official Guide to Anchorage,” pages 71-73 (see conference bag insert)

DOWNTOWN – Some Favorite Local Restaurants

  • Orso: Prides itself on “Local Alaskan Specialties with Global Inspiration,” they are known for their locally brewed beer and extensive wine cellar. Great Alaska seafood. 737 W. 5th Ave. (5th & G St).
  • Ginger: This is the premier Asian fusion restaurant in Anchorage with a great atmosphere, stellar service, and extensive bar options. 425 West 5th Avenue (between D & E Sts.).
  • Simon & Seafort’s: This “date night” restaurant has a huge selection of seafood and steak dishes, with a breathtaking view of Cook Inlet. 420 L Street (between 4th & 5th Sts– looks like big office building).
  • Bridge Seafood: Spans the waters of Ship Creek, Anchorage’s urban salmon stream. You can watch anglers catch fish while you dine. Near Alaska Railroad station, with a nice walking trail nearby. 221 W. Ship Creek Ave.
  • Muse Restaurant: Conveniently located in the Museum. Creative cuisine, nicely presented. 625 C Street (between 6th & 7th Ave).
  • Snow City Café: A favorite breakfast hang-out. Eclectic, fun. 1034 W. 4th Ave. (corner of 4th & L St).
  • Marx Brothers: Small, intimate, and expensive! But so good, and one of Anchorage’s long-standing fancy restaurants with a fantastic reputation for quality. Famous for its Caesar salad. Reservations a must. 627 W. 3rd Ave. (3rd near F St)
  • Sack’s Café: Adventurous menu, elegant, stately, and consistently high-quality. 328 G Street (between 3rd & 4th Ave)
  • Club Paris: Always voted “best steak in Anchorage.” Home of the 4” thick Filet Mignon. 417 W. 5th Avenue (between D & E Sts)
  • Humpy’s Great Alaska Alehouse: Local brewery with nightly live entertainment & seafood. Open until 1 a.m. 610 W. 6th Ave (6th & F)

MIDTOWN – Some Favorite Local Restaurants (closer to the University Lake hotel)

  • Moose’s Tooth Pizza: Handcrafted creative pizzas and Moose’s Tooth’s own ales and brews. Easily Anchorage’s favorite pizza – always a treat. Can have long waits to get seated. If you can’t wait: try Kinley’s (next on the list). 3300 Old Seward Highway.
  • Kinley’s: Right next door to Moose’s Tooth. Culinary innovations, casual fine dining. Great wine list. 3230 Old Seward Highway
  • Middle Way Café: Right next to REI, very popular breakfast & lunch café, with lots of vegetarian options. 1200 W. Northern Lights Blvd.
  • Spenard Roadhouse:  1049 W. Northern Lights Blvd.
  • Gwennie’s Old House Alaska Restaurant: 4333 Spenard Road. Both have lots of “local color” in the Spenard area.
  • Natural Pantry: Hop on the UAA Shuttle to the University Center. Organic-style cafeteria featuring wonderful soups, salad bar & healthy hot entrees. Inexpensive. 3801 Old Seward Highway

Ethnic choices are everywhere. Lots more options are in the “Official Guide to Anchorage,” pages 71-73.

Outdoor Activity Options

  • Golfing: more than five golf courses available in the Anchorage area.
  • Hiking: Chugach State Park, the 3rd largest state park in the entire U.S. at 0.5 million acres. Flattop is the most popular hiking destination and is do-able as an evening hike. Just a walk-up, but intermediate hiking skills and good boots recommended. Hint: once you get to the rocky area, follow the orange dots for the safest ascent.
  • Walking Trail around University Lake: Trail starts at Spring Hill Suites and is a loop so you won’t get lost. It’s a popular “off-leash” area for dogs as well. Follow the dirt trail that goes around the lake, not the paved bike trail. Check this map or ask at front desk:
  • Birding: over 150 species of birds have been spotted in the Anchorage area.
  • Fishing: access to world-class sport fishing with salmon, rainbow trout and more right in the city, and halibut and all five species of salmon within a day’s drive or short flight away.
  • Bike the Coastal Trail: Eleven miles total, and you’ll never encounter a car. Bike rentals are available via Alaska Bike Rentals ( (corner of 4th Ave between C & D Sts downtown), Pablo’s Bike Rental at 4th & L St, or any bicycle shop.
  • Downtown Walking Tour:Both start at the Log Cabin Visitor’s Center, at 4th & F St downtown. In addition to the Log Cabin’s free self-guided tour:
    • 10 a.m. History & Art Walking Tour $29
    • 2 p.m. Taste of Anchorage Culinary Walking Tour $59
  • Ghost Tours of Alaska: Take a stroll through time on a historical (and haunting!) walking tour of Downtown Anchorage, hosted by local radio personality Rick Goodfellow. Tues-Sun, 7:30 pm, starts at Snow City Café, 4th & L St, 90-120 min., $15
  • Anchorage Market and Festival: Anchorage’s bustling outdoor Saturday & Sunday Market is a great place to find lunch, hear local music, and pick up some fun, uniquely Alaskan souvenirs. 3rd Ave between C & E Sts.
  • Alaska Botanical Garden: Not far from the University Lake hotel. From Tudor Road, make a right on Campbell Airstrip Road. The dahlias should be in bloom! See brochure in conference bag.

Shopping Hints

  • Interested in Native art? At the best price? Shop at the Alaska Native Medical Center Craft Shop. Walking distance from the University Lake hotel. Open limited hours: 10-2 M-F, Sat 11-2. Cash or personal/traveler’s checks only; no credit cards. Items direct from the villages. Expect it to be busy.
  • Bookstores: We have a Barnes & Noble in mid-town (200 E. Northern Lights Blvd.) and a very successful local used bookstore, Title Wave, in mid-town (1360 W. Northern Lights Blvd.). There’s also a decent bookstore in the airport: Mosquito Books (beginning of the C Gate).
  • First Friday: If you plan to be here until September 7th, it will be ‘First Friday,’ featuring meet-the-artist receptions at galleries, music, free events, and other delights throughout the downtown area.
  • We do have a Nordstrom’s! It’s Anchorage’s nicest department store and fashion center! Located downtown at 603 D St. (6th&D). Store hours are Mon-Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 11am-6pm.
  • For souvenir shopping, try Kobuk’s downtown (corner of 5th & E). It’s Anchorage’s oldest building (1915) and is a charming shop. Another good one is Cabin Fever (4th between F&G). Humpy’s gift store (6th & F) has lots of “fishy” items.