Who doesn’t want free opportunities to explore? When we talk about Anchorage, we also talk about many fun things to do in Anchorage for free! So it’s the best time to go on a vacation without spending your money.
Let’s begin with Alaska’s capital history; Anchorage boasts a rich and fascinating history that has contributed to its popularity as a tourist destination since its establishment as a trading post in 1914. During the construction of the Alaska Railroad, Anchorage’s strategic location came into existence as a transportation hub.
Visitors flock to Anchorage year-round to experience its unique attractions during the best months, including summer, which starts from June to August. These months are ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, offering mild weather for hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing.
Moreover, if you’re an animal lover and love to take live pictures, you’ll be adored by Anchorage as it is famous for its wildlife, with opportunities to spot bears, moose, and bald eagles.
In the winter, from December to March, Anchorage transforms into a snowy wonderland, attracting those seeking the magic of northern lights and winter sports like dog sledding. The Fur Rendezvous Festival, a celebration of Alaskan culture, is another winter highlight that attracts tourists worldwide.
In addition to the city’s history, from its indigenous heritage to its role in World War II, it is celebrated in its museums and cultural centers. Anchorage’s thriving arts scene, culinary offerings, and the allure of the nearby Denali National Park also make it an all-season destination.
So, whether you’re captivated by summer adventures or enchanted by winter’s charms for free, Anchorage invites you to explore its allure throughout the year without asking you for money. Join us, and remember to check out the places mentioned below.
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1) Earthquake Park
Earthquake Park, located in Anchorage, Alaska, holds historical significance due to the devastating 1964 Good Friday Earthquake of magnitude 9.2 and subsequent tsunamis that caused widespread destruction, resulting in 139 fatalities.
The park’s name reflects this seismic event, and it features a unique landscape altered by ground displacement. It also serves as a memorial and educational site, reminding visitors of the earthquake’s impact on the city.
However, the park is outdoor, offering walking trails and interpretive displays about the earthquake’s effects, making it a place for both reflection and learning. You’ll find many fun things to do in Anchorage for free here, including parking areas, picnic tables, and interpretive signs.
The park’s walking trails wind through a unique landscape shaped by seismic activity, offering scenic views of the surrounding area. You can also take advantage of the place for photography as it’s an excellent spot for hiking and birdwatching, as the park is home to various avian species.
You can also indulge in educational activities by learning about geology, earthquakes, and the impact of natural disasters on communities. The park’s proximity to Anchorage provides easy access to dining, shopping, and other attractions too.
One more thing to mention is that it’s an ideal place for those interested in history, nature, or outdoor recreation. As you explore the walking trails, have a picnic, or delve into earthquake history, you’ll experience everything here.
5101 Point Woronzof Rd, Anchorage, AK 99502, United States
2) Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, located in Anchorage, Alaska, is a picturesque 11-mile recreational trail along the shores of the Cook Inlet. It was named after former Alaska Governor Tony Knowles and was officially opened in 1987 as a trail offering stunning views of the Chugach Mountains, the ocean, and Anchorage’s skyline.
It also provides opportunities for walking, running, cycling, and even cross-country skiing in the winter, with many fun things to do in Anchorage for free.
The history of this trail dates back to the late 1970s when Anchorage residents and city officials envisioned creating a scenic path for residents and visitors to enjoy the area’s natural beauty.
It was developed in phases and has become a beloved outdoor space, connecting various parks and access points. The trail also features informative panels about local flora and fauna, making it a popular destination for both recreation and education.
Along the trail, you’ll find various parking areas, restrooms, and picnic spots, making it accessible and comfortable for all. Cyclists can take advantage of bike racks and rental services to explore the trail at their own pace.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking, running, and rollerblading in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter. Wildlife viewing is a highlight, with opportunities to spot bald eagles, moose, and even beluga whales in Cook Inlet.
The trail also features art installations, informative plaques, and scenic viewpoints, making it an educational and visually engaging spot for visitors.
Additionally, it connects to parks like Earthquake Park and Point Woronzof, offering even more recreational options with a delightful blend of natural beauty, amenities, and activities for locals and tourists.
Raspberry Rd, Anchorage, AK 99502, United States
3) Anchorage Market and Festival
The Anchorage Market and Festival has been famous since its establishment in 1992 as a seasonal open-air market and cultural event, initially running from June to September each year. The market was created to promote local businesses, artists, and artisans while providing a vibrant community gathering space.
Over the years, it expanded to become one of Alaska’s largest and most popular summer attractions, drawing thousands of visitors each weekend. It features a diverse array of vendors selling handcrafted goods, local foods, and unique Alaskan products.
Moreover, live entertainment, street performers, and cultural displays showcase the state’s rich heritage, making the place lively for music lovers.
This place has also played a significant role in supporting the local economy and providing a platform for artists and entrepreneurs, although facing various challenges, including seasonal weather. But still, it remains a beloved tradition that contributes to the cultural fabric of Anchorage.
Throughout the market, you’ll find numerous fun things to do in Anchorage for free, including food vendors offering delicious local and international cuisine, making it a food lover’s paradise.
Artisans and craft vendors display their unique creations, from jewelry to clothing, providing an excellent shopping experience for those who love to collect unique jewelry.
If you have kids, they can enjoy fun activities such as face painting and games, while adults can explore the local beer garden, including special events, such as the Solstice Brewfest.
Visitors can also engage with the local community, make new friends while socializing, learn about Alaskan culture, and immerse themselves in a vibrant, multicultural atmosphere to experience the essence of Anchorage’s diverse and creative spirit.
88th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99515, United States
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4) Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (free admission days)
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) was founded in 1993 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the care and preservation of Alaska’s diverse wildlife. Situated on a 200-acre property in Portage, Alaska, the center serves as a refuge for injured and orphaned animals, as well as a place for education and research.
AWCC focuses on rehabilitating and providing a permanent home for a variety of native Alaskan species, including bears, moose, eagles, and more. Its mission is to ensure the well-being of these animals while offering educational opportunities for the public to learn about wildlife and conservation.
Over the years, the center has expanded its facilities and programs, becoming a key player in wildlife conservation efforts in the region. It provides ample parking, a gift shop, and picnic areas for a comfortable visit for visitors to have a good time with these rescued animals.
The most exciting aspect is the opportunity to observe Alaska’s iconic wildlife up close with fun things to do in Anchorage for free. Visitors can view bears, moose, elk, bison, wolves, and more in spacious enclosures that mimic their natural habitats.
For a more immersive experience, AWCC provides educational programs and guided tours where experts share insights into the animals’ behavior and conservation efforts.
The center also hosts special events and activities throughout the year, including wildlife photography workshops and wildlife encounters for a hands-on experience.
Additionally, the serene setting with stunning views of the Chugach Mountains and Portage Glacier offers a picturesque backdrop for nature enthusiasts and photographers.
Whether you’re looking to learn about Alaska’s wildlife, support conservation efforts, or simply have a fun day out, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center has something to offer everyone.
43520 Seward Hwy, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States
5) Ship Creek Salmon Viewing Platform
The Ship Creek Salmon Viewing Platform was established in the mid-20th century to provide a unique opportunity for locals and tourists to witness the incredible natural spectacle of salmon spawning. This platform overlooks Ship Creek, a prime location for the annual migration of salmon, particularly Chinook and coho salmon.
The platform has evolved over the years, originally constructed with basic facilities but gradually enhanced to accommodate increasing visitor numbers. It offers educational information about the life cycle of salmon and the critical role they play in the local ecosystem.
However, it continues to serve as a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, contributing to both conservation efforts and the appreciation of this remarkable natural phenomenon.
Here, you’ll get many fun things to do in Anchorage for free, providing a raised viewing deck with railings for a clear view of the salmon runs in Ship Creek.
Visitors are also provided with many comfortable amenities, including restrooms, picnic tables, and trash disposal facilities, making it a peaceful spot for families and individuals. During the salmon run season, visitors can witness the mesmerizing spectacle of salmon leaping up the creek to spawn, a thrilling natural event that draws photographers and nature enthusiasts.
In addition to salmon viewing, anglers often frequent the area to try their luck at catching salmon as there are opportunities for fishing, although specific regulations apply.
For a more comprehensive experience, guided tours and educational programs may be available, offering insight into Alaska’s rich natural history because it’s a unique destination where people can connect with nature and learn about the vital role salmon play in the state’s ecology.
302 East Whitney Road, Anchorage, AK 99501, United States
6) Anchorage Downtown Self-Guided Walking Tour
Anchorage Downtown Self-Guided Walking Tour takes you through the heart of Alaska’s largest city, rich with history. Start at Town Square Park, where Anchorage was founded in 1915 as a tent city during the Alaska Railroad construction. Stroll down 4th Avenue, known as Anchorage’s “original main street,” to explore historic buildings, like the 4th Avenue Theatre.
Continue to the Anchorage Historic City Hall and Oscar Anderson House Museum, providing insight into the city’s early government and pioneer life. Learn about the 1964 earthquake at the Earthquake Park Memorial.
The tour also includes the Alaska Railroad Depot and Captain Cook Monument, celebrating the explorer’s voyage. You can also discover the indigenous heritage at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. The tour concludes at the Anchorage Museum, displaying Alaska’s diverse culture, art, and history.
This self-guided tour encapsulates Anchorage’s transformation from a wilderness outpost to a vibrant urban hub, providing a list of fun things to do in Anchorage for free.
Now, you have to indulge in excellent dining options ranging from fresh seafood at Simon & Seaforts to local brews at the Anchorage Brewing Company. Enjoy shopping at the bustling 5th Avenue Mall or the Alaska Native Heritage Center for unique souvenirs.
For outdoor enthusiasts, the nearby Tony Knowles Coastal Trail provides scenic biking and walking opportunities along the coastline with stunning views of the Chugach Mountains. Adventure seekers can book wildlife tours, fishing trips, or even take a scenic flightseeing tour to witness Alaska’s stunning landscapes.
And remember to explore the vibrant local arts scene, with galleries and street performances adding to the city’s charm that Anchorage Downtown offers to suit every taste and interest.
Downtown, Anchorage, AK, United States
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7) Anchorage Light Speed Planet Walk
The Anchorage Light Speed Planet Walk is a fascinating educational exhibit in Anchorage, Alaska, that was established in 2008 and designed by artist Sheila Wyne. The walk allows visitors to explore the solar system’s scale by representing each planet’s distance from the Sun at a 1:1 billion scale.
Starting at the Sun Pavilion in downtown Anchorage, visitors can journey through the city, covering approximately 5.3 miles to reach Pluto, which is represented by a plaque. The exhibit provides informative signs and beautiful sculptures at each planet’s location, offering a unique and immersive way to understand the vastness of our solar system.
Anchorage’s Light Speed Planet Walk has become a popular destination for both locals and tourists, combining art and science to inspire a greater appreciation for the cosmos.
Along the 5.3-mile walk, you’ll find well-maintained paths suitable for walkers, joggers, and cyclists, while the picnic areas and benches are scattered throughout, providing opportunities for rest to visitors.
Visitors can take advantage of the informative plaques and sculptures on each planet, which offer educational insights into our solar system’s composition and scale. Many people enjoy the opportunity to combine exercise with learning as they traverse the path.
Additionally, the Sun Pavilion serves as a gathering point and starting location for the walk, providing shelter and a central meeting place for group tours or events.
While the walk itself is primarily an educational experience, the scenic route through Anchorage offers glimpses of local art, architecture, and natural beauty, making it a pleasant and engaging outing for individuals, families, or school groups interested in space science and outdoor exploration.
1201-1253 W 5th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501, United States
8) Campbell Creek Greenbelt
The Campbell Creek Greenbelt, located in Anchorage, Alaska, was traditionally used by the Dena’ina Athabascans for hunting, gathering, and transportation during the early 20th century, with a railway line passing through.
In the 1970s, Anchorage recognized the potential of this green space and initiated efforts to preserve and develop it for recreational and conservation purposes. Through community support and land acquisitions, the Campbell Creek Greenbelt took shape, featuring a network of trails, wetlands, and diverse wildlife habitats.
It now serves as a beloved urban oasis, offering opportunities for hiking, biking, birdwatching, and other outdoor activities and many fun things to do in Anchorage for free. Visitors can explore miles of well-maintained trails, perfect for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing, depending on the season.
The greenbelt also features a diversity of wildlife and is a popular spot for birdwatching and wildlife photography; anglers can also try their luck in Campbell Creek, which is home to salmon and trout.
Educational signage and interpretive displays along the trails offer insights into the local ecology and history, and here, community events and educational programs are also held, enhancing its role as a recreational and educational hub.
It is a place where visitors can connect with nature, exercise, and learn about the local environment without spending a single penny.
01548103000, Anchorage, AK 99507, United States
9) Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center (free first Friday evenings)
The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center was established in 1968 as the Anchorage Historical and Fine Arts Museum. In 1976, it was renamed as the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center in honor of Elmer E. Rasmuson, a prominent Alaskan philanthropist.
The museum’s mission is to showcase the art, culture, and history of Alaska and the circumpolar North, which features a diverse collection of over 25,000 artifacts, including indigenous art, historical photographs, and contemporary artworks.
The museum’s free first Friday evenings have become a popular community event, offering visitors a chance to explore its exhibits and engage with Alaskan heritage without an admission fee.
Inside the museum, you can explore the stars and the northern lights in the Thomas Planetarium, featuring stunning visuals and immersive shows. In contrast, contemporary and indigenous art in the museum’s galleries, showcasing the region’s creative talents, keeps you occupied.
If you feel hungry after a long, tiring day, you can also enjoy a meal or coffee at the on-site cafe, offering a selection of local and international dishes.
This place is full of fun things to do in Anchorage for free, including interactive displays, hands-on activities, and special events. Visitors can also participate in educational programs, witness cultural performances, and explore the state’s rich heritage with this multifaceted destination that offers both entertainment and enlightenment.
625 C St, Anchorage, AK 99501, United States
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10) Kincaid Park
Kincaid Park has been famous since its opening in1940s. It was originally a part of a military reservation during World War II that was later transferred to the Municipality of Anchorage in the 1950s.
The park is named after Rosamond Kincaid, a former Anchorage school teacher and advocate for youth sports. Over the years, it has evolved into a diverse recreational area offering a wide range of outdoor activities, from hiking and mountain biking on its extensive trail system to cross-country skiing in the winter.
It’s also known for its wildlife and natural beauty, with the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail providing breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. However, the park boasts over 40 miles of multi-use trails, perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing.
For those seeking adventure, the park features a disc golf course, a rifle range, and a challenging roller ski loop. Moreover, the park’s coastal location along the Cook Inlet also offers opportunities for beachcombing, bird-watching, and even the chance to spot moose and other wildlife.
Families can enjoy the spacious picnic areas and playgrounds, and anglers can try their luck at Little Campbell Lake. It provides many fun things to do in Anchorage for free, with the natural beauty that makes it a year-round destination for outdoor recreation and enjoyment.
9401 Raspberry Rd, Anchorage, AK 99502, United States
11) Alaska Veterans Memorial
The Alaska Veterans Memorial, located in Anchorage, pays tribute to the state’s military personnel who have served and sacrificed for their country. Dedicated in 1984, it stands as a solemn reminder of Alaska’s significant contributions to the armed forces.
The centerpiece of the memorial is a massive, 14-foot bronze statue of a World War II soldier, representing the diverse military history of Alaska. Surrounding the statue are inscribed plaques honoring those who served in various conflicts, including the Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Gulf War.
The memorial is situated in Delaney Park Strip, a central green space in Anchorage, making it accessible to the public. It serves as a place of reflection, a venue for ceremonies, and a symbol of gratitude towards Alaska’s veterans.
Within the memorial park, you can find benches and well-maintained pathways for quiet contemplation and relaxation. Picnic areas provide a place to enjoy outdoor meals and gatherings with family and friends, while the park’s central location in Anchorage ensures easy access to nearby restaurants and shops.
Beyond the memorial, visitors can explore the larger Delaney Park Strip, which features sports fields, a playground, and walking paths, making it a great spot for physical activities. You can also visit the Anchorage Museum, go hiking in Chugach State Park, or embark on wildlife excursions to see bears, moose, and more.
With its combination of historical reverence and nearby recreational opportunities, the Alaska Veterans Memorial and its surroundings provide a well-rounded experience for visitors of all interests to give them a good time exploring for free.
Trapper Creek, AK 99683, United States
12) Sullivan Arena Ice Skating (during designated free skate times)
The Sullivan Arena, located in Anchorage, Alaska, is a free place offering ice skating during designated free skate times. Originally opened in 1983, the arena has been a popular hub for ice skating enthusiasts of all ages and has hosted numerous figure skating competitions, hockey games, and public skating sessions.
These free skate times have been a beloved tradition, allowing the community to enjoy the ice in a recreational setting. Families, friends, and individuals have flocked to the arena to glide across the rink and create lasting memories when they are short on budget.
Whether it’s beginners taking their first wobbly strides or experienced skaters perfecting their moves, the Sullivan Arena’s history of free skate times has played a vital role in the local ice skating culture.
The main attraction is its ice skating rink, open during designated free skate times, perfect for recreational skating and hockey. The arena also boasts a spacious seating area, making it a popular venue for sports events and concerts.
Visitors can also find amenities such as concession stands, making it easy to grab a snack or refreshment after enjoying fun things to do in Anchorage for free. Additionally, Sullivan Arena’s proximity to the Alaska Airlines Center and other attractions in the area means visitors can explore a variety of entertainment options nearby.
Whether you’re catching a hockey game, enjoying a concert, or just having fun on the ice, Sullivan Arena is a versatile venue with a variety of amenities and activities to suit different interests.
1600 Gambell St, Anchorage, AK 99501, United States
13) Chugach State Park (various hiking trails)
Chugach State Park, located in Southcentral Alaska, was established in 1970, covering 495,000 acres, making it one of the largest state parks in the United States. The park’s history is deeply tied to the indigenous Dena’ina Athabascan people, who inhabited the region for thousands of years, relying on its resources for sustenance.
European explorers and settlers arrived in the late 18th century, influencing the area’s development. Hiking trails in the park range from rugged backcountry routes to accessible paths with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and waterways.
The park’s history also includes its use as a military training ground during World War II. Today, it’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a range of recreational opportunities such as hiking, skiing, wildlife viewing, and more while preserving the natural beauty and cultural significance of the Chugach region.
There are campgrounds, picnic areas, and interpretive centers, making it an ideal location for both day trips and extended stays. Hiking is a major draw, with numerous trails of varying difficulty, including the iconic Crow Pass Trail and Flattop Mountain. The park is also a popular spot for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling during the winter months.
Wildlife enthusiasts can spot moose, eagles, and bears while bird watching while fishing is another favorite activity in the park, with salmon and trout streams available. For those seeking a more relaxed experience, the park’s breathtaking vistas offer excellent opportunities for photography.
We must say Chugach State Park is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers, providing an array of activities and natural beauty in the heart of Alaska, along with many fun things to do in Anchorage for free.
18620 Seward Hwy, Anchorage, AK 99516, United States
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