Anchorage without a car
August 7, 2013 11:07 AM   Subscribe

I will have an evening and a day in Anchorage without a car. I'd love to see some wildlife and spend lots of time looking at the mountains. Also open to other ideas. What should I do and where should I go, and how should I get there without a car?

I'll be in Anchorage next week for a work meeting. I will be free Tuesday evening and all day Wednesday until 6:00. I'd love to make full use of the long days and do as much as I can Tuesday evening and Wednesday.

My original plan was to rent a car and get out of the city, but car rentals are pretty steep this time of the year and I would love if I could find some things to do without a rental. I'd love to get out on the water if possible (I've seen a few half-day tours that look like they may be doable). If not, then just wandering around and looking at the mountain views while stopping to eat some salmon would be great! And I'd be thrilled if I saw a moose, which is apparently possible on the outskirts of town ...

I'm fine taking public transit or walking up to a few miles at a time, but I'd rather not spend most of my time on the bus or walking though boring neighborhoods. I'll be staying at a hotel downtown.

I've seen some good suggestions of things to do/places to see that are fairly close to downtown (Flattop, Earthquake Park) but I'm having trouble getting a sense of how doable these things are without a car.

Whatever I do, I'd love for it to cost less than $75 not including food.
posted by lunasol to Travel & Transportation around Anchorage, AK (9 answers total)
I have several friends who have done a bike rental. I'm not sure which one, but it might be this-

They all really enjoyed it, and it's very affordable.
posted by jaksemas at 11:18 AM on August 7, 2013

I went to Anchorage in the summer and we really had to rent a car and out of town to see wildlife.

Don't bother with the zoo, it's one of the saddest zoo's I've ever been to, and that includes Memphis.

Here's a link to the Anchorage tourism site, they have some interesting itineraries.

We drove about an hour outside of town. Saw a moose, the park had a beaver dam, very pretty.

Everything in Alaska is expensive.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:36 PM on August 7, 2013

You could rent a bike and do the coastal trail. It runs along the coast from downtown to beyond the airport. There is a good chance of seeing moose on this trail.

More info here.

posted by Beardsley Klamm at 1:16 PM on August 7, 2013

I live in Anchorage. I would highly recommend a day trip on the Alaska Railroad to Seward. You may have time for a wildlife cruise (which are really great - I have been on two and you see loads of wildlife) or Seward has the Alaska SeaLife Center. The train depot is in downtown Anchorage - easy to get to.

Train is probably the best way to see Alaska - if you rent a car you will be stuck looking at the road most of the time. Also, there are plenty of moose in the city itself so seeing moose is not really that special. Lately I have been seeing them when I drive on E Northern Lights Ave near UAA. Mostly you want to not hit one.

In Anchorage, the museum is nice. You could spend a day wandering around downtown, easy. You should visit Earthquake Park - it's just north of the airport.

And yes, everything in Alaska is expensive.
posted by griselda at 2:22 PM on August 7, 2013

Seconding griselda's recommendation for some of the short boat tours out of Seward. They have half-day and full-day (nine hours, I think) tours, and both are well worthwhile. Of course, you'd have to figure out how to get down there and back. The railroad makes runs, and I've been told there is a bus now that does Seward runs, but I don't know what it's called.

I expect that a flightseeing trip would probably also be memorable.

I'm super-swamped and wouldn't be able to show you around or anything, but I do have a bike you can borrow if you want - just PM me.
posted by Alaska Jack at 3:30 PM on August 7, 2013

Response by poster: I had looked into the day trip to Seward option, but it doesn't look like the timing will work to get me to the Anchorage airport by 6.
posted by lunasol at 8:04 PM on August 7, 2013

I live in Anchorage. I would do a bike rental if I were you. You don't have to be a great bicyclist to make it the 10 miles to Kincaid, and you'll probably see a moose on the way (I saw a bear on the Coastal Trail last week!). If you don't you can lock the bike at the Kincaid Chalet and wander the trails, where moose are more or less guaranteed.

Another option is to take a Flattop shuttle; this is offered from downtown and is $25? round trip but it is neat to get out above treeline. This company appears to offer a bike/hike rental combo which might be neat if you like to get outside.

Mail/post if you'd like some more specific instructions or different suggestions; I love Anchorage and am happy to help.
posted by charmedimsure at 6:01 PM on August 8, 2013

Also, for meals: breakfast at Snow City Cafe. You can make a reservation in advance online. Ask for crispy hash browns. The salmon cakes are delightful.

Lunch/dinner: Glacier Brewhouse (eat on the huge bar side, or make a reservation) and the Bear Tooth (in Spenard, a reasonable distance to walk from downtown) are both very very good bets no matter what you want to eat. If you want recommendations tailored to what you specifically want I can do that, too.
posted by charmedimsure at 11:08 AM on August 9, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all for the advice. I'm thinking I will rent a bike Wednesday morning and see how far on the trail that takes me - I'm not a big city cyclist but Anchorage seems suitably quiet for cycling. A coworker is going to take me up to Flattop on Sunday afternoon/evening!
posted by lunasol at 2:09 PM on August 10, 2013

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