Summer in Anchorage: 9 fun cheap thrills to be had after 10pm
Ok, the joke is when it’s summer in Anchorage, you can pretty much do the same things you do in the day. It’s just more fun to do it at night, when it’s (still) light!
Sip fresh Alaska beer at the top of Flattop
Alaska is good at craft beer — pick up a growler at Fred Meyer or Midnight Sun Brewing. Then put it in your backpack and hoof it up with a friend or two (or even solo). When you get to the summit, find a place to perch while you enjoy your fresh Alaska brew.
Make (or join) a bonfire on the bluff
Along the coast fronting the Coastal Trail — technically all the way down to Girdwood — you can find clear ground suitable for building a bonfire.
What do you with your bonfire is up to your imagination. Just be mindful of the mudflats (you’ll get stuck), the tide (very fast-moving), dry tinder (don’t start a forest fire) and the authorities (not all bonfires are welcome in all places).
Mow the lawn
That’s right, you can mow the lawn after 10pm in Anchorage in the summer. Good times!
Go on an after-dinner Coastal Trail bike ride
A favorite pastime for Alaskans in the summer is to be active outdoors after dinner. If you have access to a bike, it’s easy to navigate our excellent trail system down to the Coastal Trail, where you can bike along the Cook Inlet for 11 miles each way.
Catch a salmon at Ship Creek
Do you know that catchable salmon are running upstream just a few minutes walk from downtown Anchorage? Just grab a rod and reel, some bait (or yarn / spinner) and your fishing license, and cast out your line for a King Salmon.
Just show up in your street clothes, too — after all, it’s an urban fishery. Tip: check the posted fishing hours.
Pick berries in Girdwood
While “secret” berry patches do exist in the ski town of Girdwood (just 36 miles south of Anchorage — well worth a visit), you really don’t need to look hard to find them.
All along the bike and hiking trials along the base of the mountain are droves of blueberries bushes. Also look for raspberries, salmonberries, cranberries and more. Tip: best done is August.
Enjoy hot tea and cookies on the Potter Trail
Brew your favorite pot of tea and pour into a thermos, then pack your favorite cookies, then navigate over to the Potter Trail, which starts at Potter Marsh.
A gentle uphill two-mile hike takes you to a lookout where you can see all the Turnagain Arm — it’s absolutely stunning, especially with tea and cookies. Note: be bear aware.
Watch the “not sunset” from Cook Inlet
If you really want to slow down your evening, find a comfy spot near the railroad tracks at the start of the Coastal Trail and proceed to watch the “sunset.” It’s a rather beautiful phenomena — the sky dims to deep orange and purple as the sun sinks into the mountains, yet it never quite sets the way you’d expect.
Take a spontaneous camping trip
It’s past 10pm and you’re so excited to be in Alaska that you can’t sleep. Now try this: throw a tent and sleeping bag in your car and start driving out of town. Alaska is full of well-maintained camping spots, which you can pull up your car right up to.
You will fall asleep and wake up to some of Earth’s most raw and stunning nature. Be sure to bring some cash to pay for the space (it’s self-service), as well as some food and water. Maybe even a fishing pole.