This blog post was updated on September 27, 2019.
There’s nowhere in the world quite like Anchorage, Alaska. From its haunting natural beauty to its thriving local culture, there’s plenty to see and do — so why would you settle for the ordinary in such an extraordinary place? If you’d rather explore the more unconventional aspects of Anchorage, you’re in luck. We’ve rounded up a great list of what to do in Anchorage when you’re craving experiences off the beaten path. Read on to see a side of Anchorage, Alaska that you never knew existed, which might just get you scrambling to find cheap flight deals to get there ASAP!
Burial Spirit Houses
Just a short drive outside the center of Anchorage is Eklutna Village Historic Park, and it’s well worth the trip. There you’ll find the burial spirit houses, a unique combination of Athabascan Native tradition and the beliefs of Russian Orthodox missionaries. These are beautifully colored wooden spirit boxes constructed in memory of lost loved ones. Each box is built over the grave of a relative, and the bright colors represent individual family names. Be sure to take a guided tour to learn about the melding of these two very different cultures. It’s a beautiful tribute and a fascinating look at the rich and diverse history that makes Anchorage so truly unique.
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World’s Largest Chocolate Waterfall
Chocolate lovers won’t want to miss the World’s Largest Chocolate Waterfall, which is located at Alaska Wild Berry Products. Built in 1994, this remarkable display is constructed from copper candy kettles and churns out 3,400 pounds of pure liquid chocolate goodness. And while you can’t eat the chocolate used in the waterfall, Alaska Wild Berry Products has a veritable smorgasbord of different delicious treats for you to sample as you wander around their factory and showroom. You’re in for a seriously sweet time!
Back in 1964, a 9.2 magnitude earthquake struck Anchorage. As a result, an entire neighborhood fell into the ocean and was lost forever. This gorgeous and haunting park was constructed in memory of that fateful day, and serves as a reminder of how truly powerful nature can be. Be sure to take time to explore the whole park, which is filled with different markers describing the earthquake and its aftermath — all set in some of the most striking natural beauty Alaska has to offer, complete with play areas for the children and hiking trails perfect for exploring.
If you prefer a touch of the supernatural in your travels, it’s essential that you add Ship Creek to your list of what to do in Anchorage. This Alaskan River is said to be haunted by a murdered Native Alaskan woman. Her ghost has reportedly been seen near the old Alaska Native Medical Center and along the bridge, where she warns travelers to head for home. Even if spooky stories aren’t your thing (or you don’t believe in ghosts), Ship Creek is a beautiful spot in Anchorage that’s perfect for long walks. But maybe it’s best if you don’t go there after sunset — you know, just in case.
You read that right! This annual event takes place in late February or early March, and lovers of the unusual won’t want to miss a second. The Outhouse Races take place during the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Festival. The festival as a whole is an utter delight, filled with a variety of unconventional and exciting events, including the Running of the Reindeer. But without a doubt, the pinnacle of the whole affair has to be the Outhouse Races, wherein competitors race actual outhouses through the streets for the chance to be crowned winner. It’s a surreal, fun event that you need to see to believe — and with plenty of cheap flight deals to Anchorage, it’s easier than ever to get in on the fun.
Have you visited Anchorage? Share your unconventional experiences with us in the comments!