View Full Version : Hey Alaskans...

17th July 2009, 00:21
I've got a few really silly questions for you!

My 70 year old mom was talking the other day about flying up to Anchorage to visit. We lived in Anchorage from 1969 through 1972 so it's been quite a few years since we were residents of the state... :wonderlan When we were there we lived in Spenard since my dad traveled a lot and proximity to the airport was necessary (not to mention that neither parent could drive in the snow worth a darn! :wonderlan).

I've heard lots of stories that the city has changed a great deal in the last 37 years. Any interesting touristy sorts of things to do nowadays? Any recommendations on nice but not too expensive places to stay (when I was a kid the Captain Cook and the Anchorage Westward were the two "ritzy" hotels in town)? Any parts of town to absolutely avoid?

I'm not sure what she's thinking that she wants to do while there as my family probably did all the typical touristy things back in the early 1970's. If my memory serves me the family had been to glacier bay several times, been on the old scenic railroad, spent time in Seward and Kenai and Fairbanks (and Ketchikan and Kodiak and Kotzebue and Nome). Heck I remember the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous back when the Iditarod was just a local dog sled race.

Any recommendations or suggestions oh residents of the state that was crazy enough to allow me to graduate from elementary school??? :p

17th July 2009, 07:47
Hello Again.

Anchorage has a whole mess of new hotels. There are two right on Spenard Lake where the float planes take off and land. (noisy, but beautiful) It is the busiest floatplane base in the world. The Millenium Hotel is on the lake. Coast International Inn is also on the lake. Both have nice outdoor restaurants. The Snowgoose is a nice outdoor, rooftop restaurant in downtown Anchorage. But the list of new hotels is bewildering. Touristy. There are trolley tours around the Anchorage area. There is a day trip to Seward on the train. You can now drive through the tunnel Whittier. Spenard is all spiffied up and is a tourist mecca. Spenard Road has numerous nice hotels now. Anchorage International Airport is new and ultra-modern. There's a downtown Saturday Market not far from the Sheraton. Fourth Avenue is touristy with lots of shops and delis and restaurants. The drunks have moved to a few bars at one end, and tend to stay there. Cops on foot patrol it all the time. Really been cleaned up since the days of rough and rowdy pipeline workers carrying guns. Speaking of which, there is a concealed carry law in Alaska now. No permit required. The car-jackings almost completely stopped. I guess lots of women in SUVs carry 9mms. The oldtimers still have loaded .44 magnums under the seat of their trucks. Mountain View is still an area to avoid. The gangs seem to go there to have the shoot-outs. There are lots of police in the city now, and numerous scattered police sub-stations. House of Harley is still on Spenard Road, but it is two story now, with a showroom and a full Harley Boutique upstairs. They also rent bikes. Touristy. Flightseeing tours in a floatplane? Drive out to Wasilla and look at Sarah Palin's house on the lake? The museum is top notch. Take in a show at the Performing Arts Center. Go to the Beartooth dinner theater and have dinner while watching a classic movie. Go to the Moose's Tooth for pizza and beer. Hit the Sourdough Mining Company Restaurant and catch a Sourdough Sam show. Drive down to Girdwood and check out the Alyeska Princess Lodge. Big time popular skiing lodge with the international ski set. Chair Five Restaurant is nice, I've been told. Visit the Alaska State Fair, last week of August, 1st week of Sept., I think. Check to be sure. Lots of arts and crafts, shows, displays and of course, the 112 pound cabbages.

Rent a Mini Cooper and go see the sights!

If you go to Seward, check out the museum with lots of pictures and info on the Good Friday Earthquake and Tsunami in Resurrection Bay. Visit the Alaska Sealife Center - funded courtesy of the drunk Capt. Hazelwood and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Imagine the Monterey Bay Aquarium on an Alaska scale.

Probably the best thing is to contact the Anchorage Visitor's Bureau (on line) and ask them to send you a complete information packet. Anchorage now publishes a visitor's guide. Anchorage has grown considerably since the 70s. Lake Otis Parkway is now 4 lanes all the way from Northern Lights clear out to Huffman Road. Just to get an idea, do a search of "Anchorage Hotels" and the list is staggering. These are big, full service hotels with shops and restaurants, barber shops and day spas. The Captain Cook is still there, but it is rather dated in an upscale sort of way.

If you have trouble getting information, let me know and I'll round some up for you.

17th July 2009, 08:10
Cool! I'll pass along the info to her... She's talking about going in August/September so I'll check on the state fair and we'll see if schedules matchup. I think it'll be really nice for her to go visit... don't know if she'll get too many more opportunities.

17th July 2009, 08:12
well he pretty much hit it on the nail. this is the best summer we have had up here for awhile so i would recommend on coming up soon!