by John Holman
You probably know that 40 percent of Alaskans call it home, and that it’s about 260 miles southwest of No See Um. We highlighted our 10 favorite things to do in Anchorage with an earlier post, but since then, we’ve been thinking. What you don’t know about Anchor Town is just as interesting as the things that we all love about the place.
Next time you lay over on your way to the best fly fishing lodge in Alaska, take another look around. Consider these 10 really cool things about Anchorage that we bet you didn’t know.
1. Folks Listen to Live Music in the Park for Free – Just grab a patch of grass and enjoy live entertainment on Wednesdays in Peratrovich Park. Alaskan bands rock everything from bluegrass to indie from noon till 1 p.m. Just follow the tunes to the corner of Fourth Avenue and E. Street.
2. You Can Go Fishing Downtown – Ship Creek isn’t the Kvichak River, but it does run right through the city, and it does offer salmon fishing against a unique urban backdrop. Amenities include a bait shop, equipment rentals, and even a seafood restaurant right over the water.
3. Somebody Moved the Wendler Building – The oldest commercial building in Anchorage only made one run, but it was impressive. In 1985, it made the journey from the corner of Fourth and I. Streets five blocks east to D. Street. That’s an amazing migration for brick and mortar.
4. Old Chester Creek Trail Is New Again – It was new back in the 70s, but time took its toll on the four miles of trail running along Chester Creek. We’re happy to report that recent upgrades have restored our faith in this favorite connection between the east side and downtown.
5. Palates Here Are Pretty Sophisticated – We’re not giving up fresh salmon, but we do love our dining adventures. Anchorage caters to every taste including the finer interpretations of international cuisine. We’re always surprised that first-time visitors are surprised.
6. The Northern Lights Look Fantastic on Film – Photographer Dave Parkhurst streamed thousands of still images and incredible music together to create a 40-minute movie miracle. The stunning results mesmerize audiences at the Sydney Laurent Theater on a regularly scheduled basis.
7. You Can Count Mountain Ranges From Downtown – It takes six fingers to sum them up. Just look past the cityscape and mentally escape to the Aleutian, Alaska, Tordrillo, Talkeetna, Kenai and Chugach ranges. Yes, that is the former Mount McKinley just 130 miles north of downtown Anchorage.
8. Moose-Spotting Is an Urban Thing – You can also stroll a boardwalk over spawning salmon and watch eagles nesting in cottonwoods down at Potter Marsh. The outdoor urban adventures are uniquely Alaskan here at the southern end of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge. It’s free, and it’s open year-round.
9. A Drink of Water Can Be Amazing – Once upon a time, the state’s transportation department did a little plumbing a few miles south on Seward Highway. Known today as the Mile 109 Mountain Spring, the pipeline still blesses locals with an unlimited supply of crystal clear spring water.
10. Even Whales Love Anchorage – Maybe they really enjoy the city skyline as they cruise by. Perhaps they thrill at thrilling us while we watch them make their migratory journeys. The whales aren’t saying, but we’re really glad that they grace the waters just off our shores.
Now that you know it a little better, you can appreciate it even more. Anchorage stands as an urban jewel brightly sparkling in the majestic wilderness that makes up our Last Frontier. It’s also a pretty cool spot to lay over for a day or two when you’re on your way to our place. We enjoy sharing lists, but we really shine at providing the Alaskan fly fishing experience of a lifetime. Please accept our standing invitation to join us soon here at No See Um.