Quality Suites Historic Downtown
325 W. 8th Ave
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 274-1000
Fax: (907) 274-3016
This grassy, garden strip (11 blocks long, two miles in circumference and one block wide) was designed as a fire protection strip for the downtown district. Later, it acted as a landing strip for the city. Now, it is a recreational area with eight tennis courts, space for flying kites, ball fields, basketball courts, volleyball courts, a skating rink, a steam engine and a Veteran's Memorial. Named for the 1929 Anchorage mayor, James Delaney, it hosts several festivals each year. Admission: free.
Nationally recognized muralist Wyland has painted a mural that is 400 feet in length and five stories in height (on the J.C. Penney's wall) depicting underwater whales with icebergs floating above them. The scene is particularly Alaskan because of the mountains of ice in the background and the fur seals shown resting on the icebergs. Elsewhere in the U.S., Wyland has painted humpback migrations and scenes of great blue whales (found in Pacific Coast cities along Hwy 101).
Beginning in 1989, each year dozens of international teams work feverishly for 48-hours to turn blocks of ice into a work of art. Using chainsaws, chisels and other tools, the sculptors are fascinating to watch and always draw a large crowd. Only skill and time limit the artists who produce a wide variety of pieces from life-size wildlife, angels or architectural designs. Be sure to check out the sculptures at night as they are lit up by colored lights that reflect through the ice. There is no admission charge.
Built in 1915, this was the first multi-story building built, and filled with early commerce. Providing one of the earliest stores, Kimball's stocked the items necessary for the flood of Tent City residents who were moving into their own, more permanent homes. Della Kimball, daughter of the pioneer, was 12 years old when her father opened the store and is one of the pioneers who rests in the Anchorage Memorial Cemetery. There is no admission.
Alaska's first elected governor was William Egan, and this convention center was named in his honour. It is the state's largest convention and meeting center, with more than 40,000 square feet of conference area. More than a block in length, it features a front wall made entirely of curved glass parallel to Fifth Avenue. The lobby houses a constant display of Native art, including sculptures, beading and carvings. There is no admission fee for viewing the center.
This is the town's center for many events and celebrations. During the summer, this flower-filled park hosts concerts and festivals; while in the winter, this is the location for some of the New Year's Eve fireworks and the town's Christmas tree lighting ceremony centers around the park's huge fir trees. This park has an outdoor amphitheater that holds 400 people where, strangely enough, even in winter the seats are filled during events and celebrations.
Originally built in 1915, this award-winning building has the only corner turret found in Anchorage. It was constructed by an early civic leader, A.J. Wendler. Each year, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins in front of this building; the starting point is marked by a large bronze sled dog. This building was occupied for 18 years by "One People," a co-op that enables indigenous people worldwide to be self-sufficient by providing a sales outlet for their endangered arts and crafts. It is now a coffee shop and art gallery dedicated to displaying works by Alaskan artists. - Christine Keene
Uniquely Alaskan, this log cabin with its grass-covered roof houses the largest variety of visitor brochures, free guides and information in Anchorage. Stop in and visit with its mostly senior volunteer staff. With an informative Web site and free magazine style visitor's guide (it can be mailed on request), this place makes it possible for you to plan your entire trip before you get here. The charming building is surrounded by a flowering park, and has a notable post listing the mileage to many international cities.
With free summer concerts held in front of the building at noon (Wednesday's & Friday's) and the Log Cabin Visitor's Center just next door, this old City Hall is frequently bustling with activity. Housing the office of the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau, the building, originally built in 1936, is a two-story structure that served as the city's first government seat. The lobby holds a permanent exhibition of photographs and artifacts of early Anchorage. It is open year round.
This place is a much more entertaining destination than you might guess. Daily programs at 2pm include discussions led by park rangers, zoo personnel or guest presenters. These experts talk about a variety of topics such as nature, wildlife and natural, local features. The presentations occasionally include a visit from an Alaskan animal. Check out the hourly videos of bears, earthquakes and more. Hundreds of maps are available here, as well as a computer planning station to assist in mapping a day of trips, hikes and adventures. No admission charge.
This structure was moved in the 1920s from the tiny city of Knik, by horse and sleigh, 57 miles south to Anchorage. Church members began adding to the building (late 30s), but were interrupted by the war and did not complete its construction until 1952. A statue of a praying saint and a plaque commemorating Pope John Paul II's visit in 1981 are in front of this Cathedral. During the Pope's stay, he held a Mass attended by 50,000 people at the nearby park.
This monument has a bronze plaque declaring it the original city-planning site. In 1915, the first land auction was held here with starting bids of USD25. It was an attempt to begin funding the governmental services, like law enforcement and sewage services, needed by the Tent City residents. The city's plots were drawn up from this spot and resulted in the system of lettered streets running north-south and the numbered avenues running east-west, still in use today.