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Here are some great deals on tickets to Seattle, Portland, Chicago, LA, New York and D.C.

  • Author: Scott McMurren
    | Alaska Travel
  • Updated: March 31, 2019
  • Published March 31, 2019

This summer, there are lots of great deals on airline tickets. Combine those with a first-day activity where you can stretch your legs, see some sights and learn about the area. Here are a few suggestions:

Inside Chihuly Garden and Glass near the Space Needle: a collection of glass balls in a boat. (Photo Scott McMurren)


Airfares still are hovering around $77 one-way for travel between May 23 and Aug. 24. Get your tickets on either JetBlue or Delta. If you go to the Space Needle, pay extra to visit Dale Chihuly’s “Garden and Glass” exhibit. It’s just steps away. Chihuly’s glass work is other-worldly, featuring lamps, balls, bowls and all manner of shapes and sizes. It’s a feast for the eyes. Oh—the Space Needle also has done some remodeling, replacing lots of wires and floors with thick glass.

The Seattle Art Museum also is a great stop when you first arrive. It’s right across First Avenue from the Pike Place Market. If it’s nice outside and you’d rather go for a walk, head to the Olympic Sculpture Park. It’s free — and features some beautiful, oversized sculptures with Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains as a backdrop. You can follow the path across roads and railroad tracks — all the way down to the beach.

On the 4T trail in Portland, coming down on the tram from OHSU to the waterfront along the Willamette River. (Photo Scott McMurren)


Start with some great airfares: just $108 one-way nonstop on JetBlue. Purchase the tickets now for flights starting on June 13. The Portland Art Museum is downtown — and it’s smaller than the Seattle Museum. But if the weather is nice, do the “4T Tour” featuring a trail, the tram, the trolley and a train. We started downtown and caught the “MAX” train up to the Oregon Zoo. The MAX, by the way, is the train you can catch directly from the airport to downtown. Oh — the zoo has a train, too. You can take a side trip and spend a day at the zoo — but that’s a different tour.

Across from the zoo is the start of the trail up to Council Crest. This is the highest point in Portland and affords some incredible views. From there, the trail goes through the woods to the Oregon Health Sciences University campus. From there, catch a tram from the top of the hill down to the riverferont. Then, catch the trolley back to downtown. It’s a fun trip and the cost is $2.50 for a bus ticket.

San Francisco

Both Alaska Air and Delta are offering tickets for $175 one-way from Anchorage to San Francisco. Catch the “BART” train downtown. From the station, walk up to Union Square and catch a cable car down to Fisherman’s Wharf. Walk around the park next to the Maritime Museum on the waterfront. Then, watch the operators push the Cable Cars around on a giant turntable. It costs $7 one-way and goes up some big hills on the way to the wharf.

Los Angeles/LAX

Alaska Air flies nonstop year-round, while American offers nonstop service five days a week in June, July and August. Prices start at $178 one-way. There’s so much to see and do in Los Angeles. I love the Getty Museum, which sits on a hill near the I-405 freeway. The architecture of the museum and the views are as much a part of the museum as the exhibits. Admission is free, but it’s $20 to park.


Both United and Alaska Air offer nonstop flights from Anchorage. United’s are up and running right now, while Alaska’s nonstops start May 7. Prices start at $198 one-way. The Windy City is a great destination for the arts — we went there last year to see “Hamilton” at the CIBC Theatre. Just a couple of blocks away is the Art Institute of Chicago. It’s an incredible destination that’s impossible to cover in a single day. We did our best. Think Monet, Degas, Renoir — and those are just the impressionist artists on display.

If you’ve got the kids in tow, walk further down the lakeshore to the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium. A walk along the lakeshore, even if you don’t go in the museums, is a great way to get moving again after a six-hour airplane flight.

Walking “The High Line” park in Manhattan was formerly an elevated train track. (Photo Scott McMurren)

New York

This is just a reminder that United will start nonstop service from Anchorage to Newark, New Jersey, on June 20. The prices aren’t that great ($400 one-way). But that will change. Delta offers service via Seattle for $204 one-way, starting April 17.

It’s tough to nail down one attraction or museum when there are hundreds from which to choose. But I like the “The High Line” park, which is built on an abandoned elevated train track on Manhattan’s West Side. You’ll stroll through gardens, art exhibits, an occasional music concert and food trucks.

The Museum of Modern Art is one of my favorite destinations in New York. The exhibits are interesting and unexpected. Also, I’m a fan of French impressionists — and they’re always well-represented here.

Washington, D.C.

Tickets to fly to our nation’s capital are available for as little as $247 one-way (on United), starting April 16. It’s just not fair to pick one or two museums or destinations.

When my cousin picked me up late one evening at Reagan Airport, we drove by the Lincoln Memorial. “Stop!” I said. I jumped out with my camera to try and capture the beautiful image of Lincoln sitting inside a lit-up gallery when it was dark outside. The next day, I borrowed his bike and rode it all around the National Mall: the Jefferson Memorial, the Museum of the American Indian, the Air and Space Museum and the other incredible sculptures. It takes more than a few days to explore all of the important work in Washington, politics notwithstanding.