Here are the best places in Anchorage to watch the 2024 Iditarod ceremonial start

The 2024 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race kicks off this weekend. Up first: the ceremonial start, which takes dog teams on a mini-tour of Anchorage, from bustling streets downtown to the end of the route at the Campbell Airstrip.

The ceremonial start begins at 10 a.m. Saturday near the intersection of Fourth Avenue and D Street downtown. Dog teams will take off in two-minute intervals for an 11-mile ride across town.

Here’s a list of prime viewing spots for ceremonial start spectators. Be sure to bundle up: The forecast is calling for a daytime high of 14 degrees on Saturday in Anchorage, with cloudier, slightly cooler conditions Sunday in Willow.

If you can’t make it in person, we’ve added information about livestreams at the bottom of this story.

1. Downtown

Come early to grab a key bleacher spot at the starting line or just hang out, talk with mushers, admire the dogs or eat a grilled hot dog and listen to the announcer count down each team’s departure. The most exciting spot on the ceremonial trail is the corner of Fourth Avenue and Cordova Street, where teams buzz around the soft, snowy turn at speeds that occasionally spill the sled and its rider — this is prime real estate.

2. Cordova Street and 16th Avenue


Now that the crowds have thinned out and the teams are out of the din of downtown, drivers are a little more responsive to fans who wish them good luck.

3. Chester Creek greenbelt

This is as intimate as it gets — some stretches are so quiet you can hear the dogs’ feet and runners of the sleds cruising along the snow in the distance. But it’s also close quarters along this trail, so be sure to give teams and drivers plenty of room to pass and, again, keep your dogs at home.

4. Goose Lake Park

This is tailgate central, where folks picnic and party while teams pass by. The environment is festive but definitely dialed back compared with the madness downtown.

5. Tudor Road overpass

Take your last urban chance to check out the dogs before they disappear into the woods — and traffic on Tudor Road in early afternoon is as urban as it gets around these parts. Just be sure to set up on either side of the overpass, not on the overpass itself; that space is reserved for the dogs.

6. Campbell Airstrip

These are some of the best in-Anchorage opportunities to see Iditarod dog teams running in their native setting. Excellent viewing is found along the forest-lined Campbell Airstrip, near the Campbell Creek Science Center and at BLM offices where mushers will pack for their trip to the restart in Willow. Parking in the area will be limited.

Watching the race start online

Livestreams will be available on the Iditarod’s official website, including a stream of the ceremonial start beginning at 9:45 a.m. Alaska time on Saturday and the official restart at 2 p.m. Sunday.

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Top contenders, race start details and more to know heading into the 2024 Iditarod

For an Iditarod ‘re-rookie,’ delivering food bags means progress toward a goal

Iditarod disqualifies former champion Brent Sass after sexual assault allegations

After back-and-forth over his eligibility, Eddie Burke Jr. withdraws from 2024 Iditarod

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