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Video: What to do in Anchorage on a rainy day

  • Author:
  • Updated: May 31, 2016
  • Published June 26, 2012

Anchorage's slogan is "Big Wild Life," a nod to the many recreation and outdoor opportunities available in and around Alaska's largest city. Long summer days, more than 19 hours on summer solstice, mean that residents spend a lot of time outdoors. So far this summer, we've had some of the coolest temps in more than a decade and plenty of precipitation. But don't let the cold and the rain keep you and your summer guests inside. There are still plenty of ways to get out and enjoy everything Anchorage has to offer while staying high and dry.

For a tour of the city, try Anchorage City Trolley Tours. The 50-minute tour takes you around downtown and out to Lake Hood and Earthquake Park, and the knowledgable drivers will keep you entertained throughout your trip.

If you want to get a little farther afield, consider a ride on the Alaska Railroad. Daily trips headed south or north of Anchorage leave each morning from the Ship Creek depot.

A great way to spend a rainy day downtown is a visit to the Anchorage Museum. Highlights include the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, which has an excellent Alaska Native collection. Be sure to check out the landscape painting in Alaska gallery, with its great collection of Sydney Laurence and Fred Machetanz paintings. For kids, the Imaginarium has a variety of hands-on science exhibits.

If dinosaurs are your thing, go face-to-face with them at the Alaska Museum of Natural History. In addition to dinosaur exhibits, they have a great collection of fossils and geological specimens.

Alaska has a rich military history, and what better place to soak it up than the Alaska Veterans Museum. Its large collection spans World War II to the present.

If you're a fan of the National Geographic Channel's Alaska State Troopers reality TV show, you won't want to miss the free Trooper Museum. From a 1952 patrol car to vintage sidearms and lie-detector tests, they have it all.

A little further afield is the Alaska Aviation Museum. With more than 30 historic aircraft on display, it's a great way to spend an afternoon.

One place no visitor should miss is the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Although it has an excellent outdoor loop, there's plenty to keep you occupied indoors, with regular shows featuring Native dancing and games.

While the Northern Lights are best viewed in the winter (darkness helps), there are some ways to enjoy it in summer. AurorA Watch Tours offers daily shows at the Performing Arts Center. For wildlife, check out Alaska Experience Theatre's Alaska Wild show.

Cap off your day by sampling Alaska's excellent local beer. Snow Goose Restaurant and Sleeping Lady Brewing Company and at the Glacier Brewhouse both offer a great selection of beer brewed on-site, and Humpy's Alaskan Alehouse has one of Alaska's largest selection of draft beers, including many Alaska brews.

That should get you started, although you may need a longer list if this summer is becoming a rainy one for Anchorage. The words "rain" or "showers" are in the National Weather Service forecast for Anchorage every day though Monday. By then, the memory of Anchorage's toasty sunshine of last Saturday -- and Fairbanks' flirtation with days in the mid 80s -- should have faded from memory.

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