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Business Travel Guide: Anchorage Alaska

by Jody Ellis-Knapp

Home to over 250,000 people (almost half the state’s population), Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city, located in the heart of the South Central region It is surrounded by both ocean and mountains, providing a backdrop of gorgeous scenery. The Cook Inlet and Turnagain Arm waterways flow on either side of the city, both feeding ultimately into the Pacific, and the Chugach Mountain range runs along the East side. Anchorage enjoys some of the best weather Alaska has to offer, with mild summers and snow-filled winters.

This city is an exhilarating combination of backwoods and metropolis. Where else can one see moose strolling across the highway, eagles soaring overhead and even the occasional errant bear or fox meandering into town? Business travelers will be pleasantly surprised at the wide range of restaurants, hotels, activities and nightlife, for despite its origins as a frontier town, Anchorage has a surprisingly urban vibe.

Facts to Know Before You Go

Weather: Dressing for the weather in Alaska means being prepared. Anchorage is considered the “Banana Belt” by locals, but still gets its share of inclement weather. If you are traveling to Anchorage during the winter months, expect an average temperature of about 20 degrees F with temperatures dropping to below zero on occasion. Warm clothing that can be layered is always a good choice. Summer months can bring temperatures as high as 80 degrees or as low as 40 degrees. Rain gear, walking shoes and a light jacket are recommended.

Transportation:  Ted Stevens International Airport is located approximately 6 miles from the city center. Taxis are available just outside the terminal and the fare to downtown runs $15-17. Car rental services are available at the airport. For the business traveler who has time to explore the city, renting a car for at least a day is a good idea. Anchorage is somewhat spread out and a car is really one of the best ways to get around. There is limited bus service throughout the city and outlying areas, as well as train services to other locales in the summer.

Newspapers: The Anchorage Daily News is the daily newspaper, with a weekly (every Friday) “Play” section that lists current activities and events taking place in the city. The Anchorage Press is a free weekly paper that can be picked up many public locations. Movie listings, musical venues and current art showings can be found in the Press.

Where to Stay

Hotel Captain Cook
4th and K Street
Anchorage, AK, 99501

Hotel Captain Cook

The Hotel Captain Cook is one of Anchorage’s premiere luxury hotels. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown, this spacious hotel covers almost an entire city block and offers three towers with lavish rooms and breathtaking views of the Chugach Mountains and Cook Inlet. The hotel offers a fitness center, has a shopping gallery and boasts fourteen meeting rooms, three of which have fireplaces, a unique touch. Their business center provides computers, laptop stations, fax and copy machines, as well as trained staff available to assist guests with their business needs. The rich teak décor of the lobby is accented by local art and the Crow’s Nest restaurant, situated atop their tower three, offers excellent fine dining and amazing views.

Hilton Anchorage    
500 W 3rd Ave
Anchorage, AK, 99501

Hilton Anchorage

Business travelers will appreciate the convenient downtown location, the meeting facilities for up to 900, the fitness center and indoor swimming pool. There are over 600 guestrooms available, warmly decorated and all have high speed Internet access and work stations in the rooms. The Hilton’s “Top of the World” restaurant and bar has views that encompass the whole city and is a popular summer dining option. The more casual “Bruins Bar” provides televised coverage of sporting events and a light menu.

Millennium Alaskan Hotel
4800 Spenard Road
Anchorage, AK, 99517

Millenium Alaska Hotel

Located just minutes from the airport, the Millenium Alaskan Hotel sits right on Lake Hood, Anchorage’s busiest float plane base. The lobby is loaded with Alaskan artifacts and game trophies, along with a friendly and accommodating staff. There are two restaurants to choose from onsite. The Flying Machine restaurant offers fresh Alaskan seafood in an elegant atmosphere, and the Fancy Moose lounge provides a more casual ambiance with an outdoor patio for enjoying those long summer evenings in Alaska. Both restaurants have excellent views of the lake, where small planes take off and land regularly. The Millennium provides free wireless Internet, a business center and shuttle service both to and from the airport and to downtown Anchorage.

Sheraton Anchorage Hotel
401 E 6th Ave
Anchorage, AK, 99501

Sheraton Anchorage

The Sheraton Anchorage Hotel provides classic and tasteful accommodations in a downtown setting. Offering thirteen meeting rooms, catering services and Internet service, the Sheraton meets all the needs of the business traveler. There are 375 guestrooms to choose from, all providing the most modern amenities, as well as a health club, gift shop and valet service. Josephine’s Private Dining is a rooftop restaurant that provides the perfect location for special dinners, with their smaller venue, Josephine’s Gallery, available for intimate dining and meetings.

Historic Anchorage Hotel
330 E St.
Anchorage, AK, 99501

Historic Anchorage Hotel

If you are looking for something a bit different from the standard business traveler’s lodging, check out the Historic Anchorage Hotel. Originally built in 1916 and in its current location since 1936, this quaint hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places in Alaska. There are twenty six lovely junior suites available, with business facilities and catering services for meetings. Well-situated in downtown Anchorage, it is within easy walking distance of many restaurants and local sights.

Where to Dine

425 W 5th Ave
Anchorage, AK 99501


Ginger Restaurant

Ginger is the newest addition to Anchorage’s downtown dining scene. Featuring Pacific Rim Cuisine with an Asian-Fusion style, Ginger offers fine diners something a bit different from the usual local fare. The décor is modern and sophisticated, with dark woods and low lighting. Fresh seafood always tops the menu list and their service is flawless. Try the Chicken and Lettuce wraps for an enticing appetizer, and the Chinese Five Spice Chocolate Cake with a decadent Grand Marnier sauce is an amazing dessert.

Glacier Brewhouse
737 W 5th Ave
Anchorage, AK 99501
907-274 BREW (2739)


Glacier Brewhouse

Glacier Brewhouse is more than just a restaurant. It is also a premiere microbrewery, with some of the best local ales Anchorage has to offer. The glass-enclosed brewery turns out handcrafted beers, lagers and ales—try the sampler of five, a veritable flight of suds. In the wood-and-stone-lined dining room, you can enjoy a lively atmosphere and professional, friendly servers. Check out their Seared Ahi Tuna for dinner, or one of their hand-crafted pizzas to go with your beer. The Brewhouse has a large conference room with seating for up to fourteen people, as well as a larger banquet room that can comfortably accommodate up to 32 guests. Both rooms offer a separate amplifier and a video tape recorder/television for meetings. There is also free wireless Internet access throughout the restaurant.

Jens' Restaurant
701 W 36th Ave
Anchorage, AK 99503
907-561-JENS (5367)


Jens' Restaurant

Looking for fine dining with a relaxed style and a menu that will impress any client? Jens’ Restaurant is the place to go. Located in an unpretentious strip mall in midtown Anchorage, Jens’ has been putting out some of Anchorage’s best cuisine for almost 20 years. Owners Jens and Annelisse Hansen pride themselves on consistently creating excellent food with a European flair. Hailing from Denmark, Jens offers his guests classic Danish menu items for lunch, such as “Frikadeller med Rodkal” a pan fried veal dish with pork meatballs and red cabbage. The dinner menu has a French influence and features a wide variety of specialty meats and fresh seafood, such as the popular Wild Alaskan King Salmon roasted on an alder plank. Business meetings can be accommodated in their private room, which seats up to 20 guests. After 10:00 pm, expect a rollicking good time in the small attached bodega, where Jens turns up the music and patrons dance the night away between the bar’s tables.

Kincaid Grill
6700 Jewel Lake Rd.
Anchorage, AK 99502


Kincaid Grill

Located near the airport in South Anchorage, Kincaid Grill presents regional Alaskan cuisine with a focus on seafood and specialty meats. Owner Al “Chef Al” Levinsohn has achieved local celebrity status with his own weekly cooking show featured on KTUU Channel 2 news and his involvement in the community at large. Listed as “Fine Dining without the Attitude.” Kincaid Grill has a fun-filled atmosphere and offers a wide variety of both wine and beer to complement its extensive menu. Try the Gorgonzola fondue appetizer to start, with the amazing pan roasted Halibut as a dinner entrée. Reservations recommended.

Kinley’s Restaurant & Bar
3230 Seward Hwy
Anchorage, AK, 99503


Kinley's Restaurant & Bar

Named after owner Brett Knipmeyer’s daughter, Kinley’s Restaurant & Bar has evolved into one of Anchorage’s hot spots for casual fine dining. Cool blue walls combined with rich wood floors flow together to create an upscale Alaskan feel. Knipmeyer calls his cuisine “Contemporary Alaskan” with an eclectic French style. Menu choices include their popular Bacon Wrapped Dates as a starter and Grilled Scallops with a Lemon Tarragon Beurre Blanc for dinner. The service is impeccable and the atmosphere is energetic, with their wine bar recently voted “Best of Anchorage”. Kinley’s also has a large banquet room with seating for up to 50 people and an LCD projection and screen available for business meetings.

Off the Clock

Alaska Native Heritage Center
8800 Heritage Center Drive
Elmendorf Afb, AK 99506

Created as an educational institution and intent on preserving the Alaska Native culture, the Alaska Native Heritage Center gives visitors a glimpse into the history of Alaska’s people. Offering tours, workshops and a wide variety of exhibits, the center provides a unique opportunity to experience Alaska in a different way and explore a variety of Native cultures. Hours of operation are from 9:00am-5:00pm daily, May 13 to mid-September. Admission price for adults is $23.50.

Anchorage Museum of History and Art
121 W. 7th Ave
Anchorage, AK 99501

Anchorage Museum of History and ArtFor those who want to experience some of Anchorage’s local art and culture and have an afternoon free between meetings or conferences, the Anchorage Museum of History and Art brings Alaska history alive. The museum is the largest in Alaska and has an ongoing exhibit of historical artifacts from Native culture, as well as contemporary Native art. Open daily in the summer from 9:00am-6:00pm and in winter from 10:00am-6:00pm (closed Mondays during winter months), the museum is a must-see for visitors to Anchorage. You can also pick up some great souvenirs at the Museum Gift Shop or grab a bite to eat at the Marx Brothers Café at the Museum.

Chilkoot Charlie’s
1071 W. 25th Ave
Anchorage, AK 99503

Chilkoot Charlie'sA trip to Anchorage wouldn’t be complete without stopping in for a beer at the rowdy, saloon-style Chilkoot Charlie’s. This is the frontier spirit at its finest, with sawdust on the floor and log walls. Packed to standing room only on the weekends, Chilkoots not only offers a traditional Alaskan atmosphere, but also provides room for some of the best dancing in the city. Enjoy big band music in the Swing Room, or travel back to another era in the Russian Room, as well as checking out the assortment of live bands that are regularly showcased.

Cyrano’s Off Center Playhouse
413 D Street
Anchorage, AK 99501

This charming and diverse local theater is housed in one of Anchorage’s oldest buildings, built in 1915. Cyrano’s offers a different play each month, along with comedy improv, poetry readings and other special events. Their small café features beer and wine, as well as an assortment of appetizers and desserts. The playhouse has been voted “Best Live Theater” by local residents and has won both the Governor’s Arts Award and the Mayor’s Arts Award for arts organizations.

F Street Station
325 F Street
Anchorage, AK 99501

Tucked away just around the corner from the Hilton Anchorage Hotel, this little bar is a popular stopping point for the after-work crowd. They have a surprisingly good menu with daily specials and the appetizers are big enough to call a meal. Seating is at a premium so get there early if you want to grab a table.

Going to Alaska? Check our Guide.

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(Updated: 05/01/13 DM)

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