Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city, boasting 300,000 souls who live, work, and play in the immediate “Anchorage Bowl” area. It also swells during the high tourist season between May and September, with hardly enough beds to accommodate the number of heads looking for a spot to sleep. In response to an extremely high demand, and coupled with a more robust year-round visitor count, major Anchorage hotel chains with mid-pricepoint availability have taken the lead to create more rooms for more Alaska visitors.
While downtown is a concentrated grid of bungalows, more affluent homes, offices, and well-established hotels, the new Anchorage hotel accommodation market has stretched south, to a section of Anchorage residents call “Midtown.” It also happens to be closer to Seward Highway access, shopping centers (including grocery stores), and places like the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. And, also important; it is often far more affordable for families.
So what’s out there, and how does one choose? Below is a snapshot of hotels we’ve found to be accommodating to moms, dads, and their kids, and a list of other places you might enjoy during your trip to the Last Frontier.
Starting or ending an adventure in Anchorage? Take a look, and reserve soon. Spring will be here before we know it, and rooms go fast, fast, fast.
Don’t have transportation? We’ve got a list of options for that, too, including a few shuttle services to popular attractions, and our favorite car rental agency in Anchorage. Questions? Shoot us a note and we’ll do our best to help.
Aspen Hotels: 100 E Tudor Road 99503. 907. 770. 3400. Strictly “just the basics,” Aspen Hotels nonetheless provides clean, comfortable overnight lodging with convenient access to just about anywhere in Anchorage. Best for those with their own transportation, the hotel is located on Tudor Road, near access points to the Seward Highway, airport, and downtown.
Hampton Inn: 4301 Credit Union Drive 99503. 907. 550. 7000. Recently renovated, the Hampton Inn is located in midtown Anchorage, a quick zip away from downtown. Offering transportation to local outlets and the airport and train depot, Hampton also goes the extra mile with a free hot breakfast (or to-go breakfast bags), cookies and hot drinks 24/7 (we’ve taken advantage of this more than once).
Embassy Suites Hilton Anchorage, 600 E. Benson Blvd 99503. 907. 332. 7000. When this hotel opened several years ago, we all wondered “Huh, why here?” Now we know. The Embassy Suites is situated a block from New Seward Highway access, the BP building, Midtown Mall, and several shops and restaurants. It also has a pool, transportation, free breakfast, and an on-site restaurant. It’s pretty classy, too, and I also know a mom friend who books herself a weekend there every year on her birthday, and likes it very much.
TRANSPORTATION AND SHUTTLE SERVICES/ATTRACTIONS:
The Anchorage Museum and Alaska Native Heritage Center have teamed up for another year to offer the popular Culture Pass, providing dual admission to both facilities along with shuttle service between downtown (Anchorage Museum) and east Anchorage (Alaska Native Heritage Center). Available May – September, the pass works out to be a 30% discount for admission to both and does not need to be used in one day. Tip: Start early to have ample time.
The Alaska Zoo Summer Shuttle is a first-come, first-served free shuttle service from downtown Anchorage (Log Cabin Visitor Center) to The Alaska Zoo. Get there early for the best seats, especially with kids. Pack a lunch, enjoy the zoo, or take advantage of a Discovery Tour. Whatever you choose, it’s a great way to see Anchorage and not worry about driving. Available May – September.
Avis Alaska car rentals is a year-round company with deep Alaska roots. Located at several outlets including the Anchorage airport, Avis has some pretty good deals for early bookings in Alaska. For instance, I found a high-season rental ranging from $350-$500 a week, depending upon what style of car you prefer. That’s pretty good considering the rates are sky-high out of Anchorage during the busiest times of the summer.
Looking for more? Try these other options in Anchorage, and beyond.