On a vacation in Alaska, there is no doubt that your days will be full of fun and adventure, but what about your nights? Even though you might be tired for your daytime activities, be sure to save some energy for the late night hours so you can experience all that Anchorage has to offer. With the extra hours of sunlight during the summer months, you will have plenty of time to enjoy all that there is to do in in Anchorage at night.
Your evenings in Anchorage can be spent at clubs and bars, theaters, or dancing the night away. Whatever your tastes and interests, you are sure to find something fun to do in Alaska’s largest and most vibrant city.
Once your second wind kicks in, you will be able to choose from midnight tours, theater, and a host of bars that offer everything from live music and dancing to karaoke and watching sports. If it’s beer you like, you will find plenty breweries and brewpubs sprouting up throughout the city. If you are looking for evening tours and other nighttime attractions, Anchorage is definitely the place to be.
If you have the chance to venture outside of Anchorage, you might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, or spend an evening on an ATV tour or on a dinner cruise. As you can see, the possibilities are virtually endless. This article will tell you everything you need to know about nightlife in Anchorage and beyond.
What is special about the nightlife in Alaska?
In addition to the typical nighttime activities that you can find just about anywhere, Alaska offers some out of the ordinary nighttime adventures. Although you might have to venture outside of Anchorage for some of these activities, the Northern Lights, dinner cruises, and midnight sun ATV tours are a just few of the special highlights of Alaska’s amazing nightlife.
This is the most thrilling show to see in Alaska, but you will only be able to see the Northern Lights from September through mid-April, and you will need to rise in the middle of the night in order to catch a glimpse. The Aurora Chasers offers a highly recommended four-hour tour to see the Northern Lights that begins in Fairbanks.
The Northern Alaska Tour Company, Salmon Berry Tours, and Arctic Circle Aurora Overnight Adventures also offer excursions and tours to sea the Northern Lights. Even though you will have to travel beyond Anchorage and wake up in the middle of the night, it will be worth it to have the chance to witness this rare event.
If it is summertime, you won’t be able to see the Northern Lights in person, but you can catch the Aurora – Alaska’s Great Northern Lights show. This show features the photography of Dave Parkhurst. It lasts 60 minutes and runs daily throughout the summer.
Midnight Sun ATV Tours
On an evening guided ATV tour, you will see mountains and gorgeous scenery as you explore Alaska’s wilderness on an ATV. Your guide will tell you about Alaska’s history and wildlife as you make your way to the starting point. Then, you will have the chance to drive your ATV through the forest to a scenic outlook where you can watch the sunset.
A Dinner Cruise in Alaska
Alaska dinner cruises are available throughout Alaska. They combine delicious food with entertainment and beautiful scenery. Many offer a glimpse into history and Alaskan culture. These are a great way to spend a relaxing evening.
Theater, Comedy, and Shows
With its wide-ranging selection of shows ranging from Shakespeare to comedy, Alaska’s theater has something for everyone. Whether you are looking for serious theater or an evening of hilarious comedy, you will find it in Anchorage. If you enjoy musicals or the symphony, you will find them at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. Movie theaters and plenty of other entertainment options can be found in Anchorage as well.
Dancing the Night Away
Do you like to tango or do you prefer square dancing? Either way, you will find many great places for dancing throughout Anchorage and beyond. In downtown Anchorage, you can find contra dancing, swing dancing, ballroom dancing, square dancing events, and just about anything else. If you don’t know how to dance, don’t worry. You can take individual or group dance lessons where you will learn swing dancing, ballroom dancing, square dancing, and more.
Live Music and Concerts
For a state with such a small population, Alaska’s live music scene is quite impressive. A great place to see live music and local talent in Alaska is at Taproot Public House. At Town Square Park, you will find the Live After Five concert series on Friday nights throughout the summer and ice-skating in the winter.
If you are venturing outside of Anchorage, you will also find live music at festivals such as the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, the Copper River Wild’s Salmon Jam, and the Girdwood Forest Fair.
Now that you have some idea of all the things that make the evenings in Anchorage unique and entertaining, here are some recommendations for the best places to go for a fun-filled evening in Alaska’s largest city. With such an active and impressive nightlife, you won’t have any trouble finding entertainment options, live music, and great places to hang out and have a beer. The scene is casual and low-key and offers something for everyone, adults and kids alike.
For live music, check out Chilkoot Charlies, also known as Koot’s, where you will find a selection of live bands playing throughout the venue’s four different rooms that host music of all genres on weekend nights.
Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse, with over 40 beers on draft, also offers live music on most nights. If you like to watch sports, this is the place for you. For something fun and unique, check out Mad Myrna’s, a lively gay club where you will find drag shows, cabaret performances, karaoke nights, and more. Hang out in the back patio and enjoy their tasty cocktails.
You can also find plenty of evening tours and attractions in Anchorage that are great for the whole family. For example, you can take a four-hour photo safari or a stroll through historic Anchorage with Alaska Photo Treks at sunset. Tours begin at 6 and last for approximately two and a half hours.
Anchorage Trolley tours will take you on a delightful evening tour of historic Anchorage. This scenic tour is relaxing and informative and will last for about an hour. Highlights include Earthquake Park, Alaska Railroad, Westchester Lagoon, and venturing through Anchorage’s historic neighborhoods.
The Alaska Zoo in Anchorage is open until 9 pm during the summer months. It is located on 25 acres of Anchorage Hillside and is home to over 100 birds and mammals. The Alaska Botanical Garden, a 110-acre garden is also open in the evening. It features a boreal forest and cultivated gardens with many varieties of plants and native flora. Several of Anchorage’s museums and galleries have evening hours as well.
For an extra thrill, you might want to try an evening ghost tour of Anchorage or to visit an Alaska escape room. Alaska ghost tours begin at 7:30 pm and take you on a two-hour walking tour of the city’s haunted sites, while escape rooms are interactive and fun experiences that are great for all ages. Alaska Escape Rooms, Avalanche Escape rooms, and Escape Anchorage are a few places to check out for a fun-filled evening of intrigue and mystery.
There are also possibilities for outdoor activities during the evening and night hours especially in the summertime. For example, you might take an evening hike or rent a bike and take a self-guided bike tour. Other options are nighttime fishing, looking for wildlife in the parks, or simply strolling around one of Anchorage’s many historic neighborhoods.
Bars in Anchorage
Of course, you will find plenty of options for traditional nightlife in Anchorage’s many bars and pubs as well. Alaska is currently ranked eighth in the nation for its number of breweries; handcrafted beers can be found at brewpubs throughout the state, and brewery tours and festivals are popular events. Although some bars have already been mentioned, here are some additional iconic bars in Anchorage that you should be sure to check out.
Bear Tooth Theatre Pub and Bear Tooth Grill
Enjoy a second-run, indie movie, or concert while dining on an excellent meal and sipping on a microbrew at this charming and comfy theater. A full dinner is delivered to you during the film, and the menu has a wide selection of dishes. Beer Tooth Grill is a great place for concerts, snacks, and fine beers.
49th State Brewing Company
Located in the center of downtown Anchorage, this venue offers locally-sourced food, a selection of craft beers, and magnificent views from its rooftop deck. The beer is brewed onsite, and the menu offers something for everyone. While you dine, you can look out at the Alaska Range and Cook Inlet.
This gastropub offers a unique fusion of traditional Mexican dishes made with classic Alaskan ingredients. The cocktails are handcrafted and delicious, and even the tables are handmade. Located in downtown Anchorage, Tequila 61’s rustic atmosphere promises you a unique experience that is fun for the whole family.
If you like to sample homemade beers, this is the place for you. Cozy and rustic with a large fireplace and an inviting atmosphere, Glacier Brewhouse is loved by locals and tourists alike. You can take a peak at the brewing equipment, which is on display for all to see.
Flattop Pizza and Pool
This is a great place to watch the game while indulging on delicious homemade pizza and beer. It offers a relaxed atmosphere, a DJ on the weekends, and many fun events. A calendar of events can be found on Flattop’s website.
F Street Station
The oldest bar in Anchorage still in its original location, F Street Station is known for its delicious seafood and open kitchen. It can be hard to find a spot at this small and busy bar which doesn’t take reservations, but it is worth the effort.
Known for excellent beer, great drinks and friendly service, Darwin’s Theory is a fun place to hang out with the locals and catch a game. They even offer free popcorn and are open seven days a week.
The Snow Goose Restaurant
With a great view of Sleeping Lady and Cook Inlet from their open deck, the Snow Goose is a great place to catch live music and taste homemade beer. Special events to watch out for include a live musical act on Firkin Fridays, Acoustic Saturdays, and Open Mic Night on Thursdays.
A Few Final Tips about Anchorage Nightlife
As you set out for your Anchorage nightlife adventure, here are a few final tips to keep in mind. First of all, don’t ring any bells unless you plan to buy a round for the house. Also, keep in mind that some bars don’t serve food and that the nightlife scene is casual and laid back for the most part. Finally, you will be glad to know that visitors find Anchorage to be safe and rarely experience any problems.
While you probably are going to Alaska primarily to see the beautiful scenery and wildlife, the interesting and unique nightlife offers an added bonus you won’t want to miss. Whatever part of Anchorage you are in and whatever types of activities you enjoy, you will find plenty of things to keep you busy during the evenings and nights. Whether you like bars, theater, dancing, or outdoor activities under the stars, the nightlife in Anchorage is sure to be a pleasant surprise and the source of many lasting memories.