Anchorage’s nightlife is like no other, combining the warmth of friendly locals, the richness of Alaskan culture, and the magical allure of the Northern Lights. I’m thrilled to take you on a journey through Anchorage’s bars, breweries, and the enchanting world of the Northern Lights.
A Night to Remember in Downtown Anchorage
My Anchorage nightlife adventure began in downtown Anchorage, where the city’s heart beats loudest after sunset. I was met with a bustling scene of locals and tourists alike, all seeking to immerse themselves in the unique blend of northern culture and urban entertainment.
The Perfect Start: Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse
To kick off the night, I decided to start with some local brews at Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse, a beloved establishment right in the heart of downtown. The atmosphere was lively, and the friendly staff made me feel right at home. The best part? They have one of the most extensive selections of Alaskan beers in the city.
I ordered a flight of craft beers, and the flavors danced on my palate like a well-orchestrated symphony. From the robust maltiness of the porter to the crisp and refreshing notes of the Alaskan Summer Ale, I was in beer-lover’s paradise. The whole experience set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse offers not only a fantastic beer selection but also a tasty menu of Alaskan cuisine. I couldn’t resist trying the reindeer sausage and halibut tacos, which were a delightful introduction to local flavors.
The Price of Pleasure
A flight of craft beer at Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse will set you back around $12, but the taste is well worth it. The pub offers happy hour specials, so be sure to check their schedule for the best deals.
Unwinding at Anchorage’s Breweries
Anchorage is known for its craft beer scene, and I was determined to explore it to the fullest. My next stop was the Midnight Sun Brewing Company, where the ambiance was more intimate and cozy, like a cherished corner of a friend’s living room.
Midnight Sun Brewing Company: Where Beer is Art
Midnight Sun Brewing Company prides itself on treating beer like a work of art. As I sipped on their Panty Peeler Belgian-style tripel, I could taste the dedication and passion that goes into every brew. The artwork on the labels and the creative beer names added to the brewery’s unique character.
If you visit during the brewery’s tour hours, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process and learn about the craftsmanship that goes into each beer.
The brewery offers a range of beers, from the award-winning Arctic Rhino Coffee Porter to the bold flavors of the Berserker Imperial Stout. It’s a place where you can truly savor the essence of Alaskan craft beer.
The Taste of Art
A flight of beers at Midnight Sun Brewing Company will cost you around $16, but the experience of enjoying beer as a form of art is truly priceless.
Northern Lights at Chena Hot Springs
As the night deepened, I decided to take a detour from the city lights to experience one of nature’s most spectacular performances—the Northern Lights. My destination was Chena Hot Springs Resort, a place that offers not only relaxation in natural hot springs but also the chance to witness the magic of the Aurora Borealis.
Chasing the Lights
Chena Hot Springs Resort is about 60 miles from Fairbanks, but the journey is well worth it. I joined a guided Aurora tour and was equipped with a warm parka and boots. We trekked into the wilderness, far from the city lights, and waited in anticipation.
And then it happened. The night sky came alive with curtains of green, blue, and pink lights that danced and swirled like ethereal spirits. The Northern Lights had put on a show, and I was a privileged spectator.
The guided tour provided not only transportation to the remote location but also hot beverages and snacks to keep us warm during the wait. The guides were knowledgeable and shared fascinating stories about the science and legends surrounding the Northern Lights.
The Price of Magic
The guided Aurora tour at Chena Hot Springs Resort costs around $75 per person. The experience of witnessing the Northern Lights is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Anchorage during the right season.
A Nightcap at Anchorage’s 49th State Brewing Company
After the enchanting experience of the Northern Lights, I returned to Anchorage and wrapped up the night with a nightcap at the 49th State Brewing Company. This brewery is known for its stunning views of the Chugach Mountains and a warm, rustic atmosphere.
49th State Brewing Company: A Perfect Ending
I ordered a dessert beer called the Birch Syrup Brown Ale, a sweet and velvety brew that tasted like a delicious slice of pie in liquid form. I enjoyed it by the fire pit on the brewery’s outdoor deck, surrounded by the mountains and under the vast Alaskan sky.
As I sipped on my beer and gazed at the stars, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for the day’s adventures and the unique experiences Anchorage had offered.
49th State Brewing Company not only offers a wide range of craft beers but also a menu featuring Alaskan-inspired dishes. The brewery’s wood-fired pizzas, fresh salmon, and reindeer chili are just a few examples of the delectable offerings that complement their beer selection.
The Perfect End to the Night
A dessert beer at 49th State Brewing Company will cost you around $8. It’s the ideal way to conclude a night of exploration and enjoyment.
Anchorage Nightlife: Tips for a Memorable Experience
To ensure you have a memorable night out in Anchorage, here are some valuable tips and details to consider:
Embrace the Breweries and Bars
Anchorage’s breweries and bars are renowned for their quality and variety of craft beers. When planning your night, keep the following in mind:
- Cover Charges: Many establishments may have a cover charge, typically ranging from $5 to $10. It’s a small price to pay for the fantastic atmosphere and brews you’ll enjoy.
- Happy Hour Specials: Be sure to check the schedules for happy hour specials. This is when you can snag great deals on drinks and sometimes even appetizers. It’s an excellent way to experience the local flavors without breaking the bank.
- Tipping Etiquette: In the United States, tipping is customary, and it’s generally expected to tip around 15% to 20% of your total bill. This goes for your bartenders and servers. Anchorage’s friendly service industry workers will appreciate your generosity.
Chasing the Northern Lights: Making the Most of Your Experience
Experiencing the Northern Lights is a dream come true for many travelers, and Anchorage is an excellent place to witness this natural phenomenon. To ensure you make the most of your Northern Lights adventure, here are some valuable tips and additional recommendations:
The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are most active between late August and early April in Anchorage. Planning your trip within this timeframe significantly increases your chances of witnessing the lights at their most vibrant and dynamic. It’s during these months that the night sky comes alive with breathtaking colors and patterns.
Booking a guided Northern Lights tour is a wise choice for several reasons. These tours offer:
- Expert Guidance: Knowledgeable guides are well-versed in the science and folklore of the Northern Lights. They provide fascinating insights into the phenomenon, enhancing your appreciation of this natural wonder.
- Optimal Locations: The guides take you to carefully chosen locations away from city lights, which is essential for a clear and vivid view of the aurora. These remote spots provide the ideal backdrop for your Northern Lights experience.
- Convenience: Guided tours often include transportation, ensuring you reach your destination comfortably. This is especially important in Anchorage’s colder months, when navigating snow-covered terrain can be challenging.
Alaska’s nighttime temperatures can drop significantly, even during the aurora season. To stay comfortable and fully enjoy the Northern Lights, make sure you dress warmly:
- Layering: Wear multiple layers to trap heat. A thermal base layer, followed by an insulating layer, and a waterproof outer layer is an effective combination.
- Insulated Boots: Insulated, waterproof boots are essential to keep your feet warm and dry. Cold feet can detract from your experience.
- Hat and Gloves: A warm hat and gloves are a must to protect your extremities from the cold. They prevent heat loss from your head and hands.
- Hand Warmers: Consider bringing hand warmers in case the cold becomes intense. These small, portable heat sources can be a lifesaver in frigid conditions.
By following these tips and taking advantage of guided Northern Lights tours, you’ll increase your chances of witnessing the Aurora Borealis in all its splendor. Anchorage offers a remarkable opportunity to connect with one of nature’s most awe-inspiring displays, and with the right preparations, you’ll have an unforgettable experience to cherish for a lifetime.
Anchorage’s nightlife is a symphony of experiences that will leave you with memories to cherish. From the craft beers at Humpy’s and Midnight Sun Brewing Company to the breathtaking spectacle of the Northern Lights at Chena Hot Springs and the relaxing nightcap at 49th State Brewing Company, Anchorage has it all.
So when you come to Anchorage, be sure to dress up and go experience a unique blend of Alaskan culture, natural wonders, and the warm camaraderie of Anchorage nightlife. It’s a journey that you’ll treasure for a lifetime. Cheers to unforgettable nights in the Last Frontier.