Plan Your Trip - Spring 2019
- GCI Headquarters
2550 Denali, Suite 1600
Anchorage, AK 99503
- Phone: 1-907-265-5600
Contact: Maureen Moore
Details are still being worked out, but GCI plans to host the two-day meeting at its offices in Anchorage, with stunning views of the mountains (on a clear day). GCI HQ is located about 10 mins from the conference hotel. Further information, such as building access requirements, etc. will be provided closer to the meeting date.
- Hotel Captain Cook
939 West 5th Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501
- Contact: Alex Wong
Direct line: 907-343-2486
Located in downtown Anchorage, The Hotel Captain Cook is where celebrities and movie stars stay when they visit Anchorage—and with good reason. Luxury abounds throughout Anchorage’s grand dame, set amidst the city’s shopping and attractions. The décor recounts Cook’s voyages of long ago, but this 20-story, 546-room hotel with 96 suites is thoroughly modern, offering a full business center and free wi-fi. It also offers excellent views of downtown, the Chugach Mountains, and a chance to see Mt. McKinley.
Rooms are outfitted with custom-made furniture and other elegant touches such as plush bathrobes, Gilchrist & Soames amenities, down comforters, and 250-thread-count sheets with double sheeting. The personal touches don’t end with the décor. The dedicated staff boasts a number of lifetime employees—they're great experts on Anchorage life—and service is consistently rated as exceptional. Just wandering the hotel offers a dose of culture and history: the hotel offers an art walking tour to see original artwork, as well as a replica of Captain Cook’s diary from the 1700s.
Free access to hotel Athletic Club is provided to all guests of The Hotel Captain Cook. The Club includes massage service, an indoor pool and separate men and women’s gyms-- each with a workout room, steam room, and sauna.
Alaska's beauty and summer daylight from mid-May to mid-September are pegged as the best time to visit Alaska. The days are long, nature is in full bloom, the air is alive with energy, and a visit anytime during this period will be unlike anything you've ever experienced.
Alaska's sky is light nearly all night long from late May to late July (unless you're out and about at 3am). And it's light past 10pm for another month on either side of that. Note: You may want to consider bringing a sleeping mask due to the midnight sun. The curtains in the hotel should suffice, but just in case. Use our Alaska daylight calculator to find out when the sun will set during your trip.
You'll find Alaska's temperatures surprisingly pleasant. Daytime highs range from 60°F - 80°F. Nighttime lows are refreshingly cool, dipping into the 40's - 50's. May is typically dry, with only a 25% chance of measurable rain on any given day. See AccuWeather @ https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/anchorage-ak/99501/may-weather/346835).
The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) services all flights to Anchorage and only a few minutes from downtown (5 miles) so you won’t waste any time in transit. With historically low airfares and more frequent flights than ever before, Anchorage is within easy reach from many U.S. airports. Roughly fifty destinations are accessible from ANC via nonstop or direct flights, including destinations in 14 U.S. states and the countries of Canada, Germany, Iceland, and Russia.
The South Terminal (domestic) serves Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Condor (Departures), Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Sun Country, and United Airlines. The North Terminal (international) serves Condor (Frankfurt), Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Icelandair, and Yakutia Airlines.
There are numerous ground transportation options available from ANC to downtown Anchorage. For convenience, numbers for a list of transportation options are provided below:
Town Car Services: Luxury limousines/town cars offer pre-arranged services to destinations within Anchorage. Some of the well-rated services include:
- BAC Transportation: (866) 589-5466 | (907) 222-2600
- Limo Service Anchorage: (907) 268-4252
- Anchorage Limo Service: (907) 268-4916
Taxi Services: Taxicabs are readily available from the airport, but cab serves don’t appear to be very well rated in Anchorage. For a one-way taxicab ride from the airport to the hotel (downtown Anchorage), you can expect to pay about $20 to $25.
- City Taxi: (907) 333-3330
- Checker Cab: (907) 333-3330
- Alaska Yellow Dispatch: (907) 222-2222
Car Hire: You’ll find all the top car-rental companies in Anchorage: Hertz, Avis, Thrifty, Dollar, Budget, Enterprise, Alamo, and National, as well as locally owned companies like Alaska Auto Rental and Alaska 4x4 Rentals. Contact information for some of the major operators include:
- Alaska Auto Rentals: (907) 457-7368
- Avis Rent A Car Anchorage West International: (907) 277-4567
- Hertz Rent A Car Anchorage Airport: (907) 243-4118
- Thrifty Car Rental Anchorage Airport: (907) 276-2855
Uber/Lyft: Both ride-hailing companies are now allowed to operate in Alaska. Use your smartphone app to hail a ride. On the South Terminal, the pickup location is along the curb on the upper level (Departures) on Doors 1, 3, 4 and 8. On the North Terminal, the pickup location is right on the curb when you exit the terminal.
What to do and see in Anchorage
Some Tour Options:
- Anchorage Trolley Tour: (1 hour) $20.00 https://anchoragetrolley.com/
- PicTours Alaska: http://www.pictoursalaska.com. Contact Bob: 1 (907) 441-2274
- Custom and expanded tours can be arranged for glacier viewing by helicopter, fixed wing planes, walk-on glacier excursions or sea-bound glacier viewing.
- Note: Website isn’t very well done, but the company is the TripAdvisor 2018 Certificate of Excellence winner and the 2018 winner of the Travel and Hospitality Award for “Best Things to Do in Anchorage.” I also contacted the owner, Bob, and he’s been VERY responsive! He has even extended us a 10% discount (use the code Alaska Rocks) on the following tours:
- OPTION 1 & 2: (3 hours) $145/passenger. ($130.50 with discount applied.)
- #1 - Wilderness, Wildlife & Glacier Excursion| departs 12 p.m.
- #2 - SUNSET Wilderness & Glacier Tour| departs 5:30 p.m.
Learn about our rich history of early Native American inhabitants, gold rush saga's and hear about those interesting events that has made Anchorage a beacon of adventure. We depart from downtown Anchorage and drive along the Turnagain Arm, a beautifully wondrous glacial waterway.
See scenic backdrops, snow-capped mountains, frozen waterfalls, and topaz-blue glaciers. We make stops to the very best unspoiled locations. Just relax and soak up the pristine beauty during this award-winning excursion. This tour is a boots-to-the-ground adventure that is well guided. With that said, every tour is very Senior Friendly and created for ease for all levels of abilities.
Wildlife & Glaciers are the main course. See amazing wildlife in their natural setting. From cliff-defying Mountain Goats to high soaring American bald eagles, you will be safely le d to see the abundance that nature offers. See the astonishing "Ring of Glaciers" that surrounds one of the Chugach National Forest's largest glacier lake.
Free Photography Instructions. Whether a cellphone camera or DSLR, we share our experience in coaching you to capture stunning photos of your Alaska vacation.
Free Access to Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Meet BJ, Patron & Hugo, three large Alaskan brown bear that will warm your heart. See Wood Bison, wolves and many animals that call Alaska home.
Note: Sunset tour may exclude Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in lieu of timely, or higher scenic views.
- OPTION 3: Top Three City Attractions in One Tour (3 hours) $120.00 ($108 with discount applied) departs 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, & 3 pm
Alaska Botanical Gardens: Take in the beauty of Alaska's native flora and northern-hardy perennials at this tranquil garden located amidst 110 acres of boreal forest.
The Alaska Zoo: Located on 25 acres on the Anchorage Hillside. The zoo is currently home to more than 100 birds and mammals, representing some 50 species. The zoo has the widest variety of animals native to the state of Alaska such as polar bear, as well as some exotics such as Amur tigers, Bactrian camels, and yaks.
The Anchorage Museum: Bring the best of Alaska to the world and the best of the world to Alaska. Through a combination of art and design, history, science and culture, the Anchorage Museum creates a rich, deep understanding of the human experience and offers something for everyone.
- OPTION 4: Super Day Tour: (full day) $245 per person. ($220.50 with discount applied)
This full day tour from Anchorage includes all entry/ admission fees and a full-guided excursion to each attraction. Highlights include:
- scenic ride along the Turnagain Arm and the All-American Road and National Scenic Byway with scenic photo-stops along the way
- aerial tram ride up Mt. Alyeska with lunch. From the top (weather permitting) take in views of several glaciers and the upper reaches of a temperate rainforest.
- visit to the Alaska Wildlife and Conservation Center, a 200-acre natural habitat that provides wildlife education and rehabilitation for some of Alaska’s favorite animals! This is Alaska’s only guaranteed wildlife viewing! Get close enough to observe and photograph some of our favorite land animals such as Bald Eagles, moose, reindeer, bison, wolves, and more!
- a one-hour cruise across Portage Lake to Portage Glacier! Your captain aboard the MV (Motor Vessel) Ptarmigan will guide you to the face of the glacier for photo opportunities! An on-board naturalist guide will share facts about the Portage Valley and answer any questions you may have.
- Return to Hotel with Live Onboard Entertainment!
- Salmon Berry Travel & Tours: https://www.salmonberrytours.com
- Group and custom tours, even last-minute bookings if space is available (min. two people)
- Anchorage Museums and Cultural Center – www.anchoragemuseum.org
- Alaska Native Culture Center - www.alaskanative.net
- Anchorage Market and Festival – Downtown anchorage Saturdays and Sundays (May-Sept)
- Hike Flat Top Mountain
- Walk/Bike the Coastal Trail
Matanuska-Susitna Valley (Mat-Su) – (45-90 minute north of Anchorage)
- Independence Mine in Wasilla - http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/indmine.htm
- Some amazing views, hiking and a little Alaska history
- Reindeer Farm www.reindeerfarm.com (Palmer) Mush Ox Farm www.muskoxfarm.org (Palmer)
- Matanuska Glacier www.matanuska-glacier.com - Great photo op, hiking and guided tours.
- Talkeetna - www.talkeetnachamber.org
- Great views of Mount McKinley .
- Fun town, great food and beer, ziplines, flight tours etc.
- Princess Lodging www.princesslodges.com
- Happy Trail Kennels - Visit Martin Buser’s Happy Trails Kennels www.buserdog.com
- Alaska Railroad – take the train to Denali, overnight packages available www.alaskarailroad.com (~7 hour trip OW)
Girdwood/Portage Glacier – (45-60 minute scenic drive south of Anchorage)
- Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center - www.alaskawildlife.org (My favorite day trip)
- Girdwood Alyeska Resort – www.alyeskaresort.com
- Alpine Air Helicopter tours www.alpineairalaska.com 907-783-2360
- Portage Glacier www.alaskatrekker.com/portage.htm
Seward – Kenai Peninsula (~2 hours scenic drive south of Anchorage)
- Seward Fishing Club – www.sewardfishingclub.com Deep sea fishing for Salmon, Halibut and more.
- Alaska Northern Outfitters - https://alaskanorthernoutfitters.com The Ultimate Fishing Experience
- Alaska Sea life Center
- Sea Kayaking www.sunnycove.com
- Prince William Sound Glacier Cruises www.majormarine.com
- Seavey’s Iditaride sled Dog Tours www.ididaride.com
- Hike Exit Glacier – There are two main hiking trails one is an easy 1 mile takes you up close to see the Glacier. The Harding Ice field Trail is about 7 ½ Miles and is considered a strenuous hike.
Cooper Landing - Kenai Peninsula (~2 hours south of Anchorage)
- Fishing or Rafting – Alaska Rivers Company, they also offer cabins www.alaskariverscompany.com
- Kenai Princess Lodge - www.princesslodges.com/kenai_lodge.cfm
Homer - Kenai Peninsula (~4 hours south of Anchorage)
- Bear Viewing - www.katmaialaskabearviewing.com
- Halibut Fishing - www.bighalibut.com/
- Kayaking - www.truenorthkayak.com
- Land’s End Resort – Best views in AK www.lands-end-resort.com
Note: In the interests of full disclosure—or perhaps an indirect commendation—Alaska Northern Outfitters is owned by Maureen’s brother! But all joking aside, the fishing charter company gets great independent reviews—5/5 on TripAdvisor, 4.4 on Google, and 4.9 on Facebook. If fishing is on your wish list, be sure to check them out for yourself!