City Guide to Anchorage

What to do in Anchorage, Alaska as a Travel Nurse

The saying, “no pain, no gain” can be applied to all kinds of situations in life. When it comes to travel nurse jobs in Anchorage, Alaska , it speaks to the monumental rewards you will reap if you are able to endure the extreme climate, if only temporarily. Yes, it’s cold. But not unbearably so. And the opportunities you will have to experience Mother Nature in her purest form will make it more than worth your while. Anchorage is Alaska’s most populous city, with more than 400,000 residents, so it is by no means desolate. The city offers numerous outdoor activities, rich arts and cultural experiences and plenty to eat, drink, do and Instagram while you are there. Here is our travel guide for travel nurses heading to Anchorage for a travel assignment.

Eat This!

Snow City Cafe

This popular downtown breakfast, brunch and lunch spot offers a made-from-scratch menu that’ll make you feel like you’re in a trendy, big-city restaurant. This is definitely a local favorite, and the vibe is very warm and friendly, despite the frigid temperatures outdoors. Seasonal specials like the Cluck Norris Scramble, red velvet pancakes and the Drive-Thru Sandwich are served alongside traditional favorites like omelets, French toast and scrambled eggs. They also offer a variety of healthy options including homemade granola, as well as a variety of vegan and gluten-free menu choices. Excellent food and friendly staff have earned them “Best Breakfast” awards from the Anchorage Press annually since 2003.


Travel nurses on assignment in Anchorage, Alaska have a chance to experience some of the freshest, most delectable seafood on the planet. There are several places in the city that offer it, and one of the local favorites is Orso. Sockeye salmon, crab stuffed rockfish, seared black cod and halibut are just some of the sumptuous options from local waters, and trust us, you’ll want to try them all! The restaurant is also known for its pasta, grilled meats and an award-winning wine list. And wait until you see the desserts! Be sure to try the white cheddar cheesecake. The restaurant also hosts a very popular happy hour every day from 3pm to 6m, and again from 9pm to close, with specials on both drinks and small plates.

Drink This!

Black Cup Café Del Mundo

You know a city with an average annual high temperature of 43 degrees must have somebody who can make a decent cup of coffee! Black Cup fits the bill. In fact, with its trendy décor and industrial, loft-style space, you may just feel like you walked into a hipster coffee shop in Portland or even Brooklyn. They source their coffees from around the world to provide “extraordinary coffee best served black.” Of course, you don’t have to drink your coffee black as the café offers a variety of beverage options, including all your favorite coffee and tea possibilities. Baked goods, lighter fare such as salads, and gelato are also available. Be sure to check out the cute little gift-shop area with t-shirts and coffee cups designed by a shop employee.

Moose's Tooth Pub and Pizzeria

While technically not a watering hole, the Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria does serve drinks, and this is definitely a place you’ll want to visit if you’re ever in Anchorage on a travel nurse assignment. The company’s brewery division, Broken Tooth Brewery, brews dozens of craft beer varieties every year, including ales, stouts and IPAs. Additionally, they offer a number of revolving taps, such as passionfruit pale ale, coffee brown, tropical IPA, pale lager and many others. Craft beer aficionados will never leave the Moose’s Tooth disappointed. Aside from the fact that this establishment also serves some truly outstanding pizzas topped with your favorite veggies, meats and even local seafood, you’ll fall in love with the lively atmosphere that makes it a favorite hangout among locals and visitors alike.

Do This!

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

This sanctuary is dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, education, research and quality animal care. Surrounded by the Chugach Mountain Range and the Turn again Arm Inlet, the center provides more than 200 acres of animal enclosures accessible by foot or car on a scenic, 1.5-mile loop. This is an excellent opportunity to experience a number of native Alaskan wildlife up close and personal, including bears, moose, reindeer, bison, elk, caribou, wolves, coyotes, foxes and more. The center offers tours which give you access to a personal guide who will walk you through the grounds and provide the history and personal stories of the resident animals.

Portage Glacier

Located within the Chugach National Forest, Portage Glacier is simply one of those “must see” things that draw travel nurses to assignments in Anchorage. Because, you know, it’s a glacier! And how often are you going to get to see one of those suckers? This is quite possibly one of the most breathtaking things you will see in your lifetime. In the winter months, the lake surrounding it is often frozen, allowing people to bike, ski, skate or even walk right up to it. A number of tours are available to enhance your viewing experience by boat during the warmer months. The on-site visitor center offers a variety of educational materials as well as souvenirs.

Instagram This!

The Northern Lights

Many travel nurses take travel assignments in Alaska for one specific reason: the chance to see the Northern Lights, otherwise known as the aurora borealis. The best time to view this spectacular natural phenomenon from Anchorage is between the months of September and April, on nights with clear, moonless skies. The vivid jewel-toned hues of greens, yellows, reds, blues and purples swirling and dancing in the sky are mesmerizing, and they will help you create some of the most stunning photography you will ever share with your followers on social media. Ask some of the locals to share their prime viewing spots or hire a guide to show you when and where to get the best shots.

Denali National Park and Preserve

If you want to snap a photo of the tallest mountain in North America – standing at 20,310 feet -- you’ll have to pay a visit to Denali National Park. Encompassing approximately six million acres of pristine wilderness, the park offers numerous activities for outdoors lovers, including camping, biking, backpacking, hiking and mountaineering. In fact, vehicles are only allowed in the first 15 miles leading into the park. After that, you’ll be required to use the park bus system to travel further. The park also offers the opportunity to see wildlife in the wild including grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou and Dall sheep. Start your visit at the Denali Visitor Center to view exhibits, watch films and get more information about all the park has to offer.

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