25 Best & Fun Things to Do in Girdwood (AK)

Girdwood is a unique resort town found just a 45-minute drive from the eastern side of Anchorage, in Alaska State, United States.

It is commonly known as “Glacier City” due to the icy behemoths at the edge of the mountains surrounding it.

Girdwood attracts visitors from different parts of the country because of its exceptional luxury expedition. It had a population of 1,742 in 2019.

You get to meet and interact with people from different faces of life while you explore the wonderful outdoors.

As an eclectic town, it is a place for different kinds of tourists, including indoor and outdoor enthusiasts.

The best places to visit in Girdwood, AK, include Portage Glacier Cruises, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Alyeska Resort Ski Area, Alpine Air Alaska, Girdwood Brewing Company, Crow Creek Gold Mine, and more.

Are you planning an exploration of Girdwood? Here are the best things to do in Girdwood, AK.

Things to Do in Girdwood

1. Portage Glacier Cruises

Portage Glacier Cruises
Credits: Juno Kim / Shutterstock
Portage Glacier Cruises

Portage Glacier Cruises, another exceptional attraction in Girdwood, is a favorite destination for many visitors and locals.

Portage Glacier Cruises takes visitors on the Mv Ptarmigan within 300 yards of the glacier’s face; it is the only certified boat allowed to function on Portage Lake; during your tour, you will be educated about the glacier and its surroundings.

The boat is entirely covered and warmed up with large windows through which visitors enjoy amazing views as ice falls off the glacier and into the waters.

Touring with Portage Glacier Cruises is one of the fun things to do in Girdwood, AK, if you want a true escape away from all the bustling and hustling of the world.

 Address: 1500 Byron Glacier Rd, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

2. Ascending Path

Ascending Path
Credits: RTimages / Shutterstock

Ascending Path has been in existence for long, dating back to 1995. It has gained all the experience in Alaska to offer visitors special moments.

They offer unique and original packages that grant visitors an opportunity to choose whether to go on a guided hike around the rainforest, paddle a pair of surf kayaks through an iceberg Valley, or embark on a glacier hike.

They offer many fun things, such as rail tours, day hiking, glaciers tours, and helicopter tours.

The company also offers visitors chances to explore glaciers by going on an overnight glamping trip which consists of hiking, camping, a fantastic helicopter ride, and catered dishes.

Address: Race Training Center, Arlberg Ave, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

3. Alyeska Aerial Tram

Alyeska Aerial Tram
Credits: beadwoman / Flickr
Alyeska Aerial Tram

The Alyeska Aerial Tram is a 5-minute ride away from Hotel Alyeska, leading to the peak of Mount Alyeska.

Visitors will appreciate the comprehensive view of the surroundings during the ride, including the Turnagain Arm, the Chugach Mountain range’s peaks, and other glaciers.

You might find moose and bear roaming the area during the summer, as they are very common at the Alyeska Aerial Tram.

Enjoy a clearer and closer view of the magnificent mountains, glistening streams, and local wildlife.

Address: Tram Cir, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

4. Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park
Credits: Robert Szymanski / Shutterstock
Chugach State Park

Encompassing about 495,000 acres of land space, Chugach State Park is one of the United States’ biggest state parks.

Due to the rugged topography and various landforms of the Park, it has become a popular place for lovers of nature and those seeking adventure.

The Park features several aspects which you shouldn’t forget to check out, including the sweeping fields and the Wrangell Mountains.

Chugach State Park features trails of more than 280 miles which makes the Park perfect for horseback riders, hikers, boaters, and bikers.

You can also explore the Park using ATVs and set up a tent on any of the campsites or rent a cabin.

Address: 18620 Seward Hwy, Anchorage, AK 99516, United States

5. Alyeska Resort Ski Area

Alyeska Resort Ski Area
Credits: Steven Thao / Shutterstock
Alyeska Resort Ski Area

The Alyeska Resort Ski Area is the number one place to have an amazing time during winter; it is commonly known as “Winter Wonderland.”

The Resort features a slidable area of 1,610 acres, making it ideal for both beginners and professional skiers.

The 76 marked trails of the ski area residences are exhilarating and fun due to the annual snow of around 700 inches.

The Alyeska Resort Ski Area features seven lifts that will take exactly 2,500 feet in the air, including magic carpets, an aerial tram that can carry up to sixty persons, and more. You can also explore some of the challenging ski trails, which are deep and steep.

Address: 1000 Arlberg Ave, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

6. Winner Creek Trail

Winner Creek Trail
Credits: Nicole_N / Shutterstock
Winner Creek Trail

Winner Creek Trail, a popular place for visitors and locals, offers them the chance to get close to nature and truly explore Girdwood.

Winner Creek Trail features a 9-mile trail on the upper section offering amazing mountain views with a popular 3-mile route on the lower part.

These trails are adequately maintained. At short intervals, you will find a nice hand tram to gradually assist you in dragging yourself across the thrashing Glacier Greek.

Though the creek extends for about one hundred feet below the metal cage that takes you over it, it is absolutely safe.

Address: Winner Creek Trail, Anchorage, AK 99587, United States

7. Alpine Air Alaska

Alpine Air Alaska
Credits: Alpine Air Alaska, LLC / Facebook
Alpine Air Alaska

Founded in 1991, Alpine Air Alaska offers exceptional flightseeing exploration, including air transport services.

Alpine Air Alaska is available to locals and visitors as they have a memorable helicopter tour through one of the US’s most glaciated Mountain ranges. Exploring the town with Alpine Air Alaska is one of the fun things to do in Girdwood, AK.

They offer different tour packages such as 30-minute, 60 minutes and 90 minutes tours, all of which feature a tour guide who educates you about the area’s history and other essential facts.

The 90 minutes and 60 minutes tours consist of a landing directly or beside glaciers, according to the weather situation.

Address; 599 Mt Hood Dr, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

8. Girdwood Brewing Company

Girdwood Brewing Company
Credits: id-art / Shutterstock

Girdwood was established by a group of friends dedicated to making fresh and delicious beer in the region.

The Girdwood Brewing Company is a 3,040-square-foot facility featuring the brewery and taproom. In this fantastic place, people can gather, relax and chat.

The beers are prepared using special recipes polished by brew engineers and Rory & Brett Marenco, twin brothers.

Some drinks include the Hippy Speedball, the IP-AK, the house IPA, the Salmon Slayer, the chocolatey coffee stout, and more. For beer lovers, visiting Girdwood Brewing Company should be on your list of the top things to do in Girdwood, AK.

Address: 2700 Alyeska Hwy, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

9. McHugh Creek Recreation Area

McHugh Creek Recreation Area
Credits: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

Are you ready to get outdoors for an amazing experience with or without your travel companions?

The McHugh Creek Recreation Area is an excellent place for the whole family to hang out and spend quality time together.

There are lots of essential amenities here, including conducive restrooms, parking spaces, and a gorgeous picnic area.

It consists of a waterfall that extends for 20-foot, a short walk away from the parking area, with a mild hike above 1,500 feet before leading to 6.5 miles.

As you hike, you will enjoy picturesque views of the Turnagain Arm and the mountains, the South Suicide Peaks, Rabbit Lake, and McHugh Lake.

Address: 111 Seward Hwy, Anchorage, AK 99507, United States

10. Byron Glacier Trail

Byron Glacier Trail
Credits: Arlene Waller / Shutterstock
Byron Glacier Trail

The Byron Glacier Trail is an incredible place to hang out with family and friends. The Byron Glacier Trail stretches for 1.4-mile long. It is excellent for hikers of various skill levels and ages.

Visitors get to walk through the quiet cottonwood forest before going towards the dribbling whitewater creek to enjoy fantastic views of Bryon Glacier and the gorgeous mountains surrounding it.

The Trail area has numerous things to see and do, such as hunting, fishing, and biking. You can also engage in various winter and water-related activities, including setting up your net or picnic carpet for amazing camping or picnicking.

Address: Winner Creek Trail, Anchorage, AK 99587, United States

11. The Roundhouse at Alyeska

Roundhouse at Alyeska
Credits: Jeffrey Beall [CC BY-SA 4.0], Wikimedia Commons
Roundhouse at Alyeska
The Roundhouse at Alyeska, the only one of its kind, is an interpretive center and mountaintop museum in the state.

The structure dating back to 1960, was once used as a warming hut. Checking it out should be on your list of top things to do in Girdwood, AK. The Roundhouse at Alyeska was initially a popular nice restaurant and lounge.

The renovation to convert it into a museum and interpretive center started in 2003. It is currently open for visitors to stop by and view historic artifacts.

The Roundhouse at Alyeska is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It features old photographs from 1896 to 1904 as part of James Girdwood’s permanent collection. 

Address: 100 Arlberg Ave, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

12. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Credits: C Watts / Flickr
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, an excellent animal refuge in Girdwood, is a great place for animal lovers in the city.

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is dedicated to fending for endangered or wounded animals of different kinds.

It is a preserve of two hundred acres with a natural forest-like environment offering them ample space to roam.

You get to learn about the ways they protect the wildlife of Alaska. At the same time, you also sight several animals in the wilderness.

It is common to see brown bears having fun in the water and wood bison walking around the pastures during your time here.

Visit the fully stocked gift shop for some fantastic souvenirs for your loved ones or yourself to serve as a remembrance of the time you spent here.

Address: Mile 79 Seward Highway, Portage, AK 99587, United States

13. Crow Creek Gold Mine

Crow Creek Gold Mine
Credits: Richard G Smith / Shutterstock
Crow Creek Gold Mine

Travel back in time in Crow Creek Gold Mine, a significant historic site in the region that was founded in 1896.

Visiting Crow Creek Gold Mine is one of the best things to do in Girdwood, AK. It was one of the state’s most popular hydraulic operations for mining gold.

Despite being one of the biggest producers of gold deposits, Crow Creek Gold Mine was shut down. However, it was preserved to offer the new generation insights into how the facility worked.

This place takes visitors of different ages on a fantastic experience as they see rare mining tools and explore the gorgeous gardens and buildings surrounding it.

An accessible hiking trail from the gold mine will bring you to the popular Iditarod Trail, where you can enjoy great views.

This destination is where Colonel Girdwood got the first four gold stakes. It is currently managed by Nate and Kate Williamson, husband & wife miners.

Address: 601 Crow Creek Rd, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

14. Virgin Creek Falls Trail

Virgin Creek Falls Trail
Credits: Jon Manjeot / Shutterstock
Virgin Creek Falls Trail

For those searching for a more difficult but exciting hike, explore the Virgin Creek Falls Trail.

Virgin Creek Falls Trail is a somewhat challenging route taken by visitors through Virgin Falls’ lush rainforest.

This hiking trail of 1 mile has only one way from the starting point of the route to the waterfall; visiting this Trail is one of the best ways to explore the town.

You can walk through the routes and into the dense forest with several pine trees, which serve as shade.

Virgin Creek Falls Trail leads hikers over numerous streams in which they can cool off and relax during their hike. The Trail is surrounded by gorgeous greenery; it is definitely worth the effort and time.

Address: Timberline Drive 1100-1298, Girdwood, Anchorage, AK 99587, United States

15. Seven Glaciers

Seven Glaciers
Credits: Anita Warren-Hampson / Shutterstock
Seven Glaciers

In case you’re looking for what to do in Girdwood, dining at Seven Glaciers is an excellent choice, especially with family and friends.

Seven Glaciers is a fancy Mountaintop restaurant found in the popular Alyeska Resort. It is known for offering romantic and memorable dinners.

As an award-winning restaurant, you have to expect nothing but an incredible dining experience you can’t get elsewhere.

They offer a gorgeous environment and an impressive menu featuring a wide variety of meals for everybody to enjoy.

Seven Glaciers offers a wine list awarded the “Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence.”

The staff is friendly when attending to customers or taking their orders, ensuring they are pleased after their time here.

Address: Alyeska Resort: 1000 Arlberg Avenue, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

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16. The Girdwood Center for the Visual Arts

Girdwood Center for Visual Arts
Credits: Girdwood Center for Visual Arts / Facebook
Girdwood Center for Visual Arts

A nonprofit gallery in Girdwood, the Girdwood Center for the Visual Arts is one of the most popular galleries in the city.

The Girdwood Center for the Visual Arts features the artworks of more than thirty artists from Alaska as a cooperative organization. It is one of the best places to visit in Girdwood, AK.

The gallery is run and managed by volunteers, who put in so much effort to make it a vibrant and relaxing place for artists to unleash their talents to the world.

You will find different art pieces, such as sculptures, photographs, paintings, and many others.

The Girdwood Center for the Visual Arts hosts many events throughout the year, including the Alaska Wild Series.

Address; Olympic Mountain Loop, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

17. The Alyeska Bike Park

Alyeska Bike Park
Credits: maxpro / Shutterstock

One place to visit in Girdwood is the Alyeska Bike Park, a favorite destination for many Mountain bikers in need of adventure.

The Alyeska Bike Park is a one-of-a-kind Mountain biking region that stands out from others; it offers thrilling downhill biking moments featuring logs, flowing trails, and short boardwalks.

The pattern in which the Park was designed offers various options for the downhill trail for bikers of different levels. Make sure you don’t miss the downhill race series and the bike festival, usually held in Alyeska Bike Park.

The Alyeska Bike Park is the best place for bike cruising with family and friends and is perfect for both beginners and professionals.

The bike path was constructed in the mid-90s to replace the previous steward highway following the mountain contour as it attains a height of about 1000 feet.

The Trail is also perfect for hikers, dog walkers, and kids, being widely surrounded by large conifer trees and gorgeous waterfalls.

Address: 1000 Arlberg Ave, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

18. Chair 5 Restaurant and Bar

Chair 5 Restaurant and Bar
Credits: Sierra Chase / Facebook
Chair 5 Restaurant and Bar

For an amazing dinner experience with your family and friends, visit Chair 5 Restaurant and Bar.

Chair 5 Restaurant and Bar is known as the home of Alaska’s authentic deep-dish square pizza, offering visitors and locals the best gourmet burgers and many more since 1983.

The restaurant offers a menu featuring several seafood options unique to Alaska, made in various styles to suit the tastes of different kinds of guests.

Chair 5 Restaurant and Bar offers a perfect menu specifically for kids featuring a variety of pasta, chicken strips, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

They offer sixty microbrews and more than thirty kinds of tequila for an excellent dining experience.

Address: 171 Lindblad Ave, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

19. Potter Section House Historic Site

Potter Section House Historic Site
Credits: JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD [CC BY-SA 3.0], Wikimedia Commons
Potter Section House Historic Site
Whenever you have an opportunity to explore a historical site like Potter Section House Historic Site, make sure you don’t miss it.

Every historic fan should visit the Potter Section House Historic Site, the only surviving building of the four-section structures formerly on the railroad’s Anchorage Stretch.

Potter Section House Historic Site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was formerly considered home by railroad workers.

The historic site is home to Chugach State Park with a completely refurbished railroad vehicle, house, and outbuildings.

There are several outdoor activities here, including skiing, camping, hiking, rafting, and more.

Address: 18625 New Seward Highway, Girdwood, Anchorage, AK 99587, United States

20. The Bake Shop

Bake Shop
Credits: tmalucelli / Shutterstock

A family-owned and operated treat shop, the Bake Shop is a place that offers homemade gourmet baked goods for people to enjoy.

The Bake Shop is rated as one of the top spots to have a fresh and healthy breakfast in a comfortable, homey setting.

The moment you enter the shop, you will be embraced by the pleasant aroma of freshly made bread and simmering coffee cups.

They offer delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals as well as other eye-catching items on the menu, including Alyeska sourdough pancakes, chicken salad sandwiches, sweet rolls, and so on.

The Bake Shop is nicely decorated with beautiful designs and decor, with an appealing and artistic arrangement of delicious treats and baked goods.

Address: 194 Olympic Mountain Loop, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

21. Alaska Backcountry Access LLC

Alaska Backcountry Access LLC
Credits: Wlad Go / Shutterstock

Are you wondering what to do in Girdwood, AK? Check out the Alaska Backcountry Access LLC. This destination offers you opportunities to explore the shimmering rivers and glaciers of the snowfields of Alaska.

The company offers a guided adventure through their experience in the region gathered over the years, allowing you to view the state’s mountains, glacier Valleys, rainforests, and rivers.

There are many fun things to do here, such as whitewater rafting, hiking, trekking, snowmobiling, boating, jet boating, and so on. You can also explore the famous Alaska gold mines or combine different activities according to your preferences.

The most famed tours include jet boarding in the backcountry of Alaska and Nelchina Glacier’s snowmobiling.

Address: 1 Girdwood Pl, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

22. Jack Sprat Restaurant

Jack Sprat Restaurant
Credits: Jack Sprat / Facebook
Jack Sprat Restaurant

Jack Sprat Restaurant offers the highest quality cuisine, including fantastic customer service and a family-friendly environment.

The restaurant provides a vibrant and friendly atmosphere for everyone to come in and enjoy, including vegans and vegetarians.

They are 100% concentrated on promoting a healthy lifestyle by offering sustainable seafood, locally sourced vegetables, and grass-fed meats.

Jack Sprat Restaurant offers weekend brunch, including Misty Isle Farms ribeye, vegetable curry, and more.

Address: 165 Olympic Mountain Loop, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

23. Boggs Visitor Center

Your list wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center, especially if you’re visiting the city for the first time.

Begich, Boggs Visitor Center was constructed on the 1914 terminal moraine abandoned by Portage Glacier; there are several essential sights to spot in the area.

The Visitor Center educates visitors about the remotest national forest in America, the Chugach National Forest.

The Center was named after Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana and Congressman Nick Begich of Alaska, who died in 1972 in a plane crash.

The construction of Begich, Boggs Visitor Center began in 1984 and was finished in September 1985 by the Alaska General of Anchorage.

The exhibits were originally designed by Gideon Kramer & Associates, while San Francisco’s Sibbet group designed the recent displays.

Begich, Boggs Visitor Center is a 17,600 square feet facility with an exhibition space of 4,770 square feet, a theatre of 3,300 square feet, and other areas of 6,600 featuring office, workroom, restrooms, and so on.

Address: Portage Lake Loop, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

24. Double Musky Inn

Double Musky Inn
Credits: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock
shrimp & sausage jambalaya

The Double Musky Inn, originally founded in 1962, began as a ski bar where customers usually come from various parts of the country.

The customers would explore the extensive lands of Alaska to have a bite of the steak dinner they prepared over a fire or dance to the rhythm of a local polka band.

The Inn was taken over in 1979 and transformed into what is now known as Bon Appetit. It was described as “the last great American roadhouse” by New York Times.

 They offer an extensive menu with numerous desserts, appetizers, and entrees, most of which are concentrated on Cajun Flavors.

Don’t miss their stuffed halibut, Creole beurre balance sauce, or shrimp & sausage jambalaya. 

Address: Mile 3 Crow Creek Road, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States

25. The Girdwood Campground

Girdwood Campground
Credits: Ancapital / Shutterstock

If you would like to spend some of your nights more adventurously, set up your tent at the Girdwood Campground.

The Girdwood Campground offers you accommodation in the city for an affordable cost, almost next to nothing.

It is open only during the summer months, featuring only eighteen rustic sites, which are available on a first-come basis.

Campers get to set up their tents amongst spruce trees and soaring cottonwood trees and stay for a maximum of fourteen days.

The Girdwood Campground features essential facilities such as a fire ring, a cooking area, and food lockers.

Advanced reservations are not allowed, but visitors can choose their campsites on arrival and make payments at the payment kiosk.

Address: XV66+7MQ, Anchorage, AK 99587, United States

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Plan Your Trip to Girdwood

Girdwood is a fantastic metropolis in Alaska state which guarantees you and your entire family an unforgettable experience.

The town is blessed with many natural attractions contributing to its uniqueness and originality. Make sure you come along with your camera to capture the beautiful environment.

Start planning your trip to Gridwood.