20 Must-Try Things to Do in Girdwood Alaska

Perched in the Chugach Mountains, Girdwood is a picturesque town that promises a plethora of outdoor adventures and cultural experiences.

As a seasoned travel writer and an avid explorer, I have had the privilege of exploring Girdwood time and time again.

With its stunning landscapes and vibrant community, Girdwood offers a diverse range of activities for every type of traveler.

Whether you’re into adrenaline-pumping activities or prefer to soak in the local culture, there’s something for everyone in this charming Alaskan town.

In this blog post, I’ll be sharing with you the top things to do in Girdwood, helping you make the most of your visit to this stunning destination.

From soaring mountain peaks to lush forests and serene lakes, Girdwood provides an enchanting backdrop for a wide range of outdoor activities.

I’ll be also be sharing some of the best hiking trails, skiing opportunities, and wildlife-spotting spots in the area.

Additionally, I’ll also delve into Girdwood’s rich cultural scene, including the best places to sample local cuisine, immerse yourself in the arts, and even learn about the town’s fascinating history.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Girdwood, get ready to immerse yourself in an unforgettable experience that showcases the best of what Alaska has to offer.

Key Takeaways

1. Outdoor Adventures: Girdwood, Alaska offers a wide range of outdoor activities such as hiking, wildlife viewing, skiing, and snowboarding, making it the perfect destination for adventure seekers.

2. Cultural Experiences: Visitors can explore the local art scene, attend live music performances, and learn about the Alaskan Native culture at the Alaska Native Heritage Center.

3. Dining and Relaxation: Girdwood boasts a variety of dining options, from casual eateries to fine dining restaurants, as well as spas and wellness centers for a rejuvenating experience after a day of outdoor exploration.

Discovering Girdwood

While planning a trip to Girdwood, Alaska, you may be wondering what this charming town has to offer.

I can assure you that Girdwood is a hidden gem waiting to be explored.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or a lover of natural beauty, Girdwood has something for everyone.

The History and Culture of Girdwood

Once known as “Glacier City,” Girdwood boasts a rich history and vivid cultural tapestry.

Originally inhabited by the Dena’ina Athabascan people, the town saw an influx of settlers during the Gold Rush era.

The historic Crow Creek Mine, established in the late 1800s, provides a glimpse into the region’s mining heritage.

Today, Girdwood is a vibrant community with a thriving arts and music scene.

You can immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the Girdwood Center for Visual Arts, featuring works by Alaskan artists.

The annual Forest Fair, a celebration of arts, crafts, and music, is a must-visit event that brings the community together.

Take a stroll through the town and you’ll find a unique blend of history and creativity around every corner.

The Geographic Wonders Surrounding Girdwood

Surrounded by towering mountains, lush forests, and awe-inspiring glaciers, Girdwood is a paradise for nature lovers.

The town is nestled in the Chugach Mountains, offering endless opportunities for outdoor adventures.

You can embark on a scenic hike through the verdant rainforest of the Winner Creek Trail, or hop on the Alyeska Aerial Tram for a bird’s-eye view of the stunning landscape.

Girdwood is also famous for its world-class skiing and snowboarding at the Alyeska Resort.

During the summer months, the nearby Portage Glacier and Kenai Fjords National Park are easily accessible, providing unforgettable experiences for wildlife viewing and glacier exploration.

From the icy blue waters of the Turnagain Arm to the rugged peaks of the Chugach Range, the geographic wonders surrounding Girdwood are nothing short of spectacular.

Year-Round Things to Do in Girdwood, Alaska

Clearly, the allure of Girdwood, Alaska isn’t limited to just one season. Whether you’re visiting in the heart of winter or the peak of summer, there’s always something to see and do in this beautiful region.

Winter Activities in Girdwood

1.Skiing at Alyeska Resort
3.Dog Sledding
5.Ice Sculpture Viewing
6.Northern Lights Viewing
7.Winter Wildlife Tours
8.Indoor Spa Retreats
9.Winter Hiking
10.Cozy Fireside Dining

When the snow falls, Girdwood becomes a winter wonderland filled with endless opportunities for outdoor fun.

As a winter sports enthusiast, you’ll have access to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the area at Alyeska Resort.

With over 1,600 skiable acres and an average snowfall of 669 inches, it’s a paradise for snow lovers.

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced skier, there are trails and slopes for every skill level.

For those seeking a more leisurely way to enjoy the winter landscape, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular options.

The peaceful trails winding through the Chugach National Forest provide not only breathtaking views, but also a unique way to experience the tranquility of the snowy wilderness.

Summer Activities in Girdwood

1.Hiking and Biking Trails
2.Glacier Cruises
3.Wildlife Sightseeing
4.Fishing Adventures
5.Scenic Tram Rides
6.Outdoor Music Festivals
7.Ziplining and Adventure Parks
8.Photography Tours
9.Rafting and Kayaking
10.Summer Solstice Celebrations

As the snow melts away, Girdwood unveils a whole new set of activities that are sure to get your adrenaline pumping.

One of the most popular summer attractions is the Alyeska Aerial Tram, which offers breathtaking views as it transports you up to the top of Mount Alyeska.

Once at the summit, you can explore hiking trails, enjoy a picnic with a view, or simply take in the panoramic scenery.

For thrill-seekers, the region’s world-class mountain biking trails provide an exhilarating way to experience the rugged terrain.

With options for all skill levels, you can challenge yourself on the same trails that have drawn professional riders from around the world.

Unique Attractions

Unlike other tourist destinations, Girdwood offers a range of unique and unforgettable attractions that allow visitors to experience the natural beauty and cultural diversity of this Alaskan gem.

The Alyeska Aerial Tramway: Views from Above

One of the most breathtaking attractions in Girdwood is the Alyeska Aerial Tramway.

As you ascend to the peak of Mt. Alyeska, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains, sparkling glaciers, and lush forests.

The view from the top is truly awe-inspiring, and it’s the perfect spot for photography enthusiasts to capture the beauty of the Alaskan landscape.

Whether you’re a nature lover or an adventure seeker, a ride on the tramway is an experience you won’t soon forget.

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

For those interested in Alaskan wildlife, a visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a must.

This nonprofit organization provides a sanctuary for orphaned and injured animals, including brown bears, moose, wolves, and bison.

Visitors have the opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures up close while learning about their natural habitats and the conservation efforts being made to protect their species.

It’s a truly educational and heartwarming experience that I highly recommend.

The Girdwood Brewing Company: Local Flavors

As a beer enthusiast, I was delighted to discover the Girdwood Brewing Company during my visit.

This local brewery prides itself on producing high-quality craft beers using locally sourced ingredients, giving each brew a distinct Alaskan flavor.

The laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff make it the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploration.

Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or simply enjoy trying new beverages, a stop at the Girdwood Brewing Company is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local culture and savor the flavors of Alaska.

Culinary Delights

After a day of outdoor adventures in Girdwood, Alaska, you’ll definitely have worked up an appetite.

The good news is that the town is not only known for its stunning natural beauty, but also for its delectable culinary scene.

From gourmet dining with a view to comfort food and local eats, Girdwood has something to offer every palate.

Gourmet Dining with a View: The Best Restaurants in Girdwood

When it comes to gourmet dining with a view, Girdwood does not disappoint.

The town is home to several top-notch restaurants that offer not only exquisite cuisine, but also breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains.

Whether you’re in the mood for fresh Alaskan seafood, succulent steaks, or innovative fusion dishes, you’ll find it all here.

Some of the best restaurants to check out include The Seven Glaciers, known for its mountaintop location and elegant atmosphere, and The Bore Tide Deli & Bar, where you can savor delicious seafood while taking in panoramic views.

Comfort Food and Local Eats

If you’re craving comfort food and local eats, Girdwood has plenty of options to satisfy your cravings.

From hearty burgers and handcrafted pizzas to savory soups and sandwiches, there are numerous casual eateries and diners in town where you can indulge in delicious comfort fare.

For a taste of authentic Alaskan cuisine, be sure to visit local favorites such as Jack Sprat and The Bake Shop, where you can enjoy warm and inviting atmospheres along with mouthwatering comfort food.

Exploring Local Cuisine Through Seasonal Menus

One of the great things about dining in Girdwood is the emphasis on seasonal menus that highlight the freshest local ingredients.

Many restaurants in town take pride in sourcing their produce, meats, and seafood from nearby farms and fisheries, creating menus that change with the seasons.

This means that every visit to Girdwood offers the opportunity to savor new and exciting dishes that celebrate the flavors of the region.

Whether it’s a springtime dish featuring fresh foraged greens or a fall entrée showcasing the bounty of the harvest, exploring local cuisine through seasonal menus is a true delight in Girdwood.

Accommodation Options

To fully enjoy all that Girdwood, Alaska has to offer, finding the perfect place to stay is essential.

Whether you’re looking for luxury resorts, cozy lodges, a homey bed & breakfast, or the rugged outdoorsy experience of camping and RV parks, Girdwood has options to cater to every traveler’s needs and preferences.

Luxury Resorts and Cozy Lodges

If you’re looking for a luxurious and pampering experience, Girdwood offers several top-notch resorts and lodges that will exceed your expectations.

From world-class amenities, exquisite dining options, and stunning views of the surrounding natural beauty, these establishments provide the ultimate relaxation and comfort.

Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a family vacation, you’ll find a variety of options to choose from, each offering their own unique charm and upscale appeal.

Bed & Breakfasts: A Home Away From Home

For those seeking a more intimate and personal accommodation experience, Girdwood’s bed & breakfasts are an excellent choice.

These cozy and charming establishments offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with personalized attention from the hosts and delicious homemade breakfasts to start your day.

Whether you’re traveling solo or with a small group, a bed & breakfast provides a home away from home, allowing you to connect with the local community and immerse yourself in the culture of the area.

Camping and RV Parks for the Nature Enthusiasts

If you’re a nature enthusiast or an adventurous traveler looking to experience the great outdoors, Girdwood’s camping and RV parks are perfect for you.

With stunning natural landscapes as your backdrop, you can pitch a tent under the stars or park your RV in a serene and picturesque setting.

Wake up to the sounds of nature, explore the nearby trails, and connect with the wilderness in a way that only camping can offer.

These parks provide a unique and unforgettable experience for those who seek immersion in the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.

Girdwood’s Art and Cultural Scene

Not only is Girdwood known for its stunning natural beauty, but it also boasts a vibrant art and cultural scene that is sure to captivate visitors.

From local art galleries to live music and festivals, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the creative spirit of this charming Alaskan town.

Local Art Galleries and Workshops

When it comes to exploring Girdwood’s art scene, you won’t be disappointed. The town is home to several art galleries and workshops showcasing the work of talented local artists.

You can spend an afternoon browsing through a diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and handmade crafts, each offering a unique perspective on the beauty of Alaska.

Additionally, many galleries offer workshops and classes where you can try your hand at creating your own masterpiece under the guidance of experienced artists.

Music and Festivals: Experiencing Girdwood’s Vibrant Scene

Girdwood is also known for its lively music scene and the eclectic mix of festivals that take place throughout the year.

Whether you’re a fan of live performances or simply enjoy soaking up the energetic atmosphere, there’s something for everyone.

From intimate acoustic sessions in local cafes to larger outdoor concerts, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the diverse sounds of Girdwood.

Additionally, the town hosts a variety of festivals celebrating everything from local cuisine to outdoor recreation, providing a unique glimpse into the community’s spirit and culture.

Planning Your Trip

Despite Girdwood being a relatively small town, there are several important things to consider when planning your trip.

From choosing the best time to visit based on your interests to navigating transportation within the town, careful planning can ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience.

Best Times to Visit Based on Activities and Interests

Girdwood experiences a range of activities and events throughout the year, so the best time to visit depends on your personal interests.

If you are an outdoor enthusiast and enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports, the best time to visit Girdwood is during the winter months when the town is covered in a blanket of snow.

On the other hand, if you prefer hiking, wildlife viewing, and outdoor festivals, then the summer months from June to August are ideal for your visit.

Transportation Within Girdwood

While Girdwood is a small town, it is important to consider transportation options to get around.

The town is easily walkable, with most attractions and amenities within a short distance of each other.

Additionally, there are shuttle services available for traveling to nearby attractions and the nearby city of Anchorage.

Renting a car is also an option if you prefer to have more flexibility and independence during your trip.

Essential Tips for A Smooth Travel Experience

When traveling to Girdwood, there are a few essential tips to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Firstly, make sure to pack appropriate clothing and gear based on the time of year you plan to visit.

Also, it is important to make reservations for accommodations and popular activities in advance, especially during the peak tourist seasons.

Remember to also keep in mind the local customs and regulations to respect the town and its residents.

  • Research and book accommodations in advance
  • Check weather and road conditions before traveling
  • Respect wildlife and natural areas

Perceiving these essential tips will help you have a memorable and stress-free trip to Girdwood.

Wrap Up

Whether you are a nature enthusiast, adrenaline junkie, or simply looking for a serene getaway, this town has something for everyone.

From skiing and snowboarding at Alyeska Resort, to hiking and biking through lush forests and mountains, the natural beauty of Girdwood is truly unparalleled.

Moreover, the town’s cultural and historic attractions, such as the Crow Creek Mine and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, provide a unique glimpse into the area’s rich heritage.

Overall, Girdwood, Alaska is a destination that boasts diverse and exhilarating experiences for all types of travelers.

The breathtaking scenery and plethora of outdoor activities make it an ideal location for anyone seeking an adventure-filled vacation.

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or a nature lover, I highly recommend considering Girdwood, Alaska as your next travel destination.

With its stunning landscapes and array of things to do, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience in this charming Alaskan town.

Things to Do in Girdwood Alaska FAQs

Q: What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Girdwood Alaska?

A: Girdwood offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, wildlife viewing, and paragliding.

The scenic landscape and abundance of natural beauty make it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Q: Are there any winter activities in Girdwood Alaska?

A: Yes, Girdwood is known for its winter sports, with opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and dog sledding.

The Alyeska Resort provides world-class skiing and snowboarding facilities, making it a popular winter destination.

Q: What are some popular attractions to visit in Girdwood Alaska?

A: Some popular attractions in Girdwood include the Alyeska Resort, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and the Winner Creek Trail.

The Winner Creek Trail is known for its scenic views and the hand tram that crosses the creek, providing a unique experience for visitors.

Q: Can I view wildlife in Girdwood Alaska?

A: Yes, Girdwood is home to a variety of wildlife, including moose, bears, eagles, and other species.

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center offers a chance to view and learn about native Alaskan wildlife in a natural setting.

Q: Are there any cultural or historical sites to explore in Girdwood Alaska?

A: Girdwood has a rich history and there are several cultural and historical sites to explore, such as the Crow Creek Mine, where visitors can learn about the area’s gold mining history.

Also, the Girdwood Center for Visual Arts showcases the work of local artists and provides insight into the region’s artistic community.

About the author

I'm Chloe Raley, the proud founder and curator of this travel haven. As an intrepid explorer and wordsmith, I founded this website to share my adventures.