During the summer solstice on June 21, Anchorage will bask in a remarkable 19 hours, 21 minutes, and 30 seconds of daylight. Although the sun will set at 11:42 p.m., just 18 minutes short of the stroke of midnight, many still consider the natural phenomenon a “midnight sun,” and have nicknamed Alaska the “Land of the Midnight Sun.” Here are our suggestions for spending the longest day of the year in Anchorage, Alaska:
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail This nature path brings a new meaning to the term “wildlife trail,” as you may spot eagles, moose, Beluga whales, salmon, and even bears during a hike. Pack your camera for photo opportunities (or to capture the sunrise, which will occur at 4:20 a.m.), but always maintain a safe and respectful distance from the animals.
Snow City Café You may recognize this downtown breakfast spot by the lines outside, but don’t worry; they offer self-serve coffee so you can fuel up on caffeine while you wait for a seat. The time in line will be well worth it once you bite into the Alaskan King Crab cake and poached eggs duo. Order the Snow City Royale and clink your glass to summertime with this sparkling kick of bubbly and pomegranate juice, topped with raspberries.
Downtown Summer Solstice Festival From petting zoos and live music to pro skateboarding demos and even a massive kayak pool, this gala makes major headlines in Anchorage every year. The Jazz Fest, Block Party, and Art Fair will also set up shop at the festival to ensure all-day entertainment. The carnival is expected to run from noon – 6:00 p.m. on Fourth Avenue between C and L streets.
Hero Games As part of the Summer Solstice Festival, Anchorage’s first responders will battle it out for the Hero Games title. Local, everyday heroes will compete in an exhilarating obstacle course with silly challenges, including the “rescue the cat” climb, bucket brigades, and relays. The comical games start at noon and last until 3:00 p.m. Expedia tip: Cross the finish line at the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon. Race starts at 8:00 a.m.
Midnight Sun Brewery Co The home-brewed barley pop at this Alaskan joint turns up the heat on the summertime celebrations. Hold on to your pants and brave the Panty Peeler Tripel for a twisted taste of coriander and orange, or go for a crisp and sunny flavor with the slightly less daunting Midnight Sun Kolsch. If you’re not in the mood for entering a boozy afternoon haze, sip on something safer, like the house-made root beer or lemon fizz.
Sacks Café and Restaurant Alaska is home to some of the most prodigious fishing grounds around, so your taste buds can count on fresh, quality seafood at this local favorite. Slurp down the raw oysters served with a ginger pear mignonette, but if you prefer your cuisine from dry land, the filet of beef won’t disappoint.
Slighty Stoopid Concert Fall under a summery solstice spell as Slightly Stoopid takes the stage at Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria. Hailing from San Diego, this band’s funky folk and reggae fusion rings in summertime, and there’s nothing stupid about it. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., the opener goes on at 6:30 p.m., and Slightly Stoopid starts making noise at 8:00 p.m.
Bear Tooth Theatre Pub This isn’t your ordinary movie theater with with sticky floors and stale popcorn; Bear Tooth serves up chilled brews to go with gourmet meals and snacks. Sip on some local ale and chow down on some garlic treats while watching the big screen. Showtimes change each week, so check the schedule in advance. Just know that movies often start at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday nights.