The Performing Arts
What's Playing -- The primary arts season begins in the fall and ends in the spring, but in the summer you can catch traveling performers, music festivals, and live music at the nightclubs and coffeehouses. To find out what's happening, check Friday's edition of the Anchorage Daily News, which has a section called "Play" that includes reviews and listings information. The website (www.play.adn.com) includes an exhaustive events calendar. The free weekly Anchorage Press, given away in racks all over town, also offers extensive event coverage aimed at a younger audience.
Buying Tickets -- Ticketmaster (tel. 800/745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com) handles the Sullivan Arena and the convention centers, and sells tickets at Fred Meyer grocery stores. The Alaska Center for Performing Arts, 631 W. 6th Ave. (www.myalaskacenter.com), operates its own ticket agency, CenterTix (tel. 907/263-ARTS  or www.centertix.net), and also sells tickets for many of the smaller venues and less mainstream artists. The call center and box office in the center are open Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday noon to 5pm, and evenings before events.
Nightclubs & Bars
We've mentioned some fun downtown bars in the walking tour, including Humpy's, Darwin's Theory, and F Street Station. The hippest downtown club is Bernie's Bungalow Lounge, 626 D St. (tel. 907/276-8808), which grew from a little bungalow into a large, artsy playground with a backyard patio enclosed by a hedge. Tap Root Café (tel. 907/272-1341), recently relocated to 3300 Spenard Rd., offers exceptional local blues, folk, and jazz performers nightly, along with a gourmet bar menu and a plethora of local craft beers. Blues Central/Chef's Inn, 825 W. Northern Lights Blvd. (tel. 907/272-1341), has live music virtually every night. Major blues names and up-and-coming national performers come through on a regular basis. Shows start at 9:30pm. They're also known for their beef, especially the French dip.
The most famous bar in Anchorage, with the slogan, "We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you," is the huge Chilkoot Charlie's, at Spenard Road and Fireweed Lane (tel. 907/272-1010; www.koots.com). It has two stages, three dance floors, and 10 bars on different themes, including a historic old dive from the Seward Highway called the Bird House, carefully copied, woppy-jawed angles and all, after the original burned down. The place is huge and full of entertainment, like an adult Disneyland, but we find it claustrophobic when crowded, with its low ceilings and confusing layout. It's open every day of the year from 10:30am until after 2am. If you do go there late, avoid conflict and use caution when leaving, as it can be a wild crowd.
A movie at the Bear Tooth TheatrePub, 1230 W. 27th Ave. (tel. 907/276-4200; www.beartooththeatre.net), is a chance to sit back with a big glass of craft brewed beer and a plate of nachos or a full dinner -- it feels a lot like watching at home except for the big screen and the other people around you. The films tend to be second-run Hollywood output, but Monday is art-house night, and film festivals and special events come through. They also put on regular concerts; check the website. Even bad movies sell out, and there's often a crush. Unless you reserve and pay extra for a booth (a few days ahead for weekend shows), you must arrive quite early to find parking, get your ticket and seat, order your food and beer, and finish waiting in various lines before the movie starts. The staff brings the meal to you in the theater. You can also eat here without seeing a movie.
There are several multiplexes in Anchorage playing all the current Hollywood output; check the sources at the beginning of this section for listings and reviews. Century 16, 301 E. 36th Ave. (tel. 907/770-2602; www.cinemark.com), is an attractive, modern multiplex a reasonable cab ride from downtown. On the edge of town, Regal Cinemas Tikahtnu Stadium 16 and IMAX, 1102 N. Muldoon Rd. (tel. 907/338-6252), is the favorite venue for local movie fans.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.