A Travel Price Comparison for Alaska Ketchikan vs. Anchorage for Food, Hiking, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Ketchikan or Anchorage?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Ketchikan and Anchorage can help you decide which place is right for you.

Ketchikan

Ketchikan is a local, scenic, and quaint town. It's a very nice small town not to be missed. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for food, hiking, and shopping.

Anchorage

Anchorage is a cultural, artsy, and nature-oriented city. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It's also known for food, hiking, and shopping.

Ketchikan and Anchorage: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Ketchikan or Anchorage?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Ketchikan. Although Ketchikan and Anchorage are both popular with visitors, Ketchikan has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Ketchikan is more popular for its food and small town charm, while Anchorage is known for its impressive beauty. Ketchikan is popular for its salmon fishing, beautiful natural environment, and strong sense of local culture. It is also home to the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. Anchorage is popular for its breathtaking natural beauty, impressive wildlife, stunning hiking trails, and unique local culture.

How is Ketchikan different from Anchorage?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Anchorage and Ketchikan. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Ketchikan or Anchorage?

Ketchikan
Anchorage

Both Ketchikan and Anchorage have good landmarks and museums for visitors.

Ketchikan is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. There are a few local museums in town such as the Tongass Historical Museum and the Totem Heritage Center.

Anchorage offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. While most people visit for the outdoor experiences, there are a few museums where you can learn about the local culture and wildlife. Popular museums include the the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, the Alaska Aviation Museum, and the Alaska Museum of Science and Nature.


Is the Food Better in Ketchikan or Anchorage? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Ketchikan
Anchorage

Ketchikan is an unbeatable place for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Anchorage is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

Many restaurants in Ketchikan have been singled out for their culinary prowess. It's known as the salmon capital of the world for good reason. You can expect some of the freshest seafood around with many local restaurants serving up fresh Dungeness Crab, Alaska King Crab, and Alaskan King Salmon. It's a huge fishing destination and the cuisine reflects that, but even if you're looking for a landlover's menu, you'll find a number of good dishes.

Anchorage has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. Food is expensive in town, but there are some unique local specialties that you must try. Many restaurants offer fresh seafood and local meats. Favorites include yak meat, king crab, and fresh oysters.

Is Ketchikan or Anchorage Better for Nightlife?

Ketchikan
Anchorage

Evening events are decent in both Ketchikan and Anchorage.

Most people don't head to Ketchikan specifically for the nightlife scene, but you can find a few options. Because most visitors arrive by cruise ship, there's a more local vibe to the nightlife scene. You'll find a few local bars around town where you can enjoy a drink and good conversation.

Those looking for nightlife will find a few places to hang out in Anchorage. The town's nightlife mostly consists of local bars where you can hang out. Check out Koot's, which is a longstanding favorite.

Is Ketchikan or Anchorage Better for Hiking?

Ketchikan
Anchorage

You'll find amazing hiking in both Ketchikan and Anchorage.

Many people visit Ketchikan specifically for its hiking. You'll find many hikes that will take you through the local vegetation or to impressive viewpoints. Some hikes involve challenging climbs while others are more relaxing. Some visitors prefer to hire a guide to the lead them through the Alaskan wilderness, but the most popular and easier trails are usually well marked.

Known for its hiking, Anchorage draws a crowd to experience the nature and the trails. The town is surrounded by wilderness and it's not hard to escape into nature. You can choose between short walks, long day trips, and multi-day treks, with everything in between available as well. There are more than 300 miles of hiking trails near town and several favorites include Byron Glacier Trail, Thunderbird Falls Trail, and Flattop Mountain.


Is the Shopping Better in Ketchikan or Anchorage?

Ketchikan
Anchorage

Both Ketchikan and Anchorage are good shopping destinations.

Ketchikan is a great destination for shopping. As tourism has grown, the shopping in downtown Ketchikan has shifted from locally-oriented venders to jewelry and souvenir stores. Many shops are only open during the summer months, and you'll find the more local shops outside of town.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Anchorage. There are plenty of local gift shops and boutiques where you can pick up local Alaskan crafts and products. There's no sales tax, but prices can still be a bit steep. But if you're looking for something uniquely local to remember your trip, you don't have to look hard.

Is Ketchikan or Anchorage Better for Families?

Ketchikan
Anchorage

Ketchikan is a well-known place for its family-friendly activities. Also, Anchorage is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Ketchikan is a very family-friendly place to visit. There are a number of kid-friendly activities and tours, but do note that many tours book up fully with cruise ship passengers. Any tours you wish to do should be arranged well in advance. Popular kid-friendly activities include the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, Misty Fjords, and a visit to Totem Bight State Historical Park. Everyone will enjoy learning about the area's history and nature at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. And anyone who enjoys the show "The Most Dangerous Catch" will appreciate the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's Tour.

Anchorage is a family-friendly town. Kids who appreciate nature will appreciate this unique setting. Everyone will enjoy a glacier cruise, but you can hang out with the locals in Westchester Lagoon, see the animals at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and learn about the area at the Anchorage Museum.

Is Ketchikan or Anchorage Better for Couples?

Ketchikan
Anchorage

Both Ketchikan and Anchorage are superb destinations to visit as a couple.

Ketchikan is a very popular place to visit for couples. Couples who enjoy natural beauty, hiking, and wildlife will appreciate their time here. There are many opportunities for fishing and a plethora of seafood restaurants in the area that take advantage of this past time.

Anchorage makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The city makes a good base for couples who want to explore the surrounding beauty. The landscapes make a beautiful backdrop for a romantic trip, and the adventure activities will make for an unforgettable experience. There are plenty of outdoor activities and adventure sports that couples can enjoy together and the beauty of the region is breathtaking.


Is Ketchikan or Anchorage Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Ketchikan
Anchorage

Both Ketchikan and Anchorage are good destinations for backpackers.

Ketchikan is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. While most visitors arrive by cruise ship, for those travel independently will appreciate the hostel in town.

It's common for backpackers to visit Anchorage. There are a few good budget places to stay, and backpackers will also have plenty of outdoor wilderness to explore near town. It's important to remember that Alaska is known for its challenging wilderness so, unless you're experienced, you should take a guide.

Is Ketchikan or Anchorage Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Ketchikan
Anchorage

Ketchikan is a moderate town for its public transit. However, Anchorage is not a good city for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit is generally limited in Ketchikan. There are buses that travel through town.

Public transit is quite limited in Anchorage. There is the People Mover bus system that transports riders around town, but to truly experience the region, you must have a car.

Is Ketchikan or Anchorage a more walkable city?

Ketchikan
Anchorage

Ketchikan is a well-known place for its walkability. However, Anchorage is not a good city for its high level of walkability.

Ketchikan is very walkable. The downtown is relatively compact and walkable.

Anchorage is generally not a very walkable town. The downtown area is compact so you can wander to the nearby shops and restaurants on foot, but most people visit with the goal of exploring outside of town. For that you need a car.


For even more information, also check out Is Ketchikan Worth Visiting? and Is Anchorage Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Anchorage or Ketchikan?

How long in Ketchikan or Anchorage?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Ketchikan and Anchorage. In our opinion, Ketchikan has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Ketchikan than Anchorage. However, 1-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Ketchikan than Anchorage. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Ketchikan, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Ketchikan than Anchorage. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Ketchikan that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Ketchikan than Anchorage if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Ketchikan.


  • How many days in Ketchikan or Anchorage? Ideal Length of Stay
    Ketchikan 1-3 
    Anchorage 1-3

One day in Ketchikan or Anchorage?

You'll find shopping and museums around the town of Ketchikan. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Ketchikan has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

You'll find shopping and museums around the city of Anchorage. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Anchorage has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in Ketchikan or Anchorage?

You'll find museums and food around the quaint destination of Ketchikan. Hikers are also drawn to this area. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this town has to offer. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from.

You'll find museums and food around the artsy destination of Anchorage. Hikers are also drawn to this area. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Ketchikan or Anchorage?

Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the local town of Ketchikan. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the breathtaking city of Anchorage. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Most people head to the area for the hiking. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


A week in Ketchikan or Anchorage?

Ketchikan is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Anchorage is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in United States of America, The Best Polar Tours & Cruises in United States of America, The Best Walking Tours in United States of America, and The Best Tours Under $1000 in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Anchorage or Ketchikan?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Ketchikan is $220, while the average daily cost in Anchorage is $191. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Ketchikan and Anchorage in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Ketchikan $136
    Anchorage $117
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ketchikan $272
    Anchorage $234
Compare Hotels in Ketchikan and Anchorage

Looking for a hotel in Ketchikan or Anchorage? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Ketchikan


Hotels in Anchorage


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Anchorage Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Ketchikan $39
    Anchorage $27
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Ketchikan

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Ketchikan are as follows:


  • Bus Ride
    $1.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Anchorage

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Anchorage:

  • Private Departure Transfer - to Anchorage Airport (ANC): $62
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Anchorage Airport ANC: $62
  • Seward to Anchorage- Post Cruise Curated Wildlife Tour +Transfer: $197
  • Anchorage to Seward- Pre-Cruise Curated Wildlife Tour +Transfer: $219
  • Private Transfer Anchorage Airport (ANC) to Whittier Cruise Port: $232
  • SUV-Private Transfer, Whittier Cruise ship to Anchorage: $299

Is it cheaper to fly into Ketchikan or Anchorage?

Prices for flights to both Anchorage and Ketchikan change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Ketchikan $53
    Anchorage $50
Typical Food Prices in Ketchikan

Some typical examples of dining costs in Ketchikan are as follows:


  • Slice of Pie & Drink
    $5.00

Typical Food Prices in Anchorage

Some typical examples of dining costs in Anchorage are as follows:


  • Bread
    $4.25
  • Breakfast for Two
    $17

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Anchorage

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Anchorage.

  • City of Anchorage SIGHTSEEING & FOOD Tour: $177

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Ketchikan $46
    Anchorage $30
Typical Entertainment Prices in Ketchikan

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Ketchikan are as follows:


  • Ticket to Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show
    $35
  • Duck Tour (one person)
    $38
  • Bear Viewing Tour
    $83

Tours and Activities in Ketchikan

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Ketchikan are as follows:

  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Husky Walking Tour: $49
  • City Highlights Totem Parks and Sightseeing: $59
  • Ketchikan Duck Tour: $75
  • Alaska Native Cultural Immersion Experience: $76
  • 2.5 Hour Tour in Ketchikan on the Tongass Trolley: $80
  • From Potlatch Totem Park and Herring Cove Tour: $85
  • 2 Hour Alaska Rainforest Walk and Totem Park Small Group Tour: $85
  • Totem Pole, Wildlife & City Trolley Tour: $85
  • Alaska Native Cultural Immersion Experience and Ketchikan Tour: $89
  • Cruisin' and Boozin' - 90 minute Historical Walking Tour of Sites and Bars: $95
  • “OVER THE TOP TOURS” city highlights, wildlife and more!: $100

Typical Entertainment Prices in Anchorage

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Anchorage are as follows:


  • 1 Day Bike Rental
    $33
  • 1/2 Day Rafting Trip
    $105

Tours and Activities in Anchorage

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Anchorage are as follows:

  • Anchorage Museum General Admission Ticket: $25
  • 1-Hour Trolley Tour: $25
  • Anchorage Trolley Tour: $25
  • Botanical Garden Walking Tour: $40
  • Anchorage City Tour and Highlights: $47
  • Anchorage Trolley's Deluxe City Tour: $50
  • Deluxe Trolley City Tour: $50
  • Anchorage City Tour, w/Chocolate Factory Samplings & Hotel pickup: $59
  • Anchorage's Winter City Tour: $59
  • Last Frontier Anchorage City & Wilderness Tour - Top Winter Value: $65
  • Anchorage City Tour w/ Taste of Wild Smoked Salmon & Reindeer Sausage: $69
  • Turnagain Arm Tour: "A Must See Destination": $69

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ketchikan $23
    Anchorage $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Ketchikan

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Ketchikan:

  • Ketchikan Pub Crawl: $79

Sample the Local Flavors in Anchorage

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Anchorage:

  • Chocolate and Wine Tasting Tour: $109
  • Hike Matanuska Glacier w/Alaska Honey, Wine Tasting, Hotel Pickup: $285


When comparing the travel costs between Ketchikan and Anchorage, we can see that Ketchikan is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Ketchikan Expensive? and Is Anchorage Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Ketchikan or Anchorage?

Anchorage has a larger population, and is about 40 times larger than the population of Ketchikan. When comparing the sizes of Ketchikan and Anchorage, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Ketchikan or Anchorage?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Ketchikan or Anchorage in the Summer?

Both Anchorage and Ketchikan are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Ketchikan for the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Anchorage in the summer for the hiking and the family-friendly experiences.

Ketchikan is around the same temperature as Anchorage in the summer. The daily temperature in Ketchikan averages around 58°F (15°C) in July, and Anchorage fluctuates around 59°F (15°C).

It's quite rainy in Ketchikan. In July, Ketchikan usually receives more rain than Anchorage. Ketchikan gets 7.6 inches (193 mm) of rain, while Anchorage receives 1.7 inches (44 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Ketchikan 58°F (15°C) 
    Anchorage 59°F (15°C)

Should I visit Ketchikan or Anchorage in the Autumn?

Both Anchorage and Ketchikan during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Ketchikan in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, most visitors come to Anchorage for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

Anchorage can be very cold during autumn. In the autumn, Ketchikan is much warmer than Anchorage. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Ketchikan in October average around 46°F (8°C), and Anchorage averages at about 35°F (2°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Ketchikan. Ketchikan usually gets more rain in October than Anchorage. Ketchikan gets 22.9 inches (581 mm) of rain, while Anchorage receives 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Ketchikan 46°F (8°C) 
    Anchorage 35°F (2°C)

Should I visit Ketchikan or Anchorage in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Ketchikan and Anchorage. Most visitors come to Ketchikan for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Furthermore, the winter months attract visitors to Anchorage because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Anchorage can be very cold. Ketchikan can be very cold during winter. In January, Ketchikan is generally much warmer than Anchorage. Daily temperatures in Ketchikan average around 34°F (1°C), and Anchorage fluctuates around 15°F (-9°C).

Ketchikan gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In January, Ketchikan usually receives more rain than Anchorage. Ketchikan gets 14.9 inches (379 mm) of rain, while Anchorage receives 0.7 inches (19 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Ketchikan 34°F (1°C) 
    Anchorage 15°F (-9°C)

Should I visit Ketchikan or Anchorage in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Ketchikan as well as Anchorage. The spring months attract visitors to Ketchikan because of the small town charm and the natural beauty. Additionally, the natural beauty are the main draw to Anchorage this time of year.

It's quite cold in Anchorage in the spring. Ketchikan is much warmer than Anchorage in the spring. The daily temperature in Ketchikan averages around 44°F (6°C) in April, and Anchorage fluctuates around 36°F (2°C).

Ketchikan receives a lot of rain in the spring. Ketchikan usually gets more rain in April than Anchorage. Ketchikan gets 11.3 inches (286 mm) of rain, while Anchorage receives 0.7 inches (18 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Ketchikan 44°F (6°C) 
    Anchorage 36°F (2°C)

Typical Weather for Anchorage and Ketchikan

Ketchikan Anchorage
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 34°F (1°C) 14.9 inches (379 mm) 15°F (-9°C) 0.7 inches (19 mm)
Feb 38°F (3°C) 13.2 inches (335 mm) 19°F (-7°C) 0.8 inches (21 mm)
Mar 39°F (4°C) 10.6 inches (270 mm) 26°F (-3°C) 0.7 inches (18 mm)
Apr 44°F (6°C) 11.3 inches (286 mm) 36°F (2°C) 0.7 inches (18 mm)
May 49°F (9°C) 9.3 inches (237 mm) 47°F (8°C) 0.8 inches (20 mm)
Jun 54°F (12°C) 8.2 inches (209 mm) 55°F (13°C) 1.1 inches (27 mm)
Jul 58°F (15°C) 7.6 inches (193 mm) 59°F (15°C) 1.7 inches (44 mm)
Aug 59°F (15°C) 11.1 inches (281 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)
Sep 54°F (12°C) 13.2 inches (335 mm) 49°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (66 mm)
Oct 46°F (8°C) 22.9 inches (581 mm) 35°F (2°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm)
Nov 40°F (4°C) 17.3 inches (441 mm) 22°F (-6°C) 1.1 inches (27 mm)
Dec 36°F (2°C) 15.7 inches (398 mm) 17°F (-8°C) 1.1 inches (28 mm)