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15 Fun Things To Do In Alaska In September

September is a wonderful time of year to visit Alaska. 

Comfortable temperatures, beautiful foliage, and some of the best wildlife spotting throughout the state means that there are lots of events celebrating Alaska and nature alike.

Additionally, September is the official beginning of the off season in Alaska, which means you’ll find fewer crowds wherever you go! 

So if you’re on the hunt for fun events to fill up your calendar this month, here are some of the best things to do in September all around Alaska. Pack in as many as you can, because it always feels like September flies by!

Avoid the Crowds

While the summer is hopping with out-of-state tourists, September is when the locals get to enjoy the warmer weather but fewer crowds.

We love hitting all of the great shops, restaurants, and summer activities at reduced prices before they close for the season.

September is Alaskan locals’ secret!

Spot the Aurora Borealis

Aurora borealis in September
Aurora Pointe / Google Maps

We all know that the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, aren’t able to be seen year-round. With our midnight sun, they are difficult to see!

But with the sun setting earlier, you have a better chance of seeing them during the winter months beginning in September

Fairbanks is one of the best locations for this natural light show, and a few companies like Aurora Point even offer tours and guided experiences.

Their opening date is late August, so they are ready to go by September.

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Sample the In-Season Salmon

In Alaska, salmon season runs from June through late September, and is harvested all over Alaska.

When you order wild caught salmon in Alaska in September, you are getting some of the freshest and most delicious fish you will ever have.

Catch the Last Summer Denali Bus Shuttles

Denali National Parks Visitor Center
creatures of dark / Google Maps

During the summer months, Denali National Park offers free shuttles around the park, including to the very popular sled dog demonstration.

These shuttles send services on September 15th until the next Spring, so if you are looking for a nice and budget-friendly way to sight-see in Denali National Park, head there before then.

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Sightsee The Fall Colors in Denali

Denali National Parks and Preserve in September.
Jacob Vizek

While you are in Denali, don’t miss the incredible color show put on by Mother Nature!

When the leaves change in this national park and preserve, you will be met with a beautiful fall backdrop of oranges, browns, and reds.

It is an autumn like you have never experienced before. And the best part? No crowds. Enjoy the park at your leisure, and forget the lines and long wait times.

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Take A Trip on the Alaska Railroad

Alaska Railroad in September
Alaska Railroad

September is one of the best times to take a trip around this beautiful state via rail. September is the end of peak season, so fares will generally be cheaper.

With the beautiful weather and changing leaves, the scenery is just as incredible. We love Alaska Railroad’s itineraries, day trips, and excursions.

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Run the Equinox Marathon

Equinox marathon in September
Equinox Marathon

The 59th annual Equinox Marathon is one of Alaska’s premier running events. This annual event takes place in Fairbanks each year, and is the premiere running event in Interior Alaska.

This race takes place on the autumn equinox each year, and is a great way to enjoy the leaves changing.

You can register online for the race that will be taking place on September 17th.

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Alaska State Fair

Alaska State Fair in September
Alaska State Fair in early September

The Alaska State Fair has been an institution since its inception in 1936. This year, festival-goers can look forward to incredible live concerts from some of the hottest artists including Shaggy & Common Kings, Brothers Osborne, and the Barenaked Ladies.

Experience unique entertainment at the State Fair’s shows.

Have you ever seen an Extreme Raptor Show? Watch birds of prey in free-flight demos by the world’s largest traveling raptor exhibit. Don’t forget to grab a photo with your favorite raptor after the show.

Watch some of the world’s greatest lumberjacks battle in a (very funny!) competition at Fred Scheer’s Lumberjacks.

Think you are the best baker in town? Show off your creations in the Hoskin’s Cooking Contests.

And of course, don’t forget some of the best food you will find anywhere in the state, as everyone packs up and heads to the fair to end the summer in style.

There are tons of unique and exciting events happening at the Alaska State Fair. Catch the tail end of this exciting festival that ends September 5th!

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Cordova Fungus Festival 

There is a fungus among us in Alaska! The Cordova Fungus Festival is an annual weekend-long event on all things mushrooms, but also how various fungi play a role in the Alaskan environment.

Festival guests will have access to three guided foraging sessions, art workshops, fungus classes, speeches by expert keynote speakers, activities just for kids, and more surprises.

Can’t make it in person? Register for the virtual festival for access to the live presentations, art show gallery, and daily schedules with links to participate virtually.

The event takes place each September, you can find the exact dates on their website.

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Kachemak Bay 27th Wooden Boat Festival

Boating enthusiasts, this one is for you.

The Kachemak Bay 27th Wooden Boat Festival runs on Labor Day weekend from August 29th – September 1st. Be sure to catch an acoustic sing-along with Celtic pub band Rogues and Witches from 1-3pm on September 1st!

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Alyeska Bike Fest

Alyeska BikeFest in September
Alyeska BikeFest

Pedal over to the Alyeska Bike Fest from September 2nd to 5th! Compete in races and socialize with like-minded bike enthusiasts.

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Alyeska Oktoberfest

Another one at Alyeska Resort! 40 miles south of Anchorage, you will find the beautiful Alyeska Resort. Their annual Oktoberfest event is back, and ready to treat guests to all things German!

There will be two weekends of Bavarian food, live music, and beer. Don’t forget to pack your dirndl, because this is one fun event that you won’t want to miss.

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Sitka Whale Fest 

Celebrate marine life at the Sitka Whale Festival. The 2022 theme is all about reproduction – learn more about the diverse and innovative strategies marine species use to ensure their lineages go on.

The main event at this festival is a three-day symposium with expert lecturers speaking about this year’s theme.

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Alaska World Art’s Festival

Alaska World Art’s Festival in September
Alaska World Art’s Festival

A two-week festival celebrating the arts – what could be better?

The Alaska World Art’s Festival offers both live and virtual events, with performances, workshops, discussions, and classes for art-loving Alaskans.

We recommend the $100 membership so you can access 20 events (and earn one raffle ticket!) during this half-month long celebration of the arts.

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Fresh Air Market

On Saturday, September 10th, explore the last Juneau Fresh Air Market of 2022! Browse the vendors’ crafts, food, and homemade goods all for sale.

Event will be held from 10am through 1pm, and it is free to attend.

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September is when tourism calms down but the weather stays nice. We can expect cooler temperatures, and usually by the end of the month, a lot less rain. And September is a great time to spot wildlife before winter hibernation.

If you would like to see more wildlife before winter arrives, be sure to check out some of our favorite spots to watch for wildlife in Alaska.

Photo of author

Megan McDonald

After living over 14 years in Alaska, Megan McDonald can confidently state that there’s not much of the state on the road system that she hasn’t visited. From the Brooks Range to McCarthy, Homer, and everywhere in between, every nook and cranny of Alaska is her always her new favorite place. As President and co-founder of Alaska-based boutique media agency HuMu Media, she spends her work time writing, photographing, and traveling, and her off time writing, photographing, and traveling. They say do what you love, and she is lucky enough to do so! You can follow her travels on Instagram at @theitinerantginger

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