5 of the Best Things to Do in Downtown Palmer, Alaska
Bordered by fields of hay and striking mountain peaks, downtown Palmer, Alaska, is a quaint and lively area filled with family-run stores, galleries, and acclaimed restaurants. It also hosts many local events throughout the year. If you’re planning a trip to the greater Matanuska-Susitna Valley, be sure to spend an afternoon in downtown Palmer. Here are some of the things you’ll find there.
Top Attractions in Downtown Palmer, Alaska
1. Palmer Museum and Visitor’s Center
Situated in a log cabin in the heart of downtown, the Palmer Museum & Visitors Information Center receives over 35,000 visitors each year. Here, guests can admire historical collections, rotating art exhibits, and outdoor gardens that focus on Palmer’s history and culture. Whether you’re relocating to Alaska or just passing through, the Museum and Visitor’s Center can answer all your questions about the Mat-Su Valley. Don’t forget to pick up a downtown walking map while you’re there!
2. Fireside Books
One of the few unique bookstores left in the state, Fireside Books attracts Alaskans from near and far to downtown Palmer. In 2001, owner David Cheezem had just completed his Masters in creative writing and felt that the community needed a place where good writing was honored and celebrated. He found the perfect location for a bookstore – within a stone’s throw of Vagabond Blues, his favorite Alaskan coffee shop. Today, Fireside Books offers a fantastic collection of literature, including a vast array of Alaskana books and maps. It’s open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Located right next to Fireside Books is NonEssentials, an Alaskan specialty store featuring a wide array of foods, tea, chocolates, gifts, and treats. The shop even offers in-store cooking classes. Owner Denise Statz moved her family to Palmer because she loved the close community feel and downtown storefronts that make the town special. NonEssentials is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
4. Palmer Downtown Deli
Looking for a great place to grab lunch? Head to the Palmer Downtown Deli. You’ll find everything from hearty salads and sandwiches to paninis, wraps, and pizzas. Be sure to wash down your meal with an espresso drink or one of the Deli’s famous Italian sodas.
Local Tip: Palmer is known as the restaurant capital of the Mat-Su Valley. Read our blog for more information on the best places to dine!
5. Shane Lamb Gallery
Drawing inspiration from the spectacular scenery around him, Shane Lamb has become one of Alaska’s top artists and photographers. He’s lived in Palmer his whole life and is in tune with the area’s nature’s rhythms, including animal migrations and unique sun angles. His gallery in downtown Palmer showcases original works, metal prints, fine art, and photography. There’s also work from over 50 Alaskan artists including glass pottery, jewelry, carvings, birch baskets, and much more. It’s a wonderful place to explore!
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