Top 20 Reasons to Visit Palmer

Here’s our take on what makes this little town so special~
20.  It’s one of few Alaska towns laid out in city blocks with sidewalks, making it easy to stroll and see the shops and businesses.
19. Surrounded by mountains on three sides, set in a wide valley, it’s picturesque from just about any angle.
18. We have one of the handfull of Dairy Queens in Alaska
17. Palmer’s artists and free spirits give it a unique, interesting flair.
16. It has become a Foodie destination, with excellent meals at Turkey Red, unique gastronomy at Colony Inn, and a wide variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free selections at Vagabond Blues, as well as Turkey Red and Colony Inn.
15. Hiking could easily fill out the rest of this list, with Matanuska Peak, The Butte, Hatcher Pass, Pioneer Peak, Knik Glacier, Matanuska Glacier, the Chugach Range, Lazy Mountain and many many more to choose from!
14. Palmer is the launching point to go to not one but two glaciers! Knik Glacier and Matanuska Glacier are both accessible to visitors.
13.  From Palmer, you can explore Alaska’s most recent addition of a National Scenic Byway, driving from Palmer east toward Glenallen on the Glenn Highway #1
12. In little ol Palmer is one of two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration bases that cover the Pacific Ocean. Palmer’s group monitors earthquakes and tsunamis from Alaska, down the West Coast, and over to Japan. The Hawaii office cover the entire rest of the southern Pacific.
11. Fireside Bookstore, a great independent bookstore, specializing in Alaskana books.
10. Non-Essentials is another favorite store in downtown Palmer, curating a wide array of Alaska-made specialty foods as well as imported fine foods. Besides gourmet and delicious treats, they carry many Alaskan made craft and clothing items.
9. The land around Palmer is the farmbelt of Alaska, providing nearly all of the vegetables and crops grown in Alaska. Check into farm tours or U-pick farms.
8. Near the University of Alaska’s building (recently defunded and shuttered) which previously contained laboratories for northern agriculture research, is a little-used arboretum and historic homes make a little cluster that define that period from the 1950s.
7. The Palmer Depot harkens back to the day when Colonists arrived by train to create the community of Palmer. Step inside to see displays and imagine colonists arriving in 1935.
6. Be sure to go by the Church of 1000 Trees, at the corner of Denali and Elmwood Streets. If it’s open it’s well worth marveling at the craftsmanship of the sanctuary.
5. The Musk Ox Farm offers fascinating tours, to explain their project to domesticate a wild animal for the first time in more than 4000 years, as well as demonstrating the use of the quiviut wool of the musk ox.
4. Visit the Palmer Museum to learn about Palmer’s colony roots, and to see the adjacent gardens, full of examples of colony-era vegetables and flowers.
3. Speaking of which, don’t miss the permanent display of the Giant Cabbage by the museum’s gardens, showing how big area cabbages get by the end of the growing season.
2. Independence Mine, now a State Park with historical and interpretive displays. Walk among the abandoned mine buildings to relive gold mining in the early twentieth century.
1. Hatcher Pass is only about 8 miles away. This counts for several entries on this list, as breath-taking as the scenery is. It’s too much to try to describe—you’ll just have to go and be amazed for yourself!

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