winter ice skating in seward, ak

36 Hours in Seward: Winter Fun for Families

“Seward Second Saturdays” Launches This Weekend!

Winter transforms Seward from a bustling visitor hub to an oasis for Alaskans to play and recharge.

To celebrate this special season, we’re launching Seward Second Saturdays, a community-wide event scheduled for the weekends of Jan. 13, Feb. 10, Mar. 10, and Apr. 14. Enjoy quieter trails, fun activities and special discounts before the crowds return!

To help you make the most of your visit to our seaside town, we’ve developed the following itinerary for families looking for a weekend escape. 

FRIDAY

Evening – A Night at the Movies

Safety first! Seward Highway is generally well maintained, but it’s always a good idea to check the travel conditions and make sure your winter car emergency kit is well stocked before you leave home. 

As you arrive in town, pick up a map of local businesses participating in Seward Second Saturdays from Harbor 360 Hotel or from your lodging provider (see more options below). 

Take advantage of a local secret: The Skip & Marie Fletcher Winter Movie Series shows popular second-run films at steep discounts each Friday at the Rae Marine Education Building auditorium (UAF Seward Marine Center at 3rd Ave between Washington & Railway). This Friday, Feb. 2, families can enjoy “Rudy” at 6 p.m. before “Dunkirk” hits the screen for adults at 8 p.m. Admission is $2 per person, per movie. Proceeds from this week’s (shockingly affordable!) concession sales benefit Seward Prevention Coalition.

SATURDAY

Lace up your skates at Second Lake. Photo: Patrick Lewis 

Morning – Enjoy Your Own Winter Wonderland

Start your day with a hot breakfast at the Breeze, a family restaurant serving up American-style favorites. Feel free to sleep in; breakfast is served until 2 p.m. 

Next, lace up your ice skates, bundle up and head to Second Lake at Two Lakes Park. Seward Parks and Recreation uses an Ice Dragon—an Alaskan made, ice re-surfacing machine—to keep the ice in good condition for skating. There’s often a bonfire going near the shore to warm-up between pick-up hockey games. 

Please note: Relatively warm winter temperatures may result in unsafe conditions for ice skating. If in doubt, stay off the ice.

More comfortable in boots than skates? The short, gently rolling loop trail (0.7 mile) around the park is also a local favorite. 

Afternoon – Visit a Baby Beluga Before Stepping Back in Time

Warm up with homestyle macaroni and cheese at Alaska Seafood Grill across from Seward’s scenic small boat harbor.

You’ll be charmed by Tyonek, a young Beluga calf. Photo: Alaska SeaLife Center

A short one-mile drive will land you at the Alaska SeaLife Center, a world-class public aquarium and our state’s only permanent marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation facility. Experience hands-on exhibits and watch the sea lions, birds and otters play (Adult entrance $24.95, Children $12.95).

Take advantage of a rare opportunity to see a baby Beluga that was rescued from Cook Inlet last fall. Tyonek spends most of his time in an outdoor pool in public view, and interpretive staff are available to talk about the extensive care he receives. For a special treat, upgrade to an unforgettable behind-the-scenes tour of the Center ($74.95 per person).

You’ll find a wealth of historic artifacts inside this modern building. Photo: Seward Community Library & Museum

From the SeaLife Center, wander a couple blocks up Fourth Avenue to explore the historic downtown district. See if the kids can find the 100-year-old, brass cash register located in Seward’s oldest family-owned small business

Cap the afternoon with a visit to the Seward Community Museum (open 12-5 p.m.), featuring a well-curated collection of historical artifacts and photographs. Ask for the Museum Explorers Guide and scavenger hunt activity sheets at the front desk. Admission is free during the winter.

Evening – Go Greek

Apollo Restaurant offers kid-friendly pastas and pizzas that will satisfy even “selective” eaters. The ravioli is a hearty way to fill up after a busy day. 

Traveling with a teen? The Teen Rec Room ($5 admission) is open from 5-10 p.m. and offers music, ping pong, skee ball, computers, Xbox, Netflix, movies, snacks, pool tables, crafts and more. 

SUNDAY

Morning – Slip Sliding Away

The Divide Ski Area at Mile 12 features nordic ski trails for all levels of experience. Photo: Seward City News

Fuel up with hot chocolate and bagels at Resurrect Art Coffeehouse (open at 8 a.m.). Kids can take in the birds-eye view from the loft while you browse local art and jewelry. If you need supplies to play in the snow—from hand warmers to trash compactor bags for impromptu sledding—the friendly folks at the Fish House can take care of you.

Look for bald eagles in the trees surrounding the lagoon as you head out of town. If conditions permit, some of the best sledding and nordic skiing around can be found at the Divide (Mile 12). The consistently groomed trails are ideal for skate skiing.* A map of local ski trails, courtesy of the Seward Nordic Ski Club, may help you find a new favorite ski spot as you head towards home. 

LODGING

Enjoy views of the small boat harbor while soaking in the hot tub or swimming pool at Harbor 360 Hotel. Winter rates start at $89/night, including free breakfast. Mention Seward Second Saturdays when booking to receive 20% off your stay. 

Kids of all ages will enjoy taking in the wildlife and history display at Hotel Seward. Located in the historic downtown district, you’ll be steps from many shops, the Alaska SeaLife Center, and the Seward Community Library & Museum. During Second Saturday weekends, a one-night stay for two, including breakfast, is $80. 

Watch eagles nesting in the lagoon from your room in the north addition of the Breeze Inn. Classic rooms are a good fit for budget-conscious travelers, starting at $69/night. Use code “SSS” when booking to receive 10% off your stay. 

Rates listed are based on double-occupancy and are subject to change. Contact the hotel directly to make your reservation. 

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Have a question about Seward Second Saturdays or other winter activities? Contact the Seward Chamber of Commerce at 907.224.8051. 

Feature image: Local kids can turn just about any frozen surface into an ice rink. Photo by Heidi Zemach for Seward City News.