Welcome to Talkeetna, Alaska, the Kooky Town With a Feline Mayor

downtown talkeetna alaska things to do

Strange but true: Residents of Talkeetna, Alaska officially elected a cat mayor multiple times during elections in the 2010s.

The successful campaign by the kittie’s supporters should tell you everything you need to know about this quirky town approximately halfway between Anchorage and Denali National Park.

Until his passing a few years back, the kittie named Mayor Stubbs reigned over a community of 876 that carries a distinct hippie vibe.

What’s it like in Talkeetna? Climbers gather on outdoor restaurant patios to gorge on caribou burgers offered up by servers with multiple piercings.

Locals lazily sip coffee and watch passers-by stroll through the small business district. Tourists snap photos of the wooden moose statues and pop into kitchsy gift shops.

It was a big news story when Mayor Stubbs passed away. The feline succumbed to old age at the ripe old age of 20, after several years of being in power. Stubbs is missed.

20+ years. Several uncontested elections. Thousands of naps. We had a good run. #RIPStubbs

— Mayor Stubbs, a cat. (@MayorStubbs) July 23, 2017

Things To See and Do in Talkeetna, Alaska

What will you see in Talkeetna? The moose are everywhere. There are the wooden moose that sit in front of nearly every business.

moose gift shop

The moose all seem to have different stories. This one is a takeoff on the Swedish dala horse.

swedish moose talkeetna

And then there’s the moose sign you can stick your head in. Don’t be bashful about being a tourist here, because this town constantly has tourists passing through. You’ll fit right in!

moose kissing sign talkeetna

Some of the gift shops give bears equal billing with the moose.

bears gift shop

Talkeetna has a couple of restaurants that have been featured on Man vs. Food, a personal favorite show. I stopped by the West Rib Pub and ordered the caribou chili.

It didn’t taste much different than regular chili. But at least I get a new animal to add to my culinary resume.

caribou chili talkeetna alaska

This is the kind of town that has a food truck specifically dedicated to spinach bread.

spinach bread

And a spot along the river called Mexican Moose that serves up burritos.

mexican moose

A lot of Denali climbers use Talkeetna as their homebase prior to climbing, which means you can meet some really interesting people at the coffee shop or restaurant.

The local cemetery has a monument to those who have lost their lives trying to summit Mt. Denali (formerly McKinley.) Take a minute to see the Mt. McKinley Climber’s Memorial.

mt mckinley climbers memorial

Talkeetna is the homebase of flightseeing companies that will give you an aerial tour of Alaska in a small bush plane.

Flightseeing (and visiting a glacier inside Denali National Park!) was one of the coolest things I did in Alaska. If you’ve got the budget for it, I highly recommend taking a flightseeing excursion!

Where to Stay in Talkeetna

Gorgeous Cabin Life. Susitna River Cabins.

Hostel-Style Rooms. Talkeetna Roadhouse.

Budget. Talkeetna International Hostel. (Update: Unfortunately, the hostel has closed for business.)

talkeetna hostel

If you’re doing an Alaska adventure, take the time to detour to Talkeetna on your way to Denali. And explore the hotspots formerly frequented by Mayor Stubbs, like Nagley’s General Store.

I did not have the pleasure of meeting hizzonor. But I won’t question his authority, considering this cat had more Facebook friends than me.

Planning an Alaska visit? See my guide to budgeting for an Alaska trip, and my road trip itinerary for a 7-10 day visit.

I also have a list of the best guided tours in Anchorage, things to do in Downtown Anchorage, and instructions for how to visit the remote national parks Kobuk Valley and Gates of the Arctic.

Would you be interested in visiting Talkeetna?