First, a PSA for the NYC and Boston area people: Flights from NYC/BOS to Anchorage are on sale for $275 in Sep/Oct. This is OBSCENELY cheap for that route and will probably sell out fast so book now and think later!
Is that price round trip? If so, it would probably make sense for just about anyone in the Lower-48 to fly to NYC or Boston and then get that flight up here.
I've never been to Alaska and I'm taking advantage of this deal to go for about a week in September. Anyone that's been or live there have recommendations on what to do with Anchorage as a base of operations? I know it's still the season for small salmon and rainbow trout and I definitely want to do some fishing. Other than that, what shouldn't I miss that's within a days drive of Anchorage?
What's a small salmon? You should be able to fish for silvers (coho) through most of September, though earlier in the month is better. You might be able to get into some feeder kings, too.
I wouldn't try to base out of Anchorage. There's no reason to. Rent a car and go see some stuff. If you're broke, bring a tent and a decent sleeping bag. Go to Homer and take a salmon charter. Go to Seward and hike to the Harding Icefield. Drive around the road system, from Anchorage out to Valdez, then back up to Fairbanks and south again. Cruise around the Kenai Peninsula and stop in all the little towns. Fish for rainbows, dolly varden, or grayling along the way. Don't underestimate how long it takes to get from place to place, though. You can easily wind up driving the whole time you're here if you try to do too much. And don't stay in Anchorage! Most of the tourist stuff closes around Labor Day or at least by mid-September, but there should still be some fishing charters. September can be a really good time to come up. You'll get really lovely fall colors (especially at higher elevations), and few other tourists. Expect some rain and bring fairly warm clothes. Meet some locals while you're here; there are some really interesting people in this state.