Anchorage - Overview
The city of Anchorage is located in the state of Alaska in the North West United States. It is the state’s biggest city with a population of 300,000 people and an area covering over 5000 square kilometres (although much of this is uninhabited parkland). Anchorage was originally founded in 1914 as the site of a railroad construction port. The massive earthquake of 1964 means however, that most of the architecture in the city is relatively modern. The economic and cultural capital of Alaska, Anchorage is a popular tourist destination.
The main draw for visitors to Anchorage is the stunning natural beauty of its surrounding areas. Close to the Alaskan Range, the Chugach mountain range and a number of National Parks, Anchorage is a fantastic location from which to explore the magic of Alaska. Wildlife enthusiasts travel to the city in great numbers to see the native species in their natural environment, with Denali and Katmai National Parks being the best places to view the famous bear population. Bald Headed Eagles also call Alaska their home and for birdwatchers the best time to see these magnificent creatures is during the winter months.
Outdoor enthusiasts are well catered for in Anchorage with many companies offering organised and independent activities such as mountain climbing, hiking, skiing, river rafting and sailing. Some of these activities are not for the faint hearted and can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing so it’s always best for beginners to get some advice before heading out solo.
Alaskans are extremely proud of their heritage and there are a number of museums and galleries celebrating the origins of this beautiful state’s peoples. Fall in love with Alaskan Native Art and take a piece home with you as many shops and cultural centres in the city sell authentic pieces. If it’s something more mainstream you’re looking for the Diamond Centre and Fifth Avenue Mall house well known international brands.
From casual to fine dining, Anchorage has many restaurants that cater for all budgets. The speciality in the city is seafood. Wild Alaska salmon, Alaska king crab and Prince William Sound oysters are some of the favourites found on many of the restaurants menus, and with nearly 34,000 miles of coastline the seafood is always fresh. After dinner why not head to one of the city’s many bars? Anchorage has a lively nightlife scene and with venues opening until 2.30am in the week and 3am during weekends there’s plenty of time to check out all the city has to offer. Live music is often on the menu and there are many themed pubs and clubs.
If partying all night doesn’t sound very appealing, Anchorage has a variety of performing arts venues that offer up cultural gems. The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, the Anchorage Opera and the Anchorage Concert Association all provide evening entertainment at the four-theatre Alaska Centre for Performing Arts. Regularly voted the best live theatre in Anchorage is the Cyrano Theatre which hosts a different play every month.