State of Alaska
The nation’s largest state by area, Alaska’s economy is rooted in oil, gas, fishing and tourism. In addition, there is no sales tax, which is great for shoppers and celebrated by people living in Alaska. The best places to live in Alaska include the city of Anchorage along with scenic Fairbanks and the state capital of Juneau. Alaska has 50 beautiful parks and popular annual events like the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and the World Ice Art Championships.
Alaska is the 47th populous state in the U.S. The largest cities in Alaska are , and . The median income for Alaska is $69,917, which is 73% higher than the national median income. The median home price in Alaska is $237,900. The highest-priced homes are typically found in , and . The lowest-priced homes are in , and .
Median Household Income$69,917
Median Home Price$237,900
The first Saturday of each March, Anchorage is filled with excitement, traditions and pavement pounding paws. The legendary Iditarod dog sled race lays down the starter’s line from 4th Avenue to Campbell in Anchorage and finishes up in the west in Nome, Alaska. The nine- to 15-day race is trekked on the historic Iditarod Trail and includes teams of 12-16 dogs each and a Musher, or the dog team driver. The race has been a part of the Alaskan tradition since the early 1900s, when a diphtheria epidemic broke out in Nome and a legion of mushers raced to get serum to heal the people. The serum saved many lives as the story of the race made headlines around the world. It wasn’t until the 1970s, however, that a group of historians got together and encouraged the race to be instigated again. It wasn’t long after that the race caught world recognition and fame. The race is a ceremonial awakening for the town of Anchorage, as onlookers fill the streets to see the first 11 miles of the race. Iditarod is also around the same time as the Fur Rendezvous and Tour of Anchorage Events, so there is something to do before and after the commencement. To get the best out of this historical attraction, you can win a spot in the Iditarod contenders’ sled baskets and get a close-up view. When the dogs are off, you can keep up with the races at the Millennium Alaskan Hotel Anchorage, the official Iditarod Headquarters. Bundle up and let the races begin! Learn more about other fun attractions in Anchorage.
Outdoors and Family Without a doubt, Anchorage has an authentic outdoors scene that attracts people from different areas worldwide. From glacier tours to paddling in the Prince William Sound, there is a work of nature to behold everywhere you go to complement the activities. Another good feat of the outdoors is it is a great destination for family activities, such as the Alaska Zoo, Alaska Botanical Gardens and the Musk Ox and Reindeer Farm. Indoor alternatives include an indoor water park and many other fun-filled activities. Fall, spring and winter are prime times for seeing the ever-famous Northern Lights. Viewers can gaze the late-night sky to see colorful auroras of blues, greens, pinks and yellows. Its recommended visitors stay a few days due in case of changing weather. Entertainment Anchorage may have a thriving outdoor scene, but their indoor scene is well equipped with shows and other performances. Anchorage is home to a number of theaters. Classic plays and musicals are just some of the productions that the Cyrano Theater Company stages. A bigger venue downtown, the Alaska Center of the Performing Arts, puts on some of biggest musicals known at the Discovery Stage, lends a stage to concerts for today’s popular artists at the Atwood Concert Hall, and also plays home to the Anchorage Symphony and Orchestra at the Sydney Laurence Theater. Out North Contemporary Art House is one of the many venues that provides local live music, as well as mash-up of contemporary visual, performing, literary and media art. History and Museums Considering its the largest city of the second youngest state, Anchorage has an impressive amount of historical attractions that exhibit history as far as 10,000 years ago. Familiarize yourself with Seward’s Folly’s entrance into the U.S. at the grand Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson, or get a general gist of Alaskan history on the Anchorage City Trolley Tours. Besides the Anchorage Museum, another notable museum is the Alaska Native Heritage Center, where you can immerse yourself in the generations of Anchorage Native American culture. While you’re at both of the museums, take a long look at the Alaskan Art Exhibits that supplement the historical showcases. Events The Community of Anchorage and the surrounding areas have numerous festival and events in a multitude of interests, from the Slippery Salmon Olympics at Eagle River’s Bear Paw Festival to the Spanish fiesta at the Alaskan Salsa Festival. Other big festivals include the Fur Rendezvous and Tour of Anchorage Events. Learn more about Anchorage's don't-miss attraction.
The following top employers are in health services, grocery and merchandise, oil services, airline and financial services industries. Many public employers are headquartered in Anchorage, however, only a few operate there exclusively, such as Anchorage School District and Municipality of Anchorage. Private Employers Providence Health & Services Walmart/Sam’s ClubCarrs/Safeway Fred Meyer ASRC Energy Services BP Exploration AlaskaCH2M HILLNANA Management ServicesAlaska Native Tribal Health ConsortiumAlaska Airlines GCI CommunicationsSouthcentral FoundationFedExConocoPhillips Alaska Alaska USA Federal Credit Union Public Employers U.S. Army Alaska – Fort RichardsonState of Alaska University of Alaska Anchorage School District Providence Health & Services Municipality of Anchorage Learn more about business in Anchorage.
Industries Anchorage is dominated by oil services, grocery and general merchandise, medical, transportation, and financial services sectors. In fact, Alaskan oil services rely heavily on Anchorage with more than half of the oil services jobs in Alaska being formed in Anchorage. The majority of industries included in the top 100 private employers in the state come from Anchorage, making it one of the biggest and best climates for business. Some of these employers include: Providence Health & Services, Walmart/Sam’s Club, BP Exploration Alaska, Alaska Airlines, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union. The Anchorage area is also home to the most public employees, containing top employers such the Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson, Anchorage School District, and Municipality of Anchorage. Along with the big-industry presence, Anchorage has handful of headquarters, like Carrs/Safeway, and offices for major companies such as ConocoPhillips. Another benefit to working in Anchorage includes residents not having to pay sales tax as part of the Alaskan law. Transportation The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is the world’s fifth largest cargo airport and serves around 500 million passengers, with major airlines such as Delta, American Airlines and United. Anchorage is also known as “Air Crossroads of the World” due to its strategic location – Anchorage is the first stop when most major airlines enter the United States. The city also has major roads that run through it, such as the Alaska State Route 1, Glenn Highway and Seward Highway. The average commute time for workers in Anchorage is a little more than 20 minutes. If you’re looking for car-free options, public transportation is provided by People Mover Bus System throughout the city or you can join the Bike Commuters of Anchorage. See our list of top employers in Anchorage, AK.
The University of Alaska Anchorage The University of Alaska Anchorage is one of the three University of Alaska universities. The university enrolls around 16,000 students and offers degrees in public policy and business, arts and sciences, social welfare, aviation and other programs. The Seawolves also have 11 sports programs including a NCAA Division I hockey and gymnastics teams. UAA also puts on the renown Great Alaska Shootout college basketball tournament every November. The athletics division hosts recreational facilities. Students have priority over these facilities, but public access is extended, with an entrance fee, at all other times.UAA also sponsors a community book of the year event as well as events with APU. Alaska Pacific University Alaska Pacific University, formerly Alaska Methodist University, is a small private school in Anchorage and a Top 100 U.S. News Regional University in the West spot holder. The school is a founding member of the Eco-League, a nationwide student exchange program of schools with strong programs in environmental science and studies, and is accredited by the Northwestern Commission on Colleges and Universities. APU is renown for its skiing team and regional Olympic training center for cross-country skiers. The community members can pay to take advantage of their athletic facilities, and their Nordic ski center offers skiing programs to all ages. Charter College Anchorage Charter College Anchorage is a post-secondary career college that was founded in Anchorage. Adding to their campuses in Washington, California and Alaska, Charter also offers education online with their online class program. The college system is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools and Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, and extends bachelor degree programs in Information Technology Engineering, Business Management and Technology, Business Management and Accounting, Construction Management and Criminal Justice. Certificates and associate degrees are also available. Learn more about public and private schools in Anchorage.
The Anchorage School District is nothing short of impressive. With 50,000 students sitting in the classrooms of more than 90 schools, the district ranked high on greatschools.net for their test results, which are higher than the national average. The school district is also the largest public employer in Alaska. Even though this accommodates a majority of the public school district, there are also two other smaller school districts. Anchorage is also home to a number of private schools. Public Schools The Anchorage School District has a total 98 schools including high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, charter schools, a combined secondary center and vocational school, and other specialized schools and programs. Additionally, the district has a wide selection of extracurricular activities in which middle school and high school students can participate. These range from cheerleading, football, Nordic skiing, hockey, track and field, and others. For other after-school activities, the Alaska School Activities Association offers declamation, drama, debate, forensics and music. The music program of East and Bartlett High Schools have been honored with Grammy Signature Schools Enterprise Awards for their music programs. Other Public School Districts There are two smaller community school districts as well. The Aleutian Region School District serves three communities in the Western Aleutian Islands, Nikolski, Atka and Adak. The other school district, the Chugach School District, has six schools and has been honored with the Alaska Performance Excellence in 2008 and the honorable Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, given by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Private Schools There are approximately 22 private schools in the Anchorage area including a Montessori school. The schools include secular and parochial. Learn more about higher education in Anchorage.
Anchorage is broken into more than 30 neighborhoods within the areas of the Anchorage Bowl, Eagle River and south of Anchorage. Anchorage Bowl The northern region of the Anchorage Bowl contains the city center and eastern residential areas. The city center, as well as the surrounding areas, such as Russian Jack Park and Government Hill, are made up of one- to four-bedroom apartments and homes. With a great nightlife downtown and in surrounding areas, this location is a hotspot for professional, young and mixed-aged singles. As you move east, homes gradually become larger and more prominent. The Debarr Road/Bragaw Street area is home to three- to four-bedroom homes, but also home to small apartment buildings, The Northeast Anchorage/Nunaka Valley is one of the wealthiest centers in the state and made mostly three- to four-bedroom houses, but some smaller dwellings and apartment buildings are also available. Also in the northeast area is Alaska Pacific University in the Northern Lights Boulevard area. This area is an above average income area with mostly college students in small dwellings. Central and Southern The central region ranges from urban to residential settings and contains a mix of young singles to mixed ages. Abbott Loop is a residential area in Anchorage, good for families and young singles. On the eastern side of the area, the large homes and proximity to schools make it a great place to raise a family. On the western side, there are more singles living in apartments of all sizes. Similarly, as you move north towards Tudor Road, the area becomes more urban with high-rise complexes and young single inhabitants. Anchorage's southern region is primarily family-friendly and home to larger, upscale homes. The family-friendly Huffman/O’Malley area is popular with families with school-aged children because of low crime rates and proximity to schools. Correspondingly, the Diamond Edinburgh area is another popular spot and has a higher amount of private schools. The New/Old Seward area is also home larger homes and an executive lifestyle, but is a retiree-friendly community. Eagle River and South of Anchorage North of the Anchorage Bowl is the Eagle River area. It is largely an area for families and retirees, with medium-sized homes, but mixed ages and smaller house options are available. South of Anchorage is a remote neighborhood located in the Chickaloon Bay, and it is home to mostly young, upper- to middle-class renters in one- to two-bedroom dwellings. Learn more about the public and private schools in Anchorage.
Alaskan and Native American roots blend perfectly with malls and no sales tax to make an inviting shopping scene in Anchorage. Malls At the Diamond Center, treat yourself at Best Buy, Forever 21, Famous Footwear or the Alaska Gift Store. After you’re through shopping, catch a movie or grab a bite at the mall’s cinema or well-equipped food court. Beyond shopping at stores, like Burlington Coat Factory and Carrs Safeway, you can join the Northway Mall’s Mall Walkers Club or support the local farms at the Wednesday Market. Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall, located downtown, has five levels of diverse shopping experiences. Some of the stores to peruse are Apple, JCPenny, Nordstroma and Gap, to name a few. Downtown Besides the major 5th Avenue Mall, downtown Anchorage is a culturally themed center. Coated in a hard-to-miss yellow paint, locally loved Rusty Harpoon carries genuine Native American jewelry and affordable crafts. Nearby, the 4th Avenue Market Place has Native American geared retail businesses, which include art, restaurants and coffee shops, and live dance performances and concerts are regularly scheduled. Head down the street for authentic Alaskan treats at Alaskan Wild Berry Products, complete with gift baskets, apparel and foods like the Wild Berry Syrup. They even have Alaska Canine Candies for your pup. Cozy up in a masterfully crafted fur outer piece concocted by David Green Master Furrier, also on 4th Avenue. After you wrap up in fur, keep warm at the Kobuk Coffe Co. on 5th and enjoy a cup of joe as you filter through their stationery, fine china, body care, jewelry and other Alaskan articles. Find more things to do in Anchorage.
Outdoors Since Anchorage has snowy terrain everywhere you look, the city sets forth the perfect outdoor opportunity to strap on some skis or ice fish on a frozen lake. In fact, Anchorage is number one on Livability's Top 10 Winter Cities list. Alpine, Nordic, and snowboarding are just some of the ways you can cruise down one of the six surrounding mountain ranges. Another mode of transport is snowboarding, which is offered at a number of the ski resorts throughout the ranges. Perhaps you would rather explore the mountains by hiking or biking one of the 400-plus trails – the city has been recognized as having one of the best trail systems in the nation from Runner’s Worlds and Biking Magazine. Hiking and biking is a good activity to do winter or summer, as is camping in one of the national state park campgrounds. You can get a view the mountains when you’re kayaking around the bay, or challenge yourself to Class V rapids on a whitewater route. Parks and Recreation The Department of Parks & Recreations manages more than 220 parks, a number of which are dog parks, and about 80 playgrounds. Each park is designed to meet the needs of the respective area in which it's located. There are also two recreational facilities with youth through senior programs in activities like aquatics and outdoor adventures. The facilities have weight centers, gymnasiums, art studios and other utilities. Other types of recreational facilities include the Centennial Campground and the Mann Leiser Memorial Greenhouse. The department also has youth leagues that offer lacrosse, Pop Warner and other sports. Additionally, they put on a long list of running events, as well as ski lessons and events, kickball events, canine Frisbee and outdoor adventure camps. The Recreation Department thrives on volunteers, inviting almost 6,000 a year, so it’s easy to get involved. Golf With the Alaska Golf Association headquartered here and three premier courses nestled in between the mountain ranges, Anchorage is a breathtaking place to practice your stroke. Anchorage Golf Course and Moose Run have been awarded with being as the best in the state, and Tanglewood Lakes has a dome for indoor golfing year round. Learn more about shopping in Anchorage.
Best Places to Live in Alaska
- Anchor Point
- Bear Creek
- Big Lake
- Chena Ridge
- Diamond Ridge
- Eielson AFB
- Farmers Loop
- Fort Greely
- Fritz Creek
- Hooper Bay
- Kodiak Station
- Lazy Mountain
- Meadow Lakes
- North Pole
- Prudhoe Bay
- Steele Creek
- Susitna North