So now that you’ve decided how to get here (because you’ve read my earlier blog entry) now you have to figure out exactly where to go in Alaska! So let me ask you some questions. Do you want a larger city with lots of shopping, dining, and entertainment? Or are you looking for a smaller more quaint town with hardly nothing in the way of a big city? Or are you like some and want a fairly small town that still offers some of the things you can find in a bigger city?
While I will be covering cities in all these categories, today’s city of choice will be Anchorage. Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska. It boasts just shy of 300,000 residents, which is over %50 of Alaska population. This is a fun city with lots to do.
There are 3 shopping malls to enjoy. The shopping mall on 5th Ave, is 5 stories tall with easily 200 shops in it, including a food court, and covered parking with a glass enclosed walkway over the street to the mall. The Diamond Center Mall boasts not only shops and restaurants, but a movie theater and indoor ice rink as well. Both these malls are open year round with nice long hours.
Anchorage also has a huge share of strip malls, and free standing shops for pretty much anything you can think of. There is even a 2 story Barnes and Nobles in Anchorage.
Restaurant life in Anchorage is pretty darn good considering where we are in the world. There is no shortage of fast food, every manner you can think of. As well as Outback Steakhouse, Chili’s, T.G.I. Fridays, Black Angus Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Tony Roma’s and so on. If you name it is probably here. I cannot confirm this yet, but I have also heard rumors of an impending Olive Garden. Fingers crossed!!
Anchorage has all the normal touristy spots as well. You can visit the Anchorage Zoo and see all kinds of animals, you can take a short day cruise to visit a glacier, or roam through any of the various mountains that surround Anchorage. There are a plethora of museums where you can learn all about Alaska culture and about the tribes that surround the area. There is even an indoor water park that is open year round, and can be fun for kids and grown ups alike.
Being that Anchorage is located more in South Central Alaska, the climate there is very mild for Alaska. Summer time is from May to September, and the temperature usually ranges between 55 – 75. Beautiful weather, with occasional showers, but not too bad. Winter temps range from 20 above and 25 below 0. Snow fall is quite heavy in Anchorage with an annual average of about 70inches. This is because Anchorage is surrounded by mountains on all sides, and is in what we call “the bowl”. Snow fall is much higher in other areas of Alaska. Even though winter can result in extreme weather temperatures, the average low in Anchorage during winter is 0 degrees, so it is very tolerable with the right clothing.
I am going to add a few links to Anchorage here. The first link if for the official Anchorage home page, where you can learn about things to do here, and what kind of activities are planned for what time of year. http://www.exploreanchorage.net/ This next link is for the Anchorage local webcam, so you can see what anchorage looks like at any given time of day or year.