"Not Alaska - But You Can See It From Here" Top 5 Page for this destination Anchorage by RickinDutch

Anchorage Travel Guide: 852 reviews and 1,577 photos

Captain Cook Hotel - Downtown Anchorage - Anchorage
Captain Cook Hotel - Downtown Anchorage
Closest City to Alaska

We lived in Anchorage for many years before decided to move to the Aleutians and experience life in rural Alaska. Now it is the jumping off point for any trip from home and the location of many of our business trips, get away weekends and big ticket item shopping trips.

Anchorage is by far the largest city in Alaska. More folks live here (320,000) than in the rest of Alaska combined. It is here that we rural residents must come for any serious medical treatment, shopping that can't be done online, and for an occassional break away weekend. We joke about Anchorage being the closest city to Alaska but still we go and spend our hard earned bucks in the big city whenever the opportunity arises. Costco, Walmart, Fred Meyers, etc., all have bush order desks that will ship our recently purchased treasures home.

Anchorage has come a long way over the years in beautifying herself. Lots of flower beds and hanging baskets in the summer and lots of lights in the winter. The Hotel Captain Cook, located right down town, is our favorite place to stay. Without a doubt, the nicest hotel in Anchorage .

Big Changes
The Performing Arts Center - Downtown - Anchorage

The Performing Arts Center - Downtown

The changes that Anchorage has undergone since I first moved here in 1979 are tremendous. I arrived as the TransAlaska Pipeline project was coming to an end. The project had been a boon to the city and the state but the long term impact was an influx of workers from all over that came for the big bucks and stayed for the quality of life Alaska provides. Oil remains the biggest business in Alaska and Anchorage is the headquarters for those industries. The other big economic force for Anchorage is the military with two major bases adjacent, Ft Richardson (Army) and Elmendorf (Air Force). Third is it's roles as the hub for transportation in Alaska for airlines, air cargo, container ships, the railroad and highway traffic.

All of this has led to rapid growth over the 30 years I've known Anchorage. It has gone from a rough and tumble frontier town to an urban center with all that entails. For visitor and resident alike it has meant an increase in ammenities such as hotels, restaurants, night clubs, coastal trails, shopping malls, etc.

All visits should start here - the Log Cabin
Visitor's Center - Downtown - Anchorage

Visitor's Center - Downtown

The Anchorage Visitor's Bureau mans (womans?) the Log Cabin, downtown on 5th, year round with knowledgeable people and loads of brochures. This is a natural starting point to your tour of Anchorage. Walking and bus tours usually start here.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:Closest city to Alaska!
  • Last visit to Anchorage: Nov 2006
  • Intro Updated Jun 30, 2008
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Reviews (59)

Comments (33)

  • Lacristina's Profile Photo
    Feb 14, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    Another foot has falllen, and tomorrow another 3-4 inches. the gutters and downspouts are iced up, and it's now leaking into my kitchen and basement. sigh

  • Jun 8, 2009 at 5:18 PM

    Orso is very corporate/South Palm Beach. Last time I was there they burnt the soup! I would recommend going next door to the Glacier Brewhouse or if you are craving italian food go to Villa Nova at 5121 Arctic Blvd. An amazing gem in a strip mall.

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Jun 1, 2009 at 9:38 PM

    Hi Rick - just wanted to say I printed your tips before I went to Anchorage and they helped a lot...Thanks for sharing, Norman :)

  • Tableaux1's Profile Photo
    Apr 13, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    I'm going to Club Paris this weekend. Can't wait!

  • Ericasmurf99's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2008 at 3:13 PM

    Our fingers are crossed for orders to Alaska (Elemendorf AFB). Such a beautiful state.

  • Cabana_Boy's Profile Photo
    Jun 30, 2008 at 11:58 AM

    the Irish just won't stop...until they have a pub in every town...god love 'em!!!

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Jun 28, 2008 at 2:20 PM

    A lot of very useful tips, esp. on accommodations, nightlife and restaurants. I can't wait driving down Turnagain Arm (looks pretty!). I have to read more on personal safety in case of meeting bear/moose.

  • zuriga's Profile Photo
    May 8, 2008 at 12:12 PM

    My godfather still lives near Anchorage... he's about 92 now. His son is an architect... Sam Combs. Good luck with your move!

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    May 6, 2008 at 5:37 AM

    Great tips, thanks!

  • hersheybar's Profile Photo
    Jan 18, 2008 at 7:00 AM

    I enjoyed my visits to Humpys! A local recommended it to me. The food at F Street Station was fabulous and very reasonable.

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