Alaska Trip: Anchorage

Alaska trip

We just returned from an 11-day trip to Alaska — quite an undertaking, both the travel itself, and going 11 days without internet access! We flew into Anchorage.

flying over Alaska from air

Anchorage Airport

I guess I got ahead of myself a little. It was fun to see Alaska take shape from the air …

Anchorage airport Alaska

Once we arrived, the airport had a distinctly Alaskan vibe. It felt cooler than the Midwest for sure, but wasn’t snowing or icy or anything. Maybe it was just the lack of our lovely humidity that caught my attention.

Anchorage mural whales

Exploring Anchorage on Foot

So, as is usual for us, we spent quite a bit of time just walking around the city, exploring a bit. There were several of these murals painted on buildings. My oldest daughter really liked Anchorage because she said it reminded her of our own town — large enough to have plenty of things going on, but not too “big city.”

The biggest downside of living in Alaska, I think, would be the darkness. Apparently, their winters aren’t as bad as you might think (at least in most of the parts of Alaska that are actually inhabited to any degree). But, being so far north, they get lots of light in the summer and very little in the winter. There are weeks in December and January where there are only 4-5 hours of light daily. One lady we talked to said that people who grew up there dealt with this pretty well, but that it was more difficult for people who moved in. I can imagine! The other side of this is that summer days are very long. The sun comes up around 4 a.m. when we visited, and it was still light after 10 p.m.

Anchorage streets Alaska

Anchorage — Fun Facts

  • Anchorage is Alaska’s most populous city, at around 300,000.
  • 40% of Alaskans live in Anchorage.
  • The city limits of Anchorage are nearly the size of Delaware — so, while the population isn’t huge, this is a big city, area-wise. That area includes a military base, several suburbs, and Chugach State Park.
  • Anchorage has been named the most tax-friendly city in America by Kiplinger. I have to say that it was a treat to realize that several locations in Alaska did not charge any sales tax.

Anchorage Alaska Captain Cook statue

Captain Cook

Anchorage is situated on Cook Inlet, shown above. There’s a statue of Captain Cook, who discovered the inlet. He was quite an explorer, charting most of North America’s western coastline for the first time, and sailing thousands of miles across uncharted areas of the globe. When you’re out on the ocean and see how vast and deep its waters area, you can really appreciate the courage and adventurous spirit it would have taken to do something like that.

Ship Creek fishing Anchorage Alaska
Ship Creek

That night, we were told (by who I can’t remember — another tourist? Someone at the hotel desk?) to walk over to Ship Creek. There were many men (didn’t see any women) there, fishing for salmon. From what we had been told, I was expecting to see fish leaping out of the water on their way upstream. But as would turn out to be the case with wildlife sightings on this trip, that didn’t happen. I watched and watched (for this trip, I splurged and brought my sharpest contact lenses!), but despite my niece pointing out dark areas every now and then below the surface, I could not have identified any of them as a salmon. I think perhaps we were a few weeks early for the great deluge.

So there you have Anchorage — well, mostly. We also visited Anchorage Museum, which I’ll tell you about next time.

Have you visited Anchorage? What can you add to the discussion?







7 thoughts on “Alaska Trip: Anchorage

  1. I can’t add to your Anchorage discussion since I have not been there. But I certainly enjoyed reading about it. I will be looking forward to reading about the rest of your vacation. You certainly know how to make your adventurers interesting to the rest of us!!

  2. Your Anchorage post is very complete! Even though I have been there also, I can’t think of a single thing to add. Sounds like you got off to a good start early on in Alaska. Can’t wait to hear more! Having been to Alaska once in July and once in August, I did experience more of a contrast between daylight and darkness. At our farthest point north, we stayed up almost all night to watch the sun go down at midnight and back up around 1am, almost simultaneously! Golfers could play very late, we were told. Alaska is a great place to visit, but I would not enjoy their long, dark winters.

  3. Love those gorgeous murals! I’ve never been there. I’d have a lot of trouble with only four hours of daylight.

  4. I heard a lot about the Anchorage Earthquake in 1964. I do not remember hearing about it before. Brian talked with a lady fisherwoman at Ship Creek. We were told many men go there and land a salmon for their evening meal. I saw apparenty homeless adults laying around the town. But I suppose that’s common these days in most big cities.

  5. Wow…ALASKA?! Color me jealous…but oh so glad you shared your trip with all of us so we can live vicariously…. ^-^

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