WELCOME TO ANCHORAGE
Come Visit Us!
There is so much more to learn about Anchorage. If you are ready to move, we’d love to hear from you, connect you to more resources, and assist you in any way we can. Of course the best way to learn what you need to know about Anchorage is to visit. Even if it is for a quick weekend, you can get a sense of the quality of life, the neighborhoods that are best for you, and even check out a house or two. Give us a call, in advance if possible, so we can assist you with any stay recommendations as well as assess your needs ahead of time. Then, we will block out some time during your stay to show you around town and show you a few homes. Like most people in Anchorage, we love showing off our hometown. We look forward to meeting you.
Life in Anchorage
When it comes to living in Anchorage area, the lifestyle just can’t be beat. Sure there are the dark, cold, and long winters, but being an Alaskan means being pioneering. We all find ways to survive and even thrive. To anyone coming from out of state, it may seem a bit bewildering how people can manage long days of darkness or long days of light. But, live here a year and you will fall in sync with the seasons. We all learn our own ways of enjoying this dramatic landscape with winter lunchtime walking dates to take in Vitamin D or skiing at night on lamplit trails. Our arctic entries are full of sleds, skis, skates, bikes, hiking boots, studs, and rubber boots ready for whatever the seasons throw at us.
Speaking of arctic entries, because the seasons are everchanging, our homes become an important place of refuge. When conditions are less than ideal, we can spend a lot of time in our homes and when they are good, we may be in and out just long enough to throw in a load of laundry. Finding the perfect home to manage our Alaskan life also means finding the right neighborhood that checks the boxes for commute time, schools, safety, convenience (shopping and entertainment), and play (parks and trails).
History of Anchorage
Anchorage started out as a tent city on the south shore of Ship Creek in 1914 serving as a company town to the Alaska Railroad. From 1940 to the present, the town served as a staging area for the military starting with World War II and for the development of natural resources throughout Alaska including oil, gas, mining, and fishing. In 1964, a magnitude 9.2 earthquake completely devastated the majority of building structures and neighborhoods. As a result, much of Anchorage’s older housing is less than 60 years old and Anchorage does not have any tree-lined streets with idyllic historical homes that you can find in many U.S. cities. Throughout the years, Anchorage has adopted the best available standards for seismic safety and along with California currently uses the most stringent standards as dictated by the International Building Code to withstand earthquakes. In Anchorage’s second largest recorded earthquake in 2018, magnitude 8.1, damage was substantially minimized.
Anchorage is often referred to as the Anchorage Bowl as it sits on a flat strip of land at sea level and is surrounded by mountains: the Talkeetna Mountains, the Chugach, and the Alaska Range. On clear days you can see all of these including Iliamna and Augustine volcanoes and Denali, the tallest mountain in the US. The ocean surrounding Anchorage on all three sides is silt laden. Tides in the Turnagain Arm which flanks the south side of Anchorage has the largest tidal range in the US with a mean of 30 feet. As a peninsula walled off by the Chugach, building expansion in Anchorage is constrained accommodating plateaued population levels of 300,000 over the last two decades.
Building growth has occurred in towns north of Anchorage, providing more housing options for those that are willing to commute to Anchorage or those who don’t need to commute. There is only one road north out of Anchorage and one road south. While Anchorage itself extends north to south from Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson to Potter Marsh and west to east from Kinkaid Park to the hillside, commuting from one side of town to the other usually takes no more than 25 minutes. Unlike the Lower 48, being “stuck in traffic” is often the result of road construction or wildlife crossings versus actual traffic.
With a population of 291,845 in 2019, down from a high of 301,037 in 2013, Anchorage is defined as a mid-size city, though it feels more like a small town. It is one of those places where you can’t go to the grocery store without running into someone you know and neighbors know their neighbors. Friends commonly meet for a hot yoga class, a bike along the trail, a coffee at a local café, or a drink at a new brewery.
Unlike many cities, Anchorage, including Eagle River and Girdwood, is covered by one municipality and one public school district that offers neighborhood, charter, and language immersion schools totaling over 90 schools. Private schools are also available. More than 100 languages are spoken by the kids in our schools making Anchorage one of the most diverse school districts in the nation.
Set in a wilderness landscape, it is common to find moose napping in your yard. An awe-inspiring scene that never seems to get old. Surrounded by bucket-list state and national parks as well as world-class skiing and fishing, residents can also enjoy 224 parks and over 250 miles of trails in their own backyard. Whether you are into horseback riding, mushing, skiing, biking, skating, running, boating, or walking your dogs, there is something for every outdoor enthusiast. Many residents are very active summer and winter and as a result there are many sports and outdoor programs for adults and kids. Anchorage is proud to have an active sports competition and racing scene and has raised many world champions and Olympians.
In some ways Anchorage’s economy is shaped by its location; in relation to the rest of the world it can be considered at the end of the road. In other ways it can be considered the gateway to resources. As such Anchorage’s economy is as dynamic as it is both fragile and strong. To find the most up-to-date reports and forecast, check out the following resources.
Click here for a list of our recommended resources for life in Anchorage.