Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska so most people begin their Alaskan vacation here. It’s good to plan a day or two in Anchorage as there is plenty to do and it will allow you to acclimate to Alaska before heading into the wild. While you’re here visiting Anchorage, you may hear locals referring to different areas of town.
Here is a quick guide:
- Downtown: the historic core of the city located at the northwestern tip next to the waterfront; home to most of the tourist activities, gift stores, hotels, and the railroad depot
- Midtown: the largely commercial area immediately south of Downtown roughly between 15thAvenue and Tudor Road (becoming more industrial south towards Dimond Boulevard)
- South Anchorage: Diamond Boulevard and south. Largely suburban and residential with some major commercial development west of the Seward Highway.
- West Anchorage: the area along the water southwest of Downtown, encompassing the historic Bootlegger’s Cove and Turnagain residential areas and the famous Earthquake Park
- Spenard: smashed between Midtown and West Anchorage and spilling over and overlapping the boundaries a bit, it was formerly a separate city.
- East Anchorage: everything east of the Seward Highway and north of Tudor Road. Mostly northeastern corner) the Alaska Native Heritage Center.
- Hillside: part of South Anchorage, it’s everything east of the Seward Highway and south of Abbott residential; little of interest to the tourist except for the universities, hospitals, and Road. Completely residential, and many homes there are on the ritzier side. Above the Hillside homes is the immense Chugach State Park, popular for easily accessible hiking. (The mosthiked mountain in Alaska, Flattop Mountain, is fairly easily accessed via the Glen Alps parking area at the top of Upper Huffman Road.)
- Eagle River, Chugiak, Peters Creek: bedroom suburbs north of the city. Residential only, but they provide access to Chugach State Park, especially Crow Creek Pass and Eklutna Lake.
- Bird, Indian, Girdwood: small communities south of the city along the Seward Highway. Very small, tourist service oriented.
Who Can Help?
Anchorage activities are various. Walking around downtown Anchorage you’ll find plenty of restaurants and shops. The Visitor Centers are full of helpful information. Located at 524 W 4th Ave, they can help you find museums and hiking routes, book day tours and bike excursions, and much more!