Moving to Anchorage
Welcome to the scenic and captivating world of Anchorage, Alaska! A place where the wilderness meets modern living, Anchorage is unique in its charm. As the largest city in Alaska, it offers a beautiful combination of cosmopolitan amenities and rich cultural experiences, all within reach of awe-inspiring natural beauty. If you're considering a fresh start within the backdrop of majestic mountains, numerous wildlife, and diverse recreational activities, this comprehensive guide aims to make your relocation to Anchorage smoother and more exciting. So strap in and get ready to embark on an adventurous journey of moving to Anchorage, AK!
What to Know Before Moving to Anchorage
1. The Northern Lights are an Actual Thing
Hailing from a big city, you're probably familiar with light pollution stealing away the starry nights. Hitting Anchorage, Alaskan night skies can house a mesmerizing cosmic spectacle, the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. In those frosty nights, the sky dons a glorious, dancing display of green, yellow, red, and purple, painting a picture that'll give your IG followers some serious FOMO. Clear and dark skies between September and April? Grab a blanket and enjoy the best free show on Earth!
2. Close Encounters of the Wildlife Kind
If you're drawn towards the call of the wild, Anchorage might just be the perfect place for you. You will find moose as common as pigeons in New York, occasionally welcoming you on your morning drive to work. It's not unusual to find black bears rummaging through your trash cans and bald eagles soaring casually. And when it comes to fishing, brace yourself because you're trading sardines for salmon!
3. Truth About Alaskan Igloos
No, not everyone in Anchorage lives in an igloo. This often-perpetuated myth couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, Alaska boasts architectural styles that range from homely cabins to chic, modern condominiums. Yes, there's a lot of snow but that doesn't mean you are forced to live in ice-castle contrary to your grandpa's advice!
4. Prepare for (Actually) Going Off the Grid
Living in Anchorage means truly experiencing what "remote" means. As the most populated city in the largest state, Anchorage is still considered off the grid, separated by vast wilderness and harsh terrains from the Lower 48. Don't worry though, Amazon Prime delivery still makes it there!
5. Your New Best Friend: Layering
Winters in Anchorage can be Frosty with a capital "F". You must master the art of "layering" if you want to stay toasty during the winter. One minute you could be in a heated home or office, and the next you could be out in sub-zero temperatures. Layering allows you to add or remove clothing as required, thus keeping you comfortable during weather transition.
6. Summer Days are Long, Really Long
Embrace yourself for having breakfast in daylight and dinner under, well, daylight. Owing to its high latitude, Anchorage boasts some of the longest summer days in the whole country. On the summer solstice (around June 21), the city gets a whopping 22 hours of daylight. That's a lot of extra time for outdoor activities!
In conclusion, moving to Anchorage, Alaska, allows you to embrace and experience the great outdoors like nowhere else. It's a different lifestyle that charms you with its Northern Lights, abundant wildlife, and vast wilderness. The cold winters and long summer days demand slight adjustments but the reward is an unparalleled living that's grand, broad and full of adventure!
Pros and Cons of Living in Anchorage
Pros of Living in Anchorage
Living in Anchorage provides a unique opportunity to enjoy some of the world's most exciting natural attractions. From majestic mountains to scenic coastlines, you're never far from nature's grandeur. It's a dream come true for outdoor enthusiasts with opportunities for hiking, fishing, skiing, and wildlife spotting.
Unique Cultural Experiences
Anchorage is rich with history and culture, offering a unique blend of native traditions and modern conveniences. The city has a variety of museums, art galleries, and festivals which celebrate the local culture and history.
Outdoor Recreational Activities
If you're a fan of outdoor sports, Anchorage also offers many opportunities. From downhill skiing at one of the mountain resorts, to fishing in the many rivers and streams, there's always something to do.
Anchorage boasts distinct and beautiful seasons. Experience the lush greenery of summer, watch the northern lights in winter, enjoy the vibrant colors of fall, and welcome the budding life in spring.
Living in Anchorage means sharing your home with a variety of wildlife species. Sightings of moose, bald eagles, bears, and whales are common, providing a unique and exciting experience for nature lovers.
Cons of Living in Anchorage
High Cost of Living
The cost of living in Anchorage can be quite high. Everything from groceries to housing can cost more than the national average due to the remoteness of Alaska and the cost of shipping goods to the state.
Long Winter Months
While the snowy landscapes and access to winter sports can be a plus, the long winter months can also be a disadvantage. The lack of sunlight can be difficult to adjust to and can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder for some individuals.
Being located in the far north, Anchorage can feel quite isolated from other parts of the United States. Travel can be more expensive and time-consuming, and certain conveniences may be harder to find.
Like anywhere, Anchorage has its share of natural disasters. The state of Alaska is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity, and the city also has its share of severe winter storms.
While the wildlife in Anchorage can be a sight to see, it also means that residents must take precautions to avoid dangerous encounters. This can include everything from understanding bear safety to properly disposing of trash to deter animals.
Is Anchorage a Good Place to Live?
Anchorage, AK is a great place to live because of its breathtaking outdoor scenery, adventure-filled lifestyle, and diverse wildlife. There's never a dull moment here with endless trails for hiking, skiing or snowboarding during winters, and plenty of fishing and hunting opportunities. Additionally, it's a place full of culture and history, where you can enjoy the Alaska Native Heritage Center, museums, and annual festivals that celebrate the unique spirit of Alaska.
What Is Anchorage Famous For?
The Northern Lights
In Anchorage, you can catch a glimpse of the breathtaking Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. On many a chilly winter night, the sky lights up with these breathtaking displays of color and light movement, turning a star-filled sky into a celestial canvas.
Surrounded by majestic mountains and crystal-clear waters, Anchorage boasts some of the most stunning scenery in all of America. From the snowy peaks of the Chugach and Kenai mountains to the sparkling waters of Cook Inlet, Anchorage's natural beauty is enough to awe any visitor.
Anchorage is famous for its wildlife diversity. Make sure to visit the Chugach State Park and the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail where you can spot moose, bears, bald eagles, beluga whales and many other species. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is another must-see spot for wildlife enthusiasts.
Did someone say fishing? Anchorage is world-renowned for its salmon fishing. With five different species of salmon swimming in the surrounding waters, it's no wonder that fishing enthusiasts from around the globe make the journey to try their luck in the surrounding rivers and streams.
Overview of Tax Rates
The property tax rate in Anchorage, AK as of 2023 is estimated to be around 1.2%. This rate is on par if not slightly below the average US property tax rate but can vary depending on the specific value and location of the property within Anchorage.
Anchorage, AK uniquely does not have a sales tax, making it an outlier as compared to the majority of other US cities and states where sales tax usually ranges from 2.9% to 7.25%.
As of 2023, Alaska, including Anchorage, also does not have a statewide income tax. This is in stark contrast to the majority of other US states where income tax rates can range anywhere from 1% to 13.3% and beyond.
The Anchorage, AK housing market operates differently than in the rest of the US due to Alaska's unique geography and climate. Median home values in Anchorage are significantly higher than the national average, at approximately $330,000. Rent prices, on the other hand, are fairly comparable to national median rates. Potential buyers must also consider the prolonged times on the market and lower appreciation rates of Anchorage properties. Insulation and heating costs are further factors to ponder. Lastly, with over 38% of housing units occupied by renters, it indicates a balanced real estate market with opportunities for both home buyers and renters.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Anchorage, AK is somewhat higher than the national average. Factors such as the high cost of housing, utilities, and groceries contribute to this. Also, the remoteness of the location possibly adds a premium to the cost of goods and services. However, when compared to other cities with similar amenities and quality of life, such as Seattle or Portland, Anchorage remains more affordable. Additionally, Alaska's lack of state income tax and year-round natural splendors offset some of these costs.
Weather & Natural Disasters
Anchorage, AK, experiences a subarctic climate, with long, cold winters and short, cool summers. Average temperatures range from a low of 5degF in winter to highs of 65degF in the summer. The city typically experiences significant snowfall, averaging around 75 inches annually. Rainfall is also common, particularly during late summer and fall. Despite its northern location, due to maritime influence, the temperatures are not as extreme as one might expect for its latitude. As for natural disasters, Anchorage is susceptible to earthquakes, being located in a seismically active region. The most devastating occurred in 1964, measuring a 9.2 magnitude. Avalanches occur in winter months, particularly in the Chugach Mountains. Wildfires, while less common, pose a risk during the warmer, drier months of the year. Despite these challenges, the city's unique climate and natural beauty continue to charm residents and visitors.
Economy & Job Market
The lifeblood of Anchorage's economy has been the Oil and Gas industry for more than a century - if there's one thing we've got in spades, it's those dino-bones-turned-energy sources. But, let's not forget about the fishing industry- we're talking about the home of the world's largest and most productive salmon fishery. But wait, there's more! In recent years, the Alaskan pace of life, stunning natural beauty and plentiful outdoor activities have transformed Anchorage into a significant hub for tourism. Want to set your pulse racing? Health care is another primary industry due to the city's status as the medical center of Alaska. The military and defense industry's strong presence also deserves a shout-out with significant Army and Air Force bases contributing to the city's job market.
For all those adventure seekers out there thinking about making a move to Anchorage, pack your parka and let us give you the lowdown on the job market! As of 2021, the unemployment rate in Anchorage is slightly higher than the national average, hovering just over 6%. Don't let that discourage you though - there are still plenty of opportunities in abundant industries. Toss your net in Fishing or put your backpack on for a career in Tourism. Love to take care of others? The Health Care industry is always in need of dedicated professionals. And we can't don't forget the Oil and Gas industry - it promises fruitful employment in many skilled positions. So, dust off that resume and get ready to take on a new adventure in Anchorage's vibrant job market.
Traffic and Transportation
Heads up, folks! In Anchorage, AK, you're looking at an average commute time of about 19 minutes, a notably breezy time compared to the national average. Yes, you heard that right! That's more time for moose-spotting, mountain-gazing, and coffee-sipping for you. Now, let's talk public transportation. Jump aboard the People Mover bus service to zip around the city. But hey, there's no need to rush! After all, they say life is best enjoyed at a bus pace. And when you're ready to fly, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport has got your back. It's the 5th-busiest cargo airport globally, you know. Fun fact: it's closer to Tokyo than it is to DC! So, whether you're traveling by land or air, in Anchorage, you're sure to have an "ice" time. Pun absolutely intended. Pro-tip: Keep your eyes peeled, Northern Lights spotting while traveling is definitely a thing here.
Best Neighborhoods in Anchorage
1. Bootlegger's Cove
No, pirates don't still roam its streets, but Bootlegger's Cove is steeped in Anchorage history. This charming neighborhood harbors a laid-back maritime vibe and is undoubtedly a top pick for potential Anchorage dwellers. Bordering downtown Anchorage, it offers a unique mix of metropolitan convenience and coastal allure. Not to mention, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, a scenic 11-mile path, winds through this neighborhood, perfect for biking, jogging, and even encountering a moose or two!
2. Hillside East
If you're a fervent nature lover and hiker, Hillside East might be your idyllic Alaskan paradise. The neighborhood is a gateway to the Chugach Mountains and boasts homes nestled among forests, mountain views, and regular wildlife sightings. Plus, the Hilltop Ski Area is just a stone's throw away for winter recreations, making Hillside East a perfect pick for outdoorsy newcomers.
3. Bear Valley
Bear Valley is a dream come true for those seeking peace, privacy, and dramatic landscapes. This secluded neighborhood, despite its proximity to downtown, feels worlds away with its striking natural scenery. Here, you'll find acres of untouched wilderness, homes on spacious lots, and the possibility of spotting the neighborhood's namesake, bears! Brace for breathtaking views and a slower pace of life in Bear Valley.
Lively, artistic, and eclectic, Spenard wins hearts with its unique Alaskan spirit. Known for its cultural diversity and vibrant art scene, the neighborhood is full of colorful murals, local businesses, and hip eateries. Weekly Farmer's Market and annual events like the Spenard Jazz Fest contribute to the community's robust, lively character. Spenard is the perfect neighborhood for those craving a community-oriented environment with a creative twist.
Turnagain, named so for being Captain Cook's "turn again" point during his exploration, successfully couples suburban tranquility with metropolitan proximity. The neighborhood is known for its well-maintained homes, quaint avenues, and plenty of green spaces, including parks and trails. It's near the heart of the city yet offers quiet, safe streets with a close-knit community feel, making it an ideal place for families.
Discovering Anchorage, AK is like stumbling upon a rare gem. Each of its neighborhoods offers distinct charms and characteristics, promising an enriching experience for anyone who sets foot here. Bootlegger's Cove, Hillside East, Bear Valley, Spenard, and Turnagain, each have their unique appeal and allure. All that's left now is for you to choose which neighborhood matches your adventurous spirit or peace-seeking soul. After all, in Anchorage, each neighborhood offers more than just a place to live - it offers a lifestyle.
Things to Do
Welcome to Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska, known for its beautiful scenery, distinct wildlife, and vibrant cultures. If you're new to the city or planning to move here, you're in luck! Anchorage is a city full of surprises and adventures waiting for you. Here are seven top things to do in Anchorage.
1. Visit the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
Experience Anchorage's natural beauty by taking a bike or a leisurely stroll along this 11-mile trail that follows the city's coastline. It offers breath-taking views of mountains, downtown Anchorage, and the tranquil waters of the Cook Inlet. You might even spot a moose or a bald eagle.
2. Discover the Anchorage Museum
If you want to dive into the history and culture of Alaska, the Anchorage Museum is a must-visit. With art, history, ethnography, ecology, and even science exhibits, it vividly captures the Alaskan spirit. Make sure you take the time to visit its Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center to learn more about Alaska's native cultures.
3. Explore the Flattop Mountain Trail
For a day of hiking and awe-inspiring panoramas, head out to the Flattop Mountain Trail in Glen Alps. This popular 1.5-mile trail offers sweeping vistas of Anchorage, the Alaska Range, and Cook Inlet. Don't forget to bring your camera along for those Instagram-worthy shots!
4. Go Thrifting at the Re:MADE Market
One of Anchorage's best-kept secrets, the Re:MADE Market, is a mecca for anyone who appreciates upcycled and reused items. Here, local artisans sell everything from jewelry to home decor, all uniquely crafted from recycled materials. It's a fantastic spot to get a unique, eco-friendly souvenir from your time in Anchorage.
5. Head Over to Orso for Dinner
Get a taste of Alaska's local cuisine, where freshness is at its very core. Make your way to Orso, a local favorite, renowned for its locally sourced seafood dishes. Whether it is the Alaskan King Crab, scallops, prawns, or salmon, the menu offers a host of drool-worthy options.
6. Wander the Reindeer Farm
If you're looking for a unique Alaskan experience, visiting the Reindeer Farm at Palmer is a must. This family farm gives you an opportunity to feed, pet, and mingle with over a hundred reindeer! Apart from the adorable antlered hosts, you may also run into an elk or two.
7. Do Some Urban Fishing at Ship Creek
A lesser-known delight in the heart of downtown Anchorage is Ship Creek. Spend a soothing afternoon catching salmons in its clear waters. And the best part? You don't have to be an experienced angler. Local outfitters can help you with all the gear and bait you need.
These are just some of the many ways you can immerse yourself in the city's vibrant fabric. After all, the joy of moving to a new place lies not just in finding nice spots to visit, but in experiencing the locale and carving out your niche within it. So here's to a fun-filled Anchorage adventure. Welcome to your new home!
Find Movers for Your Anchorage Relocation
As you prepare to embrace the majestic landscapes and vibrant culture of Anchorage, a seamless transition is your topmost priority. Great Guys Moving steps in to fulfill this need by ensuring you find the ideal moving service. Through their extensive network of professionals, quality service, unbeatable pricing, and prompt turnaround times, your move to the Last Frontier becomes a stress-free endeavor. Why not take advantage of this excellent service and benefit from the peace of mind it brings? Start your Anchorage move on the right note now by requesting a free moving quote from Great Guys Moving.
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