Overview

Mt McKinley, Denali National Park
Mt McKinley, Denali National Park © Judith Duk

Alaska's largest city is the hub of the state, and its central position, comparatively mild temperatures and outstanding transport system to and from the rest of the country, have made it an important destination for travellers.

Perched on the edge of a vast beautiful wilderness, Anchorage is encompassed in scenic splendour, surrounded by mountains, forest, rivers and tundra; a short drive in any direction offers an abundant variety of wilderness experiences.

The city started out in 1915 as a tented camp for the workers on the Alaska Railroad, and with the later discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay and the construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline, Anchorage's development was fast and furious. Today this sprawling city is full of life, with an array of dining options, a thriving music scene, theatres, and museums.

Its conservative, transient character is due in part to the fact that many of its residents are from other parts of the US, working for a few years and then moving on. The rest of the population is made up of Alaskan indigenous peoples, oil workers, gold seekers, loggers, and fishermen, together with the moose and occasional bear that wander into town. As a cosmopolitan urban area, it has similarities with other small American cities, but still retains a uniquely Alaskan feel.


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