© All Rights Reserved Jim Colyer
Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska with around 280,000 inhabitants living in the urban area, about 40% of the total population of the state. It is the main starting point for most travellers arriving by air and visiting Alaska. For more information, also visit the Anchorage Tourism website.
Anchorage has a relatively mild climate compared to much of Alaska's interior, though temperatures can plummit in winter (December - February). Average highs during this time are around -5 °C, while average lows are around -12 °C. The record low is -39 °C though so bring loads of warm clothing during this time. Summers are short and last from June to August when average highs are around 18 °C and lows around 10 °C. The record is set at 29 °C but you should consider yourself lucky with temperatures approaching this maximum. Rainfall is relatively low throughout the year, with most of it falling during the summer and early autumn months (August-October). Snow is common from October to April, with most of it falling from December to February.
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) is located about 7 kilometres southwest of the city. Route 7A of the Anchorage People Mover bus system serves the airport's North and South terminals once every hour in each direction, connecting it with the downtown Transit Center and the Dimond Center mall. Taxis, shuttles and rental cars are all available as well.
Alaska Airlines has flights to/from Chicago, Portland, Denver, Fairbanks, Honolulu, Juneau, Los Angeles, Nome, San Francisco and Seattle, as well as some smaller regional airports in Alaska. Northwest Airlines serves Detroit and Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Air Canada has flights to Vancouver, American Airlines to Chicago and Dallas, Continental Airlines to Houston and Seattle and Delta Airlines to Atlanta and Salt Lake City. US Airways serves Phoenix and further away there are flights to Frankfurt with Condor and to Taipei with China Airlines. Also, Japan Airlines has flights to/from Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo, and Korean Air to/from Seoul. Several smaller airlines serve a few main US cities and many regional airfields across Alaska.
To add, the Lake Hood Seaplane Base is the world's busiest seaplane airport with destinations througout Alaska.
The Alaska Railroad offers year round services between Seward and Fairbanks, with regular connections during summer (half May - half September) though with just weekly services the rest of the year.
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Alaska Route 1 connects Anchorage with the Kenai Peninsula southward. It is also called the Seward Highway and connects with Alaska's Marine Highway (see below). Northwards it is called the Glenn Highway.
The Alaska Highway starts in northern British Columbia, Canada, and terminates in Fairbanks. You can either get to Anchorage via the Parks Highway from Fairbanks or the Glenn Highway from Tok (the first major Alaskan town after crossing from Canada).
The Mile Post is a good roadguide for Alaska and parts of Canada.
Buses connect Anchorage with several major cities and towns in the southern portion of Alaska, as well as to Fairbanks.
Anchorage can also be reached by Alaska Marine Highway, which handles transport along most of Alaska's southern coastlines. It's officially even part of the National Highway System.
If you want to explore areas outside the city proper, renting a car is the way to go. Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.
For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.
People Mover has buses throughout the metropolitan area.
For a wide range of options, visit the Anchorage Restaurants website. From budget to top restaurants.
|Alaska Backpackers Inn||327 Eagle Street||Hostel||77|
|Arctic Adventure Hostel||337 W 33rd Ave||Hostel||86|
|Bent Prop Inn||3104 Eide St.||Hostel||82|
|Girdwood Alaska Backpackers Inn||365 Gold Ave Girdwood, Alaska 99587||Hostel||-|
|Jason's International Youth Hostel - Midtown||3324 Eide Street Alaska 99503 - 4754||Hostel||84|
|Qupqugiaq Inn||640 West 36th Avenue||Hostel||73|
|Alaska Youth Hostel||2910 W. 31st Avenue||Hostel||80|
|Spenard Hostel International||2845 W 42nd||HOSTEL||-|
|Bent Prop Inn Downtown||700 H St||HOSTEL||-|
See also: International Telephone Calls
The US Postal Service is very good and well priced mail system. There are hundreds of big and small post offices in Anchorage. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS and DHL.
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