Best Places to Live

Anchorage, AK

Population: 288,000
LIV
SCORE
663
Photo by JodyO.photos

Though it’s not the capital, Anchorage is the hub for government in Alaska. Nearly half the population and jobs in the state are centered in Anchorage. A great place to live on its own, Anchorage serves as an amazing home base from which to explore all the beauty and adventure Alaska has to offer. The school system in Anchorage is consistently one of the best in the country and has long been a pioneer in distance learning options.

Top Industries and Employers: The de facto seat of government and education, Anchorage has a number of jobs in those two industries. Mining and energy are a big part of the state’s economy. Nearby Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson brings a number of defense jobs, and tourism is a growing sector of the local economy. 

Best Coffee Shop: Kaladi Brothers Coffee started with one small cart in downtown and now has more than a dozen locations in and around Anchorage and one satellite spot in Seattle. 

Best Local Beer/Brewery: Midnight Sun Brewing Co. is a quirky spot a little outside the main hustle and bustle in Anchorage that has a wall where friends and strangers can pre-pay and leave a beer for those coming after them. Double Shovel Cider is Alaska’s first micro-cidery.

Must-Have Meal: Moose’s Tooth Pizza is iconic, and the beer they produce is also some of the best in the state. The appetizer nachos overwhelm the plate and you won’t find reindeer sausage pizzas in many other places. If you can save room for dessert, the Pipeline Stout Chocolate cake is the stuff of dreams. 

Best Co-Working Space: Alaska Co:Work

Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): In the summer, relax and unwind with a cold one at an Anchorage Glacier Pilots or Anchorage Bucs game, part of the Alaska Summer League. Or blow off some steam with a little axe throwing at Alaska Axe Company, which has tournaments and leagues for folks who really know their way around an axe.

Creative Hub: Find a wide variety of local crafts at the Anchorage Market, the largest in the state. From May to September, find up to 300 vendors selling art, photography, jewelry and all kinds of gorgeous treasures.

Favorite Weekend Activity: Get out of town! No offense to Anchorage, but with so much amazing natural beauty around, when you have a few hours, you go explore it. Every direction brings different options, from Chugach State Park to the Alaska Range, Turnagain Arm or Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound to Denali and Kenai Fjords National Parks. 

Free Way to Have Fun: The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail goes for 11 miles around the city, giving incredible water views and letting you explore all over Anchorage. Walk or rent a bike and look for Beluga whales in the Sound.

Local Dream Job: Any job that lets you get out and enjoy the gorgeous outdoors. Many folks work part-time or gig jobs that allow them to save up money in the summer tourist season so they can travel and enjoy the area the rest of the year. The dream here is to have time to ski, hike, fish, boat and travel, so any job that affords you the time and money to do that. 

Read More:
5 Once-In-A-Lifetime Adventures That Are Easily Accessible from Anchorage
Anchorage, AK is One of the Most LGBTQ-Friendly Small Cities in America
Tasting the Last Frontier: How Alaska Became a Foodie Destination

- Nicole Haase

"Anchorage is buzzing with opportunities for residents and visitors of all ages, and the city’s energy matches the landscape — it’s boundless. Whether you’re looking for a place to escape the crowds, or somewhere to surround yourself with top artists and entrepreneurs, Anchorage is the place to be."

Kirsten Swann
Content and Engagement Manager, Visit Anchorage

Anchorage, AK Ranking Data

Civic
61
Demographics
45
Economy
50
Education
58
Health
60
Housing
35
Infrastructure
86