Best Places to Live

Anchorage, AK

Population: 299
Photo: Roy Neese

Blanketed with snow from mid October to early April, Anchorage, AK, gives residents and visitors the opportunity to engage in just about every winter sport known to man. Despite this long and deep freeze, the city's restaurants, cultural, historic and kid-friendly attractions remain hot spots for visitors.

Anchorage, a city of 295,500 residents, is an urban oasis in a land of vast wilderness with entertainment and dining options as varied as the landscape. A wide selection of restaurants – from pubs and pizzerias to sushi bars and bistros – provide plenty of places to fill up and warm up. Venues such as the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, Cyrano's Theatre Company and Chilkoot Charlie's host a variety of musical and theatrical events. Twenty-two museums and historic sites, such as the Alaska Native Heritage Center, connect visitors to local culture. For more fun indoors, guests can float the lazy river, zoom down water slides, or splash amongst other water features at H2Oasis Indoor Waterpark or tee off at Putters Wild, an indoor mini golf course.

Outdoor adventures are this city's strongest suit. There are three downhill ski areas within 45 minutes of downtown Anchorage, and people have easy access to hundreds of miles of cross-country skiing trails. Other winter adventures include snowmobiling, ice fishing, ice climbing and dog sledding. The Iditarod, a world-renowned dog sled race, begins in Anchorage.

When the sun goes down, look to the sky for spectacular light shows in Anchorage, one of the best places in the world to watch the northern lights.

Activities: Downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, hockey, ice fishing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, curling, snow biking, ice climbing

Average Annual Snowfall: 70 inches

Average Winter Temps: 11 to 23

Must Try: Dog mushing, Alaska's state sport

See where Anchorage ranked on our 2011 list of Top 10 Winter Cities for residents.