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Anchorage 101

Looking for Anchorage information? Is it easy to get to Anchorage? Is Anchorage freezing? Here are some details about Anchorage, Alaska that just might surprise you.

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Scenic aerial of Anchorage, Alaska, in the evening light.
Scenic aerial of Anchorage, Alaska, in the evening light. ©Donna Dewhurst

Location

Anchorage is in Southcentral Alaska. The Chugach Mountains are east of the city, and waters of Cook Inlet border the city on the northwest and southwest. That means you’re never too far away from a mountain adventure or a coastal stroll.

Most major airlines fly to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. During summer the Alaska Marine Highway, the state’s ferry system, departs Bellingham, Wash., and arrives in Whittier, Alaska, 60 miles south of downtown. Many cruise lines start or end itineraries in Whittier or Seward, Alaska about 90 miles from Anchorage; cruise transfers to Anchorage are available.

Size

Anchorage encompasses 1,961 square miles, but don’t worry about getting around. Downtown is very pedestrian-friendly. Numbered streets run east to west starting with First Avenue, and lettered streets run north to south – A through U Streets – so it’s never difficult to find a specific cross street. Free shuttles to several Anchorage attractions depart regularly from the corner of Fourth Avenue and F Street; check in with the folks at the nearby Visit Anchorage Information Center for schedules. Don’t miss Anchorage’s trails; with 135 miles of paved trails renting a bike can be the quickest way to explore!

Getting Around

If you’re visiting other parts of Alaska, you’ll find plenty of ways to get there. Roads and rails connect Anchorage to Fairbanks and Denali National Park to the north and to Seward and Kenai Fjords National Park to the south. Even if your trip includes a stop at a remote lake or lodge, the city is a good place to start; Anchorage’s Lake Hood is the world’s busiest floatplane base. View maps and transportation information.

Temperatures

Sunny summer months soak in the mid 60s. Warmed by a maritime climate, Anchorage is spared from extreme low temperatures too. Winter days are mild, with temps only getting as low as 20 degrees – perfect for skiing, skating and dog mushing.  Learn more about Anchorage weather and climate.