Welcome to Anchorage
Alaska's largest city is the hub of the state, and its central
position, mild temperatures and outstanding transport system to and
from the rest of the country has made it an important destination
for travellers. Perched on the edge of a vast, keenly beautiful
wilderness, Anchorage is encompassed in scenic splendour,
surrounded by mountains, forest, rivers and tundra. Just a short
drive away in any direction offers an abundant variety of
The city started out in 1915 as a tent 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 the sprawling city is full
of life but lacking in charm. Alaskans living outside the city
complain that Anchorage isn't really Alaska, it is a city on the
outskirts of Alaska, and the common joke often heard is 'Anchorage
isn't Alaska, but you can see it from there'.
As a cosmopolitan urban sprawl it has similarities with other
small American cities, yet it is uniquely Alaskan. Its
conservative, transient character is due in part to the fact that
many of its residents are from other parts of America, working for
a few years and then moving on. The rest of the population is a
muddle of Alaskan Native people, oil workers, gold seekers, loggers
and fishermen, together with the moose and occasional bear that
wander into town. There are some excellent restaurants, museums, a
Native cultural centre and shops that, together with its setting,
make it a pleasant stopover.
Information & Facts
Anchorage has a subarctic climate characterised by short, cool
summers. Average daytime summer highs range from 55°F to 78°F (13°C
to 26°C) while average daytime winter temperatures range from 5°F
to 30°F (15°C to 1°C).The average winter snowfall is 70.60 inches
(179.3 cm). The best time for visitors to travel to Anchorage is
the period between May and early September when long days, clear
skies and warm afternoons prevail.
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.