Key findings

  • Anchorage has a Livability Score of 56/100, which is considered poor
  • Anchorage crime rates are 46% higher than the Alaska average
  • Cost of living in Anchorage is 1% lower than the Alaska average
  • Anchorage real estate prices are 16% higher than the Alaska average
  • Rental prices in Anchorage are 5% higher than the Alaska average

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      Anchorage, AK

      Anchorage is one of America's most beautiful cities, and Alaska's largest city offers all of the amenities of a traditional large U.S. city with the excitement and wonder that can only be found in the high north. With a population over 275,000, the city is home to a large U.S. military presence at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, the University of Alaska Anchorage, and some of the state's top museums. Getting around Anchorage is relatively straightforward and traffic does not tend to backup unless it is rush hour or there is a moose in the road.

      One of the most surprising things for people that choose to move to the area is that it is actually not that cold in the winter. Anchorage is located right off of the coast, and this geographic position actually shelters the city from some of the colder temperatures that are experienced up north in the state's interior. When it is -30 degrees in Fairbanks, there is a good chance that it is zero in Anchorage. The city limits of Anchorage are massive, and at 2,000 square miles, the city is actually larger than the state of Rhode Island.

      Those who are looking to buy a home in the area will notice that prices are higher in the city than the rest of Alaska, but this should be expected since it is the city with the most amenities and shopping. Due to the cost to transit materials up to Alaska, it is not surprising that Anchorage home prices would be slightly elevated. The good news is that the city is extremely affordable though when compared to Seattle, Vancouver, or some of the other leading coastal cities in the Pacific Northwest.

      One of the best parts about living in Anchorage is all of the outdoor recreation opportunities that are available. From the Midnight Sun during the summer months to the magic of the Aurora in the winter, there is always something to get you out of the house. During winter months, the city becomes a hot spot for Nordic skiing with the city grooming hundreds of miles of trails for local residents.

      Some of the top areas to live in the city are Government Hill, Russian Jack Park, and the hills as you exit the city heading south to the Kenai Peninsula. Anchorage is served by the People Mover transportation system that offers bus service in Anchorage and to several of the surrounding communities. Locals who are looking to get away for the weekend can head south to the Aleyaska Ski Resort or north to Denali National Park. With the amazing mountain views from all points of Anchorage, many choose to simply stay at home and enjoy.

      Top Rated Schools in Anchorage

      Name Grades Students Proficiency
      Eagle Academy Charter SchoolKG - 617775%
      Chugach Optional ElementaryPK - 625875%
      Bayshore ElementaryPK - 645074%
      Bear Valley ElementaryPK - 638174%
      Aquarian Charter SchoolKG - 637970%
      Trailside ElementaryPK - 642469%
      Northern Lights Abc K-8 SchoolKG - 860968%
      Girdwood SchoolKG - 818967%
      See all Anchorage schools

      Anchorage Reviews

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      Review Anchorage
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      Former Resident As of 2021

      Anchorage is a great place to visit but a mediocre place to live.
      Attractions: The city is surrounded by some lush nature and ripe for hiking, fishing or other outdoor sports, but the city attractions are very limited at best and you could see every major attraction worth seeing within your first year assuming you visited one attraction per month. The main museum has a limited selection of exhibits and many of them center around the same Alaska specific topics. The natural amenities are cool but lose their novelty. Few major performing artists will travel up here so learn to like cover bands that play mostly country rock. There are several attractions that are interesting the first time you see them.
      Community: The community is torn between several factions that dont see eye to eye on many issues. A great deal of residents are transient and are not deeply invested in the community. It seems like another large faction are rural/suburban dwellers who dont really care for cities. The final smaller group project a west coast liberal vibe and have brought some culture but also contributed to some of the homeless population fueled dysfunction I witnessed. The city is overwhelmed with crime and the homeless transient population is out of control.
      The homeless issue is so bad that one will frequently see these people loitering on every street corner doing drugs and commiting theft at the nearby homes/businesses. I lived in a "downtown" apartment and was fearful of walking/biking anywhere. During my residency I witnessed a police pursuit conclude in a parking lot next door as well as well as frequent security notifications from my landlord as transients from a nearby encampment were trespassing on the property and stealing goods in the garage. The mayor turned a nearby stadium into a mass homeless shelter and the neigborhood became flooded homeless and weekly EMS/APD responses.
      Anchorage is also one of the ugliest "cities" I have ever seen and it is totally lacking in character. The city is predominantly a mix of dilapidated housing and strip malls with a "downtown" that has few residents and little activity after tourist season. South Anchorage is the nice suburban zone and the stately homes in the hills above the city are nice and scenic but there are few walkable attractions nearby. The city does benefit from a quick commute and it is possible to travel from the northernmost to southernmost tip within 15-20 minutes.
      Nightlife: There are very few clubs and bars, many of which have a tacky Alaskan theme. Bands dont often travel here.
      Dining: you could taste all the few worthwhile restaurants by traveling to one a day for two business weeks. I enjoyed Fire Island Bakery, Red Chair Cafe, Snow City Cafe, Jack Sprat, and Turkish Delight but there is a lack of cuisine variety. There is also a limited grocery store selection with one overpriced local chain, the usual big box stores, and Fred Meyers but no Whole Foods or Trader Joes.
      Shopping: there are two dying shopping malls and a few businesses selling novelty items to tourists. There are not many local establishments one would want to frequent.
      • 0 0
      Don’t move here

      I can honestly say this is hands down the worst place anyone could ever choose to live. It’s like being on an island, not a tropical island, but an island where it snows 8 months a year and is just generally crappy the other 4.

      Don’t ever buy anything nice in this awful place, it will be ruined by either the weather or the crime. Do not under any circumstances move here, I wish everyday I didn’t.
      • 1 -3
      Not as bad as it seems

      Most reviews here seem to be solely focused on the crime in Anchorage. Makes sense as Anchorage is a very dangerous city, but there are things you need to know before forming an opinion on Anchorage. I've reviewed the data of various neighborhoods in Anchorage and I've found that the more south you go, the safter Anchorage gets. What is considered South Anchorage (Below ~Tudor Road or below UAA) is much safer than what is considered North Anchorage. ---North Anchorage Crime (North of Tudor Road):Pop: 123,409 Total Crime: 7,312 Per 100k Violent Crime: 1,465 Per 100kMurders: 20.8 Per 100k (24 Total)---South Anchorage Crime (South of Tudor Road):Population: 106,492Total Crime: 4,863 Per 100kViolent Crime: 942 Per 100kMurders: 3.8 Per 100K (4 Total)As you can see, Anchorage is definitely a relatively safe city so long as you stay below Tudor road. It's still violent, but compared to North Anchorage; it's almost nothing. Just wanted to clear up the crime discrepancies that do exist when discussing the incredibly quick rise of crime in Anchorage. Going to south Anchorage isn't nearly as much of a task as going downtown is.
      • 6 -1
      A city with great future. Not for everyone.

      Anchorage, AK is an underdeveloped, very scenic city with a great potential. The infrastructure here is lacking tremendously. To the great minds of Washington, DC and their "bridge to nowhere" notion- the city of 300+K residents simply can not rely on one four-lane highway to get in and out of it. Any significant accident completely cripples the transportation system here, if you happen to live in the nearby places like Eagle River, Peters Creek or Wasilla- you are stuck like Chuck. Overall - Anchorage needs better highway/road system. One of the coolest things about this place, however, is it's park and bike/ski trail system. It will take you long time to explore and will never sieze to amaze you. Lots of family activities here if you enjoy outdoors, of course. The crime rate in Anchorage is pretty high, especially property crimes, due to the wide- spread drug epidemic, but if you use common sense and show due diligence- you will be ok. With all that said I was very surprised and really amazed in the aftermath of 11/30 Earthquake how natural disasters bring people together here. Instead of embacils looting stores for big screen TVs you are more likely to see your everyday neighbor feeding burritos to firefighters! If you young and looking for vibrant culture, great night life scenery and lots of entertainment- you won't find it here. I wouldn't recommend this city to anyone 18 to 25. A very good place to raise a family, especially if you want your children to be good at things other than poking at mobile device screens and excersising thumbs on gaming systems.If you are an outdoorsy type who doesn't mind some extremes, who likes to be able to completely get away from people within ten minute drive, if you are someone who can recognize potential in bear-ridden, two-horse town- then this place is definitely for you!
      • 3 -6
      3.5 Year Anchorage Resident

      Like others have said; great place to visit, but not to live. The outdoor life is fantastic up here, but if you're looking for a trendy culture; you will find Anchorage lacking. There are some suprisingly excellent breweries (Midnight Sun, King St, Anchorage Brewing, etc) and restaurants. Crime seems to have spiked in recent years, but I don't have the data to back that up. If you do end up in the city; make the most of it. Find some recreational clubs and get out there and explore!
      • 2 -1
      5 Years In Anchorage, AK

      I lived in Anchorage for five years when I was in my late 20s. In my opinion, it's an excellent place to live for those who love the outdoors, particularly if they like winter sports. I spent a great deal of my time during winter skiing at nearby Alyeska Resort as well as going snowmobiling. Although I don't hunt, many of my friends do, and they always seemed to be going on fun hunting trips during the fall. I love to fish, however, and had plenty of chances to do so in the aptly named fish Creek, which runs right through the heart of Anchorage.

      During my time in Anchorage, I lived in the Muldoon area. While it's not reputed to be the safest neighborhood in the city, I had no significant problems with personal safety when I lived there. I will say, though, that the nightlife could be a bit rough and would highly recommend always going out with a friend, although that's a wise move no matter where you live these days. I also wouldn't recommend Anchorage o those who don't enjoy outdoor activities or who need access to a wide variety of cultural activities. The scenery, however, is simply stunning.

      One of the things that was both good and bad when I lived in Anchorage was that the city gets a huge number of tourists during the summer season. The energy that the tourism industry brings to the city after the long, gray winters was definitely welcome, but there were also plenty of times when getting a table in a good restaurant was almost impossible, and most of the popular bars were overflowing all summer long.
      • 1 0
      Great to visit but not for long-term

      If you enjoy outdoor activities and cold weather, Anchorage (or Alaska, really) is great. During the winter, you might see the northern lights, go snow machining, or skiing and during the summer, there's camping, fishing, or taking a cruise. However, if you live and work here and don't participate in those activities frequently, it can be challenging. The amenities and services at businesses are not near the levels you'll find in "the lower 48" and it's not as though there is a huge selection when it comes to where you can go for goods and services. There are a few decent restaurants, but overall, it's disappointing to see the lack of variety and quality when you're looking to eat out (there are very few Italian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Mexican or other restaurants but quite a few Asian and American restaurants that are mediocre at best).

      The winter is dark, cold and long and during the summer, it can feel manic due to the influx of tourists and the long hours of daylight, so it's definitely a place of extremes. If you have limited experience driving on snow & ice (as I did), it can be intimidating at first because some drivers don't seem to acknowledge the road conditions; if you're cautious and have snow tires and 4 wheel drive, it's fine but you still have to be wary of other drivers and of moose crossing the road. After 7 months of snow, ice, sanding and studded tires assaulting the roads, they're usually in bad shape by summer and this means there's construction and repaving every summer, all summer. It doesn't get much warmer than about 60 degrees in summer and if it does, people claim the weather is glorious (though I would disagree; it's simply better than the 20 degrees and icy or 56 degrees and rainy you might normally experience).

      Anchorage doesn't seem to have a strong sense of community or character, possibly due to the transitory nature of workers and tourists, and the city government seems a bit off. It could be the isolation and lack of a county or other organizations give it free reign to behave as it pleases with the usual checks and balances. The center for performing arts tries to provide a good lineup of events throughout the year, but you just don't get as many big names and acts as you might elsewhere due to the remote location.

      The cost of goods and housing is very high so it seems you need a high-paying job to live here unless you're willing to have roommates. If you must live here, it's worth getting out to see other parts of the state so you can get a sense for something other than Anchorage - Kodiak, Nome, Talkeetna, Homer, Seward, Valdez, Sitka, Juneau, and more are great to visit if you're already this far north.
      • 1 -1
      Experience Heaven On Earth In Anchorage, Alaska

      If you are looking to take a vacation to a place that is full of scenic wonders and natural beauty, you must plan your next trip to the moutainous wonderland of Anchorage, Alaska. Ever since I have traveled to Anchorage, AK, my dreams have been forever filled with thoughts of making a new life for myself in this outdoor lover's paradise. If you want to visit a vast land full of lush trees, majestic mountains, and wonderous wildlife that will create a truly soul enhancing experience for you, Anchorage, Alaska is the place you should go.

      In Anchorage, there are many ways that outdoor enthusiasts can experience a wonder of nature that just can't be found in any of the other 50 states. If you enjoy hiking down tree covered trails that provide a stellar view of giant mountains, you totally have to visit Denali National Park & Reserve. Denali National Park has 6 million acres of prestine all natural beauty and is home to Mount McKinley, the largest peak on the continent. If you don't want to hike the trails but you still want to visit this paradise, there are also buses that you can drive you around this gorgeous, mountain fantasyland.

      If you would like to mix a little bit of the convenience of city life with an outdoor experience unlike that of any other place I've ever been, Anchorage also has an ecclectic metropolitan area that is full of fine dining restaurants, comfortable hotel rooms, and cute little shops that sell unique items you can purchase to bring home as a reminder of your trip. I, myself, prefer to camp, but I did enjoy heading into town to check out the wide variety of local crafters that sold their creative items at the Anchorage Market And Festival which is open 10 am to 6 pm from May to September.

      If you want to spend your next vacation in a place that I think is like heaven on earth, you must book your next trip to Anchorage, Alaska. Full of natural wonders and a city full of history and charm, Anchorage, Alaska is by far one of the most beautiful places on earth.
      • 1 0
      Sublime Anchorage, Alaska

      When our long-awaited Alaskan cruise ended, we opted to spend two days visiting Anchorage, Alaska before heading home. We visited in May and the Anchorage weather was wonderful! Temperatures during the day were mild, and evenings just cool enough for a light sweater.

      After exploring some of the six mountain ranges surrounding Anchorage, we strolled through the city streets. We were pleasantly surprised by the abundance of vividly colored flowers that seemed to be growing in every vacant spot! It was very pleasing to the eye.

      With miles of coastline and water, finding fresh seafood at any of the several Alaska restaurants was a breeze! The food was delicious. Be sure to visit Peggy's Restaurant. It's Alaska's oldest family-owned restaurant, and a spot that you should not miss!

      Anchorage is home to a number of clubs for nightlife entertainment. The casual atmosphere of the Great Alaskan Bush Company II is a unique experience that must be included in your itinerary.

      Our cruise was awesome and our Anchorage visit made our Alaskan vacation absolutely perfect!
      • 2 0
      Reason for reporting
      Source: The Anchorage, AK data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).