Anchorage: My General Impressions

Russian dolls at the Anchorage Farmer's Market.

I don't hide my emotions well, so when my dad told me, "We're going to Alaska" back in the summer of 2013, I gave him a raw, prolonged side-eye. 
This was 100% my dad's idea!

"What's the problem?" he said in his usual jovial tone.

"Alaska?" I replied with a stink-eye. I never had the desire to go to Alaska. Although my wanderlust is seemingly endless, the state had never been an object of my affections. I was afraid it'd be boring. I was living in Taiwan at the time, but I still feared being in a state that I believed had a gross lack of diversity.

Boy, was I wrong! I thoroughly enjoyed every city and town we visited in Alaska, and while I prefer Anchorage's cousin Fairbanks, both are charming cities that I'd like to revisit some day. 

Downtown Anchorage is small but picturesque.
The 'rents at the hotel looking years younger than
they actually are. (It's obvious who I take after, right? :) )
Anchorage is Alaska's southern port city. With a greater metro area population of just under 400,000, Anchorage is small, but hosts a diverse group of people. Spanish and Tagalog are the second and third most common languages spoken after English. Naturally, there is also a visible Native American population. 

Despite its size, Anchorage offers a diverse set of activities for visitors to enjoy. Of course, if you're outdoorsy, you might enjoy the hiking trails and nature preserves around the city. My parents and I were only in town for a couple of days, so most of our time was spent in downtown Anchorage. 

Fresh fruit, also from the farmer's market.
The farmer's market and public art were two of my favorite aspects of Anchorage. The diversity of cultures in the city is quite easy to see at the farmer's market where people from a variety of backgrounds sell their wares and food, anything from Russian crafts to pho, noodle soup! My mom and I especially liked the fresh fruit.

As I'm a person who always has to try the local fare, I had a local deer meat hotdog. While it isn't something I'd eat now, the taste was rich, like a juicier, more flavorful version of pork.
The couple who ran the deer-dog cart.
My deer-dog, already bitten into.

I think Anchorage is a city of creative people. The entire city center is covered in beautiful artwork. I feel the people of Anchorage are proud of their origins, even those who aren't Native American. Much of the artwork is related to nature and indigenous themes; they celebrate Alaska's history and diversity. Like Hawaii, there is an imperialistic past in Alaska, but non-natives appear to have taken an ownership of this through elevating (not alienating) the native population.
A cute totem pole.

Me posing by a beautiful mural.
My favorite mural in the city, an artistic chronicle
of Anchorage's history.
From a tourist standpoint, I wouldn't spend much time in Anchorage because most of the major sites can be seen within a couple days. However, I definitely wouldn't neglect visiting the farmer's market or walking around downtown. There is public transportation, yet renting a car in Alaska is a better option because you can drive around the state and see all the gorgeous sites and wildlife in between. While Anchorage is great, there's much more to see in The Last Frontier. Road tripping around Alaska was an experience of a lifetime!

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