People all across the United States are drawn to live in different places for different reasons. Some people love the city life and are more than happy to pay $2200 per month for a 1,000 square foot apartment on the 26th floor, while others prefer living out in the country where your closest neighbor is 100 miles away and to get to the nearest grocery store you hop in your little plane in the back yard (which really is 100 acres of your own land) and fly to the nearest city which is 250 miles away.
Luckily, there is a little-known place which really isn’t so little that can offer virtually any person the type of living they desire, and that place is Alaska. From personal experience I can say that visiting Alaska for several days and living there are two different things. I lived in Anchorage for 7 years before moving to LA due to family issues. I also worked in Juneau and Kenai. Every place that I have visited in Alaska is spectacular and unique, and I have met many wonderful and extraordinary people. They are all friendly and interesting and they know how to live life to the fullest.
Choosing a place to live is a challenging task and it’s important to consider many things. Once you have identified that Alaska is the place for you, you need to select the landing site for your new adventure. Below are some of the top places to live in Alaska.
For you city lovers there is really only one choice and for some of you die-hard city-goers the biggest city in Alaska, Anchorage, might not just cut it, but for the average city dweller it is just fine. Anchorage boasts a substantially large international airport that hosts hubs for Fed-Ex and UPS alike, a downtown that has been growing since its founding and continues to grow-one way streets and all, two malls, a professional hockey team, the Captain Cook Hotel, many attractions, the Iditarod, three Wal-Marts, and the list goes on.
Although the city possesses only 250,000 people or so, Anchorage is a bustling place that even in the dead of winter is chock-full of traffic jams and busy boardrooms. Anchorage is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States (if you take New York and Los Angeles out of the mix) for the amount of population in the state and the state of Alaska is even considering moving the capital from Juneau to just north of Anchorage to the Matsu Valley.
Fairbanks and Juneau
For those of you who enjoy the city-life but on a smaller scale, there is always Fairbanks in the north with its bitter winter temperatures and scalding summer temperatures (it does get into the 90s which feels like 120), but if you are not really sure about the temperature swings there is always the state capital, Juneau. Last year, I visited Fairbanks and stayed here for a couple of weeks. Even though I liked this place, I think the food choices are a little bit strange here. Some foods were extremely expensive, while others were ridiculously cheap. Since I was on a tight budget, I had to change my eating habits to stretch my budget. But what I liked the most is that people in Fairbanks are amazingly friendly to strangers; they’re easy to talk to and get along with.
Juneau is also a great city to live in. Sure Juneau is the only state capital in the United States not accessible by road, but the city is expanding and offers a lot to those who choose to live there. Juneau is smack-dab in the center of a temperate rain forest and boasts city life, ocean living, mountains, and a sense of adventure. Sure it rains a lot there, but it has to be one of the most gorgeous secrets of Alaska. The job market is ever expanding, the school systems are good, and the ability to make a life for you and your family are limitless. If you had to choose a state capital to live in then you should choose Juneau over many others based on the short assessment above pretty easily.
Soldotna and Kenai
If none of those places appeal to you then maybe you should head down south to Soldotna and Kenai where you are not far from major amenities and stores, but the small-town feeling and rural setting makes you feel like you are in your own world.
During the winter months Soldotna and Kenai offer the resident close relationships with friends and locals, feet of snow good for snow-machining or sledding, countless numbers of moose wandering around, great coffee at numerous coffee houses and drive-thru coffee shacks, and hundreds of other things.
When summer hits Soldotna and Kenai transform into the Salmon fishing capital of the world. The world famous Kenai River flows right through the center of these twin cities and the riverbanks and streets are jammed-packed with fisherman vying for the biggest fish in 22 hours of sunlight.
The opportunity for growth here is astonishing as the city-limits of both Soldotna and Kenai expand every year and the inclusion of a Home Depot, Lowe’s, and a Wal-Mart are making these cities the hub for the Kenai Peninsula. The housing market is relatively cheap where a house on the river is the same as a shack in a run-down neighborhood in Maryland.
The school system is great with a few private schools including Cook Inlet Academy, where teachers strive to give students a faith-based education that rivals any major Christian school in the lower forty-eight. All that can be said is give the twin cities a try, even on a vacation and you will be immediately hooked to the amazingness that is Soldotna and Kenai.
Last but not least, for you rural folks, Alaska has that too. Other than the hubs of Anchorage, Soldotna, Fairbanks, and Juneau, Alaska’s population is spread-out over hundreds upon hundreds of small towns and villages that spot the largest state in the union like chicken pox. If you like living out deep in the woods far from civilization, Alaska has it.
If you want to live within ten minutes of town but feel like you are in the middle of nowhere then Alaska has it too. All-in-all, Alaska has every setting you could possibly think of (minus white-sandy beaches…oh wait, Kenai has one of those) when it comes to places to live. I think, Alaska is a housing jewel often not seen by most. One day I’ll definitely move to one of these best places to live in Alaska. Are you planning to move to Alaska?