There aren't many grocery stores in downtown Anchorage-and the small convenience stores are quite expensive. My sister told me about this service-We emailed them a shopping list just before we left home, (which was great because we were traveling with kids 7, 3, and 18mos. so I didn't have to waste so much valuable suitcase space packing a 10 day supply of diapers) We arrived late at night and then the next morning groceries were brought right to our hotel room, which was a real blessing because we had 3 hungry kids and one grumpy husband to feed. We had cereal, milk, bread, sandwich stuff and snacks for the kids-which saved us a TON of money. (Restaurants are really expensive, and eeating out with the family, even at Denny's is a lot of money and hassle) The delivery lady was super-sweet, she even brought the kids a "Welcome to Alaska" gift bag which was really cute. This service was a god-send! If you're traveling with kids, and don't want to drag them to the grocery store...or try to find a grocery store in Anchorage, this is the best thing ever! I wish we had a service like this at home, because I'd use it every week!
What to buy: They will buy and deliver grocery items from any local grocery store and come right to your door. They do not deliver alcohol or tobacco products. They even clipped coupons for the diapers we needed and saved us $3!
What to pay: We paid about $20 for the service, the delivery fees are based on how much you are ordering-but hey, $20 is cheaper than a cab ride to a grocery store!
You can see how they make the famous Ulu knife, which has been used for years by the Alaskan Natives in cutting fish, chopping vegetables and many other kitchen chores.
We had already purchased our Ulu knives at Walmart (the Anchorage WalMart has a fabulous gift/souvenir section at good prices), but we went anyway to see how they're made.
I must say that the view of the workers wasn't too poor, but the windows were small. You could see the men at work.
What to buy: The Ulu knife works well by itself, but a good suggestion is to get the shaped cutting board as it works even better.
What to pay: $5 - $40 depending on your choice of handle. the plain wooden handle is the least expensive.
Alaska's largest independent bookseller with the world's largest collection of books on Alaska and the north as well as general books, magazines, audio, and video. They even have an out of print section and used books.
What to buy: This trip I got some Alaskan childrens books as a gift for a two year old with the really thick pages and the flaps that reveal Alaskan sights and animals.
There are several gift stores in Anchorage, and understandably so because this is a tourist mecca. But I had fun buying at this store called the Once in a Blue Moose. I thought their prices were very reasonable and I think the nice Japanese lady who was helping us (Horiko ?) was very nice - she might also be the owner (?) and her staff was very nice as well.
But I promised Horiko that I would put her on my VT website and she was so pleased that she gave me two free decks of cards (because I also spent over $100) and then the manager also gave me and my sister free bags! What nice people...
I bought a honking salmon for the twins which I am sure would drive my wife crazy, and also a nice cube that created nice pictures of Alaskan wildlife for the twins. And I saw this amazing piece of jewelry for my wife, locally made in Alaska -- and I was given 50% off on it. So I bought that necklace and my wife loved it!
This store is located right in downtown Anchorage as you are walking around the Visitor Center, but I also saw another store with the same name at the 5th Avenue Mall.
My sister was ecstatic when I met her in Anchorage because she saw there was a Nordstrom which she loves shopping at.
Well, I persuaded her that that was what we were to do on our last day and this 5-level mall is right in the middle of downtown and can't be missed! there are connective over-the-road glass tunnels for convenience (must be a lot of help during snowing times).
Other than Nordstrom, they also have Banana Republic, Body Shop and Eddie Bauer...
But, im my opinion, you can see all these other shops around the USA. Instead, my sister actually found a store she liked which was not in the mall but outside -- it was a small boutique store and I think it was called "Bottome UP" (?) and all I remember is that the store person was watching the store for his wife who was the owner and we were talking about real estate in Arizona while my sister was shopping around his store...(it had a sign that said "Fashion below the Waist"...whatever that means, hehehe....My sister VTer "jumpingwithnorman" might have made a tip about it...
Mall is open M-F 10AM-9PM, Sat 10 AM -8PM and and Sun 11AM-6PM
Surplus stores are SO real. This one is no exception. From the outside it doesn't look like much but it's very well stocked. They also offer on-site embroidery so you can customize your apparel with your name or a logo or any design from their extensive catalog book. T hey even have a downstairs basement where they have MORE stuff!
What to buy: They carry a full line of work boots, gloves, knives, socks, etc in both Mens/Womens/Kids. They also carry Carharrt apparel! Very durable and better than the Dickie's label brand as their material is softer than Dickie's. Another great buy here are the postcards. Imprinted with views of Alaska, they're only 8 for $1... a real bargain as elsewhere they could be 35cents per postcard! If you're planning on doing hiking, this is the place to go to for special socks that will support and keep your feet happy as they trudge about Alaska. You can also get your Fishing License from this store plus they carry waders for all ages.
What to pay: $1-$300
Chock-ful of Alaska-themed souvenirs: magnets, postcards, shirts, hats, gloves, mugs, etc... Be selective with what you buy though as most of the things are NOT made in Alaska. There's a lot of variety in this store and the prices are very reasonable.
They also have books, candies, salmon gift packs, etc. There's a HUGE stuffed Polar Bear right outside the shop which is great for taking pictures with.. just for fun. The shop owner/manager was very nice and friendly too.. Even though there's a TON of things in this shop, it never felt unorganized. Everything was in its place and it just made browsing a real pleasure.
What to buy: I bought a tie-dyed blanket with ALASKA emblazoned it. Perfect for taking in the car with me as we went around Alaska... Since I had just come from gold country in California (Columbia, CA), it also made sense to get a little vial of "gold flakes" suspended in liquid for comparison's sake!
What to pay: $0.99 to $150
The only mall I shop at in Alaska. Here you will find just about any store that can be found in a major US city. You will find Nordstrom, Gap, Banana Republic, Coach etc. I hear rumors that we're getting a Gucci store but that sounds too good to be true!
What to pay: Prices vary greatly.
The REI store on the corner of Spenard and Northern Lights is a favorite stop of mine when passing thru Anchorage. Need new rain gear? Tent? Sleeping Bags? Snow Board?
Gear for camping, back packing, biking, kayaking, canoeing, climbing and skiing.
Enjoying the outdoor experiences Alaska has to offer requires good quality gear. Nothing worse than getting wet and cold your first day out in the bush.
REI is a little spendy but has good quality gear. There are higher end and lower end stores for gear in Anchorage but REI seems to balance quality and price so you leave feeling like you got a good deal. It is a coop and so it is worth becoming a member on larger purchases so you get the discount.
This market is unlike the others in Anchorage--at least from what we've seen so far. We have the chain grocery stores like Carrs Safeway and stuff, but for a change, this place is worth going to. It has fresh local seafood, seafood from Japan and other places flown in each day and items you can't find all together in one store in Anchorage. It reminds me a lot of "Whole Foods" and somewhat like "Trader Joes" in the lower 48 with natural and organic products. Also, you'll find a lot of Asian specialty foods and things like goat milk, very fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, etc. Additionally, they have hot food you in a buffet style (mostly Asian), a cafe (Kaladi Brothers) and a bakery inside. It's a neat atmosphere overall.
Even if you're not going to stay in Anchorage for a long time, it's a fun place to check out. They do ship seafood (like Alaskan King Crab) from their store and website.
What to buy: If you're looking for a place with a huge variety of nuts, granola, different cereals and other things that are easy to take on a road trip through Alaska, this is your place. If you want to ship some seafood home and don't have the time to fish for it yourself, try getting it here. As with most specialty food stores, it is a little more expensive but not too much. Different coffees and teas (a HUGE selection of teas from everywhere) are sold here as well. Good coffee at the cafe and items from the bakery are also worth purchasing...