Native Hospital: Native crafts
One of the best places in town to shop, staffed by volunteers, folks from all over the state come here for medical treatment and bring thier art etc. doesn't have the usual mark-up. I do my x-mas shopping here. (and I live here) On Tudor Road, not near anything else, but worthwhile if your planning on buying.
Alaska Wild Berry Products: Chocolate and berries
This great house was located along my running trail, but I never really noticed it, until my friend Paul took me there. Ok, the number one attaraction is World’s Largest Chocolate Fall. Yes. believe it or not. it looks delicious, almost drinkable:) The Chocolate Fall is filled with 3,400 pounds of melted milk chocolate that fall from 20 feet in the air! It looks quite amazing for the first look.
But there are other interesting stuff to explore too. Yummy chocolate sweets and jellies etc.
Another attaraction here is The Wild Berry Park & Village opened in 2003. there is a Wild Berry Trail, and a live reindeer exhibit.
What to buy: Chocolate, salmon, jelly, pop-corn everything. Yummy.
Downtown Saturday & Sunday Markets: A Flea Market to Remember
I loved browsing through this downtown market which is open every Saturday and Sunday from mid-May through mid-September, from 10 a.m. 'till 6 p.m. There are over 300 vendors, all under neat white canopies. The atmosphere is like that of a carnival or fair, including free live entertainment.
What to buy: I didn't buy much, but you can find just about anything you can imagine here, from cars to cookies, and a few things you may have never imagined.
What to pay: Less than you'll pay most other places in Anchorage.
Oomingmak: The Qiviut Shop: For That Unique Wearable Alaskan Gift
This unique shop, operated by the Musk Ox Producers Co-Operative, sells wearable masterpieces which are hand-crafted by its 250 members who live in remote coastal Alaskan villages. The items are all spun and knitted from the downy-soft underwool the Arctic Musk Ox, the lightest and warmest material imaginable - much more so than sheep's wool. Pound for pound it is also warmer than any fur I know of, and the designs are quite beautiful, all in their natural light brown color. The items are said to be very durable and serviceable.
What to buy: In the shop you will find caps, scarves, tunics, stoles, etc, as well as miscellaneous gift items. These are truly unique Alaskan gifts that you will find nowhere else.
What to pay: They're not cheap.
Dimond Center Mall: Where Alaskans Shop
This is the biggest mall in Anchorage, and Alaska for all that matter, it's where Alaskans shop for everything! They have a Gap Store, an Old Navy Store, cellular kiosks, food joints, a movie theatre, ice skating rink your basic mall...
New Sagaya's: Fresh Alaska Seafood and special grocery
New Sagaya's was my another home. They do have two locations in Anchorage, City Market at 13th West Avenue and Midtown at 3700 Old Seward Highway. The latter one was right close to my work, so I spent a lots of time there picking up the lucnh and drinking some good Kaladi Coffee.
There is also Yamato Ya, a sushi restaurant in the same buildning and then L'Aroma, a nice special delicatess cafeteria. Plus of course, the Kaladi Brother's coffee stand. Yum.
What to buy: Fresh Alaskan Seafood (among others Copper River salmon!), ethnic cuisine, specialty foods, gourmet grocery, fresh produce, and choice meats.
The seafood section is great. No there is no smell, everything is fresh there. You find also Finnish cheese from here! As well as Finnish liqorice. Yummy yum.
I always enjoyed the Fresh rolls as well as Portobella mushroom soup. And you'll never know who you will meet in this place.
What to pay: Alaska King Crab is very pricy for example but then some good take-away is only 3 $.
Style of Russia: Experience the Culture of Alaska's Fatherland
When you are tired of the crowded tourist traps that sell trinkets that you will probably never use or wear after your Alaskan trip is over, then you need to visit Style of Russia. This is appropriately acclaimed as one of the most beatiful gift stores in downtown Anchorage.
Style of Russia is eye-candy. Everything is beautiful and beautifully displayed. Don't be fooled - it isn't a museum (although it can appear that way). The items are treasures and are GREAT in price - especially if you have any experience with what other stores sell Russian-made items.
What to buy: Once you get past wanting everything at Style of Russia, then you can get to serious shopping. They have musk-ox shawls from Siberia that are so inexpensive, you'll wonder what the catch is. There is no catch - they are beautiful and elegant.
Love art? You will want to consider a beautiful hand-painted lacquer box.
Love teapots and teacups and dishes? Style of Russia has the finest porcelain imagineable from St. Petersburg, Russia.
Want something inexpensive? They have that too! A wonderful and fun collection of Russian nesting dolls ranging from the EXTREMELY collectible (like a 50-piece doll) to fun small dolls that cost only a few dollars that are great as gifts for children and friends.
What to pay: When you purchase from Style of Russia, you will be paying pennies on the dollar for what the item is worth and almost guaranteed less than any other store that sells Russian items is pricing their items at. You can walk away with real treasures for relatively nothing.
- Business Travel
- Family Travel
Costco: Stock up on food and gas for RV Campers
We have been members of Costcos Warehouse for years. We've been in Costcos all over the world: Hawaii, Scotland, and now Alaska.
Most Alaskans take regular journeys to Costco, where you can find all of your food needs, digital photo (one hour) developing for .14 cents/ photo.
We got our gas here whenever we could, as it was consistently the best price around, plus the 4% refund they give to the Costco Amex card holders.
What to buy: If you will be RVing throughout Alaska, do yourself a favor and be prepared to be "self contained" food-wise as food shopping is more difficult as you get to the more remote places... plus it costs more because of the transportation needed to get the food to remote areas.
If you are a Sam's Club member, they have one of those, too, on Old Seward Highway near Dimond Center Mall. You'll find the WalMart there, too... across the street... with the lovely Chugach Mountains as it's background.
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
Shopping for Souvenirs
Downtown Anchorage is a souvenir-shopper's mecca. From tailored Eskimo mukluks to "Made in China" junk, these stores sell it all. But who knows? You may even see someone famous - I ran into Weird Al Yankovic in a souvenir shop near the bus terminal!
What to buy: One particular Alaskan product that you're not likely to find elsewhere is qiviut, or musk ox hair, which is 80 percent warmer by weight than wool. Scarves, hats, and gloves made from qiviut are, of course, pricey, but if you can afford it, worth more than their weight in gold when winter settles in.
5th Avenue Mall: 5th Avenue Mall
The only place in Anchorage to find a collection of department stores. There's a JC Penney and a Nordstrom here, the only one in Alaska. Its worth a stop if you're stranded in Anchorage due to weather, or waiting for your plane flight home.
The ULU Factory: The Alaskan ULU
Many visitors to Alaska want an ULU which is a rounded blade with a handle used in food preparation. You will see them on display at most gift shops, and they can range from basic models to fancy art work with carved handles. Many of the gift shops carry ULUs made at the ULU factory. So why not just go there and pick out the one that you like.
What to buy: Buy an ULU. They come in many price ranges and have a cutting bowl. But beware: You can not take these on the airplane. It is best to ship them home. They come in a convienent shipping box with "From" and "To" areas lined waiting for your addresses.
They also have other gifts, including "Yummy Chummies" or pet treats made from Salmon.
The ULU Factory is located near Ship Creek which was the original townsite of Anchorage.
What to pay: They start at $20 and go from there.
- Arts and Culture
- Road Trip
- National/State Park
Title Wave Books: Alaskans read alot --especially in winter
I prefer Cook Inlet Books for souvenieers, but most locals like Title Wave. It is a huge, new age kind of bookstore with both new and used titles, lots of places to sit and read, and even a coffee shop. It is a bit too big for my tastes, but it is very popular.
When you enter, you can get a map of the store, or ask at the information counter.
Across the street is another used bookstore with a catchy name "Twice Told Tales" which I haven't visited yet. Worth mentioning as we are in a place with a catchy name.
What to buy: While travelling, it is always good to have a book, for some quiet time, or to relax after a busy day. Choose something that you will enjoy.
- Road Trip
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
Dimond Center Mall: Mall with skating ice and hotel
This big mall, located in South Anchorage is a place where you can spend a whole day with your family. There is skating place, gym. tanning salon, lots of shops, restaurants and even hotel.
There is a big big GAP as well as Old Navy, which are the places that I like to visit when being in Anchorage. Many of restaurants ar elocated on basement floor, but try to hot cup in upstairs. It was a good good experience and even it was very full, the service was incredible nice.
5th Avenue Mall: Nice, relaxed and luxury mall
5th Avenue Mall is very very nice mall just in downtown. This 5-story mall has fancy shops among big names; Nordstrom, Gap, JC Penney, Banana Republic etc...
I do like this mall, because it is easy to reach by walking and there are good refresment places, such as Nordstrom Coffee Shop (nice views) and Fruit Bar upstairs (delicious smooths).
There is also a small special store, which sells everykind of Iditarod-stuff. That is a great place visit.
What to buy: There are lots of tourist shops in Anchorage and occassionally you may find something nice from there, but don't buy overpriced postcards, Alaska t-shirts etc or nuggets. it is just waste of money, special if they are made in China. Concentrate more native arts and jewelry, there are lots of good nice shops along 5th and 6th avenue.
Alaska Native Medical Center's Gift Shop: Shopping for Native Alaskan Art
What to buy: Here are a pair of dance fans that I bought at the ANMC gift shop from an artist from a village near Bethel. I've used these as traditional dress during Yupi'k dance.
You can see the handle is woven grass. The white fur comes from the ruff/beard that are on caribou. These dance fances are decorated with felt and beads.
What to pay: $150 US
- Arts and Culture
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