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
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...
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.
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.
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...
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.
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 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.
Meet Klondike Charlie, a real Alaskan Character. He carves glacial woods. We met earlier in the day and he is just a fun guy, full of stories and jokes. Other artists have their work displayed here and there is something for everyone.
What to buy: Charlie personalized one of his carvings for me, but there are lots of crafts to choose from. Whatever is to your liking.
What to pay: All price ranges.
Artists from around the State of Alaska have their work on consignment.
What to buy: Baskets and hot pads made from grass are popular buys. It takes hours, and hours to create these designs. The woman who created this piece has relatives in Goodnews Bay a little north of Dillingham. The sea grass in Platinum and Goodnews is known for it's strength and beauty.
What to pay: You're bound to find some beautiful artwork and handicrafts without paying a middleman whose specific goal it is to make money on tourism.
Pia's has all your Scandanavian needs, from clogs and sweaters to matching hat/scarf/gloves sets. It is a fun shop, but quite pricey. Price is relative because the quality is great, and you will get many years enjoyment from your purchases.
What to buy: I got an "Ole Bull" sweater by Dale of Norway. Gretchen got some clogs. But we had a grand time shopping.
What to pay: The sweater was around $300, the clogs $90. But there are less expensive gifts also.
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 World's largest selection of Alaska Railroad custom painted trains in all scales from Z to G!! Who doesn't like toy trains!!
Great gifts for kids or adults. Lionel Dealer.
What to buy: Move your layout north with Alaska Railroad engines, cars, zamboni flats. wonderful selection.
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.