Friday Five · Living in Alaska

Friday Five: Five Things I Love About Anchorage

Hi everyone!  It’s Friday, which means two things:  1. I survived my first full week back to work, and 2. It’s time for Friday Five with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney!  This week’s topic is Five Things I Love About My Favorite City, and it was really tough for me to pick just one place.  I’ve lived in Reading, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Anchorage and they’re all pretty amazing.  But I honestly have to say that Anchorage is my favorite!  Why?

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1.  It’s beautiful.  We’ve got mountains on one side, and water on the other.  It doesn’t get any better than that!  Sometimes when I’m driving to work I’m blown away by how beautiful my commute is.  How can you tell me this isn’t gorgeous?

IMG_3390This picture is old – we don’t have that much sunlight at 9:00 am yet!

2.  We have the best trails within our city limits.  And I’m not just talking about our outrageous amount of paved running trails with beautiful views!  There are trails for hiking, skiing, and trail running too.  It’s amazing that you can drive to some incredible trailheads in less than 15 minutes.  I can’t wait to explore them more this summer!

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3. Everything is so new and exciting.  Ice skating on a frozen pond?  Hiking a 3,000 ft mountain?  Staying up until 2 am to watch the northern lights?  I can’t do any of those things in any of the cities I’ve lived in before, and there’s so many new things that I’m dying to try here.

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4.  It’s a small city.  It’s big enough to have multiple Old Navy stores, but small enough that it only takes 20 minutes to drive from one to the other.  With about 300,000 people, it’s the same size as Pittsburgh but with no suburbs and a way smaller commute!  We feel like we’re able to get out and explore our city without having to get stuck in traffic or deal with parking issues.

5.  It’s on the west coast.  This is going to sound strange coming from a life long east coaster, but I’m really liking the west coast vibe here.  People are usually really friendly, relaxed, and laid back which I’m not used to at all.  Let’s be honest, people on the east coast could benefit from being more laid back.  Also, people here say “right on” when they agree with you.

Bonus: We don’t have snakes or reptiles, and no ticks!  But we do have moose that roam our city freely.  I saw one in the Barnes and Noble parking lot last weekend which is pretty crazy.

IMG_3283The best moose pic I ever got – twin babies on the coastal trail during a run!

I miss Philly like crazy sometimes, and can’t wait to go back for a visit.  But Anchorage is definitely the best place I’ve ever lived.  I actually say “I CAN’T BELIVE I LIVE HERE!” at least once a day, usually while staring at a giant mountain or a moose.  I never did that anywhere else!

What is your favorite city?  How many cities have you lived in?  And fun question: do people say crazy things in your city that aren’t said anywhere else?  Pittsburgh = yinz, Philly = jawns, etc.

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55 thoughts on “Friday Five: Five Things I Love About Anchorage

  1. Ohhh my gosh, wow, amazing pictures and I wanna see moose at Barnes and Noble and during a run! Cutie! 🙂 I really do want to visit! I’ve been trying to convince my husband lately. Absolutely beautiful! Such an inspiring and wonderful post!! Thanks for sharing! XOXO

    1. Haha actually those two were on a trail, the ones at Barnes and Noble were terrifying (because they were on a sidewalk of a busy road) and I was driving so I couldn’t take a picture. It was in a really busy part of town with no woods around it, so I was really surprised they came out that far! Moose are crazy! If you visit, definitely come up in July because it’s the warmest month and it shouldn’t be too rainy. Plus we have some races here at that time in case you want to run here 🙂

      1. Ohhhh I would love to race there!! Definitely!! Thanks for the info! Also, wow, that does sound scary. I hope those cute moose are okay! I didn’t see ’em, but I’m sure they were cute. I love looking at pictures of moose. Adorable! Have a fantastic weekend!! 🙂

    1. This is all true, but I’m pretty jealous you live in DC! I’m in love with that city! I’d be at the National Archives every day staring at the Declaration of Independence, but I’m weird like that haha. If it was cheaper there and was less humid in the summer I’d probably try to live there for a while!

  2. I remember living in San Diego & saying “I’m so lucky to live here” all the time- so it’s awesome that you’re CURRENTLY living in your favorite city 🙂
    I definitely agree on the west coast vibe thing- east coasters are too uptight & all about themselves! It’s probably my least favorite thing about the east coast (in addition to the terrible weather).
    We have great running trails where I live now, but I’m a little envious of your hiking trails & mountains 🙂

    1. San Diego would be awesome! I’ve never been (only been to Cali once and it was to go to LA for a wedding) but I’ve heard great things about it! And yes, the east coast needs to calm down. I didn’t even realize it until I left, but now I can see myself doing east coast stuff like getting impatient too quickly or driving like I’m back in Philly and realize that I need to chill out haha.

  3. I’ve lived in three cities, but two of those were before age 12. I’ve lived in Austin since 7th grade. Our thing is definitely “y’all” but we also pronounce some things weirdly, especially street names like Guadalupe. When you’re talking about the river in south Texas, it’s “Gwad-a-LOOP-ay” but the Austin street is “GWAD-a-loop.” Still way better than that Pittsburgh accent though. 😉

    1. Hahaha yeah Pittsburgh was an interesting place. I’ve never been to Texas but I’m dying to go! My husband and I have wanted to go to Austin for years now! Are there any good races there that aren’t too hot (maybe in the winter?). I’ll have to add them to my 50 states list!

      1. All of our distance races are in the winter! The 3M half is in January and the Austin half/full is in February. We have a good ten-miler in October and another one in March/April but that might be too warm for you. 😉

  4. Very cool list and pictures. Looks beautiful. I’ve always thought it would be interesting to visit Alaska, but the more I read of your stuff, the more I definitely want to go.

    I had to go with Philly today for the link up, though in reference to where you lived, I was actually born in Reading and lived there for a little. Old enough that I have some memories of being there.

    1. You should! In the summer though, it’s kind of blah right now since we have no snow but tons of ice. Walking around is not fun. But July is great! And now I’m heading over to check out your Philly post! Reading is the worst, I’m glad neither of us picked that place 🙂 I lived there for 17 years and would drive back from Philly to visit my family all the time, and it’s probably on the bottom of my favorites list.

  5. Wow, these photos really make Anchorage look stunning! I did an Alaska cruise once when I was a teenager but I’d love to go again at some point and it more completely.

    1. You should! I worked with cruise ship passengers this summer down in Seward, and I always told them to come back and rent a car and see it on their own. Driving is not intimidating in the summer, and it’s so awesome getting to see things like Denali National Park on your own. It’s just a huge state so it takes forever to get anywhere! Let me know if you ever get back here!

    1. Haha I used to drive 1-2 hours in Philly every day. My route now is 8 minutes and the traffic report only talks about moose, not accidents! It’s awesome!

  6. You live in Anchorage?? I’m looking at doing the Mayor’s Half Marathon in June this year. Ever heard of it / ran it? Let me know please!! Best of luck running! 🙂

    1. Yes I have heard of it! Last year I ran the Her Tern Half in July, and I’m running it again this year (redemption haha). But it is on my bucket list! It’s on the summer solstice which is the longest day of the year, and everyone is out celebrating. You can literally run at midnight on the solstice! The race is in the morning though 🙂 It’s a big race here and it sounds awesome! Let me know if you sign up!

  7. Love this! Reading shout out! haha (it’s totally not even half as cool as Anchorage) I’ve lived in Reading, Slippery Rock, and now Elverson. My boyfriend is from Pittsburgh and it drives me crazy when he says “pop” instead of soda. He also had no idea what the word “macadam” was. weirdo.

    1. Reading is at the bottom of my list haha. And let me tell you, my college years in Pittsburgh were spent in total confusion over what the heck people were talking about, because it’s SODA. It’s crazy that it’s in PA but everyone talks so different! Plus I hate the Penguins so that didn’t make life easy there.

    1. Come back! PS I just mini-stalked your blog and read that you’re doing Grandma’s Marathon which sounds like an awesome race! I’m starting to possibly think about a full and I heard it was good for first timers, so I’m going to follow your posts about it!

      1. We wanted to come back this past November for our anniversary, but tickets were too much. I’ll be back, I promise! Grandma’s is an awesome race to spectate and I can’t wait to finally run it!

    1. Do it! That race is supposed to be awesome! Alaska is an amazing place, especially in the summer. We don’t have any humidity so running/racing is really nice! If you decide to come up here and need any suggestions/advice let me know!

  8. Wow beautiful photos!! I bet the trails are the best I’m in western nc and love our trails here. But no ocean waves on the other side lol no moose either but deer 🙂 people around here say “you ins” and “youns” drives me nuts ha ha

    1. Deer are just as terrifying as moose, except smaller! I can’t imagine how pretty your trails are though, I’m kind of intimidated by some of the ones here but NC sounds awesome!

    1. Haha yes they do! The way I’ve heard it described is that they have an invisible comfort circle around them, and if you get into that circle they’ll chase you until you’re out of it. I accidentally ended a run right next to some moose once and almost had a heart attack but luckily they just ignored me! The moms with babies are bad news, they are crazy territorial and protective. The mom of the moose in that picture above was so nervous and was staring at us with her ears back so we got out of there pretty fast!

    1. Do it! I will say that it’s more expensive to live here because it costs so much to ship things, and the winters are long (but not nearly as cold or snowy as I thought – today it was in the 30s and we currently have like 1 inch of snow). But it is so beautiful that it’s worth it! Good luck with your husband, maybe he’ll change his mind if he sees my pictures 🙂

  9. I never really thought much about visiting Alaska until I started reading all about your adventures and looking at your gorgeous pics. You should work for the tourism board because now I’m hooked on the idea of it! It sounds amazing!

    1. Haha I worked in tourism this summer in Seward and it was awful, so I think I’ll keep my current job 🙂 but I’m glad you’re getting interested in visiting! It’s really pretty and so different from Baltimore. And we have fun races up here that you should totally look into running! And Betty would love the moose here haha!

  10. this is so incredible! I’m happy for you that’s you’ve adjusted to life out there. Makes me want to hope on a plane immediately!!! I had an aunt do just that when she was 21. I never saw her again (though I think she moved back after about 20 years there!)

    1. Wait she lived in Alaska? That’s awesome! I hear about people doing that all the time and I can’t believe how crazy we all are. But once you see it in person it’s really hard to live anywhere else! But just for the record, DC is a seriously awesome city and I’m totally jealous of half the stuff you post. I miss big city life sometimes!

    1. So I thought the same thing before I moved here – I was TERRIFIED of the winter and was confused when people from Alaska kept telling me it doesn’t feel that cold here. I thought they were lying. But 30 degrees in Anchorage does not feel as cold as 30 degrees in Philly did. There’s no humidity so that might be it? The air is definitely warmer. It also has only gone below 20 degrees for about a week so far, and we haven’t had a day under zero in over a year. It’s frequently warmer here than in Philly (like for the past few weeks). It’s so strange because I always thought it was freezing up here, but somehow that’s not how it works! The winters are longer, but I don’t think they’re colder.

  11. I am glad you are settling in and enjoying things! I definitely miss the smaller town life in Ohio compared to Jersey/Philly. I am enjoying it as much as I can, though. We are not planning on staying, so I am making the most of it, even if the traffic is unbearable!

    1. I didn’t realize you weren’t staying in the area! Any plans on where you’re moving? Will you go back to Ohio? I totally understand, the traffic made me crazy!

  12. Your trails look amazing. I was excited to see some deer on mine today. I would love to see a Moose! Lucky you. Chicago is probably my favorite city to run in. Maybe it’s because we know where to park, walk and more importantly–EAT! 🙂

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