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30 Things You Need To Know About Alaska Before You Move There

Slap on your parka and prepare for the time of your life.

Ben Kerns

9 articles, 0 comments

1. Star Gazing Here Is Better Than Anywhere Else On The Planet

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user Trodel

How could we talk about Alaska without mentioning the Aurora Borealis? Your best bet for viewing this event is beneath the aurora oval in Fairbanks during winter. The northern lights are actually solar particles that were blown into the earth’s magnetic field. It’s definitely one of the must-see things for everyone’s bucket list.

2. Some Of The Towns Are So Remote That You’ll Be A Survivalist In No Time

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user J. Stephen Conn

The people in Alaska aren’t “backwoods,” but if you choose to live in one of the smaller bush communities, you might feel like you’re back in pioneer days. You’ll learn to love outhouses, chopping wood for heating and cooking and using oil lamps to get around. Life away from modern convenience can either be a hassle or just what you’re looking for to escape the hustle and bustle of the world.

3. All Of The Best Adventures Happen In The Bush

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Source: Flickr user Western Arctic National Parklands

When you’re ready for an adventure, pack your bags and head out to the Bush. Most of Alaska’s native population lives out in this rural area, and it’s the place you probably think of when you read “Call of the Wild.” You’ll need to charter a small plane to get to most parts of it, though.

4. The Wildlife Enjoys The City As Much As You Do

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user Visit Anchorage PR

But you might be sharing the streets with a roaming bear, so watch your step. They have a tendency to wander into the cities, along with the occasional moose. Remember: They’re more afraid of you then you are of them. Just as long as you remember not to leave anything edible lying around where they can smell it you’ll be fine.

5. And Since The Moose Aren’t Friendly No One Feels Bad About Eating Them

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user Smath.

Speaking of moose, it’s kind of a delicacy around here. A lot of that can be attributed to the lack of deer and cattle. It tastes like beef, but has a lot more flavor. If you decide to go hunting for one, make sure to take someone who’s been around the block. Moose injure more people in the Americas a year than any other wild mammal.

6. “Deadliest Catch” Is Entirely Accurate

Move to Alaska

Source: Deadliest Catch via Facebook

Most of the reality shows about Alaska make it seem like some backwoods state where everyone battles angry wildlife and is training to be the next Bear Grylls. Not so much. But this little show about crab fishing is a pretty accurate portrayal about the dangers of one aspect of an Alaskan lifestyle.

7. Alaskan King Crabs At Tracy’s Will Melt In Your Mouth

Move to Alaska

Source: Tracy’s King Crab Shack via Facebook

You simply can’t live in Alaska and not try some crab legs! Tracy’s King Crab Shack is home to the best Alaskan King Crab in the state. This stuff will literally melt in your mouth. Or try the crab bisque; it’s a worldwide favorite and completely gluten-free.

8. And The Fish In Alaska Is The Freshest Around

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Source: Flickr user WanderingtheWorld ()

You’ll definitely never run out of fish living in Alaska. It’s the chief export, and a lot of people here learn to fish out of necessity. You’ll find it much more affordable to catch your own food than buy it. Which is fine, because the salmon here is some of the best in the world.

9. It’s Not Undiscovered Territory–You’re Probably In Someone’s Backyard

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Source: Flickr user The U.S. Army

The largest state has been completely explored at this point, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t find adventure. Just make sure you’re not hiking through someone’s backyard. It might have a low population, but that just means people own larger areas of land.

10. The Pizza In Anchorage Might Convince You That You’re Actually In Italy

Move to Alaska

Source: Moose’s Tooth via Facebook

What could be better than beer and pizza? Nothing, that’s what! Especially when the pizza is this amazing and the beer is brewed in-house at Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria.

The whole-wheat crust on a wild mushroom pizza (crimini mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, goat cheese AND Denali sauce!) with a side of Wild Country Raspberry Wheat beer will keep you coming back at least once a week. Guaranteed!

11. Alaska’s Toughest Athletes Prefer Bones Over Trophies

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Source: Flickr user Alaskan Dude

Alaska is home to one of the most exhilarating, fiercest competitions known to man—the one where all the real athletes are on four legs. If you’d like to meet the heroes of the Iditarod you can stop by for a visit with one of the Iditarod Mushers. Those dogs are pretty darn cute, right?

12. The Alaska State Fair Tops Your State Fair For Sure

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Source: Flickr user knapjack

Nearly 300,000 people are estimated to attend the Alaska State Fair in Palmer every year. With over 450 vendors and over 8000 exhibit entries it’ll be hard to get bored. Check out the variety of food on a stick, the giant vegetables exhibit or participate in the Diaper Derby.

13. Alaskans Are So Tough, They Go Kayaking Through Ice

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user bazzat2003

Or maybe it’s because they’re interested in seeing the number one tourist attraction in Alaska—the glaciers. Over 60 of them are easily accessible in the state, but the best is Portage Glacier. You can book a glacier cruise, fly over and land on them in a plane or even hop on a dog sled and take an ice-climbing trip.

14. The Vegetables Here Are Giant-Sized

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user Scrap Pile

Because of the extremely long days in summer, Alaskan vegetables tend to look like something out of Jack and the Giant Beanstalk. Do you think you can eat 75 pounds worth of a cabbage? You’re about to find out.

15. Tread Lightly Or You Might Fall In The Lava

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user U.S. Geological Survey

There are over 130 volcanoes and volcanic fields in Alaska, some of which still erupt to this day. Don’t worry, though, they’re not going to wipe out this state anytime soon. You can check out the Alaska Volcano Observatory to find out all of the history on these explosive landmarks.

16. Roads? Alaskans Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Roads

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user Christopher.Michel

Traveling from one city to another in Alaska can be quite the task. The roads—and there aren’t as many as you’re probably used to—are long and you can spend an entire day in the car before you get where you’re going. Much of the time you’ll be traveling by ferry on the Alaska Marine Highway or by plane to get anywhere outside of the larger cities. Better get to work on that pilot license!

17. Life In Paradise Can Get Kind Of Expensive–But It’s So Worth It

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user vofuth

You would think that the largest state in America would be home to the largest population, but it’s the opposite, really. Partially because Alaska can get a bit pricey—a lot of the food and goods have to be imported.

18. The Farmers’ Markets In Anchorage Serve Up Some Unique Treats

Move to Alaska

Source: Spenard Farmer’s Market via Facebook

Like a pickled pork with cabbage waffle sandwich from Urban Bamboo Gourmet Food Truck.

One of the benefits of a state with so much local hunting and growing? The plethora of farmers’ markets. Spenard Farmer’s Market outside of Anchorage is a great place to purchase local produce and enjoy great crafts and music.

19. The Reindeer May Not Fly, But They Sure Can Run

Move to Alaska

Source: Fur Rondy via Facebook

As if mountains of snow weren’t enough, you also might find yourself running from a herd of reindeer. That’s if you stop by the Fur Rendezvous Winter Festival, or Fur “Rondy,” as it’s known. It’s a 10-day celebration with a carnival, parade, Alaskan Native tribal dances and the World Championship Sled Dog Race.

Most importantly, though, is the Running of the Reindeer. Careful though, Rudolph is pretty darn fast.

20. Wait? Is This Alaska Or Seattle?

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user gillfoto

The pictures might all show glorious snowcapped mountain vistas and crystal clear streams, but it ain’t all sunshine and rainbows in The Last Frontier. In fact, for quite a while throughout the year it’s a lot of rain and fog.

Get your light boxes ready to ward of that Seasonal Affective Disorder that affects many of the residents here. It’s all worth it when the sun comes back out, though.

21. You’ll Want To Stick Your Hand In The Cookie Jar

Move to Alaska

Source: The Cookie Jar Restaurant via Facebook

This cozy little diner serves up some of the best breakfast food in all of Fairbanks. And the servings are pretty huge. You’ll want a doggie bag, and don’t forget to grab some cookies on the way out. My vote goes to the white chocolate chip.

22. All Of The Sculptures Are Made Of Ice

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user FairbanksMike

Did you know that ice sculpting could be a competitive sport? In Alaska it is. The World Ice Arts Championship in Fairbanks has three different divisions for prospective ice champions and includes over a 100 different competitors from around the world each year.

23. Your Lungs Are Going To Love You For It

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user dorofofoto

You haven’t breathed clean air until you’ve moved to Alaska. The lack of large urban areas means that the skies get to go au naturel here. So sit back and take a nice big gulp of that fresh O2.

24. Alaskans Love Whales So Much They Gave These Guys Their Own Festival

Move to Alaska

Source: Sitka WhaleFest via Facebook

Alaskans take whale watching to a whole new level. Each year, the Sitka Sound Science Center hosts the Sitka WhaleFest. It’s a science symposium with lectures and interactive sessions on the marine environment of the North Pacific.

For those who aren’t into science, they also have marine cruises, music, an artisan market and a run/walk. It’s educational and fun at the same time!

25. And They Must Love Eagles Just As Much Because They’ve Got A Festival For Them Too

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user Carl Chapman

Alaska is also one of the best places on Earth to celebrate our nation’s most famous bird–the American Bald Eagle. The Stikine River Birding Festival honors the largest springtime concentration of bald eagles in the world. They also have live bird demonstrations and kayaking workshops. Who doesn’t love to kayak and bird watch at the same time?

26. Alaskans Are Still In Touch With Their Roots

Move to Alaska

Source: Alaska Native Heritage Center

As with every part of this country, Alaska is a state that was home to others before us. If you have a desire to learn about native Alaskan culture you should hit up the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage.

27. And They Were Meant For Jewel

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user jenniferlstoddart

She wasn’t born here, but it’s where she grew up and Alaskans are pretty proud of that. It’s good to be able to claim a renowned artist known for her voice.

28. When It Snows, It Really, Really Snows

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user CraigMoulding

This one is obvious, but it bears repeating. Because there is A LOT of snow.

Have you seen the movie the Frozen? I’m pretty certain that “Arendelle” is actually just Alaska during wintertime. This beautiful state only becomes more serene when the snow falls, and averages of over 300 inches a year in some areas blanket the landscape. Buy that snowsuit yet?

29. You’ll Be Able To Bask In The Light Of A Midnight Sun

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user Paxson Woelber

The fact that Alaska is enveloped in days of night is not a joke, but they also have days where the sun refuses to set as well. During the summer Alaskans celebrate the midnight sun by staying up late for ball games and parties. In the winter, everyone just kind of sleeps a lot when the sun doesn’t rise for days.

30. Foreigners Are Going To Absolutely Love You From Here On Out

Move to Alaska

Source: Flickr user jessleecuizon

One of the best perks of being an Alaskan is that you can claim to be an American and foreigners won’t look at you like you’ve grown horns out the top of your head. Foreigners love Alaska, and they really love talking to Alaskan people. Get ready to feel special, because you deserve it.

What do you love about living in Alaska? Tell us in the comments below!

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posted on: June 2, 2014
68,172 views, 11 comments

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11 Comments

  1. Virginia Waterhouse

    As a lifelong Alaskan who has always lived within a couple miles of the water; I love the seafood, the smell of low tide, soaring eagles, smart ravens, heron wading on the shore, salmon jumping in the water, the rocking of your boat while setting your net, and spring! I’ve probably missed about a billion things but whatever! And I agree Alaska is not for everyone, but it is for me :)

  2. ash

    Erm…closer than most alaskan articles. Whoever wrote it has obviously spent more of their time in the southern parts of the state. Its likely in the south they will see both daylight during the winter and dark during the summer. Unless you trek to barrow or deadhorse you won’t get the full effects of the arctic circle. And im afraid in fairbanks there are more days with particulate/pollution/air quality warnings than not. In fact I believe under certain conditions its worse than L.A….something our lungs are most certainly not grateful for. ;)

  3. Tim

    I’d move back in a second but I’d say that the air quality in Fairbanks in the winter is pretty poor. The temps are so cold that it keeps the vehicle exhaust at head level.

  4. Max

    I loved the visit I had there a couple of summers back. Everything I read in this lineup was true except for the item on Italian pizza. Having been stationed in Naples while in the U.S. Navy, I found that their pizza is a thick bread with a slight spreading of tomato sauce. The Alaskan pizza and that made in the lower forty-eight are much tastier.

  5. Jan

    My husband and I moved to Alaska, from California, last year. We absolutely love it here and can’t imagine ever leaving. Just the gorgeous scenery, fresh air, people and quaintness of the smaller towns is amazing. Yes, groceries are more here than in California but property here is costs a whole lot less than Southern California so I guess it all evens out. God’s country for sure !!

  6. Sherry

    I love Alaska and am seriously bummed out that I can’t go home for the summer this year. You have to take Fairbanks with a grain of salt: up to 100 in the summer, down to 50 below in the winter (those are the extremes) smells like rotten eggs because of hot mineral springs, Can’t see your feet walking down sidewalk in the winter. Pollution (car exhaust)is pushed down low by denseness of cold air. Better hope there isn’t a hole you might walk off in it.

    The valley is over crowded, I remember when there was only one blinking red light in Palmer and none in Wasilla. I remember when Palmer and Wasilla had to combine kids to have enough for a football team (Palmer/Wasilla Falcons.) I remember when our State Senator was still farming, (Jalmar Kertula). I remember when world renown artist Fred Machetanz was a regular at Palmer Football games , running up and down the sidelines shouting “Go getem’ boys”.

    I love Alaska, so why am I not there right now? As soon as I can figure out how to move 3 sons and their families I will be camped out on my Mom’s doorstep while looking for my own piece of Heaven.

  7. John Titor

    Love, love, love living in Kodiak. Not as cold, “longer” seasons, great fishing, good people, wonderful villages, isolated enough, and chock full of natural wonders. Don’t plan on leaving any time soon. :)

  8. Amy W.

    A lot of it is true. But the pizza here is pretty awful.

  9. Connie

    Hey Sherry, I raised 2 children in Chugiak and lived there 43 years.
    Loved your comments. Theres so much to say about Ak. I could write 20 books for sure. We lived in Whittier at Sportsmen Inn and walked out of our 2 story apt.2nd story window during winter. Been to Fbks when it was 50 below and eyelashes and nose hair froze along with square tires. Miss the wildlife,fresh air, and mts. Good luck moving to Heaven!

  10. Connie

    Must comment on food: Double Musky, Mooses Tooth, Pizza Man, Garcias, and Gwennies. Don’t miss any of these fabulous places to eat!!
    Hospitality and friendliness is everywhere, probably the best in USA.
    Everyone should experience driving the Alcan Highway in winter and in summer AND the drive to Prudhoe Bay is one not ever to be forgotten.
    Don’t forget the Marine Highway and Bush Planes because road systems are very minimal at best.

  11. lawrence

    I would like to live in Alaska what do you thinkabout that Thanks

 

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