Main Streets 2016: Alaska
Stroll down Fourth Avenue and its surrounding streets and you’ll quickly understand why Anchorage, Alaska has been named an All-America City four times by the National Civic League. With its strong economic base, cultural and historical attractions, natural beauty and diverse recreational opportunities, Alaska’s urban center is a year-round civic and cultural destination.
At the heart of Fourth Avenue is Peratrovich Park, named after Elizabeth and Roy Peratrovich, a Tlingit couple who fought for equal rights for native Alaskans. It is one of 223 parks in the city and home to Visit Anchorage at Old City Hall, the Log Cabin Visitor Information Center, and Anchorage Trolley Tours. Just beyond Fourth Avenue is Elderberry Park, which provides access to the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and a view of Cook Inlet. There’s plenty of history here, too. The Alaska Experience Theatre showcases many educational films and documentaries on Alaska’s history, including the 1964 Earthquake Experience. The Alaska Veterans Museum is also located on Fourth Ave, with the Alaska Law Enforcement Museum and Anchorage Museum close by.
Living in Alaska means embracing, even celebrating, the cold and snow. No event does that better than the Fur Rendezvous. The ‘Rondy’ is one of the nation’s premier winter festivals and includes the wildly popular Outhouse Races and Running of the Reindeer. The first Saturday in March draws thousands to Fourth Ave to watch the ceremonial start of the legendary Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
As the weather warms, Anchorage blooms into the “City of Flowers.” The city’s greenhouse grows over 76,000 plants and close to 1,400 hanging baskets, which residents and businesses help to support and maintain. In June, the Downtown Summer Solstice festival features the Hero Games — a friendly competition between Alaska’s first responders — along with a roller derby, a beard and mustache competition, and the multi-attraction Children’s Rainbow Factory. Fourth Avenue also hosts Music in the Park, art fairs and the Annual West End Block Party.
A coalition of community partners has set its sights on making Anchorage the nation’s number one place to live, work and play by 2025. Judging by the coalition’s award-winning #ILoveAnchorage campaign on Instagram, many residents think their city has achieved that goal already.
All photos courtesy of Visit Anchorage