I love Anchorage. I really do. It's my the second best place I've ever been. (For my first, see my review on Chicago.) It is *definitely* the most beautiful place I've been by a long shot. I can't believe that I'm actually going to attend grad school there!!! (University of Alaska Anchorage.)
In February, my two friends and I hopped on a plane and went to Anchorage for a couple of days. I didn't really recover from the jet lag (close to a 12 hour trip!), so I did a lot of sleeping there. FIRST: If you decide to go to Alaska for a vacation, make sure you have an entire day to recover from jet lag. Otherwise, you're going to miss out on a lot of activities.
There's a common misconception that Anchorage has six months of darkness and six months of sunlight. THIS IS WRONG!!! Yes, the days are longer in the summer and shorter in the winter, but you're not running around in complete darkness at 2:00 in the afternoon. Of course, the sun is different from the lower states, but it's not *that* different. SECOND: Lose all of your stereotypes of Alaska before going! Trust me, you'll look like an idiot to the native Alaskans. (This is coming from experience.)
The landscapes of Alaska are breathtaking. You'll notice this as you come in for a landing while on the plane. It's incredible. You can see Denali (Mount McKinley) from Anchorage, as well as Sleeping Lady (Mount Susitna), and a bunch of other mountains all over the place. There's also Cook Inlet and Beluga Point, where whales are spotted every now and then. THIRD: Make sure you have your camera!!! My best friend's camera didn't work, so she was lucky that Aaron and I had cameras with us. If we didn't, we wouldn't have any memories of Anchorage.
It's not as cold as you would think, but it's pretty darn cold. It was warmer in Anchorage than it was on Long Island when we went. The thing is that it's more of a dry cold, so it effects your skin without you even realizing it. FOURTH: Bring warm clothes (DUH!) and moisturizer! The air will chap your skin, so you want to bring a nice and rich moisturizer with you.
You have to visit the "World Famous" Chillkoot Charlie's, also known as Koots. It's a night club with seven different mini-clubs inside it. They have a country dance hall, swing lounge, techno club, and a live band area, not to mention bars virtually everywhere. It's hysterical, and also reputed to be a meet-market. FIFTH: If you're a woman, be prepared to be hit on. Only, it's not a sort of dirty, sleazy, slimy hit-on. The men there are actually gentlemen. For exapmle, I begged the guys I was with to swing dance with me, but they wouldn't. Another guy, whom I didn't even know, heard me asking them and asked me to dance with him. After we danced, that was it. He went his way and I went mine. It was awesome. (Be careful, though. Alaska has a saying: "The odds are good, but the goods are odd.")
I can't wait to get back there. I was unable to go to the Junior Iditarod(the dog sled race), but Aaron did and he took a video for us. I have so much more that I want to do! Luckily, I'll have at least 2 years to do it.
I highly recommend Anchorage to you, unless you're the kind of person that doesn't appreciate nature's beauty and needs to be in a city like NY or Chicago to survive.