As a resident, I do believe Anchorage is very overrated. Although it is beautiful, it's honestly not a very nice place to live. There is only two malls people consider frequenting, Dimond Center and 5th Avenue mall. The stores are a few years outdated, as most stores don't ship here. There isn't very much that happens, the days are very redundant.
Majority of the families are dysfunctional, drug-ridden, and/or have alcoholism in them. You at least know one person who has commited suicide here, as it is one of the highest in the nation. There are MANY dropouts, I don't mean to plague this with statistics but the Anchorage School District does have the highest dropout rate, roughly half of the kids in ASD dropout. I almost dropped out.
As for politics, there was once a majority of republicans, however this has died out over the years. Surprisingly the Libertarian party is quite common, and of course there is also many democrats. To most here Sarah Palin is an emberassment.
Resident: no you don't want to move here. It is a vacuous, dark, pit.
Tommy: Has your mom quit drinking yet? I hear since she got into a drunken fight with your methhead sister for dropping out, the police have been on her ass like grass.
Mary: No, she's still depressed that my dad walked out, causing my brother to commit suicide. How's your family?
Jordan: God, I hate the Sarah Palin stereo-type. I'm a fucking Democrat
A goregous view of downtown Anchorage with the snocapped mountains in the background.
Unlike any other city in the United States because its sales tax-free and has the most beauty. A growing rap and rock scene in the United States for sure.
The summer population is much higher, because from mid-May all the way to late August, the sun stays up almost the entire day and night. The sun is up all day on "summer solstice"; the sun sets right above the horizon but never goes all the way down.
Being born and raised (until age 19) in Anchorage, the people are as follows: the majority of people are white, followed by a large coastal Asian population, most being Filipino (from the Phillipines) or other types of Asian/Pacific Islanders.
Southside Anchorage: predominated by white people, most from families with at least middle class to upper-class range net worths. Almost 50% of the teenagers smoke marijuana, and so do quite a few of their parents. There are a lot of "wiggers" here, who listen to and live like they are a part of the hip-hop culture. A lot more gun-toting Caucasian young men who use their parents money to push hard drugs like cocaine and ecstasy. There are good people too though. Most people drive very nice trucks with work done to them. A lot of them blow their money on anything and everything. Lots of flaunting in their high school years. Then comes the decision to either leave Anchorage and go join the military/go to college/mature, or they stay and learn it the hard way by getting involved more in drugs with their free time. I grew up in Southside Anchorage and moved post-graduation.
Westside Anchorage: a very diverse molting pot of Asians and Samoans. West High is known for a few Asian gangs. Mostly just a diverse population with many different types of people from very diverse families with diverse ways of life, income, etc. Quite a few Native Americans too. This is where downtown Anchorage feeds into, so you really get the taste of urban Anchorage here.
Eastside Anchorage: a lot like Westside Anchorage, but a little more toward the middle-class to lower-middle class side. This is where Mountain View and surrounding areas are. These neighborhoods are infested with lots of meth heads, trailer parks, dysfunctional families, and harder times. Like West Anchorage, but more African Americans and Mexicans, but still not that many Mexicans. What I described previously about East Anchorage doesn't apply to all of it, just major pockets of it. Anchorage is more complex when it comes to areas of town, and the condition of the parts of town don't have to do at all with race: more to do with lifestyle and economic status. People raised in Anchorage ultimately learn through experience not to judge by race, but to judge more by a person's personal mannerisms, attitude, and things like that; more colorblind (positively, less racists) and therefore more intuitive.
Northside Anchorage: This is where Elmendorf AFB is (Northwest Anchorage to be exact), so there is a military influence of many, many middle-class or other of various walks of life of people who wanted to try Alaska, or Anchorage out. This is where a majority of African Americans stay, and Bartlett is dominated by that demographic. The rough areas are Muldoon and surrounding areas. A lot like East Anchorage, with the tweakers and drug addicts, but for some reason. Mountain View borders on North Anchorage.
Dimond High-area Anchorage: This is technically Southwest-central Anchorage, and is kind of like the All-American Anchorage. More middle class and average, but Caucasian being most common, but not as common as in South Anchorage. Asian population around. Less hard drugs, more of a pot/mushroom/occasional acid scene, if they do that stuff. More of a drinking, All-American attitude - this stuff is kept more on the down-low than the rest of the radical attitude of Anchorage.
Spenard: most likely place to get an STD or meet a transsexual stripper or a Native prostitute. Dirty. Go to Spenardi-Gras.
Service High-area Anchorage: Southeastern Anchorage. Used to be exactly like South Anchorage until they built South High. Now it is like the South-Caucasian rich, pseudo-baller crowd intertwined with the East High Samoan, Asian population. More of a "real" crowd after the zoning district changed, because the whites realized they weren't as gangster as they thought, and the other races respected that they realized that.
Eagle River: more suburban than Anchorage, can you believe that? A lot more good ol' drinkin', but the same shit as Anchorage, just more spread-out and small-townish.
Palmer/Wasilla: Lots of small-town "Country" people. Mostly made up of redneck-esque drinkers and people who want more of the simple life. Some pot smokers and quite a few of the major pot growing (indoor, obviously!) operations are done out here. Cost of living is cheaper out there, but is 45 minutes outside Anchorage, at least. Lower sophistication, no one gives a shit what they wear anywhere.
All in all, Anchorage has a lot of good, open-minded people who love outdoor sports, hiking the Chugach mountains that border East Anchorage, and who love fishing/hunting. I took a pessimistic-sounding view to alert people of the dangers that are around Anchorage. But every city over 200,000 people will have some of these drug/violence issues. Really not like any other city I've ever been in, and I've been all along the West Coast, many places in the Midwest, Southcentral US (Oklahoma City, Dallas), and some of the South (Atlanta, Tennessee, KY), and a few places on the east coast minus NYC. All in all, Anchorage comes off as a "calm" place because of how spread out it is, and how people tend to stay inside more because of the colder weather. To really like Anchorage, you must have a tolerance for cold weather and enjoy/partake in winter sports like snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, you name it. Lots of good hockey players come from Anchorage, per-capita. Summer lasts from late May until late July-early August, and is in the high 50's to high 60's, hardly ever getting above 70. The winters are more mild than you'd think: 20's to 30's, and not as windy as many places in the United States. Minneapolis gets colder/windier than Anchorage. Anchorage just stays "cooler" longer. You will never get a sun tan in Anchorage unless you go fishing for a long time or get faceburn from snowboarding/skiing all day. If you like wearing shorts and flip-flops in the summer, or like getting a natural tan (not using the tanning beds that are on every third block up there) Anchorage is NOT FOR YOU. People (per-capita) drink more often and do more drugs than in most places. Lots of chill people, lots of shady ones too. Lots of white people who use slang like they weren't. A west-coast mentality taken to an extreme. There really is no place quite like Anchorage. Most days are gloomy and cloudy outside, but I like how its hardly ever windy.
Anchorage is where the Iditarod is showcased near downtown before it officially starts in a small neighboring town called Wasilla.
It's a state with a Northwest mentality but Alaska is definitely different than Washington or Oregon. You'd have to stay up here for a while and get to know people to see it. A lot of people smoke weed here, and the weed here is among the strongest and cheapest of anywhere I've been in America. Usually just 40 an eighth, 280-320 an ounce. Lots of nice people, and you have lots of assholes. Has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, but that's probably because of the overall lack of sunlight, the prevalent use of alcohol and the availability of heroin, and for some reason the native population has a higher suicide rate per capita.
There's a lot of outdoorsman stuff to do, like go hiking Anchorage's many surrounding Chugach mountains, and fishing all over South central Alaska is awesome and places like Seward are heaven for halibut and silvers certain times of the year, where Kenai and Soldotna are great for kings, silvers and reds, just depends when you go.