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Anchorage Attractions and Things to See

Anchorage, Alaska is the northernmost significant city in the United States, as well as being the biggest city in the state, and contains over 40% of the state's total population; and named an All-America City four times, in 2002, 1984-85, 1965 and 1956. Kiplinger Magazine stated that it is the most tax friendly city in the nation. Since this city is so far north, in a region of cold temperatures and fabulous landscapes, it is one of the most fascinating cities in the United States with attractions quite different than those of the lower 48, but also has more wildlife and interesting sights that bring visitors here for extreme vacations and pleasure trips. Its Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is the third busiest cargo airport in the world, surpassed by Hong Kong and Memphis only, and because it has a large supply of jet fuel. The Port of Anchorage welcomes 95% of all the goods that enter the state, and the large amount of traffic is that it is located on the great circle of routes between Alaska and the lower 48. There are two military bases housed there, Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base, and the Kulis Air National Guard base that employ some 8500 people, with the military personnel and their families making up 10% of the total population. The city doesn't have a sales tax, which is great for the locals, but does have a 8% tax on car rentals and 12% bed tax that makes it difficult on visitors, but the state seems to think that the other amenities and attractions located here will be more than enough to offset those additional costs.

The city has an excellent arts venue, with the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts located in the downtown area, with a three-part complex that hosts many performing arts events during the year. During the year 2000, around 245,000 people would enjoy 678 public performances, and home to eight performing arts companies, and has hosted mega-musicals performed by visiting companies, and hosts the International Ice Carving Competition as part of its famous Fur Rendezvous festival in February. Other venues that pertain the arts include the Wells Fargo Alaska Heritage Library and museum, the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Oscar Anderson House museum, Alaska Museum of Natural History, Imaginarium: Science Discovery Center, the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum and the Anchorage Museum of Rasmuson Center.

Their sports events showcase a variety of unique venues, like the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race that is brought to national attention on the first Saturday in March, and is the longest and most well known sled dog race in the world. There are two baseball leagues that many folks in college sports are among the best amateur college summer leagues in the nation. It has two professional teams now, the Alaska Aces, a hockey team in the ECHL and the Alaska Wild, an indoor football league member. There are four rugby clubs, gymnastics and hockey, at the local college, and the city hosts the Great Alaska Shootout that is a NCAA Division I basketball tournament. It is also the location of the finish line for Sadler's Ultra Challenge wheelchair race, an outstanding premier cross-country skiing city, and contains 105 miles of trails. Anchorage has more than three dozen parks that offer excellent opportunities for recreational activities, the Alaska Botanical Garden that houses more than 900 species of hardy perennials and 150 indigenous plant species, the Alaska Zoo and the Delaney Park Strip. There are four ski resorts and areas, with the Tony Knowles Coastal trail providing excellent trails for biking, hiking, jogging, and more.

Transportation is not as good out here, which is why they decided to create the rental car tax, since there is just one numbered state highway, Alaska Route 1, with no other roadway to access the city. Their local bus system is called the People Mover, but they do have a train station located there for those that prefer to travel around by rails.