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Alaska's largest city where you will find the world's largest seaplane base, Anchorage began in 1915 as a group of tents to house the workers on the Alaska Railroad. Apparently the shantytown housed about 2,000 workers; obviously a very unwashed crew as there was only one tent dedicated for bathing. In midsummer the days are about 20 hours long, whereas in winter you will be lucky to get 5.5 hours of sun each day. Sitting in the south-central area of the Cook Inlet, it is a gateway to the wilderness of the Chugach, Kenai and Talkeetna mountains. There was an explosion in the town's population in 2010 due to the Cold War and its strategic position of being close to the former Soviet Union. It is a fluffy white wonderland when snowing, with the lowest recorded temperature in 1947 of 38 below zero.
If you are a caffeine addict, this is your town, despite the cold. The city has more espresso bars per capita than any other city in the United States. If hiring a car around here you will have to be careful as the probability of running into a moose is quite likely, with over 100 being killed on the roads each year. By the same token, the moose get back if you are out jogging, as there has been cases of people being stomped to death by a bad tempered moose. It may be an idea to keep out of the way of the black bears and grizzlies that call Anchorage home as well.
You can visit the Wendy Williamson Auditorium at the University of Alaska and maybe spy a specter or two as it is said that it is definitely haunted. To find out about the history of the area it is a must to go to the Alaska Native Heritage Center and explore the cultures of 11 different indigenous groups. If you want to taste more history, the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center is overflowing with historic items complete with a planetarium. You should take a stroll along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail following the Anchorage shoreline or head to the Chugach State Park to play amongst the rivers, lakes and glaciers that moose, bears, beavers and wolves call home. If the wallet is thick enough, then grab a seaplane flight and get the bird's eye view over the Denali National Park or the Lake Clark National Park & Preserve. If you want a more down-to-earth experience then go trekking in the Kenai Fjords National Park where you literally walk by a glacier. If you are looking for something more on the tame side to do, then head to the Alaska Zoo or the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum.
For those looking for a bit of oddball fun, there is the World Ice Bowling Championships that should not be missed.
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