17 Reasons Not To Move To Anchorage, Alaska

Closeup of Anchorage, Alaska on a political map of the United States.

Are you thinking of moving in the near future? Are you considering Alaska as one of those places? Are you wanting to consider the cons of moving to Anchorage, Alaska? If you are, this article can help.

To learn more about why you should not move to Anchorage, Alaska, keep reading!

High Cost of Living

Anchorage is not a cheap place to live. It is around 28% more expensive than if you were to live anywhere in the Lower 48. Many of the local residents are satisfied with the more pricey way of living, given the fact that they have discovered their own tips and tricks to keep their bills down. A few examples of the price of living in Anchorage include a 2-liter bottle of Coke is priced at $2.50, a carton of a dozen eggs is $4.50, and the average person spends around $15 on lunch each day.

The price of living in the secluded upper state is significantly more expensive than in the Lower 48 and that is a major deterrent for some people.

Minimal Road Structure

Road to Mt Cook and mountain landscape. Concept of road trip travel in New Zealand. Empty highway or freeway leading to Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand.

A major reason many people choose to move to Anchorage is because of the beautiful, intriguing landscape. The downfall of that attraction is that the state limits the number of roads that can be developed. That then creates an issue of convenience in traveling from place to place within the state. If they were to create an abundance of road structures, it would take away from its natural beauty, which is the main tourist attraction. It creates a major inconvenience for the residents of Alaska but pays great benefits for the visitors.

While there are more tourist attractions than natural landscapes, such as ski resorts, the state wants to keep the natural land as undisturbed as possible, thus limiting typical accommodations other tourist locations may have.

Alaskans Are Creatures of Habit

In addition to the passionate preserving the natural beauty of Alaska, residents are not welcomers of change. This is also applicable on a town to town basis, including community events, and other local traditions. Laws are also a big part of the culture that doesn’t change frequently. If you are someone that likes changes going on in the community all the time, Anchorage may not be the place for you. They are set in their ways and like it that way.

No Darkness During The Summer

The hands of a young man hang darkening curtains on the ceiling cornice

Because of the location of Alaska on the globe, there are limited hours of darkness during the summer. It doesn’t get completely dark during the night which can be a major irritant for those who are sensitive to light particularly when they are trying to sleep. Even in the efforts to fix the issue with blackout curtains, shades, or tinted windows, the sun still being up late into the night can cause issues for a healthy sleep schedule, especially for young children. Purchasing those items to help with blocking out the sun at night can also get expensive if you are wanting to get good quality products.

No Light During Winter

The opposite issue occurs in the winter. Again, because of the location of Alaska on the globe, there are limited hours of sunlight in the winter. While the increased hours of no sunlight can be good for sleeping, and actually may help you sleep better, it can also be a source of depression and lack of vitamin D for many people. This reason, in and of itself, is a major reason people choose to not live in Anchorage, or at least travel away for an extended period of time somewhere that doesn’t experience long periods with no sunlight exposure.

Those that don’t have the money to travel away for the winter months usually can avoid and dramatic falls into depression can take vitamin D pills or supplements.

Drivers Have A Bad Reputation

The driving conditions in Anchorage, especially in the winter are already not ideal. But if you combine that with drivers that drive at high speeds, that creates a huge risk for major accidents to happen. It may be that because the landscape can fool drivers into thinking there’s no one else on the road because they are in the middle of nowhere, but truck drivers are notorious for not being aware of their surroundings and causing accidents.

Because there are no state regulations that enforce automotive care, there are cars on the road that has the potential to break down or worse, catch on fire while on the road.

Alcohol Consumption Is Heavily Managed

Bottle of wine in shop

Alaska has strict alcohol consumption laws. There are only designated locations and stores that are allowed to even sell beer or liquor. Not only are you required to be 21 years of age to purchase the alcohol, but to even enter those designated stores at all. Inside the stores are just as strict. There are several cameras set up for security purposes, also to check if you have left children in the car you arrived at the store in. If there are kids in the car, they most likely will not sell any alcohol to you even if you are 21.

If you are freshly 21 and it is your first time purchasing alcohol, you will need to fill out a form to confirm your personal information by the state so the store won’t get fined for selling alcohol to an underage customer.

Alaska Is Far Away From Other Places

Unless you already have friends and family living in Alaska, it would be very difficult to visit them frequently coming from Alaska. Sometimes when we see Alaska on the map in relation to the rest of the United States, we imagine it to be fairly close.

To give an idea of how far it really is from the lower 48, here are some statistics for you. If you were to drive from Seattle, Washington to Anchorage, AK, it would take 42 hours driving nonstop. If you were to fly from Anchorage to Seattle it would take a 3 and 1/2 hour flight, but most people who are coming from Alaska don’t have Seattle as their final destination, making their traveling time even longer.

Online Shopping Is Difficult

Hands holding plastic credit card and using laptop. Online shopping concept. Toned picture

If you are an avid online shopper, Anchorage is not the place to be in order to get your packages in a timely manner. In fact, some stores don’t even offer shipping to the state of Alaska at all. Amazon and most clothing stores are safe bets to order from because the majority of the time they do ship to Alaska. But if you are ordering from larger, more established companies like IKEA or Wayfair, it is less likely that they will be able to ship to you at all.

That being said, the stores that do ship to Alaska charge you a significant amount of money for shipping. Instead of online shopping, a lot of the locals run their own stores to allow people to have access to those things that normally would be bought online like furniture and clothing.

High Crime Rate

Believe it or not, Alaska has been deemed as the state to have the most crime out of all 50 states. There really is no specific reason for this, while the major difference between Alaska and the lower 48 states is the fact that Alaska is a little colder and the amount of light it gets varies with the seasons, that is not the cause of the higher rate of crime in Alaska.

Vacationing Can Get Expensive

It shouldn’t be a surprise that residents often want to get away from the cold and visit somewhere warm during the winter months. A popular place that a lot of Alaskan residents go to is Hawaii. Hawaii is a great place to enjoy warmer weather, but if you are going away and traveling from Alaska to Hawaii frequently, for long periods of time, it can add up and get quite expensive. At the rate you would be spending money to travel back and forth between the two states, you might as well just move to Hawaii rather than Alaska.

Extremely Cold Weather

You have not experienced cold weather until you have spent a winter in Alaska. Not only is it extremely cold, but it is consistently, extremely cold. You will never see the weather report to be 20 degrees one day and then 45 degrees in the next 2 days. You will never experience a little dusting of snow and then have it melted away by morning. Even if the temperatures warm up the slightest bit, there is always the possibility of high winds coming in and knocking that temperature back down. This doesn’t just last a short period of time either, this pattern can last throughout months and months.

Fashion Isn’t A Thing

Portrait of a young man on a sunny winter day against the background of a snow-covered forest

If you are someone that loves expressing themselves through fashion or has a cute dress they love to show off, Anchorage is not the place for it. The reasoning for this is that the majority of the time you spend out and about will be covered head to toe in snow gear to help deflect the harsh winter elements, as well as help to keep you warm. Practicality is much more important in Anchorage than fashion. Everyone values warmth and comfort rather than who is wearing the latest trends.

You could use this as an opportunity to find creative ways to accessories your winter coat, hat, and gloves because that is what you will be wearing in Alaska.

Wildlife Is Everywhere

In Alaska, anything could happen. Because bears are free to roam, you could look out your window one morning and a bear could be standing on your front lawn. While there is really nothing to be afraid of, you should be aware that if they are provoked and you don’t practice wildlife safety, there are dangerous situations that could occur. This is a major safety fear and concern that prevents many from living in the state.

There are also opportunities to go fishing and whale-watching in Alaska as well, so if those activities aren’t particularly intriguing to you, then Alaska probably isn’t the place for you.

A Car Is a Necessity

This may seem contradictory to the point that was discussed about the poor driving performance of Alaskan drivers, but it is extremely difficult to get places without a car. There are very few suburban areas that are within walking distance of a grocery store or gas station. Many people live out in the country and will commute into the city for work, but very few people live in the same area as their workplace. While commuting to and from work isn’t something that is unique to Alaska, it is a longer, more rural commute than most other places in the United States.

Weather Is A Frequent Topic Of Conversation

Everyone is always talking about the weather. They are also always planning around the weather. It is important to plan around the weather because it can be so unpredictable all the time and you can not be reliant on good weather for outings. Even if the weather report says it will be sunny tomorrow at 4 pm, it could say it could be raining tomorrow at 4 pm and an hour later. Talking about the weather is no longer a topic to fill conversation, but a necessity to worry about.

Few Grocery Shopping Options

Similar to the limited shipping options to and from Alaska, grocery shopping has few options as well. While there are local grocery shops you can shop at, they often have limited options. There is almost always a Costco close by, but that oftentimes is the only chain grocery shop there is. If Costco isn’t your favorite, you could try and find your regularly purchased items at the local stores, but it is not always promised that they will have them. This can cause major concern for those people who have special dietary needs and have specific brands they need that they aren’t able to have access to.

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Nathan Aydelotte

Hello! I'm Nathan, the lead editor for Suggested by locals. I grew up in the Boise, Idaho area and have lived here most of my life. I enjoy being close to the mountains where I can go hiking, camping, and mountain biking.

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