Finding a Place to Live in Alaska

Where should I live in Alaska?

Can we talk about Alaska for a minute? It’s beautiful. It’s huge (over twice the size of Texas). It’s packed with wildlife. And it has something that most of the U.S. doesn’t have — a view of Aurora Borealis (aka the northern lights). But what’s surprising to a lot of people is that Alaska also has multiple cities and locations to choose from when you’re trying to find a place to live. Check out some options in the state and learn what to expect from each.  

Scenic view of Alaskan town with mountains in the background.


Places to live in Alaska: Get to know the Last Frontier

Because Alaska is so large, it’s often divided into five regions: Far North, Interior, Southwest, Southcentral and Southeast. Learn about these areas and the top place to live in each one.

Far North region — North Slope

Also called the Arctic Region, the Far North is where you can experience 24 hours of daylight in the summer and 24 hours of nighttime in the winter. Eskimo communities thrive in this part of the state, along with vast herds of caribou and rich petroleum sources. The geography is comprised of numerous rivers, treeless tundra, slopes, mountain ranges and coastal plains.

If you’re looking for a city in this region, look no further than America’s northernmost borough, North Slope, which also goes by the names of Barrow and Utqiagvik. The population of this area sits right under 10,000 people, with more than 50% of the population being American Indian/Alaska Native. The median household income is a little over $72,000, according to the U.S. Census.

Interior region — Fairbanks

The Interior is the biggest region of Alaska, stretching across two-thirds of the State. It’s home to the Yukon River, the majestic Denali mountain range, and the best views of the northern lights. If you live in the interior, you’ll experience some of Alaska’s coldest winters, with temperatures regularly dipping to -40 degrees. During the summer, the sun never sets (not completely anyway). You’ll get about 21 hours of daylight and three hours of twilight. And from mid-November to mid-January, you’ll see very little sunlight.

This region is also home to the city of Fairbanks — the Last Frontier’s second-largest metropolitan area. Fairbanks is the perfect place to experience Alaska’s great outdoors. From dog mushing to river fishing, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Southwestern region — Aleutian Islands

The southwestern region is home to the famously enormous Kodiak bears, and has one of the world’s most diverse climates. It includes a small portion of the main part of the state, as well as the long chain of Aleutian Islands (which stretch more than 1,000 miles west into the Pacific Ocean and contain less than one-tenth of Alaska’s residents).

The more than 300 islands are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and contain both active and inactive volcanoes. Much of this area isn’t accessible via roads or ferries, and it’s largely populated by Alaskan natives who rely on fishing and hunting for food. So, if you’re looking for a remote living area, one of these islands could be a good fit.

Southcentral region — Anchorage

Alaska’s Southcentral area is the most easily accessible and has milder temperatures compared to the other regions. If you choose to live here, you can spend your free time hiking glistening glaciers, viewing unique wildlife, camping in the wild lands and biking along some of the state’s most scenic routes.

Anchorage and its surrounding metro area is home to nearly half of the Southcentral region’s population — and it’s one of the best places to live in the state. While many parts of Alaska consist of mostly wilderness, Anchorage is a typical city, complete with movie theaters and shopping complexes (though the wilderness isn’t far away when you’re ready to explore). And even though nearly 300,000 people call this part of the state home, the city is spread out enough that you won’t feel overcrowded!

Southeast region — Juneau

Often called the Alaska Panhandle and The Inside Passage, the Southeast region shares a border with British Columbia, Canada. It’s a prime area for cruises ships because it boasts some of Alaska’s most beautiful geography and marine life, including national forests, rainforests, glaciers, humpback whales, orcas and bald eagles.

The top city in the Southeast region is none other than the state’s capital of Juneau, which has a population of more than 32,000 people. As a Juneau resident, you can enjoy new adventures every day, including whale watching, glacier sightseeing and fishing experiences.

What’s the best place to live?

The choice is yours! It depends on whether you want a big city, the wilderness, Aurora Borealis views, Eskimo igloos, fishing and wildlife, dog sleds or something else. No matter what you’re looking for, you can find a city in Alaska that offers it.

Ready to plan your move? Learn all about moving to Alaska in this guide.