Community- One More Reason to Come Downtown

Anchorage is fortunate to have a great downtown community. Great shops, restaurants, entertainment venues and places to gather.

Once I started working in downtown the magic of the community made me a strong downtown supporter.

Now I feel sorry for people who are missing out on the amazing shops, restaurants, entertainment and simply awesome people who populate downtown.

I have a front row seat to the new ventures springing up downtown and they are fun and creative and worth a visit.

Mabel new location

On top of all that new awesome are some core businesses that have brought great things to downtown for year.

Side Street Espresso. Great coffee, conversation, art. This eclectic little coffee shop is a place for the locals. The place where people become regulars and look out for each other, but no one minds someone new stopping in to add to the conversation.

counter

Cabin Fever. This Alaska owned gift shop has specialized in local art and literature while bringing a little class to the tourist t-shirt business.

Quality and local products make this shop a favorite for tourists and locals. Need something nice to send to relatives outside? Need something special to take home from your once in a life time Alaskan adventure? This is your stop.

Artique Gallery. This is what I think of as the standard for art galleries, although Stephan’s Fine Art falls in to that category too. High end, sure, but the quality of the art is worth the cost.

bright color

You can also find a wide variety of art mediums so if you can’t afford the wall size mural then you may find a piece of jewelry to fit your style.

Don’t be put off by the high end quality items, because the staff are friendly and excited to introduce any budget to the world of fine art.

One of the joys of working downtown is meeting the people who make up the downtown community. The owners who are well established and those just getting started. The retail staff, waiters, baristas and tour guides who fill summer positions or stick around through the year.

People like you and me, just trying to make a business work or make enough money to pay the bills or support their snowboard or shoe habit.

Mabel McKinley quickly became a favorite stop for me because of the cute, unique clothes at good prices and because the owner was just so much fun.

10945518_766268850121069_5337908108396810880_n

We are kindred spirits on the hunt for a good deal. I think Mabel McKinley only hires super cool staff so even though I haven’t run in to Big Mabel for ages her staff always create that same fun vibe.

Sevigny Studio quickly became the place for local art. It’s easy to recognize Katie’s fun, festive, creative style. Once you have seen her work you will realize that she is everywhere.

Sevigny Studio is the art gallery for young, adventurous Alaskan talent. I think Sevigny Studio is an experience beyond a good verbal description. All your senses will be stimulated by this bright, unique, fresh gallery.

You can’t go in to Sevigny Studio just once. Things change weekly, new art, new arrangements. Nothing stays in one place so each time you enter it is a new experience.

196521_10150127273597132_265539_n

Ok. It’s time to address the parking myth. Yes street parking can be hard to find. Especially at peak times.

The reality is that there is plenty of parking in downtown. It may not be right in front of the business you want to visit, but city parking garages are $1/hr. The JC Penney garage allows the first hour for free.

11094852_855472984499378_8031060864528591702_n

I will always be amazed that Alaskans can hike 20 miles in the wilderness without a thought, but walking 2 blocks to visit some of the coolest shops in the city is just too much.

I love walking from one end of downtown to the other. It’s good exercise. The sidewalks are generally the cleanest in the city and it’s fun to see people. There is no other part of the city where I run in to so many people I know and take time to chat.

This summer there are free concerts 3 days a week. City wide events for Solstice and 4th of July. Tourists to watch. Even more reasons to visit downtown.

downtown tourists rth ave

Spend some time downtown and check out all the great locations that you have been missing. Eat at any of the amazing restaurants. Get your relatives something local and cool for the holidays.

Support Anchorage as a vibrant city and get to know your downtown.