Resting on over 1.9 square miles of land, the Midtown
neighborhood of Anchorage
sits less than three miles directly south of the downtown
Anchorage area. Just over 5,000 people call Midtown home, creating a population density of 2,600 people per square mile.
All of these people choose to live in Midtown for a number of reasons, including the affordable cost of living in the neighborhood, the close proximity to the downtown area and the bustling business district that offers many jobs. The St. Elias Specialty Hospital, in particular, provides hundreds of people with employment.
Schools in Midtown
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
While the primary draw of Midtown lies in its highly active business district, it has plenty of employees looking for a tasty place to grab a meal. One of the local favorites, Jen’s Restaurant, is located on the west side of Midtown along 36th Avenue. This restaurant, famed for its Danish cuisine, serves dishes like veal and duck pate. Artwork by the famous Alaska-native artist Dan DeRoux surrounds the walls of Jen’s Restaurant.
Another must-try eatery lies on the opposite side of the neighborhood along Old Seward Highway. Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria serves stone-baked pizzas with toppings from traditional pepperoni and sausage to Epicurian embellishments like artichoke and salmon. Named for a climbing peak in The Great Gorge of the Ruth Glacier in the Alaska Range, the pizzeria also brews and serves its own draft beers, such as Bear Tooth Ale and Hefeweizen.
Located on Denali Street, Table 6 is another local favorite. The family that owns the restaurant chose the name based on the favorite booth at their first restaurant, where friends and family liked to sit and chat with the workers. This Dr. Seuss-inspired restaurant serves casual lunch and dinner favorites, from mac n’ cheese to any kind of sandwich you may want.
For those looking to have some fun in Midtown, Putters Wild is the place to go. This family-friendly fun zone has a main feature of “extreme,” black light, indoor miniature golf. In addition, it also offers trampoline basketball, an arcade game and several other kid-oriented attractions.
History & Culture
After the United States became the official owners of the Alaskan Territory in 1912, it took a few years for the Anchorage area to build from the ground up. The Alaska Engineering Commission completed a railroad port in 1923 in the soon-to-be Anchorage territory, which resulted in quick development of the area. The railway became the main focal point in the Anchorage economy until the 1930s when the focus turned to air transportation and military.
In 1964 the second largest earthquake on record shook the Anchorage area and caused over $3 million in damage. After several years of rebuilding, oil was discovered in Prudhoe Bay in 1968. From that point on, the oil economy blossomed, and the town of Anchorage grew rapidly, forming surrounding neighborhoods like Midtown.
To learn more about the history of Anchorage, visitors can explore the Alaska Heritage Museum at Wells Fargo, which visitors can find in Midtown. Rare artifacts and maps found nowhere else in the world reside in this very museum, making it a must-see.
A popular mode of transportation in Midtown and all over Anchorage is the People Mover bus system. The 52 safe, comfortable buses that complete the People Mover fleet travel two million miles every year along 14 routes throughout Anchorage. Of those 14 routes, five travel through Midtown and can transport residents or workers anywhere in the city. For instance, the 60 route runs north through the neighborhood to bring riders to and from downtown
Anchorage. The 3 route travels east and west and goes between the Turnagain, Spenard,
Midtown and U-Med neighborhoods, even looping up north into downtown.
For those who prefer to drive Alaska Route 1, also known as Old Seward Highway, serves as the largest roadway through Midtown.
The cost of living in the Midtown neighborhood comes in more than 10 percent lower than the average cost of living for Anchorage overall. The cost of housing, specifically, plays a large factor in the neighborhood’s affordability. The majority of dwellings contain renters. That may be the case because average rent only costs $897 per month, roughly 19 percent below the cost of monthly rent in Anchorage.
As Anchorage's primary business district, locals in Midtown have to head to the northern edge of the neighborhood for more shopping options, where independent stores and a mall cluster along East Northern Lights Boulevard. To score gently used designer threads, check out Plain Jane Consignment, a mini-mecca for high-end women's clothing with an emphasis on wearable designs by such names as Kate Spade, Fry and True Religion.
For clever gifts and novelty items, FlyPaper carries items from retro refrigerator magnets and mugs to cheeky tableware, as well as handmade jewelry, books and cards. In the winter, locals stay warm shopping inside The Mall at Sears. This small mall offers 36 shops, including Sears, Lemon Tree Gifts and Famous Footwear.
For big shopping trips, residents take the People Mover or drive a couple of miles north to the massive Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall. This shopping center features five floors and more than 110 stores. Along with well-known chains such as JCPenney and Gap, the mall also offers small, independent stores, including Circular, a boutique which sells fashionable, eco-friendly clothing from all over the world.
Locals do the bulk of their grocery shopping at Fred Meyer and Walmart Supercenter. The Mall at Sears also hosts The Center Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Here shoppers can purchase fresh produce, handmade goods and local delicacies.
The Cuddy Family Midtown Park sits on a healthy 15.4 acres and surrounds a pond used for ice skating in the cold winters. In addition to the pond, the park also features an Olympic sized ice skating oval for everyone to enjoy. During the summer months, park-goers utilize the oval for walking and running, making this park an ideal year-round destination for exercise
enthusiasts. The park also contains a playground to keep the kids happy and busy during the warmer months. Additionally, the park offers an outdoor promenade and amphitheater for concerts or other productions.