Featuring beautiful lakes, an oceanfront along the western boundary and a rolling forest park, Sand Lake
might be the closest you can get to the Alaskan wilderness without leaving the Anchorage
metropolitan area. The neighborhood lies just south of Anchorage International Airport, attracting individuals and families of all backgrounds who crave the outdoors. The Walter J. Hickel Parkway borders to the east, but at least a half a dozen lakes and winding roads create a peaceful atmosphere more akin to a suburb than a central airport neighborhood.
Fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts make up the core population of this Alaskan neighborhood with the Chugach Mountains as an ever-present backdrop. Whether you want to catch some rainbow trout from Sand Lake, ski through Kincaid park or fly a floatplane off the water, you're sure to find like-minded neighbors in this picturesque slice of Anchorage.
Schools in Sand Lake
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
Find the retail districts near Jewel Lake and Delong Lake to explore the neighborhood's wide selection of cheap eats along with a few upscale grills. Grab a quick bite after work at one of the fast food restaurants, or experience Sand Lake's rich spread of Asian cuisine ranging from sushi and Thai food to pho and Chinese.
When Sand Lake locals crave a night out, they head to Kincaid Grill for some of the finest Alaskan regional cuisine this side of Anchorage. Chefs Drew Johnson and Al Levinsohn serve up perfectly cooked salmon, and you don't want to miss the king prawn. You can't go wrong with the restaurant's unique dishes featuring local game and seafood, but expect hefty prices and a high-class atmosphere. After your main course, choose the crème brûlée or bread pudding for a dessert dripping in decadence.
For a more casual dining experience, stop by Jewel Lake Pizza & Tea Garden, an eclectic eatery that's as unique as it sounds. Order the sweet and sour soup for a warm pick-me-up on a cold winter day, or opt for a pizza with everything on it. You can even order a complete family dinner with a varied selection of classic Chinese take-out made with fresh vegetables.
In terms of local nightlife, look no further than the Trophy Room Lounge, a down-home bar where locals come to kick back with some cheap drinks and enjoy some bowling. Make this your nocturnal getaway for a neighborly atmosphere and a game of pool with friends.
History & Culture
Sand Lake's heritage began in 1926 when the first resident applied to homestead. The area gained more popularity when Lake Hood became a seaplane airport in 1930. The subsequent decades brought a trickling of homesteaders who cleared the way for the neighborhood. The neighborhood really took off when Anchorage International Airport opened in 1953, leading to the opening of several schools in the following years.
As Sand Lake's population grew, its namesake body of water became a popular spot for local fishermen. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game initially stocked the lake with rainbow trout and salmon, but someone illegally introduced the pesky northern pike that began feasting on the smaller fish. Fortunately, a poisoning in 2009 left the lake free of pike the following year. Since then, the department has restocked the lake with favorite fish such as trout, Arctic char and Arctic grayling.
Sand Lake has become a cradle for the arts, with art galleries, craft stores and a children's dance theater. For a taste of local culture, step into The Art of Alaska, a tasteful gallery for realistic aviation art with breathtaking Alaskan backdrops.
Just a few miles from downtown
Anchorage with quick access to Seward Highway, Sand Lake creates the perfect environment for residents commuting to work by car. Free street parking throughout the neighborhood takes the stress out of driving. Plus, the airport lies just a quick drive away when you want to visit relatives in the lower 48. For a quick pickup, just call the local taxi service or a ride-share service such as Uber.
Very few major roads cut through Sand Lake, so you have a difficult time finding reliable public transportation. Buses become more scarce as you move further west. Bicycle enthusiasts have more to rejoice about, with numerous bike trails, bike lanes and bike-friendly roads snaking through the neighborhood. Although you can choose to walk around Sand Lake, this remote area really caters to vehicle drivers.
The combination of natural beauty and a convenient location place the cost of living in Sand Lake just a touch above average for the city. Standalone homes
make up the majority of the housing market, but you also find some condos
and apartments for rent around Jewel Lake and other areas. Expect to pay close to $1,000 a month for a one-bedroom
apartment, slightly above average for Anchorage.
Basic amenities, drugstores and hardware stores lie along Dimond Boulevard, but don't expect to find any malls or fashion retailers in this quiet neighborhood. Several familiar grocery stores service the area, along with a few family markets.
Boutiques and high-end stores abound past Sand Lake's eastern border, with Plain Jane Consignment offering name-brand apparel at bargain prices. Look to Mermaid Imports & Design to find unique, kitchy home items like a tall Buddha statue or an Asian-themed couch. The neighborhood also serves up a pleasant mix of local artisans working from home.
For the athletic crew, Skinny Raven Sports on West Dimond Boulevard lets you break into your new footwear on its own jogging track that surrounds the storefront. Let the knowledgeable staff help you find the perfect pair of running shoes or stop by in the fall to pick up some good winter boots. While you're there, ask about the store's foot races and group runs.
Sand Lake's treasure trove of public parks cater to outdoor enthusiasts of all ages with plenty of trails for hiking, biking and cross-country skiing. Explore Kincaid Park during the summer to enjoy miles of remote hiking trails as you search for moose. Just be ready for some muddy areas in the spring, since wetlands make up many areas of the park. In the winter, the paths become groomed ski trails, many with lighting for evening skiing. Pick up a map at the park chalet, and set out to find Kincaid Beach or the Big Niagara dipping slope.
A smaller wilderness area frequented by locals, Sand Lake Park boasts the only entry into Sand Lake. Take your kids to fish off the floating dock while you listen to the call of loons, or take a kayak out onto the still water.
If you want to let your pooch enjoy some recreation of his own, head to the Connors Lake off-leash area near the neighborhood's northern border. This area also becomes popular with skiers in the wintertime, and locals love to let their dogs plow through the snow. Just be aware that the recreation area has no fences.