Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage) is a unified home rule municipality in the southcentral part of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the northernmost city in the United States with more than 100,000 residents and the largest community in North America north of the 60th parallel. With an estimated 298,610 residents in 2012, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. Altogether, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 380,821 in 2012.
Russian presence in south Central Alaska was well established in the 19th century. In 1867, U. S. Secretary of State William H. Seward brokered a deal to purchase Alaska from an Imperial Russia for $7.2 million (about two cents an acre, had all of Alaska's land mass been counted; however, the Russians didn't declare all of Alaska as theirs, rather selling to the U.S. the land upon which they had fortifications). The deal was lampooned by political rivals as "Seward's folly", "Seward's icebox" and "Walrussia". By 1888, gold was discovered along Turnagain Arm.
In 1912, Alaska became a United States territory. Anchorage, unlike every other large town in Alaska south of the Brooks Range, was neither a fishing nor mining camp. The area surrounding Anchorage is barren of significant economic metal minerals. While a number of Dena'ina settlements existed along Knik Arm for years, only two white men, Bud Whitney and Jack Brown, were reported to have lived in the Ship Creek valley in the 1910s prior to the large influx of settlers.
Anchorage's largest economic sectors include transportation, military, municipal, state and federal government, tourism, corporate headquarters (including regional headquarters for multinational corporations) and resource extraction. Large portions of the local economy depend on Anchorage's geographical location and surrounding natural resources. Anchorage's economy traditionally has seen steady growth, though not quite as rapid as many places in the lower 48 states. With the notable exception of a real estate-related crash in the mid to late 1980s, which saw the failure of numerous financial institutions, it does not experience as much pain during economic downturns.
Located next to Town Square Park in downtown Anchorage, the Alaska Center For The Performing Arts is a three-part complex, hosting numerous performing arts events each year. The facility can accommodate more than 3,000 persons. In 2000, nearly 245,000 people visited 678 public performances. It is home to eight resident performing arts companies and has featured mega-musical performed by visiting companies. The center also hosts the International Ice Carving Competition as part of the Fur Rendezvous festival in February.
Parks and recreation
Parks, gardens, and wildlife refuges