Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska, with a population of just under 300,000. Close to 50% of the state's entire population lives in the Anchorage metro area, making it Alaska's main economic and cultural hub. The metro area includes the city of Anchorage and the neighboring borough of Matanuska-Susitna and has a total population of 398,328. Living in Anchorage offers countless benefits, including welcoming residents, no sales tax, and ample opportunity for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation.
Fairbanks is a home rule city and the largest city in Alaska's interior region (2nd overall) with a population of 32,515. It's also the central city in the Fairbanks North Star borough, which is the northernmost MSA in the United States and home to 95,655 people. Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which was the founding institution of the UA System. It's also home to the Fairbanks International Airport, which offers job opportunities and regular national and international flights. Winters in Fairbanks can be brutal as it's the coldest large city in the US, but the summers are temperate and offer endless daylight.
Juneau is the capital of Alaska and the third-largest city in the state. It's located in the Gastineau Channel on the Alaska panhandle, right at the base of Mount Juneau. The consolidated city-borough is also the second largest city in the US by area at 3,254.70 square miles. During peak tourist season between May and September, the city experiences a temporary influx of about 6,000 daily residents arriving on cruise ships. Juneau also offers a stable economy with plenty of state jobs, friendly residents who are invested in the community, and a lower crime rate than the rest of Alaska.
Another one of the largest cities in Alaska by population is Wasilla. Located north of Anchorage is the city of Wasilla, which has a population of 9,054, which makes it a key component of the Anchorage metro area. Wasilla is a small city with a strong sense of community that is centered around hunting, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling, and other outdoor activities. It also has a stable economy supported by industries like tourism, government, agriculture, wood products, retail, steel and concrete.
Sitka is another one of the largest cities in Alaska by population, with over 8,500 residents. It's also the largest city in the US by area. Sitka is situated on the Baranof Island, close to the state capital of Juneau. The city was actually part of Russia until 1867 when the Alaska Purchase brought it into the US. Although it's one of the largest cities in Alaska, it's not very densely populated, and residents are spread out over a massive 4,811.4 square miles of land, making it the largest city in the US by area. Sitka also has a proud history as one of the oldest cities in Alaska, with some sources claiming it's over 10,000 years old.
Ketchikan is also one of the largest cities in Alaska. This city is located in the Ketchikan Gateway on the Revillagigedo Archipelago of Alaska. It's the southernmost major settlement in the state, located at the very bottom tip adjacent to British Columbia, Canada. As of 2020, the population of Ketchikan is 8,192, which is a 1.7% increase from 2010. The Ketchikan Gateway Burrough is also home to a total of 13,948 people. Known as the Salmon Capital of the World, Ketchikan is a major hub for fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts. It's also facing the Northwest Passage, making it a popular destination for cruise ships and tourism.
Kenai is a coastal city on the Cook Inlet, about 3 hours south of Anchorage. With a population of 7,424, it's the seventh largest city in Alaska. Another popular destination for salmon fishing, the city overlooks the mouth of the Kenai River and is famous for the size of its fish. It also offers plenty of parks and nature preserves, beautiful mountain views, and a short drive to the beach.
Bethel is the largest community in western Alaska and the eighth largest in the state by population. The city is situated on the Kuskokwim River, about 50 miles from where it discharges into the Bay, making it a strategic hub for the surrounding native villages. The community is surrounded by the sprawling 20 million-acre Yukon-Delta National Wildlife Refuge, which is the largest in the country. Most residents are Alaskan Natives, and the city features a major marketplace for Yup'ik craft goods.
Palmer is the ninth largest city in Alaska, with a population of 5,888, which is down by 0.8% since 2010. It's the borough seat of the Matanuska-Susitna Burrough, which is part of the Anchorage Metro area. Located along the Glen Highway, Palmer is about 42 miles northeast of Anchorage. The city has a proud agricultural heritage and is famous for its massive root vegetables, as well as being home to the Alaska State Fair.
Kodiak is the primary city of the seven communities on Kodiak Island and the 10th largest in the state of Alaska. It has a population of 5,581 as of 2020, which is down by 9.37% from 2010. The entire Kodiak Island is home to 13,101 people. Kodiak Island features the state's largest fishing fleet and the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to a community of over 3,500 Kodiak Brown Bears. Alutiiq natives settled the island over 7,000 years ago, and it was a Russian settlement from 1792 until the Alaskan Purchase in 1867. Today, Kodiak offers a diverse culture, natural beauty, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.