The Best Places to Live in Alaska

From the capital city of Juneau to the Denali wilderness gateway city of Fairbanks, here are the best places to live in Alaska.
Written by Abbey Orzech
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Jul 05, 2022
Incredible natural scenery, a sense of community, and decent median incomes make cities like Cordova, Fairbanks, and Ridgeway some of the best places to live in
You may not consider the wild frontiers of Alaska to be the ideal place to settle down, but residents of Alaskan cities can experience both urban living and immersion in nature. 
Even if you’re set on moving to the Last Frontier, Alaska is 1/5th the size of the entire continental U.S.—so how do you choose the right spot?
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What makes a good place to live? 

There are tons of things to consider when you’re picking a place to live. Are you drawn to big cities, the wide-open country, or somewhere in between? From climate to economy drivers to community events, a lot goes into which location is ideal for you to set down roots.
To help narrow your choices throughout the largest U.S. state, we’ve gathered some information on eight Alaska towns: Cordova, South Addition, Juneau, Anchorage, Fairbanks, South Fork, Ridgeway, and Kalifornsky. We’ll be examining these towns with these metrics in mind:
  • Median household income
  • Median home price
  • Cost of living
  • Quality of schools 
  • Crime rates
  • Community 
  • Things to do 
Our list has been sorted into three categories: best for families, the most affordable, and the best places to buy a house

The best places for families to live in Alaska

When families are looking for a place to settle down, they’re typically looking for quality school districts, opportunities for community life, and low crime rates. Two places rank highly in those three factors, making them the best places for families to live in Alaska. 


Location: Chugach Census Area
Population: 2,829
Median household income: $112,521
Median home price: $341,100
The City of Cordova is situated among mighty mountains and beautiful waters that make residents feel close to the natural world. 
Cordova City School District is considered above average and contributes to the close-knit community residents love. 37% of households have children, so even with its spread-out suburbia, families will likely be able to easily find peers for everyone in their home. 
Residents can also rest easy knowing the local crime rate is below the national average.
Aside from the awe-inspiring natural scenery that provides prime hiking and exploring areas, Cordova also holds fun community events to involve its residents in bolstering community life. Some of the most anticipated include the
Copper River Salmon Jam
and the
Iceworm Festival

South Addition

Location: Neighborhood in Anchorage
Population: 4,486
Median household income: $99,774
Median home price: $463,582
A borough of Anchorage, South Addition is another great spot for families in Alaska. Most of the residents in this neighborhood own their homes, contributing to a sense of established community. 
South Addition is also a very dog-friendly city. You may notice dog-community bowls of water on your daily walks and the neighbors out to say hello. No doubt, the close-knit community feel also contributes to the below-average crime rates in the area.
The public schools in South Addition are highly rated, and cultural education is important to the area. Just around the way in Anchorage, the
Alaska Native Heritage Center
hosts many school tours and has activities and classes for all ages to deepen knowledge of the various cultures, traditions, languages, and art of the indigenous populations of Alaska. 
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The most affordable places to live in Alaska 

Cost of living is always an important factor in deciding where to live—and perhaps now more than ever. The state of Alaska has a higher average cost of living than the national average, but within the state it’s not hard to find cheaper places to call home.
These next three locations have lower average costs of living based on median household prices and transportation costs.


Location: Greater Juneau Borough
Population: 32,099 
Median household income: $84,750 
Median home price: $318,000
Alaska’s capital city and the second-largest city in the U.S. by area, Juneau is among the most affordable places to live in the state. Although the median home price doesn’t exactly seem inexpensive, the median household income shows that it’s not hard to afford a place to live.
The average cost of living in Juneau sits at 121.5. Compared to the Alaska state average of 125.8, this city is one of the best for those on a budget. And since it's tightly surrounded by mountains and water, the city is more compact—and thus more walkable or bikeable—so you’ll certainly save on transportation costs! 


Location: Municipality of Anchorage
Population: 292,090
Median household income: $78,121
Median home price: $286,600 
A whopping 40% of all Alaska’s residents live in Anchorage, making it a bustling and thriving city that is also one of the most affordable places to live in the state! 
The average cost of living in Anchorage is 116. While this is greater than the national average of 100, it falls well below the state average of 125.8.
The city’s walkability contributes a lot to its affordability. Many attractions throughout the city are consolidated in the walkable downtown area with many public transportation connections, so you won’t be shelling out tons of gas money each month. 
Outdoor recreation makes up a lot of the popular pastimes in the city, and much of it is free! If you’re into hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, or running, check out the 11-mile
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
, which takes you through some of the most beautiful coastal trails in the world. It’s free to the public year-round


Location: North Star Borough
Population: 29,330 
Median household income: $72,168
Median home price: $238,400
Fairbanks, also called the Golden Heart City, is among the most affordable Alaskan cities. The average cost of living here nearly matches the national average at 102
The location of Fairbanks is considered the “gateway” before the wilds of Alaska’s interior and its Arctic Circle area, so it’s often the last cityscape you’ll see before heading into the Denali wilderness. 
The city itself is somewhat walkable, but you’ll still need a vehicle to reach some places. If you don’t have a car or just don’t want to spend lots of money on gas, you’ll have access to the Metropolitan Area Commuter System (MACS) fixed-route bus system

Best places to buy a house in Alaska

Buying a house is a huge investment, so you’ll want to make sure the place you plan to put down roots will work for you in the long-term. In general, people looking to buy a house are concerned with the area’s housing market and local climate.
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South Fork 

Location: Anchorage Borough
Population: 2,059 
Median household income: $163,603
Median home price: $442,900 
A borough of Anchorage, South Fork is one of the best places in the state to buy a house in Alaska. Home listing prices have been trending up recently, and most of the residents in this area have purchased their homes, meaning you’ll be putting down roots alongside long-term neighbors.
Like most places in Alaska, South Fork sees a decent amount of snow and precipitation each year—96.7 inches and 21.12 inches respectively—and temperatures don’t typically reach above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. 
If you are looking for a spot with moderate to cold temperatures, lots of snow, and incredible Alaskan country access, South Fork may be just the place for you! 


Location: Kenai Peninsula Borough 
Population: 2,702
Median household income: $91,029 
Median home price: $257,400
Nestled in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Ridgeway offers its residents a more rural Alaskan experience. 
After a slight plummet in the real estate market towards the end of last year, the Ridgeway housing market is again on the rise. Most Ridgeway residents own their homes, so an established community will be there to welcome you if you decide to buy a home in this town. 
There is a decent amount of annual snowfall (around 86 inches to be precise), but if you’re looking to buy a home in Alaska, you probably don’t mind the snow all that much. However, you’ll want to be aware of potentially severe winter storms.  


Location: Kenai Peninsula Borough
Population: 8,581 
Median household income: $86,420
Median home price: $251,400
Sharing the same borough as our previous location, Kalifornsky is a great place to buy a house in Alaska. The median value of homes has been trending up, and Kalifornsky’s cost of living is one of the lowest in the state. 
With above-average public schools and lots of public parks, Kalifornsky could be a great place to put your home roots down if you’re thinking about starting a family. And if not, you’ll still find a lot of charm in this rural-feeling town where most of your neighbors own their homes too. 
Kalifornsky sees an annual average of 86 inches of snow with moderate to cold temperatures year-round and the potential for severe winter storms.

How to find affordable homeowners and car insurance in Alaska

Whether you decide you want to live in Alaska’s biggest and most bustling city or settle down close to that wide-open wilderness,
can help you find the best rates for your homeowners and car insurance.  
It’s this simple: download the Jerry app or go to In less than 45 seconds, Jerry collects all of your information from your existing insurer. Choose from competitive quotes from top insurance companies and Jerry takes care of the rest—securing your new policy and helping you cancel your old one upon request. 
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