The Four Largest Cities in Alaska

Alaska offers breathtaking geographical features and a colorful history.
Alaska offers breathtaking geographical features and a colorful history. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Alaska is the largest state by area in the United States with approximately 587,000 square miles. According to the 2010 census, the population is 710,000, ranking it 48th just ahead of Vermont and Wyoming. It is the only state with coastlines on the Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. Unique characteristics define the four largest cities in Alaska. All are rugged frontier cities with year-round outdoor recreational activities and bountiful wildlife.


Anchorage is the northernmost major city in the United States and the largest in Alaska. This city makes up over 40 percent of the entire population of the state with its 291,826 residents. This rugged city, at the base of the Chugach mountain range, is home to wildlife such as bears, wolves and moose. Even though the city appears to have a more frontier flair, it boasts about 400 miles of paved and unpaved trails for biking, walking or running. Fishermen frequent Ship Creek, a fishing stream that runs from the mountains through downtown Anchorage. The months of June and July find the banks of this stream lined with avid fishermen in pursuit of king and silver salmon. Visitors and residents alike enjoy Alaska-themed nightlife any time of the year.


Fairbanks is a frontier town located in the Tanana Valley. This city of contrasts is home to Indians, pioneers, merchants, miners and Eskimos. Many new buildings stand in stark contrast to historic ones that line the streets. As Alaska's second largest city, with a population of approximately 31,000 in 2010, the economy of Fairbanks depends on the military, government, transportation, petroleum industry, tourism and the University of Alaska. The University is located in an area of Fairbanks called College with a population of around 11,000 during fall and winter sessions when students are in classes.


Juneau, located on the Gastineau Channel on the Alexander Archipelago in southeastern Alaska, is the capital of the state. The area of Juneau alone is about the size of the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, but the population is approximately 31,275, making it the third largest city in Alaska. The main access to Juneau is limited to sea or air. The harbor in Juneau is a port of call for cruise ships with the Juneau International Airport serving the region. Wilderness cabins and lodges cater to salmon and halibut fishermen seeking fishing experiences in a remote area.


According to the 2010 census figures, the population of Sitka is approximately 8,800, making it the fourth largest city in Alaska. The nearest one to it is Ketchikan with slightly under 7,400. Located on Baranof Island in the Pacific, Sitka covers more land than any other single city in America with its 4,710 square miles. This historic city boasts a Russian heritage with historical landmarks located throughout.

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