Alaskans give new meaning to the term eating locally. It doesn’t get much more local than this. Once you try the wild Alaska salmon, halibut and king crab plucked fresh from the ocean, it will be difficult to go back to eating the fish you get at home. More and more restaurants are joining the local food movement in Alaska by featuring locally sourced produce, seafood and game on their menus. Moose, bear, elk, caribou, reindeer and even mountain goats are served in many of Alaska’s restaurants. (Reindeer sausage anyone? It's a local fast-food fave.) Old standby restaurants—Italian, Mexican, Asian—are easily found in most Alaskan cities, but count on a few menus having a touch of food sourced in Alaska. The Alaska Grown program’s recognizable brand helps to alert consumers that products are grown nearby.
In addition to the local food scene, Alaska boasts a thriving beer culture. Currently ranked eighth in the nation for breweries per capita, visitors can taste handcrafted brews at a growing number of brewpubs statewide. You can usually always find a brewery tour, festival or special beer event nearby.
The best show in the house is undoubtedly the northern lights (September through mid-April). However, if you travel to Alaska during the rest of the year, there are still plenty of things to do at night. Offerings at theater stages across the state range from quirky comedies to Shakespeare to world premieres. Alaskans love to dance, so grab your partner and head out to a pub or club for live music or some ever-popular square dancing.
Shop Alaska for beautiful Native-made baskets, jewelry, knives, woodcarvings (totems, masks and paddles) and other traditional and modern art pieces at retail stores, museum gift shops, galleries and farmers markets throughout Alaska. To ensure pieces are genuine, look for the Made in Alaska or Silver Hand emblems that signify they are made locally and, with regards to the latter, by an individual Alaska Native artist.