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The Best Places To Eat In Anchorage, Alaska

The Best Places To Eat In Anchorage, Alaska

There are a lot of good places to eat in Anchorage, Alaska. It might not be all gourmet or particularly fancy but the hearty, diverse, and often locally sourced food on your plate fits perfectly in Anchorage’s remote location and windy streets.

These are the best places to eat in Anchorage, Alaska.

Breakfast: Snow City Cafe

Very popular but with good reason, Snow City Cafe serves large portions of varied egg dishes from benedicts to scrambled sandwiches. Additionally there’s oatmeal, fresh fruits, and plenty of coffee. Lines outside Snow City Cafe start forming 15 minutes before they open so get there early or wait until after 9:30am when the breakfast crowds die down. Prices run about $15 per dish and it’s casual dining that’s a great start to any day in Anchorage.

Recommended: Try the salmon cakes with “The Deadliest Catch.”

Lunch or Dinner: Moose’s Tooth Pub

Locals tend to go with what’s good and lines start forming in the late morning right before Moose’s Tooth Pub opens. Not only do they have some of the best pizza in Anchorage but a large selection of craft beers to go with them. Not your fancy? There’s a homemade soup on the menu daily, over 10 salads to choose from, and oven-baked sandwiches. Like most places in Anchorage portions are large so if you’re not too hungry, a slice of pizza and salad are available. Prices run about $10-20 per pie depending on the size of pizza you order.

Recommended: Hungarian mushroom soup and The Popeye pizza.

After 11am to 11pm: 49th State Brewing

slice of pizza

If there were a single restaurant that could summarize the general cuisine scene in Anchorage, it would be 49th State Brewing. They have a pretty massive menu which can be intimidating at first but for fish, the halibut is recommended. The appetizers are small meals on their own so be sure to arrive hungry and if you can, make a reservation beforehand, it does get crowded. Prices run about $20-30 for entrees.

Recommended: The 49er’s Famous Fried Halibut Tacos.

Dessert: Wild Scoops

A bit wacky and part hipster, the locally sourced ingredients at Wild Scoops make for incredible ice cream. There’s over 100 of flavors at their two locations in Anchorage. The staff are incredibly friendly and generous with the free samples so you’re sure to find a flavor (or three) that’s right for you.

wild scoops anchorage

Recommended: Black Cup Oreo, Sweeter Than Dirt (vegan)

Anchorage is a surprisingly good city to eat in and there are a lot of locally owned shops serving everything from German, Turkish, to Alaskan favorites. This list will get you started but you certainly won’t have to stop there! All great places to eat no matter how long you’re in town or just passing through on the way to Seward nearby.

 

How To Plan A Day Trip To Seward, Alaska

You may not have heard of Seward, Alaska until you’ve been or are planning to visit Anchorage. Located about a 2 and a half hour drive south from Alaska’s most populous city, Seward is a town of about 2,100 residents living on the Gulf of Alaska fjord. It’s an excellent hopping off spot to see wildlife, eat at local restaurants, and start an entire Alaska adventure.

Here’s how to plan your day trip to Seward.

Getting To Seward

There are several ways to get to Seward from Anchorage.

  • Car: This is the most flexible way to get to Seward although not the least expensive if you’re renting a vehicle. The road to Seward is mostly flat and relatively straight, just beware of wildlife and keep your eyes on the road. (Moose are common.) The benefit of driving is you can stop at one of several scenic pull-offs like Beluga Point.

  • Train: The Coastal Classic Train moves across some of the most beautiful scenery in southern Alaska. The train runs from early May to mid-September and takes about 4 hours. Most of the boat tour operators are in sync with the train schedule and depart and arrive with train travelers in mind. A dining car is available and prices for a one-way trip run a little over $200.
  • Bus: Following roughly the same seasonal schedule as the trains, a 3 hour bus ride is about $70 one way on Seward Bus Lines. Times vary and some routes are specifically designed for sightseeing. The bus good alternative to the train if you’re traveling in a larger group.

Planning A Day In Seward

One of the most popular things to do in Seward is to take a boat tour of Resurrection Bay and out further to see nearby glaciers. I’d recommend Major Marine Tours (you can see why in the video above) which offer a variety of half and full day wildlife excursions. If time isn’t an issue, the full day tour gives you a much better chance of seeing larger marine life like orcas and other whales, plus takes you out to several local glaciers. All of these glaciers are receding so you may be taking a look at an endangered piece of history.

How To Plan A Day Trip To Seward, Alaska

  • Full Day Tours: Range from 6 to 8.5 hours and cost $180-$250 and go into Kenai Fjords National Park. Meals are included as are assigned seats but you’re free (and encouraged) to roam around the boat, especially when wildlife is pointed out.
  • Half Day Tours: Roughly 4 hours, these tours are usually specifically designed to catch certain types of wildlife sightings, particularly killer whales. Very seasonal (May and June are the best times) half day tours are ideal for those looking to maximize a day around Seward. Cost is roughly $100.

Keep in mind to coordinate your transportation times with any boat tours. There’s plenty of parking available for cars; otherwise check with the bus or train company to see if the ride you’re booking aligns with a particular boat tour.

Where To Eat In Seward

Seasonal, as many things are in Seward, the warmer the months, the more options you’ll have for food. One staple is caffeine with breakfast at 13 Ravens Coffee, appropriately located in a converted train car right by the water. (To be fair, most every place you’ll probably be visiting in Seward is.) A larger meal in a place with limited seating (so get there early) is Mermaid Grotto. After about 9am the service slows down and the seats fill up but another alternative nearby is The Cookery for local foods by Chef Kevin Lane.

Further up the road for those of you driving is the Exit Glacier Salmon Bake, which is as much of an experience as it is a place to eat.

Spending The Day In Seward

In case you’re still hungry after your day in Seward check out the best breakfast in Anchorage or the best pizza places in Anchorage. Seward is an inviting town you won’t regret visiting, especially if you make the most of what it has to offer.

Travel Bans Don’t Work And Won’t Stop Omicron

Travel Bans Don’t Work And Won’t Stop Omicron

Just when we thought the Covid-19 pandemic might be waning a new variant with an intimidating name has closed borders, invited panic, and amplified our collective frustrations regarding this virus. Omicron is a new pandemic, like the old one but condensed in time and reaction. We have over two years of experience with Covid but the world is making the same old mistakes with Omicron.

Let’s start with travel bans. They don’t work because they are too little too late at best and lowkey racist at worst.

South Africa Punished

Omicron was first identified in South Africa. Last than a week later, the United States, Europe, and 70 other nations had banned travel from South Africa and 7 neighboring countries. Historically, the countries that visit South Africa the most are the U.S., UK, Germany, Netherlands, and France. Using this faulty travel ban logic, shouldn’t travelers from those countries be barred as well? How about their neighbors? What about Europe?

You see the problem. Travel bans chase the virus well after it’s spread far and wide. Omicron was, it turns out, in the Netherlands at least a week before South Africa identified it.

Travel Bans Effect

Travel bans, when implemented early into a pandemic, can slow the spread of a virus and give countries a chance to prepare. What the preparation looks like varies in pandemic stages but we have a vaccine. We’ve had a vaccines. Travel bans can slow the virus to give people a chance to vaccinate ahead of it. Travel bans don’t stop the virus. And they don’t fix the underlying problem that unless people vaccinate, mask, and continue to social distance then the virus keeps spreading and staying ahead of us.

“We need a balanced and proportional response. That means no travel bans, but testing and quarantine for people coming from countries where omicron is circulating,” says Raghib Ali, an epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge.

Every time a virus, any virus, infects a host it has a chance to mutate. Think of it like a giant game of telephone. (Remember that from grade school?) Imagine the virus is a recipe and our bodies are all cooks. Each time a cook gets a recipe, they might make the dish a little different. A hamburger becomes a panini. A panini becomes a pizza. A pizza becomes lasagna. Eventually, the vaccine designed for hamburgers doesn’t recognize what a lasagna is. We’re playing catch up against nature and that’s always a losing proposal for humanity.

Hurting On Many Levels

Countries like South Africa who’ve identified variants might be much more reluctant to do so if there’s the threat of a travel ban. The effect on the local tourism industry – reeling already globally – has serious implications, especially for poorer nations. Tourism is the crusty glue barely keeping the world together. Crime and poverty increase without it in places that rely on travel.

Blocking travel also means aide workers and scientific supplies to the places that need it most. The UK has banned travel from 11 countries – all African – being called by travel apartheid by Nigeria.

Olufemi Awokoya told the BBC he was trying to raise money for his wife’s quarantine, as she is due to return from a trip to attend her mother’s memorial service. “She is being punished and our household is put in financial hardship. She is an NHS worker and tripled-jabbed, and we can’t afford the £2,280 ($3,024) hotel bill,” he said.

The Covid-19 pandemic is a global problem with a global solution. But the more we keep dividing ourselves into nations of isolation, vaccinated and un-vaccinated, the virus will keep conquering us, a divided species.

5 Pickpocket Tricks To Use Against Them When Traveling

5 Pickpocket Tricks To Use Against Them When Traveling

Part of any good security strategy is to learn from what the other side you’re trying to protect yourself from is doing. You can’t always avoid an elite pickpocket or completely prevent getting robbed at knife point – but what you can do though is minimize your losses by thinking like the criminal who wants to steal from you.

Your personal security plan needs to have many legs to stand on as well as distractions to keep your real valuables safe.

1. Distribute Your Money

Always distribute your valuables in several places when you travel. This include both on your person, in you bag, and your hostel or hotel room. Never keep all of your money in the same place. You can hide some emergency cash in deep in your socks, in the side of your underwear or in a bra and in your front pocket as well. While you may get robbed or pickpocketed you’ll have minimized your loses.

hotel room pakistan lahore falettis

For extreme circumstances do the same and have some money hidden in your hotel room too. Some in the safe if there is one and inside of a dirty sock in your laundry. Have kids? Their toys make great hiding spots.

2. Use A Decoy

Your wallet is the first target of any pickpocket so make it where you keep your least valuable stuff. Put in a small (but not tiny amount) of money along with some of those inactive (or expired) credit cards you get in the mail. If you don’t get any in the mail cancel your current card and request a new one from your bank – instant decoy. Include a student ID or some other photo identification with no personal information on it. A wallet without an ID might give you away.

trove wallet

Make sure your wallet doesn’t have sentimental value and never keep important things in a big purse – they are very easy targets.

3. Set a Trap

A decoy can be a way to potentially set a trap for a pickpocket. It won’t work in all places but if your bank offers a free checking account or credit card with no fees and is free open one up. Keep this card (with no money in the account) in your decoy wallet. If it’s stolen call the credit card company or bank right away to let them know.

ridge wallet

In most countries the companies will keep close track to see where and if that card is used. If there happens to be a camera at the first place the pickpocket tries to use the card you may be in luck.

4. Make Your Things Ugly

There are several techniques on how to make uglify your camera but the same premise goes for all of your valuable electronics. Get over the need to keep your things shiny since they won’t do you any good if they’re enticing and get stolen. Stickers, worn duct tape, and ugly carry bags work too.

red iphone 11

Oh, and that iPhone – be careful where you flash it. If you’re traveling in a place and worried about the area bring along the cheapest, oldest Nokia you can find and save the Twittering until you can get back to the hotel.

5. Set Up A Camera System

Hotel rooms can be vulnerable spots for your stuff and not all come with safes. You can though use an old smartphone as a security camera to monitor your things and get an alert if anything is disturbed. Also, while we’re at it, always use a “Do Not Disturb” sign and only have your room cleaned while you’re in it (and have packed away your valuables beforehand).

Be Creative and Add More Legs

There are plenty more ways to be shadier than thieves – be creative! Unique hiding spots, zipping your backpack like this, and other tricks are fun to come up with and there are almost an unlimited number of them. The important thing it to have more than one self-security plan and have your strategy stand on many legs so you always have a backup or two.

This is an updated version of a post I originally shared for a now-defunct travel blog in 2009.

Why The World Needs Tourism Back But Better This Time

Why The World Needs Tourism Back But Better This Time

Look, traveling won’t make you an enlightened person or justify long drawn out soliloquies on Instagram under a photo of your butt sticking out. Traveling in many ways is a narcissistic clout grab phenomena. But underneath it, tourism is a crusty glue between the table legs of international relations barely keeping it from completely tipping over.

Here’s why the world needs tourism, improved.

Pandemic Experiment

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed many things. We’re destroying the natural world. Teleworking is feasible, preferable, and office life should die a quick death. We also got to see a year without travel. No, I don’t care about your tone deaf selfies in front of war memorials but rather want you to look at the globe. Take all those borders around the countries and you might as well make them walls.

Some have actually become walls. It turns out an interconnected planet might be keeping humanity from totally annihilating itself.

Civil Unrest On The Rise

According to the Global Peace Index, 2021 has been a year of civil unrest. Part of that is the stress the pandemic has put on governments. Yes, many of them suck at governing. Free flowing capital from tourism and commerce has highlighted why a social safety net paid with your taxes (but not these guys for some reason) is a good idea.

The pandemic has been a catalyst to some major problems. A world slowly cooking itself thanks to climate change, populist leaders helping themselves, refugees being used as human ammunition, the world is now in desperate need of tourism and the interaction understanding and connection is creates.

However small personally, economically, and ethically, the world needs tourism back in a new way.

Dictating Currencies

An economic crunch might be harming corrupt governments but it’s people who are feeling the pain. Aide to refugees and people in conflict zones has been severely hampered by the pandemic according to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC). This, in a year that’s seen refugee numbers increase by 4% and conflict in half or the world’s countries. Poaching of elephants in places like Sumatra has increased too as locals desperate for money are hunting the species into extinction. (They say trophy hunting brings in a lot of cash to Africa. In South Africa, it’s less than half of one percent. Let’s do away with it.)

empty national mall

Many travelers would be willing to pay to see these and other animals in their natural environment. Perhaps, in between selfies, a fraction of understanding is gained too. One that can be shared to others, even if by osmosis or inspiration. Maybe there is a better way to run this planet and see all its wonders.

It’s Humanizing

Speaking from experience when you’ve been to places like Yemen or Ukraine or anywhere for that matter they becomes less “they” and more that child who shyly asked to take a selfie with me. Whatever happened to them? Those people being pushed into barbed wire fences are people like me and you because you’ve met them.

The world gets smaller the more you travel. This should be the purpose of tourism. Not shopping in another country because it’s so much cheaper than home. That’s just dumping your money in another nation without having to live there and face whatever the government does or doesn’t do with it.

Traveling should facilitate understanding otherwise you’re just being the same old idiot somewhere else. But as governments open up for tourism, tourists should be more cognizant of where they’re going. Why it may be so cheap. And who the people are that live there. We’ve seen what a world without tourism is like and it’s certainly worse off but we don’t have to go back to the old way of doing things. We can, and should, travel smarter.

How Much To Tip Movers, Hairdressers, And More In The U.S.

How Much To Tip Movers, Hairdressers, And More In The U.S.

Tipping is a confusing in the United States. For visitors it can be hard to understand why the “typical 15%” isn’t always the right amount not to mention industries from hotels, hairdressers, tattoo artists, to nail salons all have their own tipping etiquette. You could argue employees should be paid a living wage where salaries don’t have to be subsidized by customer tips (and you’d be right) but until that’s the case, here’s how much to tip in the United States for common services.

Bars & Restaurants

Unless it’s clearly stated otherwise, a minimum 15% tip is expected at all restaurants and bars. You may leave 20% for exceptional service or up to 25% on smaller purchases, like a cup of coffee. At bars, leave at least a dollar per drink is there is no table service. At cafes without table service there is often a tip jar. The 15-20% rule does not generally apply in these circumstances, leaving small change or a few dollars (based on the cost of your overall order) is acceptable.

This map is now available in app form! TipFox is available on the App Store and Google Play.

 

tipfox ios app store     tipfox google play android
Barbershops & Hairdressers

The standard rule of thumb applies to barbers and hairdressers which is to say expect to tip 15-20%. Tips at barbershops and hairdressers are typically given in cash (so be prepared) but some will accept tips by credit card when you’re done. In cases where tips are collected by credit card it’s important to ask how the tips will be distributed to make sure any assistants who may have helped you are also being tipped.

Salon assistants (for example, those washing your hair) may not be getting a share of the tips being collected. It’s best to check with the receptionist to be sure but if they’re not, then a standard $5-10 is appropriate for each assistant who’s personally attended to you. For hairstylists who are spending more than 3 hours with you (working on cut, color, or other services) then you may want to consider tipping more, around 22-25%.

For quick touchups (like bang trims) that are shorter than 10-15 minutes, a tip of $5-10 is still considered a common courtesy.

Movers

Moving into a new place? For movers transporting your things over long distances (anything further than across town) 15-20% of the total cost of the move is expected. For shorter, across town moves, 5-10% is more common. For difficult moves or particularly good service, a tip of 10-20% of the total cost will be appreciated. Alternatively, flat fee tips are generally acceptable. In those cases, $20-30 per crew member (for shorter moves) and closer to $40 for longer moves (between cities or cross country).

spiral stairs

In case a piano is part of the move, $20-40 per mover. For furniture deliveries typically $5-10 a person is expected but consider $10-20 if there’s assembly involved or otherwise more difficult circumstances (e.g. spiral stairs).

Tattoo Artists

Getting some ink? A 15-20% (generally closer to 20%) tip is expected. Tips should be given once the work is complete.

Massage Therapists

A 20% tip of the total cost is expected. Some spas will have the tip included in the rate (so be sure to check with reception) or will not allow tipping at all. Double check to make sure you know the rules.

Nail Salons

Tips of 15-20% are expected. For shorter services like manicures or new nail sets tip closer to 20-25%. You should check with your technician if tips are left at the front desk or given directly to them. Keep in mind most places will prefer cash, so arrive prepared.

Food Delivery

A 15-20% tip is expected. For fast food deliveries under $10 a $2-4 is expected.

Going Abroad?

Tipping is a global phenomena everywhere except where it’s not. Be sure to keep up with how much to tip for everything around the world before your next trip and download TipFox which puts specific tipping advice automatically on your phone (available for iOS and Android).

About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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