Breathtaking natural beauty, world-class recreation, first-rate amenities, and North America’s highest peak are just a few of the remarkable facets newcomers discover in the Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna Valley areas of Alaska. Metropolitan Anchorage nestles in the south-central portion of the state, combining Alaska’s largest city with coastal splendor. The Mat-Su Valley, as it is most often called, sprawls over 24,000 square miles north of Anchorage—an area the size of the state of Virginia. This vast region encompasses growing cities like Wasilla and Palmer as well as popular recreational communities, small towns, productive farms, sparkling lakes, and magnificent glaciers. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough maintains jurisdiction over the valley’s unincorporated areas, with incorporated cities under their own rule.


Newcomers will appreciate the strong support for quality education, anchored by respected public school districts that provide proven results in standardized test scores. Both Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley are home to private schools, both independent and parochial, that provide alternative learning environments. The Anchorage area is home to three institutions of higher education: The public University of Alaska Anchorage and the private colleges of Alaska Pacific University and Charter College. UAA provides a comprehensive university where undergraduate and graduate degrees are available in nearly 135 disciplines. Alaska Pacific University excels in providing an experiential platform for higher learning, while Charter College focuses on specific career fields in two and four-year degree programs. The Mat-Su Valley is home to Matanuska-Susitna College, an extension of the University of Alaska Anchorage that rapidly evolved from a community college into a state university.

State-of-the-art healthcare services and facilities are available regardless of the region you choose to call home. Providence Alaska Medical Center and Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage provide such premier resources as The Children’s Hospital at Providence, a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, heart and cancer centers, maternity centers, rehabilitation, home health, advanced imaging, air ambulance transport, and telemedicine services for remote communities. With a staff of 600 physicians, Providence Alaska Medical is the state’s largest hospital and features the most advanced diagnostics and treatment systems available in Alaska. Alaska Regional Hospital just completed a $7 million renovation that included a new trauma/open heart surgery room and LifeFlight critical care service for timely statewide transport to its trauma facility. Residents of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley now enjoy a greatly expanded and upgraded regional hospital that opened its doors in 2006. The Mat-Su Regional Medical Center combines technological advancements with the patient-centered atmosphere of a community hospital. Both regions are well-served by physicians in private practice, medical and dental clinics, and 24-hour emergency care centers that meet routine and specialized needs close to home.


Regardless of the community you settle into within this vast and diverse area, outdoor adventures and world-class recreation will always be waiting just beyond the front doorstep. Anchorage is internationally famous for trophy fishing, downhill skiing, and snowboarding. The 500-acre Chugach State Park borders Anchorage for hiking, climbing, mountain biking, snowmobiling, and horseback riding opportunities. Within the city are vast acres of parks and greenbelts, sports complexes, and 120 miles of scenic trails. The George Sullivan Sports Arena hosts a full calendar of events from sports competition and tournaments to trade shows and concerts. The Mat-Su Valley is no less spectacular, drawing throngs of visitors to towering mountains, glacier valleys, abundant wildlife, first-class campsites, panoramic hiking trails, and fish-laden rivers and lakes. Even some of the competitive events in the Mat-Su are wild and rugged, including the Iditarod dog-sled wilderness trek and the Iron Dog, the world’s toughest snowmobile race.

With so much attention on natural beauty and outdoor activities, aficionados of the arts will not be disappointed. Alaska appropriates more funding to the arts than any other state, from public art to school programs and performance venues—and Anchorage is home to many of the state’s finest cultural resources. Residents are able to take in world-class performances and cultural presentations at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts or browse through collections at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. Permanent companies include the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Anchorage Opera, Alaska Light Opera Theater, the Alaska Children’s Choir, and the Anchorage Concert Association. Other premier venues appeal to all ages, including the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the Alaska SeaLife Center, The Imaginarium, and the ZJ Loussac Public Library. Mat-Su Valley enjoy first-rate community theater at  Machetanz Theatre in Wasilla and a new alternative theater in Palmer.

The communities in the Anchorage and Mat-Su regions are as diverse as the terrain, supporting every imaginable lifestyle choice. Historic homes, well-kept older residences, new subdivisions, custom builds, acreage properties, farm houses, and elegant enclaves are just a few of the options in urban or open settings. Expect the delightfully unusual in Alaska. The Mat-Su claims the nation’s highest concentration of public and private airports, so some subdivisions are designed to allow pilots to taxi through the neighborhood. Natural beauty, friendly people, unrivaled recreation, beautiful homes, and quick commutes all add up to a quality of life that grows richer with each passing year. Welcome home!

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