Once called the Anchorage Saturday Market, the “Anchorage Market & Festival” is a weekly open-air market and beloved institution for Anchorage locals and visitors alike. Each weekend, vendors from around the state set up their stalls to sell their wares, which range from wild to wonderful.
I’ve long been a fan of the Anchorage Market and used to visit several times each summer with my family while growing up in the Anchorage area. I also made sure to bring Mr. V to explore with me on his first visit to Alaska back in 2017. In the past few years, the Anchorage Market has changed substantially – including its location – which has made for a very different experience. I made sure to plan a visit during my August 2021 trip and have updated this post accordingly based on my experience.
If you’re curious about how to visit the Anchorage Market & Festival, or whether it’s worth it, I’ve shared all the details below, as well as my opinion on whether this should be a must-visit during your time exploring Anchorage.
In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Dena’ina Ełnena people. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
This post was originally published in September 2014, and was most recently updated in May 2022 for the summer travel season.
2022 Anchorage Market Dates & Details
For summer 2022, here’s what you need to need to know:
- The Anchorage Market will run weekends from May 14 to September 11, 2022
- Saturday hours are 10am to 6pm
- Sunday hours are 11am to 5pm
Additionally, pro-tip, if you’re visiting during the window of the Alaska State Fair (August 19 to September 5), the Anchorage Market is usually about 50% smaller during this time as many vendors take the opportunity to set up their stalls at the Fair during those busy weekends.
How to Get to the Anchorage Market
Here’s the most important information you need to know about the Anchorage Market: as of 2021, the Anchorage Market has moved from its downtown location to the Dimond Center in South Anchorage. It is in the same location at the Dimond Center for summer 2022.
Note: If you are using the 2022 Milepost (which I normally recommend for those planning extensive Alaska road trips), double-check that it includes the correct location for the Anchorage Market. The 2021 edition was incorrect in stating the Anchorage Market is still downtown.
Unfortunately, this makes it much less convenient to visit if you don’t have a rental car. If you do have a rental car, punch in Dimond Center in your favorite navigational app and you’ll find it easily (the Market sets up on the south side of the mall).
For those without access to a rental car, you could take a taxi, Uber, or Lyft to reach the Dimond Center and return. Or you could opt to ride the Anchorage People Mover bus system. (Yes, Anchorage has a public transit system!). Route 35 runs from the downtown Anchorage Transit Center to the Dimond Center (and reverse), and fares are $2 each way or a full-day ride pass for $5. While this is a bit more time-consuming, it’s a great way to see other parts of Anchorage on the ~40-minute ride across town.
What to Do at the Anchorage Market
The Anchorage Market & Festival is so much more than just an opportunity to browse the stalls and see kitschy souvenirs. While it’s a bit harder to reach now, you’ll be well-rewarded as you have the opportunity to get the kinds of souvenirs your friends and family will love – and which will spark great memories when you see them in your home.
But in addition to souvenir shopping, there’s more to do at the Anchorage Market & Festival.
Ultimate Souvenir Shopping
If you’re in Alaska for a short time, such as before/after an Alaska Cruise, the Anchorage Market is the perfect spot to grab souvenirs from your trip. Here are some of the top Alaskan souvenirs you can find at the Anchorage Market:
- Antler/horn, bone, and wooden carvings. Artists create beautiful carvings of Alaskan scenes and animals that range in size from mantlepiece displays to pocket-sized tokens.
- Ulu knives. In addition to the nearby Ulu Factory (down the hill near the Anchorage Train Depot), you can find beautiful hand-made Ulu knives in the Market. These traditional kitchen items are a perfect gift for the cook in your life.
- Alaskan art and photography. Paintings and photography are a common souvenir on display at the market; you’ll find some of Alaska’s most talented artists come sell their works at the Anchorage Market. Personally, I enjoy seeing the northern lights photography and have invested in a set for my own home.
- Alaskan food products. Local honey, produce, and meat products are available for purchase. Try some fresh Alaska cherries in the middle of summer, or buy smoked salmon or reindeer to bring home and enjoy after your trip.
- Fur products. If you are not morally opposed to fur products, you can get great ones at the market. These are sold in accordance with Alaska law regarding the harvesting of furs based on animals, and are usually sold by Alaskan Native companies or individuals.
Enjoy Live Music
Throughout the day on Saturdays and Sundays, bands and artists perform on the main stage near the 3rd Ave./E St. entrance to the Market. These bands range from local youth rock bands to traditional Alaskan music performances, and are free to enjoy.
You’ll also find some musicians and other artists who set up in empty stall spaces and perform (busk) during the Market. These artists often have music for sale or accept tips; others are just playing to add pleasant music to the air.
Eat Local Foods & Try Local Flavors
As you hopefully already know from reading elsewhere on my blog, Anchorage is full of great places to eat. The Anchorage Market is no exception.
You can find a huge range of distinctly Alaskan casual food options, from salmon quesadillas to Halibut fish and chips to elk and bison burgers. There are also great ethnic food options from around the world, including Hawaiian, Pan-Asian, and Russian/Eastern European.
By far my favorite food at the market are the corn fritters with honey butter. I’m not sure where the corn fritter tradition in Alaska originated, but the crispy dough balls are deep fried and served with a sweet/salty butter that melts perfectly over them.
How Long to Spend at the Anchorage Market
In my experience, you can spend anywhere from 2 hours to a half-day at the Anchorage Market. I recommend showing up in mid-morning, and staying through lunchtime (2-3 hours). The best plan is to walk through the market once or twice, then head back to the stalls where you found objects you might want to buy. Making your purchases at the end will mean you don’t have to carry them the whole day as you walk around, and you’ll find exactly what you want to purchase.
Is the Anchorage Market Worth It?
To be honest, I’m not as enthusiastic in my endorsement of the Anchorage Market as I once was. This is for several reasons:
- The new location is just so much less convenient for visitors; I usually only recommend it for those I know will have access to a rental car (which is its own drama in 2022!).
- The new location is also less inspiring; the previous downtown location was surrounded by buildings and had city, mountain, and Cook Inlet views. Now it’s in a mall parking lot.
My most recent experience was also colored by the fact that there were fewer vendors than I expected (due to the Alaska State Fair, which I already mentioned!), and I didn’t get my corn fritter fix. I have to be honest that it was disappointing and that makes me less likely to recommend it. There are so many great things to do in Anchorage, this is one good one – but your interests may inspire you to do other things, and I don’t think you’re really missing out.
I hope that helps you decide whether you want to visit the Anchorage Market this year, and what you need to know if you decide you do! Have any other questions? Let me know in the comments or join me in my Alaska Travel Tips Facebook Community!
Need More Alaska Travel Advice?
My Alaska ebook bundle will help you plan an unforgettable Alaska trip, with tips on what to do in Alaska (including on a cruise), where to go, and the best Alaska itineraries.
Get the bundle for just $19.99!