Alaska isn’t known as a shopping destination, with many goods sold here imported from elsewhere. Yet this is not to say there aren’t worthwhile purchases to be made. As a major cruise ship destination, Alaska has a number of port towns which are well-stocked with souvenir outlets selling t-shirts and jewelry, with local products often hard to find. For something uniquely Alaskan, visitors are advised to seek out one of the many local galleries or book stores which stock works by Alaskan artists and authors.
Anchorage houses perhaps Alaska’s best shopping selection, with everything from independent retailers to modern shopping malls. However, the most interesting shopping experience in the city is found at Anchorage Market and Festival, which is a weekend market operating from mid-May to mid-September. This open-air market, made up of hundreds of vendors, sells fresh items such as seafood, as well as locally made arts and crafts, and souvenirs.
The shopping district of Juneau is swamped with souvenir and trinket stores aimed at cruise ship passengers, but amid the standard tourist offerings are a few unique retailers offering Alaskan products and customized gifts. Among the more exceptional products that can be sought-out here and elsewhere are Inuit prints and carvings, wild berry products, landscape photography, outdoor clothing, black elk leather beads, and Alaskan king crab and salmon.
Americans visiting from any of the country’s other 48 states will find familiar chain stores such as Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart, Sears and JC Penny in Anchorage, as well as Toys ‘R Us and Costco.