Anchorage, Alaska: Your Next Travel Nurse Assignment

Posted by Brian Payne On June 16, 2020

Ready for a real adventure? When it comes to wilderness in America, Alaska is the last frontier. Those who love the winter weather and all the outdoor activities that come with it are happy to call the state home. Anchorage is the largest city in the state with a population just above 291,500. It sits at the south of the state along the Cook Inlet, which means that it offers stunning views of both the water and the mountains. Residents get to enjoy all the amenities of a big city and the wilderness sits just at the border of town waiting to be explored. For travel nurses with a love of the outdoors, Anchorage offers some unique opportunities along with plenty of employment options.

For casual dining and classic recipes, visit the Snow City Cafe. It is a popular spot for breakfast and you will find visitors taking a seat at the diner-style booths and enjoying sticky buns and coffee. Those who work downtown stop by for lunch and to pick up a sandwich after work. Choose from a menu that features delicious and familiar dishes, such as spicy fish tacos, chicken curry wrap and a wild mushroom omelet. The Cafe is the place to go if you are craving some comfort food.

Looking for a fun place to relax, meet new people and enjoy a burger and a beer? Visit the Bear Tooth Grill. It is located in the Spenard neighborhood and provides a gathering place for locals. You will always find a welcoming environment and you can fill up on garlic-cilantro fries paired with a rosemary burger. The shrimp and grits is made with fresh Alaskan shrimp and is a real crowd pleaser. The restaurant also features plenty of specialty beers, so be sure to do some sampling while you are there. If you want to make a night of it, you can catch a movie at the Bear Tooth Theatrepub.

Moose’s Tooth is another great example of the kind of laid back yet still lively and creative attitude that defines Anchorage. This eatery serves up inventive pizza combinations along with beer brewed on site. In fact, they release a new beer on the first Thursday of each month and this is usually a big event that includes a concert from local and nationally known bands. All the pizzas are made with the best in high-quality, fresh ingredients. Choose among chicken, veggie and meat options. The Mac N Cheese Pizza includes noodles, reindeer sausage, American Cheese, cheddar, mozzarella and garlic oil. If you are in the mood for something a little lighter, there are plenty of salads.

You would be missing out if you didn’t take advantage of the fresh, local seafood. While there are plenty of places where you can sample the best the state has to offer, Simon and Seafort’s Saloon and Grill is a sure bet. The atmosphere is a little more upscale and you can’t beat the sweeping views from the dining room. Enjoy seasonal fish dishes and prime cuts of steak cooked to perfection while taking in the beautiful scenery, which features the Alaskan Range and the Inlet.

Must See Attractions in Anchorage

Alaska has a rich culture all its own that has been shaped by native tribes. If you really want to get to know the city and the state, spend some time at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. The center hosts events, offers classes and programs and allows visitors to learn more about the 11 tribes that call the state home. You will be able to gain an appreciation for the people who have shaped and been shaped by the landscape.

With some much nature and stunning views to take in, one of the best ways to see as much of the scenery as possible is to ride the rails and take a day trip on the Glacier Discovery. This trip will take you with Whistle Stop and back in just one day. The passenger cars feature large windows that include skylights so that your view is basically unobstructed. The train stops at plenty of small towns before reaching the turnaround point, so you can do some exploring or simply enjoy the ride. Considering spending some time at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center where you can see bears, moose, bison, caribou and other animals who call the area home. You can also get out at the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop and walk the 1.3 mile gravel trail that leads to Spencer Lake and offers great views of the Spencer Glacier. No matter what adventure you choose, the train offers an easy and affordable way to see and experience the area.

Your trip also wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the expansive Anchorage Museum. The museum covers a wide range of topics and includes a large outdoor park, planetarium, hands on exhibits and traveling exhibits that visit from all over the world. You can learn more about the arctic and Alaska or simply enjoy a picnic in the beautiful park out front.

Shopping in Anchorage

If you are visiting during the summer, be sure to check out the Anchorage Market, which covers seven acres and hosts over 300 vendors. You can find some truly unique items and gifts crafted by local artists. There are also plenty of food vendors so you can try out local favorites like reindeer and salmon quesadillas. Admission is free and with food, shopping and live entertainment, the market is a great way to spend the day.

To stock up on outdoor gear and make sure you have everything you need to enjoy what the outdoors has to offer, head over to The Hoarding Marmot.This independent store has everything you need and they will even buy back your gear once it is time for you to head home. The friendly and knowledgeable staff can answer all your questions and make sure that you have the right hiking boots, rain gear and other equipment to stay safe and comfortable.

There are plenty of gift shops in the city where you can pick up souvenirs, but you might want to check out the Tiny Gallery. This store only sells items that have been made by Alaskan artists. You can purchase unique, handcrafted jewelry, watercolors, scarves, mittens and all sorts of other items that will make great gifts for your family back home and provide you with some beautiful reminders of your time in Anchorage.

Getting Outdoors in Anchorage

When it comes to Anchorage, it is all about the outdoors. Locals don’t let cold weather slow them down, they simply switch from summer to winter sports and continue to be active. With so much to see and do, you’ll want to have a plan so that you don’t end up missing out. Here are some great places to start and you can choose your own adventure based on the activities you enjoy most.

See the Glaciers

There is nothing quite like the blue of the glaciers and you can actually see and hear them move. While the glaciers have played a vital role in shaping the Alaskan landscape, they are melting at an alarming rate. Now is the time to see these natural wonders and take in some of the wildlife that lives in these areas. Your best bet is to purchase tickets for one of the local cruise lines or splurge on a sightseeing flight that will take you over many of the major glaciers.

Anchorage offers over 135 miles of bike paths that traverse the city. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail covers just 11 miles of this extensive system, but it offers incredible views. The path follows the shore of the Cook Inlet and runs through beautiful coastal marshes. If the weather is right, you will be able to see Mount Foraker and Denali in the distance and there is a good chance that you will come across a moose or two on your ride. There are plenty of affordable bike rental options available downtown so you don't have to worry about having your own bike.

When you have time to do some exploring just outside the city, there is no shortage of nearby national parks. Denali National Park is a 4.5 hour drive or you can catch a cheap flight and actually land on a glacier. There are maintained trails or you can go off-road and do your own exploring. While the Denali peak looms large, there are plenty of other landmarks and sites to see. Before you leave, be sure to stop by the dog sled kennel and say hello to the dogs who help patrol the park.

Katmai National Park is home to a large population of brown bears and if you get lucky, you can watch as they hunt salmon that are heading upstream to spawn. The park is also unique because it was transformed over 100 years ago by a massive volcanic eruption, which earned the park the nickname The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Regular bus trips will take you to the valley to see the site for yourself.

Kenai Fjords National Park is known for its marine ecosystem. You can hike the park or take a day cruise, but the best way to explore is by kayak. The more adventurous can camp out for a few days and use water-taxis to enter and exit the park. Lake Clark National Park and Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park are also nearby and offer more great views of glaciers, wildlife, mountains and all the things that make Alaska a truly breathtaking place.

Getting around Anchorage

While Anchorage does offer public transportation, there are limited options. The downtown area is fairly compact and easy to navigate on foot and by car, so there isn’t a high demand for transportation. You can use the People Mover to get around town with a $5 all day pass, but the bus only comes around every 30 to 60 minutes at certain stops, so it isn’t exactly a fast option. Having a car is probably your best option, especially if you want to get out of Anchorage and explore the parks. If the weather is nice and you want to go out on the town, you will be able to easily walk and bike the city.

Options for Sports Fans

While Alaska doesn’t have any professional sports teams, you can still catch a minor league game. As you might imagine, hockey is a big deal in Anchorage and you can cheer on the Alaska Aces at the Sullivan Arena. When the weather turns warm, you can spend the evening watching the summer league baseball teams, which features college players. For something a little different and full of excitement, watch the Rage City roller derby team skate and hit their way around the flat track. If you aren’t familiar with roller derby, you might want to brush up on the rules before your first bout so that you have a better idea of what is happening and how points are scored.

Hospitals in Anchorage

There are several large hospitals located right in Anchorage that provide employment opportunities to travel nurses. The Alaska Regional Hospital is responsible for treating patients from around the entire state. It first opened its doors in 1963 and is now home to over 1,000 employees and an additional 550 independent practitioners. They play an active role in the community by offering a range of free screenings, health fairs and support groups.

If you are interested in working with the native population and learning more about the health challenges they face, look into the Alaska Native Medical Center. This non-profit facility is responsible for helping treat Alaskan Natives and other Native Americans who live in the state. The center provides cutting-edge technology and services while also addressing the cultural traditions of the native population.

While Anchorage isn’t a particularly large city, there is still a demand for high-quality healthcare, especially since people located in more rural locations come into the city for care. This means a long list of options when it comes to choosing the right facility and building the kind of experience you want.

Housing Options in Anchorage

You might be surprised to see just how many monthly furnished housing options there are for travel nurses in Anchorage on Furnished Finder.Landlords across the city are looking to connect with professionals and provide short-term leases for fully-furnished properties. You can find the right fit based on budget, location and any other amenities that may be at the top of your travel nurse housing list. Here are a couple of properties to check out.

1.Access to Trails, Downtown and Midtown!

Renting a room in a home is a great way to save money, especially if you plan on spending most of your free time exploring the outdoors. This private room also comes with a private bath, both of which are located on the main floor of a larger home. The room comes with a spacious and comfortable bed, plenty of closet space and a south facing window that lets in plenty of natural light. It is a great space to relax and unwind after a long day at the hospital or hiking nearby trails.As a tenant, you will enjoy full access to the laundry room and a well stocked kitchen where you can prepare meals. If you feel like staying close to home, you can spend some time in the beautiful yard and even do some gardening. The Coastal trail is just a short distance down the road, so you can go hiking, biking and running any time you want. The house is also located near a bus stop and under five miles from four major hospitals. You won’t have to worry about a long commute and you can enjoy everything the city has to offer.

If you prefer the privacy of your own unit, this cozy condo could be the right fit. It comes fully-furnished, includes a washer and dryer and a fully stocked kitchen. The decor is modern and stylish with a touch of rustic that will make it feel like Alaska.When you are in the mood for a snack, you can walk to the neighborhood bakery and visiting the weekly farmer’s market is a great way to get to know your neighbors. While the area is quiet, it does offer a great location. There is on-premise parking that includes a carport, so you can easily drive to and from work and around the city. Although with three hospitals less than two miles away, your work commute will only take a few minutes. And, the host is a former traveling nurse herself!

You really won’t find any other place quite like Anchorage. Spending time in the city will be the adventure of a lifetime. You can live and work in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, get to know the local culture and explore the outdoors in a way that simply isn’t possible in other parts of the country. Working as a travel nurse in Anchorage is the perfect way to expand your resume and create memories that will last a lifetime.