Alaska is the largest state in the US and home to all of the top 10 highest mountains in the US. It receives a large volume of tourists every year. Many people perceive Alaska as a dull and boring place with plethora of natural attractions but bereft of shopping places. This is a great mistake because whatever be your budget or taste, there is something for everyone — from souvenirs to one-of-a-kind items. The tourist shopping experience here is dominated by jewelry, trinkets and T-shirts that can be purchased from the Alaska cruise ports. There are also some good local products available which are worth purchasing. When you are shopping in Alaska you most look for real Alaskan gold or for qiviut which is a special kind of fabric made from the undercoat of the Arctic musk ox. You can also buy ulu knives which have been invented by the Eskimos. If you are a real foodie then do not miss out on reindeer sausage, king crab legs and scallops. Let us find out the best places for shopping in Alaska:
Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall, Anchorage
It is the premier retail destination of Alaska. It is a 5-level shopping Centre which houses Apple, Coach, Sephora and a number of local shops and boutiques like Alaska Wild Berry Products. You can buy cosmetics from Nordstrom or get a Michael Kors bag that will make everyone jealous. The Sullivan's Steakhouse located at street level is famous for its Chicago-style dining.
Discovery Gift Shop, Seward
There is a gift shop at every turn in Alaska but nothing can beat the Discovery Gift Shop at the Alaska Sea Life Centre at Seward. It is the state's largest collection of marine based products, stuffed animals, clothing, toys and bamboo t-shirts.
Oomingmak Anchorage Cooperative, Anchorage
This is the ultimate shop to buy Alaska souvenirs. You can get hats, scarves and headbands which are made from qivuit. The material is finer than cashmere and at least 8x warmer than wool. All the items are made by the members of the Oomingmak Musk Ox Co-op; all these are very well made and will last for many years.
Diamond Centre Mall, Anchorage
The biggest mall in Alaska has a good mix of familiar and local brands. There is GAP, Old Navy & Foot Locker and an Indian Arts Emporium. There are kiosks throughout the mall which deals in the native Alaskan crafts. There is also a huge stuffed bear behind glass which is a favorite among kids. The mall also houses a 9 screen movie theatre, a bowling alley and a gym.
Raven Eagle Gifts, Juneau
This gift store is located at the top of Gold belt Mount Roberts Tramway (1800 ft. above Juneau). The views from here are simply amazing and on top that you get to choose from the cities best selections of Alaska Native artwork. The shop has loads of Alaska souvenirs such as smoked salmon, ulus, baseball hats, jewelry, seafood cookbooks and T-shirts.
So by now you must be planning a trip to Alaska in the next summer holidays. But you need to keep in mind that passengers from countries under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are required to apply for ESTA authorization to enter the US. One can apply for ESTA online but take care to enter information exactly as stated in the passport.