Popular with outdoors enthusiasts, Anchorage Guesthouse (2001 Hillcrest Dr., 907/274-0408, www.akhouse.com) is off a quiet tree-lined street above Westchester Lagoon and near the Coastal Trail. Inside are two private guest rooms ($80) for couples and families, and three bunk rooms ($30 pp). All units share three baths. Ingredients for a make-it-yourself breakfast are provided, and guests can use the living room, dining room, kitchen, and sunroom. Bike rentals and Wi-Fi are available, along with a big garage to store your kayak, camping gear, bikes, and more. Friendly owner Andy Baker is a renewable energy consultant.
Another cheap and well-run option is Spenard Hostel International (2845 W. 42nd Place, 907/248-5036, www.alaskahostel.org, $25 pp, $68 d), with 43 dorm spaces. There is no curfew, but alcohol is not allowed either. The hostel has three kitchens, four baths, and laundry facilities. They rent mountain bikes, have space for tents ($20 s or $35 d), and put on potluck dinners most Sunday nights. Sheets and blankets are provided. Call for reservations 2–4 weeks ahead of your visit if arriving on a midsummer weekend.
Arctic Adventure Hostel (337 W. 33rd Ave., 907/562-5700 or 888/886-9332, www.arcticadventurehostel.com, $22 pp, $46 d private room) is a clean and friendly place with a full kitchen, Wi-Fi, bike rentals, and 20 rooms housing two or three guests per room.
Other Midtown hostels are 26th Street International Hostel (1037 W. 26th Ave., 907/274-1252, www.26streethostel.com, $25 pp with breakfast) and Jason’s International Youth Hostel (3324 Eide St., 907/562-0263, $25 pp with breakfast). Whatever you do, avoid the Anchorage International Hostel (700 H St., 907/276-3635, www.anchorageinternationalhostel.org, $25 s), which leaves much to be desired in cleanliness and security. Personally, I’d sleep in my car rather than stay at this place.
Qupqugiaq Inn (640 W. 36th Ave., 907/562-5681, www.qupq.com) occupies the upstairs of a boxy Midtown building, but the interior is filled with distinctively curved walls. Accommodations are cramped but unique, with furnishings—including teak beds—from around the globe. Guests have access to the communal kitchen and computers. This is a good place for couples on a budget, but it can be noisy at times. Rooms with shared bath are $72 s or $77–90 d, while nicer downstairs units with a private bath cost $87 s or $97 d. Downstairs is Serrano’s Mexican Grill. The inn also houses a hostel space (separate entrance) for $25 per person, including kitchen access.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition