Anchorage’s most walkable neighborhood isn’t even a neighborhood

Vacant lots on 36th Ave between Denali and Old Seward are the best place for dense apartment housing.

As much as I love downtown, I’ve found that the most suitable place for building dense high-rise housing in Anchorage is a little section of midtown on 36th Avenue between Denali and Old Seward.

This area has nearly everything, but there’s one thing missing (no, it’s not more low-rise hotel chains); it’s housing -there isn’t a single residential unit in this area.

Walking distance is a measure of the distance from a home or neighborhood to businesses, public transit, schools, shopping centers, and other vital places. In general, walking distance is considered to be between one and 10 blocks, or around 400 to 500 meters.

I surveyed the area, and I found that this would-be neighborhood has all the amenities needed for those looking to live in an urban, walkable setting; it’s also directly on the People Mover bus route.

Within a 500m radius of the vacant lots, I found the following:


  • Kinley’s
  • Moose’s Tooth
  • Turnagain Arm Pit BBQ
  • Sushi Ya
  • Sushi & Sushi
  • Table 6
  • Outback Steakhouse

Fast Food / Take-out

  • Saverio’s Pizza
  • McDonald’s
  • Subway
  • Johnny Chicago’s
  • Pita Pit
  • Great Harvest Bread Co.


  • Natural Pantry
  • New Sagaya Midtown Market
  • WalMart
  • LaBodega


  • Alaska Rock Gym
  • Century 16 Cinemas
  • Alaska Public Library

Office Work

  • Kuukpik Office Building
  • Tatitlek Office Building
  • Frontier Building
  • Denali Federal Credit Union Financial Center
  • KTUU
  • First National Bank Alaska
  • Alaska Communications
  • Jacobs Engineering
  • There are several other small office buildings nearby and several very large office buildings just outside of our radius.

Retail and Services

  • Goodwill
  • US Post Office
  • University Center
  • Many specialty retail shops.
  • The Midtown Mall (formerly Sears Mall) falls just outside of the radius but could still be considered walkable.