This is Anchorage’s oldest neighborhood—and also one of its most charming, thanks to its mix of quintessential, saltbox-style architecture, a few military Quonset huts, and a selection of modern designs. Even though not many visitors take the time to walk or drive through Government Hill, this is as close to early Anchorage as one can get, since it contains a few of the city’s very first homes.

Born With the Railroad

The Government Hill neighborhood sits between downtown Anchorage and the western edge of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. It’s been around since at least 1915, when the first buildings popped up here to support construction of the Alaska Railroad. In the century since, Government Hill developed alongside both the Alaska Railroad and then the Elmendorf Air Force Base. Along the way, it survived the 1964 earthquake, which caused a 10-acre section along the bluff to collapse, taking the school and several homes with it.

A Diverse Community with Gems

Today, a trip through Government Hill reveals a quasi-gentrified neighborhood that’s rich in ethnic diversity and feels more like an East Coast community than the average Anchorage neighborhood.

Several small parks speckle its landscape, such as Harvard Park, which includes tennis facilities and access to the Anchorage Curling Club. And while the area’s small, once-thriving commercial district now leaves much to be desired, don’t miss Pho Vietnam 4 Restaurant, which has great flavors, a treat-you-like-family atmosphere and a dedicated following.

Getting There

Coordinates
Latitude: 61.230673
Longitude: -149.8834

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Government Hill Guide

The park was orig­i­nal­ly called McKin­ley View Park. In 1997 the com­mu­ni­ty request­ed the name be changed to Suzan Nightin­gale McK­ay Memo­r­i­al Park. 

Lim­it­ed on street park­ing is avail­able along Delaney Street. Play equip­ment suit­able for 5 – 12 year olds. 

4 park­ing spaces. Pic­nic area with 2 tables, 2 bench­es, one grill. Locat­ed in Gov­ern­ment Hill Greenbelt. 

This may be Anchorage’s most eccen­tric park: It’s home to a beguil­ing mix of ten­nis courts, the Anchor­age Curl­ing Club, and a Square Dance Club. 

This water tow­er is the most dis­tin­guish­able land­mark in the Gov­ern­ment Hill neigh­bor­hood. You can see it from down­town, stand­ing well above any oth­er sur­round­ing struc­tures. A lit­tle bit of insid­er triv­ia: the tow­er no longer sup­plies water but is used today as a radio tower. 

This restau­rant in Gov­ern­ment Hill offers a mix of Lao, Thai, and Viet­namese cui­sine — and deliv­ers big on both fla­vor and por­tions. The sig­na­ture dish­es are the phở dish­es, which come in huge bowls, and the Pad Thai, which is mild in heat and slight­ly sweet. You can also order from a delight­ful selec­tion of cur­ries and stir-fries.