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Anchorage is a pedestrian- and bike-friendly city. Downtown Anchorage's flower-lined streets are easily explored on foot, and several businesses rent bicycles. The area is confined to the south by the Delaney Park Strip, Anchorage's 15-block backyard, where you'll find kite-flying, pickup soccer games, and free yoga every Wednesday in the summer (check www.alaskaclub.com for times). Fourth Avenue remains the beating heart of the city, lined with steaming–reindeer sausage carts by day and crowded bars by night, and Downtown thrives all year long (especially during First Friday Art Walks). The grid plan was laid out by the Army Corps of Engineers, and streets and avenues run exactly east–west and north–south, with numbers in the first direction and letters of the alphabet or Alaska place-names (Barrow, Cordova, Denali, etc.) in the other. The only aberration is the absence of a J Street—a concession, some say, to the city's early Swedish settlers, who had difficulty pronouncing the letter. You'll need a car for longer stays, expeditions, and to reach some of the city's better restaurants without relying on taxis. In the snow-free months a network of paved trails provides good avenues for in-city travel for bicyclists and walkers.

Outside Downtown, Anchorage is composed of widely scattered neighborhoods and large shopping malls clustered along busy thoroughfares. And although there's no shortage of excellent restaurants Downtown, many of the town's best places are found in bland strip malls. Also, you're never more than a block or two from a good espresso stand or coffeehouse.

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