12 Things to Buy in Alaska? A Shopping Guide

When you venture to the last frontier of Alaska, you’ll find a wealth of unique items that capture the essence of this wild and beautiful state. Here’s what any traveler should consider bringing home:

Key Takeaways:

  • Authentic Alaskan Native art and crafts make meaningful, culturally significant souvenirs.
  • Local Alaskan jewelry, often featuring gold nuggets and native gemstones, is both valuable and symbolic.
  • Specialty foods, such as wild Alaskan salmon and reindeer sausage, offer a taste of the state’s rich culinary heritage.

Alaska’s rugged charm and cultural richness translate into a diverse array of goods that you can purchase as mementos or gifts.

Shopping in Alaska is an adventure in itself, allowing you to take home a piece of its majestic landscape and the spirit of its people.

1. Alaskan Native Artifacts and Crafts

Alaska’s indigenous people, including the Inupiat, Yupik, Aleut, and others, create stunning works of art that reflect their heritage and the Alaskan environment.

These can range from intricate ivory carvings and totem poles to handmade quilts and baskets woven from beach grass.

It’s essential to ensure that you’re purchasing authentic pieces, which support the local communities and preserve their traditions.

2. Ulu Knives: A Culinary Staple

The ulu knife, with its distinctive curved blade, is a versatile tool that has been used by Alaskan Natives for centuries.

Modern ulu knives are crafted with various handle materials, including reindeer antler and even fossilized ivory, making them practical souvenirs for keen cooks.

3. Gold Nugget Jewelry

Alaska’s gold rush history lives on through the jewelry crafted from locally mined gold nuggets.

Pieces often incorporate the rough, natural shape of the gold, celebrating their unique Alaskan origin.

Gold panning tours offer visitors the chance to find their own gold, which can be made into jewelry as a personalized keepsake.

4. Native Gemstones

Beyond gold, Alaska is a source of gemstones such as jade, garnet, and the rare blue ice diamond.

Jewelers in Alaska create beautiful pieces that showcase these native gemstones, providing an elegant and lasting reminder of your trip.

5. Alaska-Themed Clothing

For a practical souvenir, consider Alaska-themed clothing. T-shirts, hoodies, and hats featuring motifs of wildlife, nature scenes, or the Northern Lights are popular.

They serve not only as a reminder of your adventures but also as cozy apparel for cooler climates.

6. Fur and Leather Goods

Alaska’s fur trade history is reflected in the high-quality fur and leather goods available.

From luxurious fur coats to handcrafted leather wallets, these items are a nod to the traditional attire needed to survive Alaska’s harsh winters.

7. Smoked Salmon and Seafood

Alaskan smoked salmon is a delicacy that captures the essence of the state’s waters.

Packaged smoked salmon, along with canned salmon, halibut, and crab, can be transported home safely.

Specialty shops also offer reindeer sausage and wild game jerky for a truly Alaskan culinary experience.

8. Local Sweets and Treats

For those with a sweet tooth, Alaska offers an array of local confections.

Wild berry products, such as jams, syrups, and chocolates, feature the unique flavors of Alaska.

Birch syrup, a less common alternative to maple, is another sweet treat that is made from the sap of Alaska’s birch trees.

9. Alaskan Craft Beer and Spirits

The craft beer scene in Alaska is burgeoning, with breweries producing beers that often include local ingredients such as spruce tips or wildflower honey.

Distilleries also craft spirits like vodka and gin, providing a spirited memento of your trip.

10. Alaska Glacier Water

Some companies bottle glacier water, capturing the purity of Alaska’s natural environment.

This can be a novel gift or a refreshing beverage to enjoy as a memory of your travels.

11. Alaska-Themed Artwork and Photography

Local artists and photographers capture the breathtaking landscapes and wildlife of Alaska in their work.

Art prints, postcards, and calendars featuring these images can add a touch of Alaska’s grandeur to your home.

12. Native Soapstone Carvings and Totem Poles

Soapstone carvings, totem poles, and other native sculptures can act as focal points in your home, sparking conversation and reflecting the artistry of Alaska’s indigenous cultures.

Conclusion: An Alaskan Shopping Adventure

Shopping in Alaska is more than just buying souvenirs; it’s an opportunity to connect with the state’s culture, history, and natural wonders.

Whether it’s through the craftsmanship of Native art, the luster of gold nugget jewelry, or the rich flavors of local cuisine, the items you choose to bring home from Alaska are infused with stories and experiences.

These treasures serve as tangible reminders of your journey to the Last Frontier and embody the spirit of exploration and adventure that is synonymous with Alaska.

As you reflect on your Alaskan shopping adventure, every item you’ve selected has the potential to inspire and transport you back to the majestic landscapes, vibrant cultures, and unforgettable moments that make Alaska truly remarkable.

About the author

I'm Chloe Raley, the proud founder and curator of this travel haven. As an intrepid explorer and wordsmith, I founded this website to share my adventures.