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Overview

The bustling small city of Wasilla (pop. 10,000) is one of the fastest-growing parts of Alaska, with a population that doubled in the last decade. The city came to international attention in 2008 when its former mayor, Sarah Palin, ran as the Republican vice-presidential candidate. Located in the heart of the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Valley, Wasilla is a bedroom community for Anchorage, 42 miles away. Wasilla lacks a real downtown, but does have a few historic structures adjacent to tiny Dorothy Page Museum and Historical Park, plus the nearby Teeland's Store, built in 1917. The four-lane Parks Highway slices through Wasilla, continuing ...

The bustling small city of Wasilla (pop. 10,000) is one of the fastest-growing parts of Alaska, with a population that doubled in the last decade. The city came to international attention in 2008 when its former mayor, Sarah Palin, ran as the Republican vice-presidential candidate. Located in the heart of the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Valley, Wasilla is a bedroom community for Anchorage, 42 miles away. Wasilla lacks a real downtown, but does have a few historic structures adjacent to tiny Dorothy Page Museum and Historical Park, plus the nearby Teeland's Store, built in 1917. The four-lane Parks Highway slices through Wasilla, continuing north to Denali National Park and Fairbanks or southwest to Anchorage. Other local attractions include antique vehicles at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry (a few miles north), and headquarters for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race in nearby Knik. Hatcher Pass is a very pretty half-hour drive from town. Wasilla itself is certainly not an attractive place, with rampant development, strip malls, and big-box stores strewn along several miles of the highway. It's long been the butt of jokes among Alaskans, but Sarah Palin's candidacy brought national attention to the city.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

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