What do you consider "true" - do you mean native arts/crafts? What sort of budget are you considering?
Yes, please define "true." My Alaska souvenirs are almost always an enlarged print of one of the photos I took during the trip. That is "true" to me.
My brother brought home a fur hat for his wife from one of the downtown Anchorage furriers.
Our visitors go to the Ulu Factory down in the port area for ulu knives.
We have a great local soap company, Denali Dreams, that makes Alaska berry & wildflower soaps & potions.
Smoked salmon or reindeer sausage is a favorite as a gift, of course.
Alaska wildberry products are another favorite.
Downtown Anchorage has native Alaskan crafts or in the gift shop at the Alaska Native Hospital.Edited: 24 May 2011, 02:21
Looking for artwork, jewelry, pottery, food, home decorations. Thanks.
You will find lots of local artists in different communities - just depends where all you are going - but we would all appreciate it if you look for things that actually say "made in Alaska". They all have a seal stating that - and then you are know you are getting something actually made in Alaska, not just China. :)
Every port community has a longtime local art gallery that carries art, handicrafts, jewelry and housewares....Scanlon's and Soho Coho in Ketchikan, Annie Kaills in Juneau, Arctic Rose and Artique in Anchorage, etc. and don't forget the museum gift shops. In Alaska they are often the very best place to bring home expertly made regional treasures. The Anchorage Museum, Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka, and the State Museum in Juneau all have good buyers. Probably the best place for Native crafts in Anchorage is the Hospital Auxiliary Craft Shop in the Alaska Native Medical Center, off Tudor east of Bragaw (tel. 907/729-1122), where everything is authentic and entirely traditional. The shop is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 2pm and the first and third Saturday of each month from 11am to 2pm. They don't accept credit cards.
When we were in ANC last late May, we went to the weekend flea market. It was huge, and packed with quality crafts made by talented crafts people. There was something for everyone there, in all price ranges. We loved it! It was a great place to find that perfect souvenir, something for the home, or a gift for someone else. The flea market is every Sat and Sunday during the summer.Edited: 24 May 2011, 04:56
Previously mentioned is the gift shop at the Alaska Native Medical Center (www.anthc.org/anmc/visitors/giftshop.cfm). I've found the items there to be among the best art/crafts available (and among the most expensive).
If you end up at ANMC take an hour to tour the art displays on the landings of each floor of the hospital (take the elevator to the top floor and walk the stairs down). The displays are fantastic.
Some of my favorite Alaskan memories/gifts are a couple of books I have from a now relatively famous cartoonist (Chad Carpenter). Many of his cartoons are funny to all and a good many of them are closely associated with an Alaskan experience/understanding (http://www.tundracomics.com/).
Goos luck & enjoy AK,
We bought ourselves, our grown son, and grown daughter each an ulu knife and cutting board. For the last five years or so, this has been one of the most used utensils in our kitchens.
Thanks for all your suggestions.