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Discover the Community of Palmer

Pioneer PeakToday, Palmer is a garden hub for the state, and the unique microclimate produces amazing giant vegetables, found on display annually at the home of the Alaska State Fair.  Palmer agriculture today provides food to communities across the State of Alaska. 

The pedestrian-friendly downtown is filled with shops and boutiques with books, arts and crafts, and offerings from local artists, businesses, services, and farmers.  Come taste the hometown flavor of small-town Alaska. Walk, drive or just stop and enjoy the summer flowers in bloom in the historic downtown center.

EVENTS … In the summer, residents and visitors play at our world-class 18-hole golf course, hike in the mountains, raft our rivers, leisurely stroll through the gardens and Visitor Center museum, and enjoy outdoor music, food, farm and craft vendors at the Friday Fling market and fair.   Palmer is the seat of the Matanuska Susitna Borough government. The borough spans 23,000 square miles, about the same size as West Virginia.

Winter recreation also abounds in Palmer.  The snowy slopes at nearby Hatcher Pass and surrounding areas offer snow machining, snow-shoeing, ice skating, dogsled mushing and cross country skiing.
Any time of year in Palmer, one can eat at truly Alaskan gourmet restaurants, and shop at many unique and surprising retail stores.

Just outside Palmer roadside attractions include the Knik Glacier, Matanuska Peak, Pioneer Peak, Hatcher Pass and to the north the Matanuska Glacier, each of which offer several outdoor adventure opportunities. Trek on a glacier, go flight seeing or take an airboat ride, fish, hike, white-water raft, ride ATVs or horses, or sight-see and photograph some of the most accessible natural beauty in Alaska.  

TRANSFORMATION … Today, Palmer is in the midst of a significant metamorphosis.  The town has experienced a population surge as thousands of people are moving to the Palmer area to enjoy the safe and pleasant quality of life.  In less than 20 years, the heart of the Matanuska Valley has transformed from a peaceful rural area to a rural bedroom community, and most recently, to an increasingly self-sufficient, commercial employment center. The population growth in Palmer and the surrounding area has been significant and the City's population has increased an average of 3.3% since 2000, with 5,343 residents currently residing in the 5.2 square mile city.

Since 2000, over $100,000,000 in new construction has occurred in the City.  A substantial investment from public and private sectors continues to fuel growth.  The city completed a major expansion of its water and sewer utilities to the new Mat-Su Regional Medical Center seven miles to the south at the juncture of the Glenn and Parks Highway. This substantial investment in the city's infrastructure helps set the foundation for future growth and expansion.

Palmer is the home of several public and private schools, an active Chamber of Commerceand Downtown Merchants group, the Alaska State Fair, a Visitors Center,  the Alaska Job Corps Center, and State Superior and District courts.  City facilities include an airport, library, golf course, ice arena and numerous parks and ball fields.  In the past year the Palmer Museum of History and Art, the Palmer Arts Council, a Board of Economic Development and a downtown business improvement district have been established by local citizens.

These changes come with a unified vision both to retain the historic character of Palmer and to emerge as a new kind of community; to hold to the best of its historic character while embracing the need to grow responsibly and change to keep the quality of small-town life.