The shaking tossed items off shelves, but there were no reports of significant damage or injuries.
The quake struck at 4:43 p.m. local time at a depth of around 33 miles, according to the Alaska and West Coast Tsunami Warning Center.
It said that no tsunami had been generated by the temblor.
"It hit like a bam, really hard," East Anchorage resident John Owens told the Associated Press.
Others said the quake caused them to feel lightheaded as if their inner ears lost their sense of balance. Some said they could feel the ground move for about a minute.
The epicenter was near the coast of Cook Inlet, about 18 miles northeast of Tyonek. But the shaking was felt widely across south-central Alaska, including the Kenai Peninsula and the Prince William Sound community of Valdez.
Some residents of Fairbanks, about 200 miles to the north-northeast, also reported feeling it.
Quakes are common in various parts of Alaska, But Monday’s was especially powerful and widely felt.