Best Things to Do in Juneau, Alaska
While working for cruise line, I spent weeks in Alaska meeting the ships as they arrived. When the ships left port, I got to experience all of the tourist activities, as well as spend time in the locals' favorite spots. With so many bucket-list worthy things to do, I believe everyone needs to experience Alaska at least once in their lifetime — whether on a cruise or from a land-based vacation.
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Where to stay in Juneau, Alaska
Baranof Downtown, BW Signature Collection
Historic hotel in downtown Juneau with a warm atmosphere and art deco decor.
Four Points by Sheraton Juneau
Comfortable stay in downtown Juneau within walking distance to shops and restaurants.
Silverbow Inn Hotel & Suites
Boutique hotel perfectly designed for the modern traveler in downtown Juneau.
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Things to do in Juneau, Alaska
- Explore the Mendenhall Glacier. There are trails suitable for various skill levels that lead to great glacier views and Mendenhall Lake. You can go on your own or go on a professionally-led hike. It is a black bear and mountain goat habitat, so if you're lucky you may see one.
- Take the Juneau Sled Dog Discovery tour on Douglas Island and experience a dog sled ride. This is a group of professional mushers that take you through the daily routines with the huskies and talk about the history of Alaska's state sport, and how the mushers train with the dogs for the dog sled races.
- Book your whale watching tour BEFORE your trip. Juneau Tours and Whale Watch leads a great boat tour, where a naturalist will talk you through the habits of humpback whales. You are also able to see the Mendenhall Glacier and other Alaskan wildlife on the boat.
- Ride the Mount Roberts Tram to the top of Mount Roberts for the amazing views of Juneau and the Gastineau Channel and visit the Nature Center to take in wildlife, the plants and history of the area, as well as watch the short film on the indigenous Tlingit culture and history. There are eagles and black bears living on the mountain, so look out!
- Hike the Mt Roberts, Granite Creek or Perseverance Trails and go through rain forest and sub-alpine meadow areas.
- Visit Alaskan Brewing Company for a guided tasting at the Brewery Tour Hall or try and buy their beer at the tasting room. Alaska Brewing was the first brewery to make beer since prohibition, and today they make several based on Gold Rush-era recipes.
- Visit the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery to learn about the life cycle and salmon spawning. In season you will see the adult salmon swimming up the fish ladder. Eagles also tend to swoop in for a salmon.
- There are MANY locals offering fishing charters on boats and via floatplanes to catch salmon and halibut. Each fisherman will need to pick up an Alaska fishing license from the boat charter captain or from stores along the pier and Franklin Street.
- Take a floatplane to Admiralty Island, nicknamed "Fortress of the Bears. The island is home to more than 1,600 brown bears.
Places to eat & drink in Juneau, Alaska
Twisted Fish: Located on the water with a variety of Alaska fish and crab choices, as well as steak, chops, burgers and pasta. Or just sit outside on a nice day to enjoy drinks.
Salt Steak and Seafood: Alaskan seafood, steak and craft cocktails. They serve a great Sunday brunch with an Alaskan twist.
Tracy's Crab Shack: Get a bucket of crab legs, crab cakes and delicious crab chowder. Tracy's started as a food cart and it is now an anchor on the pier.
Hanger on the Wharf: Located in the Merchant's Wharf — it's a great spot to grab a drink and watch the floatplanes take off/land or enjoy a lunch/dinner. If you're lucky you can nab a table outside on a beautiful day.
Spice: Great authentic Indian food IF you are tired of seafood.
Deckhand Dave's: Fish tacos and fish & chips with nice outdoor seating.
Devil's Club Brewing Company: Great variety of beers in a taproom (so yes it smells like beer).
Heritage Coffee Roasting Company: You won't find a Starbucks in Juneau. Instead, enjoy locally-owned, responsibly-sourced coffee beans that are hand roasted.
Alaskan Fudge Company: You can't help but smell the hand-made fudge as you walk down Franklin Street. Watch them mix up batches in the giant copper kettle, then pour it on the marble slab to cool and slice. Also handmade candies and ice cream.
Need to Know
Many stores and restaurants set their hours based on the cruise ship schedule. During peak cruise season, there may be up to 5 ships in port at a time. So 10,000 to 15,000 passengers could be walking the few streets in Franklin and Front Street area.
For more travel inspo, check out my guide to New Mexico: A Guide to the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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