Nestled at a mountain base amid a rainforest, Juneau (the state capital of Alaska) is the largest U.S. capital in area and the only one accessible by air or ship only. With its rugged mountainsides, sweeping glaciers and rainforests, Juneau is a scenic wonderland. Witnessing wildlife, like a brown bear fishing for food or a bald eagle casually soaring overhead, is not out of the ordinary. For large scale beauty, the Mendenhall Glacier is the most accessible glacier in Alaska and, for many, the most breathtaking.
Originally a fishing outpost for Tlingit Native Americans, at the turn of the century it was struck with "gold fever". Today, Juneau remains a treasured destination that includes both a Native American influence and a tradition steeped in Russian culture. Boasting timeless natural wonders, museums and the historic sites, Juneau continues to stir the imaginations of all who visit.
Places to Explore
- Mount Roberts Tramway
Located next to the cruise ship dock, tramcars transport Guests to an observation deck approximately 2,000 feet above Juneau for a bird's eye view of the city. Guests can also hike one of many trails, shop, explore the nature center or dine at the restaurant and bar.
- Mendenhall Glacier
An enormous ice-field which flows down a valley to the edge of a lake. This natural wonder is half a mile wide and up to 1,800 feet deep; the glacier's blue appearance makes the spectacle even more forgettable. An onsite glacier museum, education exhibits, videos and park ranger seminars make this a must-see.
Escape to a 50-acre botanical garden brimming with countless rare flowers and plants, still ponds, rushing waterfalls and walking paths.
- Alaska State Museum
Since 1900, this historic, 2-story museum paints the picture of Alaska's history, with an exhaustive collection of artifacts and exhibits detailing the native people, the mining and fishing heritage and natural wildlife.
- Red Dog Saloon
Billed as the oldest man-made tourist attraction in Juneau, the saloon was built during the city's mining era and displays Wyatt Earp's gun which he allegedly checked but forgot to claim on his way to Nome.
- Macaulay Salmon Hatchery
Get an up-close look at how salmon eggs are harvested and fertilized. See how salmon fight their way up a 450-foot fish ladder, from mid-June through October. In May and June, you can feed salmon smolts.
- South Franklin Street
For treasure hunters looking to shop, a myriad of boutiques and stores sell typical Alaskan wares like furs, Alaskan jewelry, baleen baskets, carved ivory, lacquered boxes and nesting dolls.
- The Shrine of St. Therese
Dedicated to St. Therese of Lisieux, the patron saint of Alaska, this 60-year old site includes a stone chapel, a small stone labyrinth and a gift shop. Located on a tiny island it offers all who visit a serene sojourn.
- Sheep Creek Summer Dog Camp
Located at the famous AJ Gold Mine, visit an exact replica of an Iditarod race checkpoint and go through the steps of a musher. Cuddle with the adorable husky pups, visit the musher's wall tent and climb aboard a specially designed, wheeled sled.
English is universally spoken.
U.S. currency is accepted, as are all major credit cards.
- How to Get Around
- Taxis are readily available and can easily be picked up at the dock.
- Buses circle the city and valley areas, running every half hour from 7 a.m. to almost midnight. Fares are typically $1.50 USD for adults; senior citizens and children under 5 years old accompanied by adult ride for free.
- Much of Juneau's downtown can be easily explored on foot.