10 Greatest Issues to Do in Juneau Alaska

Pondering of getting a northern journey? Juneau is the capital metropolis of Alaska, and whereas it won’t be the primary place you’d consider visiting, there may be a lot to do right here that you may simply spend a few weeks actually attending to know the world. 

Juneau is known for its wildlife, each on land and at sea. Tons of of species of birds, together with bald eagles, black and brown bears, salmon, and orca whales, are simply among the normally-elusive animals you’re more likely to spot.

Loads of the tourism right here relies on getting out into nature, so in case you love climbing, tenting, or something of the kind, then you definitely’ll have the time of your life in Juneau. Juneau is Alaska’s capital metropolis, so it may well get busy when a number of cruises are in port. Juneau is a cruise ship terminal that’s visited by virtually each Alaskan cruise.

How do I get to the most effective locations in Juneau?

Juneau isn’t accessible by automobile, however you’ll be able to cowl a lot of the journey there by taking the Alaska-Canadian Freeway, which runs about 1500 miles. Then, it’s only a brief ferry experience till you attain Juneau. In case you are driving, be sure you guide forward, as car slots promote out rapidly and aren’t at all times accessible on standby.

Irrespective of the way you arrive, by airplane or automobile, or cruise ship Juneau is a photogenic metropolis to go to, with astonishing pure magnificence proper in its yard. If you’d like an concept of what to anticipate from a visit to the Alaskan capital, learn on for our checklist of the highest 10 Issues to do in Juneau and the most effective place to go to.

If in case you have learn a few of our different articles, you could keep in mind our first journey to Alaska we drove. You’ll be able to learn extra about driving to Alaska right here. Since we drove, we didn’t go to Juneau. On our final journey, we took an Alaska cruise with Holland America and had each children with us. It was an excellent household trip to Alaska, and cruising was nice for us.

Greatest Locations to Go to in Alaska

Mt. Roberts Tramway

1. Mount Roberts Tramway

This isn’t your common tram experience. The Goldbelt Tram is likely one of the greatest methods to see Juneau, so long as you’re not afraid of heights (however even then, it’s solely 5 minutes to the highest). It’s the most effective view you’ll get in Juneau and isn’t to be missed!

The Mt. Roberts tramway begins from the cruise ship pier, ascending 1800 toes up the facet of Mount Roberts. Because the carriage will get increased, the notable sights of downtown Juneau, the Chilkat Mountain vary and surrounding islands seem earlier than you in a wide ranging view you gained’t consider. A pair of binoculars, a digicam, and a zoom lens (in case you have one) are a good suggestion so you’ll be able to take advantage of the view.

As soon as on the prime, you’ll discover the Mountain Home, a cultural heart run by a local group. They’ve an academic theater, a present store, and the Timberline Restaurant, which is a superb place to pattern native beers with some freshly-caught Alaskan seafood.

In case you are searching for issues to do in Juneau which are tremendous near the port, that is it. I’d simply stroll up and purchase tickets the day of. 

Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska

2. Mendenhall Glacier(ice caves)

Situated simply 12 miles from Juneau’s metropolis heart, the Mendenhall Glacier is a must-see in case you’re visiting this a part of Alaska. The Juneau icefield is most well-known for its enchanting, magical ice caves.

We went on this tour. It was a combo tour that included wildlife& whale watching and visiting the Mendenhall Glacier.  This was an excellent tour as you bought to do two of the most effective issues to do in Juneau with one tour. The one draw back was that we didn’t have sufficient time on the Mendenhall Glacier to hike to Nugget Falls. 

Guests can stand contained in the hole glacier’s caves made totally of ice whereas water runs overhead and underfoot, creating the phantasm of being inside a frozen bubble. Make sure you cease at Mendenhall Lake, as it’s a part of the Mendenhall Valley Glacier Recreation space. Make sure you cease on the Mendenhall Glacier Guests heart to be taught extra concerning the previous of this superb glacier.

Since glaciers are consistently evolving in a globally-changing environment, they’ll shift and even collapse. Previous caves collapse or disappear over time, and new ones type over time, so there’s no assure that any caves will probably be there to discover in case you go to. However the sheer risk is sufficient for a go to since this is likely one of the most original experiences most individuals could have of their lifetime! 

In case you are new to glacier climbing, it’s greatest to rent a tour information whose knowledgeable security information can hold you from any harmful conditions on these climbing trails. Make sure you put on heat and waterproof boots and a jacket since it’s chilly and damp contained in the caves.

Glacier Garden Rainforest Adventure
Picture Credit score: Glacier Backyard Rainforest Journey

3. Glacier Backyard Rainforest Journey

How does a botanical backyard inside a glacial rainforest sound? That’s what you’ll be able to anticipate in case you go to the Glacier Gardens Rainforest Journey, an engineered and artfully-designed botanical backyard positioned inside Alaska’s Tongass Nationwide Forest.

This can be a guided tour in a partially-covered van that takes you thru the backyard, as much as fairly a excessive elevation to a viewing space with panoramic views of Juneau, and again down. Cascading ‘flower towers’ spill from fallen bushes, pure swimming pools are surrounded by lush bushes and creeping vines, and vivid wildflowers bloom from each nook of the designer landscapes.

Click on right here to get present pricing and make reservations. After your tour, cease by the plant nursery and study how the workers are seeding new vegetation to be prepared for switch to the gardens. A part of the nursery additionally sells potted vegetation and seed packets, particularly these that may survive a chilly local weather like Alaska’s. If you happen to reside someplace comparable and are concerned about a grow-your-own memento, be sure you go to the nursery to see what’s in season and produce again a few of Alaska’s pure habitat.

Tracy Arm Fjord

4. Tracy Arm Fjord

The well-known Tracy Arm Fjord is about 45 miles south of the state capital of Juneau and is a shining instance of the astounding pure magnificence for which Alaska is known. The ice caves are extraordinarily fashionable (and price seeing), however Tracy Arm is the lesser-known hidden gem, stuffed with unspoiled magnificence.

Most visits to the fjord are run by tour firms aboard comfy catamarans, so you’ll be able to loosen up whereas seeing this superb surprise of Alaska’s spectacular surroundings. Boats are small to allow them to navigate the ice-ridden waters. Actually, since you’ll be gliding by way of waters with floating ice chunks!

One other superb viewpoint for this legendary glacier is to discover it by air from a seaplane tour or helicopter tour. Alaska Seaplanes runs half-hour excursions from Juneau Worldwide Airport (solely quarter-hour from downtown) for $300.

An alternative choice, in case you actually need one thing luxurious, is to rent a non-public chartered tour information. There are a lot of choices for this, whether or not you wish to go by sea or by air. You’ll see larger-than-life glaciers, cascading waterfalls, and loads of wild animals like humpback whales and seals. Convey your digicam for this unforgettable expertise!

Whale watching in Juneau Alaska

5. Whale Watching

If whale watching is in your bucket checklist, then Juneau is the right place to do it. Alaska is well-known for its marine wildlife, and simply off the coast, there are humpbacks, orcas, and belugas aplenty. We went on this whale watching tour in Juneau and had a good time. 

Though there’s an opportunity of seeing whales year-round, the most effective instances of the yr for whale watching in Juneau is April by way of November. Tons of of humpbacks move by way of the channel, and most whale watching excursions assure no less than one sighting, though you’re more likely to see a number of in your tour.

Most whale watching excursions in Juneau will run for no less than 2-3 hours and have a tendency to start out at round $150-200. Most excursions assure sightings, so that you gained’t wish to depart your digicam at residence! However perhaps spend money on a water-proof cowl, simply in case.

Alaskan Brewing Company
Picture Credit score: Alaska Brewing Firm

6. Alaskan Brewing Firm

There’s nothing higher than an ice-cold beer after a day exploring the fjords, forests, and oceans of Alaska. Luckily, we’ve obtained the right spot to just do this: the Alaskan Brewing Firm, in any other case referred to as Alaska’s largest brewery.

They’ve seven year-round beers and launch extra seasonal, specialty, and even limited-edition brews all year long, usually in the summertime months. For anybody alongside for the experience who isn’t into beer, one among their exhausting seltzers or sodas is likely to be simply the refreshment you want.

They run brewery excursions and tastings of their tasting room in the summertime months, the right finish to a heat day. If you happen to like what you’ve tasted, seize a six-pack or fill a growler, and take it residence with you.

The Alaskan Brewing Firm is only a 10-minute drive from downtown Juneau space, however in case you can’t make the drive then their Depot to purchase their beers or seize their summer season shuttle that can take you straight to the principle brewery. Children are allowed in if accompanied by an grownup, but it surely’s most likely higher suited to a child-free day.

You might even see an Alaskan Brewing Firm proper in downtown, however observe they don’t serve or promote any beer right here. They solely promote shirts, glasses, and different merchandise. We all know as a result of we sadly discovered the exhausting means.

Last Chance Brewing Company
Picture Credit score: Final Probability Mining

7. Final Probability Mining Museum

With Alaska’s historical past and involvement with the gold rush, mining kinds an enormous a part of its current cultural id. The Final Probability Mining Museum is a testomony to the pure historical past, with a seasonal exhibit positioned on the museum’s principal constructing, which stands on the positioning of a former gold mine only a mile north of downtown Juneau.

The camp, though not in operation anymore, was the positioning of Juneau’s largest gold mine, which produced over $80 million {dollars} value of gold earlier than closing in 1944.

The jewel of the Final Probability Mining Museum, and the final surviving piece of the unique mine, is the air compressor constructing. The unique compressor continues to be inside, untouched because the mine’s golden age (actually). There are additionally numerous remnants of the railroad, which had been used to move staff, items, equipment, and instruments to and from the mine.

The museum is open from mid-Could by way of September, Friday by way of Monday. Tickets are $5, and hours could be sporadic, so it’s at all times a good suggestion to name forward and ensure opening hours earlier than arriving.

Salmon Hatchery

8. DIPAC Macaulay Salmon Hatchery

Salmon is one among Alaska’s largest exports, with over a billion {dollars} value of annual export. There are a lot of salmon hatcheries all through the state, and in case you’ve ever needed to go to one, you’re in luck as a result of the DIPAC Macaulay Salmon Hatchery is positioned a 20-minute drive from downtown Juneau.

Guests get to see the spawning course of firsthand, from the thousands and thousands of child salmon rising from eggs to the hundreds of salmon combating to swim upstream. There’s additionally an aquarium with over 150 species of marine life animals, and a contact tank that youngsters will love. 

Along with studying concerning the means of salmon hatching and rearing, guests can discover souvenirs within the present store, pattern several types of smoked salmon, and even ship some tasty items residence to proceed having fun with after your Alaskan journey ends.

The hatchery is open for walk-in excursions each day from Could by way of September, and by appointment from October by way of April. 

Nugget Falls Waterfall

9. Nugget Falls Path

For outside fanatics, the Nugget Falls Path is your one-stop store. It’s an extension of Mendenhall Glacier and leaves from the customer’s heart. This can be a nice exercise you are able to do together with your children because it’s a reasonably relaxed self-guided stroll, and the entire path takes lower than an hour, or you’ll be able to take your time and make it a leisurely stroll. Leashed canine are welcome on the path too, however ensure that to choose up after them.

The waterfall itself is a staggering 375 toes tall, and you will get very near it from the shoreline. The Falls additionally fan out on the base, overlaying near 100 toes in width. If you happen to’re fortunate, you may spot some black bears fishing for sockeye salmon and revel in different wildlife viewing. This species of bear tends to maintain their distance from individuals, however train applicable warning in case you do spot any. This path is the right addition to any day journey close to Mendenhall Glacier and is a spotlight of the within passage.

Other than the spectacular views of the glacier and Nugget Falls, this can be a lovely path for birdwatching, wildflower recognizing, and by extension pictures. So convey your digicam!

Alaska State Museum
Picture Credit score: Alaska Museum

10. Alaska State Museum

The ultimate factor on our checklist of issues to do in Juneau is the Alaska State Museum. Typically known as the APK, this is likely one of the most vital cultural museums for preserving and displaying info and artifacts from the historical past of indigenous peoples from the area.

Many native cultures are represented right here, together with Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian, in addition to smaller bands from the encompassing Prince William Sound and Kodiak Island. The museum unifies these cultures and showcases their tales, artwork, and historical past by way of rotating seasonal reveals.

If you happen to’re visiting in the summertime, ask about their guided excursions, the place an knowledgeable will give deeper context on the artifacts. And if you’re accomplished, be sure you try the arboretum, which homes many bushes and vegetation native to Alaska.

The museum was renovated in 2016 and given a recent, up to date design to raised swimsuit the subject material. Entrance charges assist assist the persevering with preservation of native heritage.

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