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10 Greatest Issues to Do in Juneau Alaska

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

Juneau is known for its wildlife, each on land and at sea. A whole bunch of species of birds, together with bald eagles, black and brown bears, salmon, and orca whales, are simply a number of the normally-elusive animals you might be more likely to spot.

A whole lot of the tourism right here is predicated on getting out into nature, so when you love mountaineering, tenting, or something of the kind, then you definately’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 nearly each Alaskan cruise.

How do I get to one of the best locations in Juneau?

Juneau isn’t accessible by automobile, however you may 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 journey till you attain Juneau. In case you are driving, make sure to ebook forward, as automobile slots promote out rapidly and aren’t at all times obtainable 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 would like an thought 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 one of the best place to go to.

When you’ve got learn a few of our different articles, chances are you’ll 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 journey. The Goldbelt Tram is among 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 one of the best 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 larger, the notable sights of downtown Juneau, the Chilkat Mountain vary and surrounding islands seem earlier than you in a panoramic view you gained’t imagine. A pair of binoculars, a digital camera, and a zoom lens (when you have one) are a good suggestion so you may take advantage of the view.

As soon as on the prime, you’ll discover the Mountain Home, a cultural middle 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)

Positioned simply 12 miles from Juneau’s metropolis middle, the Mendenhall Glacier is a must-see when 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 one of the best 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 fully of ice whereas water runs overhead and underfoot, creating the phantasm of being inside a frozen bubble. You’ll want to cease at Mendenhall Lake, as it’s a part of the Mendenhall Valley Glacier Recreation space. You’ll want to cease on the Mendenhall Glacier Guests middle to study extra in regards to the previous of this wonderful glacier.

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

In case you are new to glacier mountaineering, it’s greatest to rent a tour information whose professional security information can maintain you from any harmful conditions on these mountaineering trails. You’ll want to 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 may count on when 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 timber, pure swimming pools are surrounded by lush timber 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 crops to be prepared for switch to the gardens. A part of the nursery additionally sells potted crops and seed packets, particularly these that may survive a chilly local weather like Alaska’s. In case you dwell someplace related and are eager about a grow-your-own memento, make sure to go to the nursery to see what’s in season and convey 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, filled with unspoiled magnificence.

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

One other wonderful 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.

Another choice, when you actually need one thing luxurious, is to rent a non-public chartered tour information. There are lots 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. Carry your digital camera for this unforgettable expertise!

Whale watching in Juneau Alaska

5. Whale Watching

If whale watching is in your bucket checklist, then Juneau is the proper 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, one of the best instances of the yr for whale watching in Juneau is April via November. A whole bunch of humpbacks move via the channel, and most whale watching excursions assure at the very least one sighting, though you’re more likely to see a number of in your tour.

Most whale watching excursions in Juneau will run for at least 2-3 hours and have a tendency to begin at round $150-200. Most excursions assure sightings, so that you gained’t wish to go away your digital camera at dwelling! However possibly put money into a water-resistant 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. Happily, we’ve received the proper 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 journey who isn’t into beer, one in every of their exhausting seltzers or sodas is perhaps simply the refreshment you want.

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

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

You may even see an Alaskan Brewing Firm proper in downtown, however notice 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 came upon the exhausting method.

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 latest cultural id. The Final Probability Mining Museum is a testomony to the pure historical past, with a seasonal exhibit positioned on the museum’s foremost 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 remains to be inside, untouched because the mine’s golden age (actually). There are additionally varied remnants of the railroad, which have been used to move employees, items, equipment, and instruments to and from the mine.

The museum is open from mid-Might via September, Friday via Monday. Tickets are $5, and hours might be sporadic, so it’s at all times a good suggestion to name forward and make sure opening hours earlier than arriving.

Salmon Hatchery

8. DIPAC Macaulay Salmon Hatchery

Salmon is one in every of Alaska’s largest exports, with over a billion {dollars} value of annual export. There are lots of salmon hatcheries all through the state, and when you’ve ever wished 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 tens of millions of child salmon rising from eggs to the 1000’s 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 in regards to the technique 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 dwelling to proceed having fun with after your Alaskan journey ends.

The hatchery is open for walk-in excursions every day from Might via September, and by appointment from October via April. 

Nugget Falls Waterfall

9. Nugget Falls Path

For out of doors lovers, the Nugget Falls Path is your one-stop store. It’s an extension of Mendenhall Glacier and leaves from the customer’s middle. This can be a nice exercise you are able to do along with your children because it’s a reasonably relaxed self-guided stroll, and the entire path takes lower than an hour, or you may take your time and make it a leisurely stroll. Leashed canines are welcome on the path too, however be sure to select 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, masking near 100 toes in width. In case you’re fortunate, you would possibly spot some black bears fishing for sockeye salmon and luxuriate in different wildlife viewing. This species of bear tends to maintain their distance from individuals, however train applicable warning when you do spot any. This path is the proper 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 digital camera!

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 referred to as the APK, this is among the most necessary 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 encircling Prince William Sound and Kodiak Island. The museum unifies these cultures and showcases their tales, artwork, and historical past via rotating seasonal displays.

In case you’re visiting in the summertime, ask about their guided excursions, the place an professional will give deeper context on the artifacts. And whenever you’re accomplished, make sure to try the arboretum, which homes many timber and crops native to Alaska.

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

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