Nov 28, 2011

Things to do in Juneau, Alaska

Juneau is a great little city for the day or a couple days. A few years ago John and I spend several days exploring the city. Here are some of the things we discovered.
1. Your first stop should be at the top. Take an exhilarating ride to the 1800-foot level of Mount Roberts to experience one of the most expansive and beautiful views offered in all Alaska. Have a meal with a view, walk the trail, visit the Nature Center. Don’t miss the Chilkat Theater for an introduction to the Tlingit culture through the award winning film “Seeing Daylight.”
2. Rent a car, it is cheaper than a cab or taking a tour plus you have the freedom to do as you please. You can do it all as there are only 41 miles of roads! Drive along the coast to the Shrine of St. Theresa where you can enjoy the silence of the old stone chapel, wildflowers in the woods, views of the Lynn Canal, plus see lots of birds.
3. See the salmon run at the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery. Salmon are propagated at the hatchery and released season after season. After a journey to parts unknown the salmon return mystically to the hatchery where they splash and jump up over steel gates returning to their birthplace to breed and die. Great place to buy fish.
4. Learn about Alaska at the State Museum. It is home to more than 23,000 artifacts, works of fine art and natural history and features both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The museum is located within walking distance of the cruise ship terminal.
5. Ice is nice! Get up close and personal with the Mendenhall Glacier. Go trekking. Northstar Trekking offers three levels of glacier trekking designed for those who only want to step on a glacier to those looking for an over-the-edge experience. Each of the treks includes approximately 30 minutes of sightseeing by helicopter before landing on the glacier.
6. What’s brewing? Learn about the history of brewing in Alaska and the 100-year old recipe that inspired their Alaskan Amber. View the brewing, fermentation and bottling systems. The best part is the free sampling!
7. Go for the gold. Hop the ferry and take the Golden Circle tour, from Juneau to Skagway where you can ride the White Pass & Yukon tourist train along the gold route through the mountains, pass glaciers, gorges, and waterfalls.
8. Have a whale of a time. Seeing huge whales in their native habitat counts as one of life's great experiences. Each summer humpbacks migrate to Alaska from their winter home in the warm waters off Hawaii. Many companies offer tours at various rates.
9. For three times the fun experience a float plane ride to the remote Taku Lodge, view several glaciers, enjoy a traditional salmon bake and still have time for a walk on the wild side in the Alaskan wilderness.
10. Behind the swingin’ doors of the Red Dog Saloon the fun never stops. The sawdust on the floors, the flag-drapped ceiling, and Earp’s gun are just some of the things that add to the ambiance of this watering hole. Ask the band to play “Mule Train,” turn your chair around and ride your “mule-chair” around the saloon.
For more things to do in Juneau, check Juneau Convention & Visitors Bureau,, or call (888) 581-2201.