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Looking for the best things to do in Juneau, Alaska?
Let Elizabeth, our Juneau-native guest author, walks you through her 21 favorite activities in Juneau! As a born and raised local, I can confirm that many who have come for a visit to Juneau have stayed for a lifetime. Juneau is full of opportunities that will satisfy all types of travelers. Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on thiswhich may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!
The Mendenhall Glacier is the most popular place to visit in Juneau. For many, this may be the closest you will ever be able to get to the face of a glacier. The available outdoor activities accommodate all levels of traveler. During Juneau Alaska bi looking for good tops late summer and early fall the viewing platforms off the parking area provide a safe, yet close, place to observe black bears feeding on spawning salmon.
For those interested in a short walk, the Trail of Time will take you through the forest from the parking lot to the visitor center. The three-mile East Glacier Loop trail is available for the more active travelers. Both hiking trails along the shore will end at the Visitor Center. The Forest Service Rangers are also happy to answer any questions you might have. Some tours will supply you with gear and take you ice climbing in crevasses. Other tours will take you to a dogsled camp where you can ride on a sled behind a team of huskies.
Juneau has a history of boom to bust industries starting with its beginning as a lawless gold mining town. It has also been home to people of all different cultures, many which still call it home. See some of the old tools of Alaskan trades and learn the stories of the early Alaskans by visiting any of the three museums in town. The Juneau City Museum and Alaska State Museum offer family-friend fun for all ages, with hands-on displays and locations easily accessible in Downtown Juneau.
Native culture. This museum is farther from downtown and requires the ability to hike uphill, but if you can make it, you should also check out the old mining train cars behind the building. One of the more unusual activities in Juneau is a tour that will take you to this historic spot and teach you to pan for gold like a prospector. Your tour guide will dress like a gruff old minor, suspenders and all, so you can get the full experience on this unique adventure. Rather than shelves stocked with gold rush supplies, however, today the shops carry Alaskan books, art, Native crafts, jewelry, and other souvenirs.
While the Red Dog is the closest and only replica of a gold rush era saloon that exists today, there are several other bars, new brewing and distillery tasting rooms, and an up and coming food scene. While you might not think a place that has to have a lot of food shipped in would have a great food scene, Alaskans have learned to fish, hunt, and forage, and turn these local resources into amazing dishes.
Along your walk you may try fresh seafood like king crab, fish tacos and kelp salsa. You can order crab by the leg, try the delicious crab bisque, or go all in with an entire bucket. Work off the calories by exploring Juneau by wheel with a Cycle Alaska bike tour.
Depending on the tour, you may see the Mendenhall Glacier, beaches, and fields of flowers. One of the tours will even take you uphill to where the downhill ski area runs during the winter! The visitor center at the top of Mount Roberts also offers short videos about Alaska Native culture and Juneau history.
Many of the souvenirs include Alaska Native des. You will even be able to see a real bald eagle up close, which is one of the birds very important in Alaska Native tribal culture. The bi-annual Celebration is a week long festival during which members of all the different Alaska Native tribes arrive in Juneau.
They perform dances, show off their traditional regalia, and sell handmade crafts. The week starts with the arrival of Tlingit war canoes and then the Celebration participants parade in regalia to the convention center where they perform throughout the festival. There are few opportunities besides Celebration to fully immerse yourself in so many tribal cultures all at once. After having spent time at DIPAC watching fish, or spent the day on a boat hoping to catch your own fish, the Salmon Bake is a great place to eat salmon you neither had to catch nor cook yourself.
What could be more Alaskan than eating salmon outdoors in the Tongass National Forest? Every tour is almost guaranteed to find whales, seals, and porpoises. The picturesque views and the antics of Alaskan sea creatures will keep your attention glued to the windows the entire trip. There are few options for day trips out of Juneau because they require either a boat or a plane, but Allen Marine runs all day catamaran tours that will take you into Tracy Arm Fjord on a shore tour and back.
The boats are two-story with a top deck, a small concessions area selling hot drinks and snacks, and the seating is cushioned benches and tables. The on-board naturalist will point out wild life such as whales, seals, bears, and eagles and binoculars will be provided. Another option for getting out of Juneau for a few hours is to fly out to Taku Lodge. Wings Airways provides transportation with small planes to the airplane-only accessible lodge by the Taku Glacier. On your way to the lodge your pilot will take you glacier flightseeing.
The planes will then pick you up and return you to town, making this an incredible daytrip from Juneau. Musicians from all over come to listen, play, dance, and teach. Each night between 7pm and 10pm each act performs for 15 minutes. During the weekend, besides the main stage acts, workshops run by musicians and dancers are available during the day and live bands play for dances in the evenings.
Besides the official events found on the printed schedule, musicians gather in coffee shops and bars and on street corners and jam together all week long. If you play, listen, or dance to music, this is the festival should be on your Juneau itinerary! The Jensen Olson Arboretum is located on the beachfront site of one of the old homestead families of Juneau. The arboretum is easiest reached by car, and not on the tourist bus routes.
One of the more recent descendants, and a master gardener, donated the property to the city. The garden landscape includes flowering trees, bushes, and Juneau Alaska bi looking for good tops foliage among the flowers.
A fenced garden also showcases the vegetables that grow well in Southeast Alaska. The arboretum is a great place to either learn about Southeast Alaskan gardening, or just enjoy a quiet picnic and stroll around a beachfront property.
Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure takes you on a cart ride up a mountain on a dirt road. The road winds through the rainforest while your driver points out the local flora and explains how the landscape changes due to the climate. While most of the activities in Juneau are only available during the summer, there is still plenty to do during the winter. The ski area has three lifts, a lodge with a lunch cafeteria and a gear rental shop, and recently moved the ski school facilities into a new building.
The slopes range in difficulty from beginner to black diamonds. There are a couple cabins with drive-up access, however, most of the cabins require a hike through the forest on well-marked trails. These are dry cabins with no electricity or running water. Each cabin has an outhouse out back for your convenience, and a propane stove is available for heat.
When not nose deep in a novel, or exploring literary destinations, she enjoys spending time in her Alaskan backyard. Hi, This is an amazing post I have read before. I have a passion for traveling.
Thank you for your post. If I have a chance, I will get to Juneau for sure. I believe that I will get numerous unforgettable memories there. I was surprised that the SeaAlaska Heritage Museum was not mentioned. As an academic I can attest that it is the premier academic museum effort in Juneau, possibly all of Alaska. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Front Street, Juneau, AK. Celebration parade of Alaska Native cultures, a bi-annual festival that takes place in Juneau, Alaska.
Cowee Meadow Cabin, Juneau, Alaska. About The Author. Type here.Juneau Alaska bi looking for good tops
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