Juneau Tourist Information and Tourism

(Juneau, Alaska - AK, USA)

The huge influx of cruise ship day-trippers and holidaying tourists transforms this pretty state capital during the summer months, when it becomes nothing short of a tourism hotspot. On a typical day during the summer, Juneau can expect to see five large cruise ships docking in its harbor, resulting in 10,000 or more visitors debarking for the day and roughly one million per annum.

Juneau was established towards the end of the 19th century and had become the Alaskan capital by 1906. The city's extremely scenic setting is one of its principal draws, with a backdrop being provided by snowcapped mountains. Much of the activity is based along the busy waterfront, while those looking to explore may like to check out the nearby steep-sided Tracy Arm fjord, the Glacier Bay National Park and the famous Mendenhall Glacier itself.

Tourists will find many enticing seasonal activities to enjoy around the city, ranging from walking, hiking and biking, to fishing, kayaking, canoeing and even whale watching (best between May and September). For tours of the main sights, you can choose between floatplane flights, helicopter trips and cruises.

Alternatively, consider taking a trip on the downtown trolley, or join the historic downtown walking tour, led by an experienced guide from the Juneau Douglas City Museum. If you require tourist information upon your arrival, then head to the Davis Log Cabin on 3rd Street (off Egan Drive), or to the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau on Glacier Avenue.

Juneau Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

This unusual and highly seasonal city does come with a number of interesting tourist attractions to match its appealing character. Most visitors like to sit back and enjoy a ride onboard the Mount Roberts Tramway, with these cable cars transporting in the region of 200,000 passengers each year. This aerial tramway heads up to the Skybridge on Mount Roberts, where a grill restaurant and some rescued eagles await, although for most, the trip really is all about the breathtaking views and scenery.

Even more tourists choose to check out the famous Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center and those who have plenty of time on their hands may also like to take a stroll along one of the pathways or boardwalks, such as the Nugget Falls Trail or the Photo Point Trail. A tour of the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Visitors Center is always popular when the fish are spawning, and for those who fancy quenching their thirst with an award-winning beer, the Alaskan Brewing Company on the northwestern side of Juneau is on hand, being roughly 3 miles / 5 km away from the hatchery and situated within the Lemon Creek suburb. Alternatively, consider a visit to the Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure and its manicured gardens. More information about Juneau Tourist Attractions.

Although many state capitals manage to boast epic palace-like domed capitol buildings, in Juneau, the Alaska State Capitol is rather more understated. Housing the Alaska Legislature, as well as the governor offices, this building dates back to the late 1920s and does feature many Art Deco influences, which are easily spotted when viewed up close. Guided tours of the Capitol are available from May to September, although those wishing to have a nose around the grand Alaska Governor's Mansion on Calhoun Avenue will be disappointed, since this is a private residence not open to the public. The tiny Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church is worthy of photographing, as is the very stylish Chapel by the Lake, which stands alongside Auke Lake and was made almost entirely from spruce logs in the 1950s. It is worth stepping inside the chapel to enjoy the views from its large window, since these take in both the lake and the distant Mendenhall Glacier. More information about Juneau Landmarks and Monuments.

Particularly well-placed for arriving cruise ship passengers is the Alaska State Museum on Whittier Street, which is just a short walk from the terminal itself and was founded as long ago as the summer of 1900, following an official Act of Congress. The museum came into being to collect and display important artifacts from the territory and today these include extensive collections of Native American Indian treasures, archeological relics, old whaling equipment and information about the exciting Gold Rush era. At the Last Chance Mining Museum on Basin Road, visitors can actually pan for real golden nuggets within the river, and at the Juneau Douglas City Museum on West 4th Street, a large gift shop is a big part of the overall appeal. If you prefer to spend your time appreciating the creations of talented Alaskan artists, then the Juneau Arts and Culture Center is the place to come and is conveniently just down the road from the State Museum. More information about Juneau Museums and Juneau Art Galleries.

Although the city of Juneau is rather isolated, its proximity to the busy Inner Passage does mean that plenty of cruises are on offer for much of the year. These include day trips to the enormous Admiralty Island, which is sited to the south and comprises a spreading protected wilderness, rich in native wildlife. When the sun is shining, the more adventurous tourists like to head southwards and hire a kayak for the day, paddling around the Dawes and Sawyer glaciers. However, do bear in mind that the winter months are not only cold, but have greatly reduced daylight hours, and these factors combined mean that day trips at this time of the year are not usually practical or possible. More information about Juneau Attractions Nearby.

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