Welcome to the Last Frontier and one of America’s most beautiful capital cities: Juneau, Alaska.
Juneau’s prospector heritage during the gold rush era and its’ incredible scenery began drawing visitors in the early 1900s. As a popular cruise ship port and a favorite destination among adventure travelers, Alaska’s capital continues to draw visitors from around the world today.
Experience incredible outdoor activities like glacier flightseeing, whale watching, fishing, and kayaking amidst the stunning Alaskan landscape. Of course, there’s more to Juneau than natural beauty. Set against our stunning backdrop are original Gold Rush-era buildings, art galleries, museums, historic and Native heritage sites, restaurants, bars, cafes, shopping, and seafood that doesn’t get any fresher.
Some local residents live their whole lives here and still don’t experience everything to see and do in America’s most beautiful capital city.
Old-growth forest, snow-capped mountains, glaciers, ice caves, spawning salmon streams, prime bear habitat, and migratory whale routes all lie within city limits. A short boat or seaplane ride can bring spouting humpbacks, breeching orcas, and some of the best sport fishing on the planet. Hop in a kayak, jump on a bike, or lace up your (waterproof!) hiking boots for some human-powered exploration.
Glaciers There are several to choose from, but Mendenhall Glacier is our biggest chip off the ol’ (ice) block – and you can actually drive right to it if you’re so inclined. We’ve conveniently placed Alaska’s most popular attraction just 13 miles from downtown and right near the airport. We’re friendly that way.
Wildlife Everyone wants to see a little wildlife, even if from afar. Juneau has such an abundance of air, land and sea creatures that you are more than likely to catch a glimpse of a bear, bald eagle, or even a humpback whale while you are here – especially April through November. And if you do want to watch our wildlife a little closer, a variety of tours can get you near black bear, Dall’s porpoise, sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, mountain goats, and Sitka black tail deer.
Outdoor Activities Sea kayaking, hiking, rafting and other outdoor adventures offer exhilarating ways to enjoy Alaska’s wilderness. For something even more unique, take off in a small plane or helicopter to see the sights from above, then land right on a glacier to go hiking or dog-sledding. During the winter, hit the slopes for downhill skiing, heli-skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding.
Fishing Juneau residents schedule their year around the salmon migration. (We’re not kidding.) If you’re inclined to cast a line, you can charter a boat to catch the good stuff or ask a local – you might just snag a few good tips.
Shopping Sure, you’ll find plenty of souvenirs in local gift shops, but when it comes to serious shopping you’ll definitely want to take home something uniquely Juneau. Coffee lovers can pick up some of Heritage Coffee’s wide variety of specialty roasts (the company has been satisfying Juneau’s caffeine fix for 38 years). If you prefer refreshment of a different kind, pick up something from the Alaskan Brewing Company, whose beers have garnered international awards. For the chocolate aficionados, Alaskan Fudge Company should be your first stop. And you can’t leave town without a taste of the area’s incredible smoked salmon. Local providers will prepare and pack your selection (ice and all) so you can take it with you or have it shipped directly back home.
Dining No doubt seafood and especially salmon is on the menu at most dining establishments in Juneau and you won’t find any fresher than this. With five species of salmon running at different times of the year, there is bound to be one type on every restaurant’s menu. If seafood is not on your palette; then there is your standard pub fare and steakhouses which is not limited to beef! Game meat is also a specialty in Alaska anywhere from elk to caribou.
Some large events are held in Alaska’s capital annually; predominantly in summer months with long days and warmer weather. Here you’ll find some the more popular events held each year.
Annual Spring King Derby: Month of May Sponsored by the Tlingit & Haida Alumni Scholarship Program, proceeds from this annual derby fund scholarships for tribal enrollees.
Juneau Jazz & Classics Festival: Early-Mid May Nationally-recognized for its line-up of world-class artists, this unique 16-day festival offers a spectacular mix of blues, jazz and classical performances, workshops and family entertainment in an array of venues including aboard boats for the popular “classical and blues cruises.”
4th of July The pleasures of small town life are seldom more evident than during the 4th of July celebration in the nation’s farthest north capital city. From the stroke of midnight on July 3rd, when fireworks light up the sky and rocket blasts reverberate from the mountain tops, Juneau and neighboring Douglas are alive with the sights, sounds, and excitement of a home grown, traditional expression of the American spirit.
Golden North Salmon Derby: Early August Sponsored by the Territorial Sportsmen, this is the oldest continuous salmon derby in Alaska. Large cash and merchandise prizes are awarded. Proceeds from the derby fund scholarships.
Juneau Public Market: Last November A holiday bazaar that includes arts and crafts, imports, photography, wearable art and much more.
Annual Gallery Walk: Early December An entertaining evening (and following afternoons) of exploring Juneau’s shops, museums and galleries. Featured artists are often available to demonstrate, sign or answer questions about their work.
Juneau has a climate that is milder than its latitude may suggest, due to the influence of the Pacific Ocean.
Winters are moist and long, but only slightly cold by Alaskan standards: the average low temperature is 23 °F (−5 °C) in January, and highs are frequently above freezing.
Spring, summer, and fall are cool to mild, with highs peaking in July at 65 °F (18.3 °C).