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Overview

Draped across a steep hillside at the mouth of Gold Creek, Alaska's capital city evokes comparisons to the much larger San Francisco. Juneau's setting is dramatic, with snowy mountains behind town and a mix of old and new buildings lining the main streets. Cruise ships — up to five at a time — crowd the harbor all summer, and tourists spill out of downtown shops. A highlight for many is the (rather expensive) tram to the summit of Mt. Roberts, where you'll find hiking trails, dining, a small nature center, and Tlingit dance performances. In-town attractions include the Alaska State Museum, St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, diverse ...

Draped across a steep hillside at the mouth of Gold Creek, Alaska's capital city evokes comparisons to the much larger San Francisco. Juneau's setting is dramatic, with snowy mountains behind town and a mix of old and new buildings lining the main streets. Cruise ships — up to five at a time — crowd the harbor all summer, and tourists spill out of downtown shops. A highlight for many is the (rather expensive) tram to the summit of Mt. Roberts, where you'll find hiking trails, dining, a small nature center, and Tlingit dance performances. In-town attractions include the Alaska State Museum, St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, diverse restaurants, and shops selling trinkets and treasures. A few miles away is Mendenhall Glacier, where the lake out front fills with icebergs. Check out the informative visitor center or explore nearby trails for more dramatic vistas or the chance to watch black bears catching salmon. There is a lot more to do around Juneau, with everything from heart-thumping ziplines through the rainforest and helicopter landings on the Juneau Icefield to beer-tasting at Alaska Brewing Company. For an all-day excursion, don't miss the tour boat to the 2,000-foot cliffs and calving glaciers of Tracy Arm. No roads connect Juneau with the outside world, but there's daily jet service to Seattle and Anchorage plus the slower — but always fun — state ferries.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Don Pitcher for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May through September; fall can be very wet and windy.