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Alaska in the News
Anchorage Vacation Guide

— Fox Travel News

 

Planning a Trip to Alaska IndependentTraveler

 

Anchored in Anchorage

— Sydney Morning Herald

Alaska bound: New experiences up north

— MSN.com

 

Wilderness to wildlife, Alaskas got it all

— CNN

 

Across or Down, Anchorage

Is Alive

— New York Time

 

Sitka, where woodwinds and Alaska wildlife put on a show

— LA Times

 



 

 
 
 
 

 

"Thrill to white thunder in Glacier Bay, marvel at sunlight at midnight and close-ups of whales, eagles and caribou. Delight in Mt. McKinley's majesty and meadows carpeted with wildflowers. Amid unsurpassed grandeur and serenity, the true wilderness of Denali is calling. Catch sight of a humpback whale or wolf pups frolicking in the snow. Alaska is as rustic and romantic as one could ever imagine. Whales, Wonders and Wilderness"


 

ALASKA CRUISE TRAVELER REPORT

Compliments of Raye & Marty Trencher,

Editors and Publishers

Cruise Traveler Magazine

Everything you need to know before you go and then some!

Compliments of: ALASKA CRUISES DIRECT
Questions?: Call 800.365.1445 Speak to a Certified Alaska Cruise and Cruisetour Expert
Visit website: www.alaskacruisesdirect.com

What's Inside


Anchorage, Alaska
Seward, Alaska
Sitka, Alaska
Skagway, Alaska
Haines, Alaska
Juneau, Alaska
Ketchikan, Alaska
Denali National Park, Alaska
Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
Katmai National Park, Alaska
Kodiak, Alaska

Gates Of The Arctic National Park And Preserve, Alaska
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
Fairbanks, Alaska
Homer, Alaska
Inside Passage, Alaska
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Misty Fiords National Monument, Alaska
Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
Alaska At Sea, Alaska
Whittier, Alaska

 

ALASKA CRUISE TRAVELER REPORT

 

Anchorage, Alaska

Overview
Introduction

Anchorage, Alaska, is big-city living. It is home to more than a quarter-million people—nearly half the state's population. The city has shopping malls, national discount stores, movie theaters, fast-food restaurants, fine dining, high-rise hotels and a busy international airport. That makes Anchorage an anomaly in a state where the featured attraction is wilderness—specifically Denali National Park, the Kenai Peninsula and Katmai National Park, to name only a few sights. Alaska's residents joke that visitors can't really claim to have seen the state until they leave Anchorage.
But, as with most places in Alaska, the wilderness is never far away. The snowcapped Chugach Mountains rise just behind the city, and some of the state's premier natural attractions are within a day's travel. If you visit in summer, you'll have extra time to see the sights—there are 17-21 hours of daylight per day then.

 

Glacier Views

Must See or Do
Sights—Browsing at the Anchorage Market and Festival; views from the tram to the top of Mount Alyeska in Girdwood and from the Glen Alps Trailhead within Chugach State Park; beluga whales and Dall sheep along Turnagain Arm; watching floatplanes land and take off at Lake Hood; fishing for salmon in Ship Creek in the heart of downtown.
Museums—The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, which houses art galleries, the Smithsonian Arctic Study Center, the Imaginarium Discovery Center and the Thomas Planetarium; the vast collection of Alaska Native exhibits and arts demonstrations at the Alaska Native Heritage Center; Alaska's aviation legacy at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum; moose and whale skeletons at the Alaska Museum of Natural History.
Memorable Meals—The steak sandwich or tomato-Gorgonzola soup at Sacks Cafe; the Glacier BrewHouse for Alaskan king crab legs; freshly caught Alaska wild salmon or halibut at Simon and Seafort's; pizza at Moose's Tooth Pub and Pizzeria; the pepper steak at Club Paris; the wild-mushroom ravioli or lamb osso buco at Orso; macadamia-nut halibut at Marx Brothers' Cafe; blueberry-patch truffle at Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge.
Late Night—A concert at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts; a nightcap at the Crow's Nest; blues music at Blues Central; dancing and food at Platinum Jaxx; live music at McGinley's Irish Pub; martinis at Bernie's Bungalow Lounge; partying in the maze of bars at Chilkoot Charlie's.
Walks—Strolling the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in the almost-midnight sun of midsummer; hiking Flattop Mountain or nature trails in Chugach State Park; the free 45-minute Alaska Public Lands Information Center walking tour in downtown Anchorage; searching for moose, beavers and birds at Kincaid Park or Potter Marsh; biking through the forests of the Chester Creek Trail.
Especially for Kids—Hands-on exhibits at the Imaginarium; watching Oreo and Ahpun at the Alaska Zoo; splashing through the H2Oasis Waterpark; indoor ice skating at the Dimond Center Mall; the theater and park at Alaska Wild Berry Products; visiting wild things at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
Geography
The city occupies a wide and relatively flat point of land where Ship Creek flows into Cook Inlet in south-central Alaska. The southern edge of Anchorage borders on the waters of Turnagain Arm (a branch of Cook Inlet). The Chugach (pronounced CHEW-gatch) Mountains rise to the east, and the Anchorage Bowl—as the whole area is called—stretches approximately 15 mi/25 km north to south and 10 mi/15 km east to west at its widest point.
Within the Bowl are a number of distinct neighborhoods connected by large arterial roads. There are two major highways: the New Seward Highway, which heads south from downtown toward Seward on the Kenai (pronounced KEE-nye) Peninsula, and Glenn Highway, which heads northeast, eventually connecting with the Alaska Highway at Tok. The Parks Highway is the main road to Denali National Park and Fairbanks. It branches off the Glenn Highway 35 mi/56 km north of Anchorage.
Travelers are likely to visit downtown and midtown. The latter is a nondescript area marked by shopping malls, businesses and homes approximately 1 mi/2 km south of downtown.
History
Anchorage sits along upper Cook Inlet, named for English explorer James Cook, who sailed into those waters in 1778 in search of the fabled Northwest Passage across the North American continent. For centuries, the Tanaina natives inhabited the area. The first European settlers didn't arrive until the early 1900s.
In 1915, Anchorage became a primary staging area for workers building the federally financed Alaska Railroad, which connected coastal Seward with inland Fairbanks. A tent city quickly sprang up along Ship Creek (located on the north edge of downtown), and within a year the semblance of a permanent town appeared complete with electricity, phones, water lines and schools.
By the 1930s, more than 3,000 people lived in Anchorage, and its importance grew during World War II when both Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson Army Post were built to help defend Alaska from possible Japanese attack.
After Alaska gained statehood in 1959, Anchorage prospered until the massive Good Friday earthquake of 1964. The second-most-powerful earthquake in the world during the 20th century, it had a magnitude of 9.2, killed 115 Alaskans and caused US$18 billion in damage (2007 U.S. dollars). Most of the structures in the city today were built after the quake.
Another significant event that has shaped Anchorage was the discovery of oil in Prudhoe Bay in 1968, and the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in the 1970s. The city quickly became a base for oil companies and other businesses, and its population more than tripled during the next decade. Its central location, relatively mild weather and excellent transportation facilities have made Anchorage the most important city in Alaska—by far. Today, it's a fairly cosmopolitan place and the commercial fulcrum of the state.
Visitors to Anchorage will also discover a surprisingly attractive downtown, especially in summer, with flowers overflowing their hanging baskets and a lovely small park in the center of town. In addition, the city has fine restaurants, a vibrant nightlife and ample recreational opportunities at any time of the year. Anchorage is a very livable city.
Port Information
Location
Although it's a port city, few cruise ships actually dock in Anchorage because of the constantly changing shallow conditions of the inlet and tremendously powerful tides. Instead, most cruise ships stop at one of two deepwater ports: Seward, 127 mi/204 km south on the Kenai Peninsula; or Whittier, 57 mi/92 km southeast, on the west side of Prince William Sound. Passengers are transported overland by bus or train to and from Anchorage.

 

Glacier viewing up close
 

Shore Excursions
Cruise tours include trips to Columbia Glacier, Prince William Sound, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Denali National Park and Preserve with towering Mt. McKinley, Portage Glacier and Seward. Most provide opportunities for fishing, camping, hiking, boating, sightseeing, historic railroad trips, flightseeing or landing on a glacier by helicopter.
Some ship-sponsored tours may include bus or train transportation, overnight accommodations and food, but others may not. For a complete list of excursions and prices, contact the cruise line or your travel agent.
Potpourri
Alaska has 128 times more land covered by glaciers than all the remaining states, with a combined 100,000 glaciers. Glacial ice often appears blue because glaciers absorb all other colors and reflect blue. There are 60 glaciers within 50 mi/80 km of Anchorage.
The majority of Anchorage city drinking water is runoff from the Eklutna Glacier that is piped into the city.
When Pope John Paul II spoke at downtown's Delaney Park Strip in 1981, 50,000 people came to see him, which is amazing given that his visit was in February and the event was outdoors.
Moose frequent yards and streets throughout Anchorage, and there are about 1,900 of the animals in residence within city limits as well as about 250 black bears and 65 brown bears.
Anchorage is home to Lake Hood, the busiest seaplane base in the world, with more than 600 takeoffs and landings daily in summer. These small planes use skis and wheels on the frozen runway in the winter.
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has a ceremonial start in Anchorage and travels 1,049 mi/1,689 km from Willow or Wasilla to Nome every year, although the exact route differs each year.
A life-sized statue of Capt. James Cook overlooks the Turnagain Arm at Resolution Park in downtown Anchorage. Reportedly, the statue frowns because of Cook's failure to find the fabled Northwest Passage. Cook's ship, The Resolution, was forced to turn back in Anchorage's shallow port waters.
Anchorage is Alaska's largest Alaska Native village, home to members of all eleven Alaska cultural groups.
On a clear day in Anchorage you can see 20,300-ft/6,187-m Mount McKinley, North America's tallest mountain, which is 130 mi/208 km north of downtown. You can also see six mountain ranges: the Alaska Range; the Chugach, Talkeetna, Tordrillo and Kenai mountains; and the Aleutian Range as well as two volcanoes.
Anchorage, which stretches 1,961 mi/3,157 km from Portage Glacier to Eklutna, is about the size of the state of Delaware.
See & Do
Sightseeing
Before dashing off to outlying sights such as Denali (pronounced deh-NAH-lee) National Park or the Kenai Peninsula, you should spend some time in Anchorage itself. With its museums, art galleries, restaurants, parks and trails, flower-filled city center and scenic shoreline, the city is worth at least a day of sightseeing and possibly more.
You might want to start with a visit to the impressive Anchorage Museum, Resolution Park and the Alaska Public Lands Information Center. Farther away are the must-see Alaska Heritage Museum at Wells Fargo and the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum.
A trolley car leaves from in front of the log-cabin visitor center at Fourth Avenue and F Street hourly 9 am-5 pm for a 45-minute tour of downtown (about US$10 adults). We also recommend a drive south along Turnagain Arm to Girdwood, stopping at the Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary and the numerous scenic overlooks to watch for beluga whales or Dall sheep. For the best views, take along a pair of binoculars.
Historic Sites
Two places of historic interest are the Alaska Railroad Depot at 411 W. First Ave. and Pioneer School House at Third Avenue and Eagle Street in Anchorage.
Outside Anchorage are the Crow Creek Consolidated Mining Co. in Girdwood and the Old St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Eklutna, among others. Oscar Anderson House
One of Anchorage's oldest residences and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this small two-story house was constructed in 1915 by Swedish butcher Oscar Anderson. It has been furnished and meticulously maintained to represent the city's early days. Guided tours last 30-45 minutes. Open mid-June to mid-September Monday-Friday noon-5 pm. US$3 adults, US$1 children. 420 M St. (next to Elderberry Park and the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, at the west end of Fifth Avenue), Anchorage. Phone 907-274-2336.


Museums
Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum
Located on Lake Hood near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, this museum contains 30 vintage aircraft, items from battles in the Aleutian Islands during World War II, and three theaters that show videos depicting Alaska's aviation history. Try your hand at handling an aircraft in a flight simulator. It's also fun to watch the floatplanes taking off from Lake Hood and Spenard Lake outside the museum or watch the restoration of historic planes. The gift shop sells aviation-related items. Free shuttle from the Ted Stevens Airport (phone 907-529-2577). Open mid-May to mid-September daily 9 am-5 pm; mid-September to mid-May Wednesday-Sunday 9 am-5 pm. US$10 adults, US$8 seniors, US$6 children. 4721 Aircraft Drive, Anchorage. Phone 907-248-5325. http://www.alaskaairmuseum.org.

Alaska Heritage Museum at Wells Fargo
Rather surprisingly, one of the finest collections of Alaskana on public display is housed in a midtown Wells Fargo bank building. The museum includes paintings by renowned Alaskan artists, rare books, Alaska Native carvings, baskets and artifacts, ivory ship models and much more. Memorial Day-Labor Day Monday-Friday noon-5 pm; the rest of the year noon-4 pm. Free. 301 W. Northern Lights Blvd., Anchorage. Phone 907-265-2834. http://www.wellsfargohistory.com/museums/museum_anchorage.html.

Alaska Law Enforcement Museum
The very small but unique museum and gift shop of the Alaska State Troopers showcases memorabilia, photographs and historic police equipment, including a restored 1952 Hudson Hornet patrol car. Open Monday-Friday 10 am-4 pm, Saturday noon-4 pm. Free. 245 W. Fifth Ave., Suite 113, Anchorage. Phone 907-279-5050. http://www.alaskatroopermuseum.com.

Alaska Museum of Natural History
Create an earthquake with the earthquake simulator or dig and discover broken mammoth artifacts at this hands-on museum. On display are saber-tooth cat, velociraptor, whale and mammoth skeletons along with a huge collection of Alaska rocks, minerals and fossils. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-5 pm. US$5 adults, US$3 children, US$15 family. 201 N. Bragaw St., Anchorage. Phone 907-274-2400. http://www.alaskamuseum.org.

 

Sample authentic Alaskan foods

Alaska Native Heritage Center
Staffed entirely by Alaska Natives from across the state, this 26-acre/11-hectare site on the eastern edge of Anchorage provides a fine introduction to Alaska's different cultures. The Welcome House describes the various cultural groups through exhibits, videos, photographs, artifacts and demonstrations. Outside is a small lake surrounded by six re-created villages. A trail links the sites, and guides give details. It's a must-see. The Raven's Call Cafe is on-site, and the gift shop is one of the better places in the state to buy arts and crafts made by Alaska Natives. Mid-May to mid-September daily 9 am-5 pm. US$24.95 non-Alaskan adults, US$21.15 seniors and military, US$16.95 children. Family packages (two adults, two children) are available for US$71.50. US$9.95 Alaskan residents. 8800 Heritage Center Drive, Anchorage. Phone 907-330-8000. Toll-free 800-315-6608. http://www.alaskanative.net.

Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center
One of the finest museums in Alaska, this sleek facility covers indigenous lifestyles, European explorations, Russian colonization and the statehood years, including such topics as the 1964 earthquake and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Four floors filled with fascinating interactive exhibits offer history and art, life-sized dioramas of Alaska Native villages and traveling exhibits. Free documentary videos are shown daily in summer. Five times daily, 45-minute guided tours are provided. The Imaginarium Discovery Center features more than 70 hands-on interactive science exhibits, including simulated earthquakes and auroras as well as animal touch tanks. The museum also houses the Thomas Planetarium and the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, with more than 600 Smithsonian indigenous artifacts.
The museum's Muse Cafe is operated by the Marx Brothers, who have a popular restaurant in town, and there's a gift shop with quality authentic Alaska Native arts and crafts. Open mid-May to mid-September daily 9 am-6 pm (Thursday till 9 pm); mid-September to mid-May Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday noon-6 pm. US$10 adults, US$8 seniors, US$7 donation suggested for child admission. 625 C St., Anchorage. Phone 907-929-9201. http://www.anchoragemuseum.org.

Knik Museum/Mushers Hall of Fame
This is not a re-creation: The small museum is housed in a building (one of only two remaining) from the Knik (pronounced k-NICK) Gold Rush era. It contains regional memorabilia, portraits and dog-mushing artifacts. There's a Canine Hall of Fame, too. In winter, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race passes its front door. In summer, you can picnic on the grounds and look out at Knik Lake. June-August Friday-Sunday noon-6 pm; September-May by appointment. Hours are subject to change pending staffing and public interest, so call ahead. US$2 adults. Off Mile 13.9, Knik Road (approximately 60 mi/97 km northeast of Anchorage), Wasilla. Phone 907-376-2005 to leave a message for call-back.
 

Naturalists onboard explain all the wilddlife

Parks & Gardens
Alaska Botanical Garden
This 110-acre/44-hectare park demonstrates the amazing growth possible in Alaska's daylight-filled summers. The 1-mi/1.6-km interpretive trail through a spruce and birch forest overflows with color and variety in summer and provides an easy stroll. Wildlife sightings are not uncommon; be alert for moose. A gift shop is on-site. Garden is open mid-May to mid-September daily 9 am-9 pm; mid-September to mid-May daily during daylight hours; winter gardens are often covered with snow. Admission by donation. Call ahead for guided tours (US$5 adults, US$3 children, US$10 families), offered daily at 1 pm June-August. Self-guided tour maps are also available. 4601 Campbell Airstrip Road, Anchorage. Phone 907-770-3692. http://www.alaskabg.org.

Delaney Park Strip
When the land was cleared for this park in 1923, the whole town pitched in. From the beginning, it has been a multipurpose area, serving initially as both a runway for air traffic and a nine-hole golf course. After 1929, when another airfield was built, the strip became a natural barrier against forest fires that might threaten the downtown area. More recently it has hosted picnics with the mayor and special concerts and events that need large venues. The park includes baseball fields and ice rinks, monuments and rose gardens in an area one block wide and 14 blocks long. Daily users include joggers and dog walkers, kite flyers and picnickers. The summer gardens are well worth a photograph, as is the retired Alaska Railroad engine car at Ninth Avenue and L Street. Keep your eyes open for a small fenced yard housing a pet reindeer named Star VI; its owner walks her most evenings along the Park Strip. It's the sixth in a series of reindeer with the same name that have been kept there since 1962. Between Ninth and 10th avenues and A and P streets, Anchorage. http://www.anchorageparkfoundation.org/directory/delaney.htm.

Earthquake Park
This small park marks the spot where 75 homes were destroyed when huge chunks of land slid into Cook Inlet during the 1964 earthquake. A short trail is well-marked with educational signs and interpretive displays. It gives information about the earthquake (which registered a magnitude of 9.2), local geology and native wildlife. Even locals visit now and again to remind themselves of Mother Nature's wrath, as well as to enjoy the view the area affords of the Anchorage skyline and the Chugach Mountains. The 11-mi/18-km Tony Knowles Coastal Trail runs through this park en route to Kincaid Park. Open year-round. Free. Northern Lights Boulevard (east of the intersection with International Airport Road), Anchorage.

Kincaid Park
This is a wonderful spot for summer and winter activities: It comprises 37 mi/60 km of walking and cross-country ski trails with different skill levels. In summer, take a picnic lunch and enjoy how the ski trails transform into dirt trails for easy hiking and bicycle rides. Be sure to pick up a trail map at trailheads so you don't get turned around in this hilly, tree-filled park, which offers views of Denali (weather permitting), the Alaska Range and Cook Inlet and frequent opportunities to see moose. Park open daily 10 am-10 pm. Raspberry Road parking lot outside the park open daily 6 am-11 pm. Public facilities are available daily noon-8:45 pm in the Kincaid Outdoor Center, which is also available to rent. Motorcross is available April-November Wednesday-Sunday 10 am-7:30 pm. Park admission is free. Located at the west end of Raspberry Road, Anchorage. Phone 907-343-6397.

Resolution Park
This tiny downtown park surrounds a life-sized statue of James Cook, who sailed into Cook Inlet in 1778 in search of the Northwest Passage. A wooden viewing platform and telescopes allow good views of Mount McKinley and the Alaska Range when the skies are clear, along with several semiactive volcanoes and the low summit of Mount Susitna, also known as the Sleeping Lady (see if you can spot how she got her name). Open year-round. Free. At Third Avenue and L Street, Anchorage.


Amusement Parks
H2Oasis Waterpark
An oasis of fun for kids (and adults), this water park has faux palm trees and a pirate ship riddled with seven waterslides. It offers water cannons, two large waterslides (including a 150-ft/45-m tube), the rollicking Master Blaster water coaster, a lazy river for tubing, a wave pool, wading pool, whirlpool and more. This is the only warm-water fun park in Alaska. A food court is also available. September-May Monday and Wednesday 3-8 pm, Friday 3-9 pm; Saturday and Sunday 10 am-9 pm. Closed Tuesday and Thursday. June-August daily 10 am-9 pm. Day passes US$23.99 adults, US$18.99 children ages 3-12. 1520 O'Malley Road, Anchorage. Phone 907-522-4420. Toll-free 888-426-2747. http://www.h2oasiswaterpark.com.


Zoos & Wildlife
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
This facility adopts injured or orphaned animals. It has spacious enclosures that create a safari atmosphere for buffalo, wood bison, elk, moose, black and grizzly bears, musk oxen and other species. A gift shop is on-site. Mid-May to mid-September daily 8 am-8 pm; mid-September to March daily 10 am-5 pm; April to mid-May daily 10 am-6 pm. US$10 adults, US$7.50 seniors and children. Mile 79 on the Seward Highway (just north of the Portage Glacier Road turnoff, 45 minutes south of Anchorage in Portage), Anchorage. Phone 907-783-2025. http://www.alaskawildlife.org.

 

Alaskan Native Culture Experiences

Alaska Zoo
The state's only zoo, this small facility houses bears, moose, musk oxen, seals and other Alaskan wildlife, along with subarctic (cold weather) species, including Amur tigers and Bactrian camels. The star attractions are Ahpun the polar bear and Oreo the grizzly bear, who grew up together and lived in the same enclosure until they began to have roommate issues. Oreo has now been placed with Jake, a male Kodiak bear, and Ahpun lives with Lyutyik, a female polar bear. Mid-May to mid-September daily 9 am-6 pm (till 9 pm Tuesday and Friday June-August); mid-September to mid-May daily 10 am-4 pm. US$12 adults, US$9 seniors, US$6 youths ages 3-17, free for children age 2 and younger. 4731 O'Malley Road (2 mi/3 km east of New Seward Highway), Anchorage. Phone 907-346-2133. http://www.alaskazoo.org.

Musk Ox Farm
An hour's drive from Anchorage, this is the world's only domestic musk-ox farm, home to 50 of these distinctive arctic creatures. Half-hour tours include an introduction to these bisonlike animals and the soft and warm wool they produce. The wool (called qiviut) is used in a variety of products, many of which are sold in the gift shop, including scarves, stoles and tunics. Open daily June-August 10 am-6 pm. Winter by appointment only. US$8 adults, US$7 seniors, US$6 children ages 5-12, free for children younger than 5. Mile 50 on Glenn Highway, Palmer. Phone 907-745-4151. http://www.muskoxfarm.org.


Recreation
The abundant opportunities for recreation make Anchorage a very livable city at all times of the year. Its proximity to Chugach State Park provides the chance to get away from the city itself, and parks and trails within Anchorage create a series of attractive greenbelts.
For in-town adventure, it's hard to beat the paved and nearly level Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, which starts downtown and continues 11 mi/18 km along the coast. In the summer, you can catch king salmon within a few blocks of downtown office buildings at Ship Creek, and in the winter, Anchorage turns to skiing, dog mushing, ice skating and other chilly outdoor pursuits.
Bicycling
Anchorage has a number of paved paths that are particularly popular with cyclists. The easiest and most accessible is the 11-mi/18-km Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, which begins downtown, passes the scenic Westchester Lagoon and Point Woronzof, and then leads to Kincaid Park. Before the trail reaches Kincaid, however, you can branch off at the paved Chester Creek Trail; it follows a salmon-spawning creek and bisects the city east and west. In all, Anchorage maintains more than 128 mi/206 km of paved trails.
At Kincaid Park, there are many dirt paths that offer challenging rides.
Downtown Bicycle Rental
Choose from 100 mountain bikes and tandems rented by the hour, day or week. Open Memorial Day-Labor Day 8 am-8 pm with evening lockup until 10 pm; September 9 am-7 pm; October 10 am-6 pm, or call 907-279-3334 at all other times. US$16-27.50 for three hours, depending on the type of bike (lock, helmet, repair kit and bike-trail maps are included). 333 W. Fourth Ave., Suite 206, Anchorage. Phone 907-279-5293. http://alaska-bike-rentals.com.


Bird Watching
The tidal flats around Anchorage offer some of the best local bird-watching, particularly along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail at Westchester Lagoon. (Note: Stay on the trail. It is extremely dangerous to walk on the tidal flats, which are a type of quicksand composed of glacial silt.) Also popular for bird-watching is Potter Marsh on the south side of town with a boardwalk that extends over the marsh so you can get closer views of waterfowl. Loons, ducks, Canada geese and songbirds of the boreal forest frequent Goose Lake, near the University of Alaska Anchorage, in the center of town.
The Anchorage Audubon Society leads bird-watching field trips and has a bird hotline with the latest unusual sightings. Phone 907-338-2473. http://www.anchorageaudubon.org.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game offers the Wings Over Alaska program to track birds at http://www.birding.alaska.gov. A free online program allows birders to record sightings at http://www.ebird.org.
Fishing
Ship Creek flows through the heart of Anchorage, just a short walk from downtown hotels. During summer, the creek sees a good run of king and silver salmon, and it's often crowded with anglers. There are additional opportunities in Campbell and Chester creeks in town and in the surrounding areas, particularly south of town along Turnagain Arm and the Kenai Peninsula, and north of town on the Susitna River.
Licenses are sold in local sporting-goods stores and grocery stores. Take along your own gear, as no outfitter in Anchorage rents equipment. If you hire a fishing guide, most guides provide gear as part of their fee.
Golf
Anchorage Golf Course
This public 18-hole, par-72 course sits at the base of the Chugach Mountains. There are great views from the fairways, and you may also spot some wildlife. Open daily mid-May to September during daylight hours. Greens fees run US$35 for nine holes or US$54 for 18 holes (not including cart). Club rentals are US$14-$39. 3651 O'Malley Road, Anchorage. Phone 907-522-3363. http://www.alyeskaresort.com.

Map of Alaska

Russian Jack Springs Golf Course
Municipal nine-hole course within Russian Jack Springs Park. Look out for No. 3, with its tree-lined, narrow fairway. Open daily mid-May to mid-October 8 am-9 pm. Greens fees run US$11-$13. Limited club rentals available for US$7. 1600 Lidia Selkregg Lane, Anchorage. Phone 907-343-6992.

Tanglewood Lakes Golf Club
Wooded nine-hole course that also offers an opportunity to view wildlife. There's also a winter driving range inside a golf dome. Golf course open daily mid-May to September 8 am-11:30 pm. Driving range open 10 am-10 pm year-round. Greens fees run US$18 for nine holes and an additional US$10 to repeat the course. Driving range US$12 for the first 36 minutes. Club rentals are available. 11801 Brayton Drive, Anchorage. Phone 907-345-4600. http://www.tanglewoodlakesgolf.com.

Hiking & Walking
Chester Creek Trail
An offshoot of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, this trail begins at Westchester Lagoon (T Street and 15th Avenue) and travels east along the creek to Goose Lake in the University District. Paved its entire length, it is level and very scenic. It borders the south end of Anchorage's downtown district.

Chugach State Park
The most popular local hiking trails are within this 495,000-acre/200,319-hectare park, in the mountains just east of Anchorage. Several trailheads provide access to 27 trails ranging from the 0.25 mi/0.4 km wheelchair-accessible Anchorage Overlook Trail to the 26 mi/50 km increasingly challenging Iditarod (Crow Pass) Trail. Some trails, such as the Bird to Gird (the old highway from Bird Creek to Girdwood), are shared by hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers and snow machines when snow conditions permit. Phone 907-269-8400. http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/chugach.

Flattop Mountain
This 3-mi/5-km round-trip hike in Chugach State Park is considered quite strenuous by some and a simple hike by others. The most-climbed mountain in Alaska covers a vertical rise of 1,250 ft/375 m and ends in some scrambling over rocks. The views are awe-inspiring on a clear day when you can see the entirety of the Anchorage Bowl as well as the Alaska Range from across Cook Inlet. To get to the trailhead, go east on O'Malley Boulevard for 4 mi/6 km, then left on Upper Huffman Drive for a short jaunt, then right on Toilsome Hill Road for 2 mi/4 km to the Glen Alps parking lot. There's an overlook near the parking lot where you can take in the view of the Anchorage Bowl—the trail there is 0.25 mi/0.4 km long and paved for those not up to the mountain climb.

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
This paved trail begins near downtown Anchorage and follows Cook Inlet to Kincaid Park. It's fairly level and is popular with walkers, joggers, bicyclists and in-line skaters. Some of the best access points are at the west end of Second Avenue and the west end of Fifth Avenue. During the course of its 11-mi/18-km stretch, this trail leads past Westchester Lagoon (filled with waterfowl in summer and boasting a picturesque mountain backdrop), Earthquake Park and Point Woronzof (a scenic viewpoint) before reaching Kincaid Park.

Ice Skating
Dimond Center Ice Chalet
If you visit Alaska in the summer, you still don't have to miss the state's favorite pastime. A large indoor ice-skating rink on the bottom floor of the Dimond Center Mall makes it easy to practice your pirouettes year-round. Open daily; hours vary by day and time of year. US$5 adults, US$3.50 seniors and children age 12 and younger. Skate rentals and classes also available. 800 E. Diamond Blvd., Anchorage. Phone 907-344-1212. http://www.dimondicechalet.com.

Skiing
Alyeska Resort
This favorite of skiers and snowboarders—and former domicile of Olympic skier Tommy Moe—is 40 mi/64 km south of Anchorage. Deep snow (650 in/1,651 cm annually), 73 runs, a 60 passenger aerial tram, seven chairlifts and two magic carpets contribute to its appeal. Lessons and rentals are available. For heli-skiing and snowcat skiing, contact Chugach Powder Guides (phone 907-754-2108; http://www.chugachpowderguides.com). In summer, the resort is equally popular and has a tram to mountaintop restaurants. The hotel there (The Hotel Alyeska) is one of the finest in the state. Skiing is open daily 10:30 am-5:30 pm mid-November to April, night skiing 4:30-9:30 pm. Day ski pass US$60 adults, night ski pass US$40 adults. To ride the tram to the top and back is US$18 adult, or free with advance dining reservations. 1000 Arlberg Road, Girdwood. Phone 907-754-2111. Toll-free 800-880-3880. http://www.alyeskaresort.com.

Arctic Valley Ski Area
This family-oriented, affordable ski area has a T-bar and two chair lifts to access 500 acres/202 hectares of Nordic and alpine ski areas. Open for skiing in season weekends only. Saturday 10:30 am-7 pm, Sunday 11 am-7 pm. US$32 adults full-day, US$24 half-day (2-7 pm). At the end of Arctic Valley Road (off Glenn Highway, 10 minutes from downtown), Anchorage. Phone 907-428-1208. http://www.skiarctic.net.

Hilltop Ski Area
Hilltop Ski Area provides a more convenient, albeit less challenging, alternative to Mount Alyeska. Located at the base of the Chugach Mountains, it has one triple chair lift, a rope tow, platter lift, lodge, snack bar and 30 acres/12 hectares of groomed slopes with ranging levels of difficulty. Bordering facilities include the lighted Karl Eid Ski Jump Complex (phone 907-346-2322) and nearly 28 mi/45 km of cross-country trails for Nordic skiers. Open in-season Monday-Thursday 3-8 pm, Friday 3-9 pm, Saturday and holidays 9 am-9 pm, Sunday 9 am-5 pm. Lift tickets are US$24-$30 adults. 7015 Abbott Road (near Lake Otis Parkway), Anchorage. Phone 907-346-2167 (ski hotline) or 907 346-1446 (administration). http://www.hilltopskiarea.org.


Nightlife
Anchorage has a wide variety of nightlife offerings, from romantic jazz-music spots to meat-market clubs. Bars and nightclubs are scattered around the city, although several of the best known are located along Spenard Road.
Most clubs close between midnight and 2:30 am.
Bars, Taverns & Pubs
Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse
Immensely popular with the young-and-single crowd, as well as with patrons of the performing arts building across the street, Humpy's overflows with people on Friday and Saturday nights. It offers live music nightly, and the food is pub grub at its best: burgers, grilled halibut, king crab, nachos and pasta with scallops. It's loud and not a good choice for families after about 8 pm, with almost nightly events, including a pub quiz every Tuesday, and the best beer selection in town. Daily for lunch and dinner (kitchen closes at 1 am). Breakfast Saturday and Sunday. $$. Most major credit cards. 610 W. Sixth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-276-2337. http://www.humpys.com.

Peanut Farm Sports Bar and Grill
This little old sports bar with peanut shells in part of the original flooring connects to a massive 20,000-ft/6,096-m two-story sports bar with giant plasma-screen TVs tuned to sports, a stone pizza oven, pool tables and live music most nights. The huge menu includes breakfast, burgers, pizzas, seafood, grilled burritos, steaks, great salads, oysters after 3 pm, and lots of appetizers. Out back is a spacious covered deck where you can watch the salmon in Campbell Creek in late summer. Open Sunday-Thursday 6 am-2:30 am, Friday and Saturday 6 am-3 am. 5227 Old Seward Highway, Anchorage. Phone 907-563-3283. http://www.wemustbenuts.com.

Snow Goose Restaurant & Pub
This downtown eatery has deck seating overlooking Cook Inlet and Mount Susitna (the Sleeping Lady). If the evening is warm and clear, grab a spot with a view of Mount McKinley. This is the brewing location for the Sleeping Lady Brewing Co., so plenty of fresh ales, lagers and root beer are brewed on-site. The menu is well-rounded, too, with smoked salmon pasta, flat-iron steak, tundra caribou cheeseburgers, salads and Apple Ale salmon entrees. A favorite is the Taste of Alaska, with reindeer-stuffed halibut, salmon cakes and a king crab leg. Occasional live music. Open daily. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 717 W. Third Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-277-7727. http://www.alaskabeers.com.


Dance & Nightclubs
Bernie's Bungalow Lounge
A retro-style place with many theme rooms, plus a lawn and patio in the rear. This is a lively spot where the beautiful people play, dance, drink and eat. It offers up infamous cosmopolitan martinis and has a very busy dance floor, with DJ tunes several evenings a week. Daily noon-2:30 am. 626 D St., Anchorage. Phone 907-276-8808. http://www.berniesbungalowlounge.com.

Chilkoot Charlie's
With 10 bars and three dance floors, live rock bands, DJ-spun Top-40 tunes and swing music, this place has music and dance areas to suit a wide variety of tastes. You will definitely find a cross section of Alaskans at this sawdust-and-peanut-shell-floored, fun-loving spot. Daily 10:30 am-2:30 am. US$7 cover on weekends. 2435 Spenard Road, Anchorage. Phone 907-272-1010. http://www.koots.com.

Mad Myrna's
Alaska's best-known gay bar, with Friday-night drag shows, country music and special theme nights. Locals ranked this place among the city's top dance clubs. In the karaoke room, the crowd can get pretty judgmental. Daily 3 pm-2:30 am. US$4 cover on weekends. 530 E. Fifth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-276-9762. http://www.alaska.net/~madmyrna.

Platinum Jaxx
This sleek cocktail and grill establishment is a favorite with the working crowd. Several DJs play upbeat music, events include Saturday Night Live and Salsa Sunday, and there are 40 flat-screen TVs. The menu features appetizers, burgers, pizza, wraps and healthy salads with grilled or blackened protein additions. Open daily. 901 E. Sixth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-278-5299. http://www.platinumjaxx.com.

 

Get up close to a Glacier


Live Music
Blues Central
This smoker-friendly club is the place to go for nightly live blues. Try to catch a show by the Rebel Blues or Veronica Page bands, which make regular appearances. Music starts at 9:30 pm. Blues jam on Sunday nights. Great bites for lunch and dinner, too, from French dips and beer-battered halibut sandwiches to a blackened-salmon Caesar salad. Tuesday is Deadliest Catch night with fresh seafood, and Saturday serves prime rib for US$12.95. Daily 11 am-11 pm. US$5 cover Friday and Saturday. 825 W. Northern Lights Blvd., Anchorage. Phone 907-272-1341.

McGinley's Irish Pub
This toe-tapping downtown pub, close to the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center, offers live music with no cover charge Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and Irish music on Thursday nights. It serves Irish and American pub grub, such as beef and Guinness stew, black-beer chili, or corned beef and cabbage. Open daily. 645 G St., Anchorage. Phone 907-279-1782.


Performing Arts
Most performing arts in Anchorage are home-grown, from jug bands to its respected symphony orchestra. The University of Alaska at Anchorage is also a hub for student and professional performances in both music and theater.
Since Anchorage is the biggest city in Alaska, it also draws many major national touring acts. http://www.anchorageconcerts.org.
Music
Anchorage Symphony Orchestra
Performances take place at Atwood Concert Hall in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. The season runs late September to mid-April. 400 D St. Suite 230 (administrative office), Anchorage. Phone 907-274-8668. http://www.anchoragesymphony.org.


Theater
Anchorage Community Theatre
Since 1953, ACT has incorporated local talent in theater performances, education and outreach to students, including annual summer magic workshops. 1133 E. 70th Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-344-4713 or 907-868-4913 (tickets). http://www.actalaska.org.

University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Theatre and Dance
Student- and community-performed dance and theater productions are offered during the academic year on the university campus. 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage. Phone 907-786-1792. Phone 907-263-2787 for tickets (CenterTix). http://theatre.uaa.alaska.edu.


Ticket Brokers
For links to ticket sales and a listing of events in the area while you are there, go to the events calendar portion of the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau at http://www.anchorage.net.


CenterTix
An online vendor, CenterTix lists upcoming attractions in the performing arts. To check out the upcoming events, choose seat assignments and purchase online or will-call tickets, see the Web site or go to the Performing Arts Center at 621 W. Sixth Ave. Phone 907-263-2787. Toll-free 877-278-7849. http://www.centertix.net.

Fred Meyer Ticketmaster Outlets
Ticketmaster, the be-all for sporting and some concert events, can be accessed either through its Web site or at Fred Meyer Grocery Store locations. You can buy tickets at the stores, online or at the Sullivan Arena box office at 1600 Gambell St. Phone 907-279-0618. http://www.ticketmaster.com.


Venues
Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
The arts are well-represented at the modern Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, which occupies a central space in the heart of town. Modern-dance and ballet companies, Broadway musicals, theater and nationally renowned musicians perform there year-round. It's home to the city's symphony orchestra, opera, ballet and concert chorus. This US$70 million modern brick-and-glass building, which houses four performance areas and two spacious lobbies, occupies an entire block in a prime location in downtown Anchorage. One of the lobbies is decorated with Alaska Native masks and vibrant floral carpeting.
From mid-May to September, the Sydney Laurence Theatre offers AurorA, a 40-minute slide show on the northern lights, set to original music, shown hourly 9 am-9 pm. US$8.75 adults; students and children US$6.75 (plus a US$2 ACPA surcharge per ticket). Group rates are available. Phone 907 263-2993. http://www.thealaskacollection.com.
The park beside the building overflows with brightly colored flowers in the summer months and is home to a popular skating rink and ice sculptures in the winter. A skybridge links the theaters with the Egan Center, a reception and convention area across the street. CenterTix provides event tickets (phone 907-263-2787). 621 W. Sixth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-263-2900. http://myalaskacenter.com.

Cyrano's Off-Center Playhouse
A favorite local choice for performing arts, this small stage is host to mesmerizing theater productions. Cyrano's Theatre Company entertains audiences in this 86-seat venue. Call to see what's playing while you're in town. 413 D St., Anchorage. Phone 907-274-2599. http://www.cyranos.org.

Out North Theatre and Gallery
In existence for more than 20 years, Out North presents an array of alternative plays, video productions and workshops. 3800 DeBarr Road, Anchorage. Phone 907-279-3800. http://www.outnorth.org.
 

Alaska's frontier towns
Spectator Sports
The Chester Creek Sports Complex houses the George M. Sullivan Arena, Anchorage Football Stadium, Mulcahy Baseball Stadium, Ben Boeke Indoor Ice Arena and Kosinski Baseball Fields. It is also home to the Anchorage Aces hockey, University of Alaska at Anchorage hockey and basketball, Pilots and Bucs baseball, as well as high school football, soccer and hockey games. In addition, the Dena'ina and Egan Convention Centers host a myriad of sporting events throughout the year. http://www.anchorageconventioncenters.com.
Alaska is a hotbed of hockey talent, and the University of Alaska at Anchorage plays its games in the WCHL, one of the strongest divisions in college hockey.
Basketball fans are in for a treat on Thanksgiving weekend as the Sullivan Arena hosts the Great Alaska Shootout. A tradition for more than 25 years, it brings together college basketball teams from around the nation.
During the Fur Rendezvous each February, spectators can watch men's, women's and children's sled dog races, which start at Tozier Track or downtown Anchorage on Fourth Avenue. The Rendezvous includes a multitude of other sporting events around the city, too. The first weekend in March is the start of the famous Iditarod Sled Dog Race, which begins downtown on Fourth Avenue.
Each April, join fans for the Alaska Native Youth Olympics, when several hundred students from across Alaska compete in traditional Alaska Native sports, hosted by the University of Alaska at Anchorage in its sports complex. The Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon attracts several thousand runners to Anchorage on the weekend nearest the summer solstice (21 June).
Baseball
Alaska Baseball League
The Glacier Pilots and the Anchorage Bucs are semiprofessional teams that frequently feature up-and-coming college stars. Players such as Tom Seaver, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Randy Johnson once played in the Alaska League. Both teams play home games June-August at Mulcahy Stadium. 16th Avenue and Cordova Street (behind Sullivan Arena), Anchorage. Phone 907-561-2827 (Bucs) and 907-274-3627 (Pilots). http://www.anchoragebucs.com or http://www.glacierpilots.com.


Hockey
Alaska Aces
The Alaska Aces are members of the West Coast Hockey League and past winners of the Kelly Cup. The team plays home games October-April at Sullivan Arena. 1600 Gambell St., Anchorage. Phone 907-258-2237. http://www.alaskaaces.com.


Other Options
Thursday Night at the Fights
The Egan Center hosts boxing October-April every Thursday night. 555 W. Fifth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-230-4469. http://www.egancenter.com.


Shopping
Downtown Anchorage is heavily geared to tourist traffic in the summer, and many gift shops sell the usual T-shirts, mugs and trinkets with Alaska emblazoned on them. The Anchorage Markets and Festival on Saturday and Sunday May-September is an outstanding place to find all kinds of locally made items.
Of particular interest to many travelers are the Alaska Native arts and crafts sold at gift shops throughout the city, including ulu knives, carved ivory, dolls, grass and baleen baskets, totems, masks and jewelry. Even more distinctive are items made from qiviut, or musk oxen wool. Note: Because of their rare nature, some of these items (ivory, whale baleen, qiviut) can be quite expensive.
Shopping Hours: During the summer season, most shops are open Monday-Saturday 9 am-8 pm. Many stores are also open on Sunday but with limited hours.
Bookstores
Most Alaskans are avid readers, so bookstores are a popular local hangout, especially in winter. In the Anchorage area, most chain book stores are represented as well as the locally owned and operated stores. Metro Music and Book Store
This book and music store carries CDs by local artists and has a stage for various events. It also houses Cafe Felix, famous for fresh, house-made espresso, yogurt, crepes and sandwiches. Wi-Fi access. Open daily Monday-Saturday 9 am-7 pm, Sunday 10:30 am-5 pm. 530 E. Benson Blvd., Anchorage. Phone 907-279-8622.

Title Wave Books
The largest independent bookstore in Alaska, this is a very well-organized store specializing in used, new and bargain books, with a half-million titles in stock every day. There is a second location at 415 W. Fifth Ave. (open May-September 10 am-8 pm). Monday-Thursday 9 am-9 pm, Friday and Saturday 9 am-10 pm, Sunday 11 am-7 pm. 1360 W. Northern Lights Blvd. (in the Northern Lights Center Mall), Anchorage. Phone 907-278-9283. Toll-free 888-598-9283. http://www.wavebooks.com.


Galleries
Artic Rose Gallery
Housed in the same building as Simon and Seafort's restaurant, this fine-art gallery has a wide variety of works by Alaskan artists and is open late most nights. 420 L St., Anchorage. Phone 907-279-3911. http://www.articrosegallery.com.

Artique Ltd.
Widely regarded as Anchorage's best gallery, Artique exhibits a variety of paintings, prints, ceramics and jewelry. Hours are extended in summer. 314 G St., Anchorage. Phone 907-277-1663. Toll-free 800-848-1312. http://www.artiqueltd.com.

Aurora Fine Arts Gallery
This attractive gallery on a busy downtown corner is jammed with works by Alaskan and regional artists. 737 W. Fifth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-274-0234.

Stephan Fine Arts
Alaskan art has graced this gallery's walls since 1977. Choose from among Fred Machetanz's paintings of Alaska's landscape and Alaska Natives, Rie Munoz's representations of quirky village life, the amazing photography of Johnny Johnson and the work of many other artists. (There is a second location in the Hotel Captain Cook at 939 W. Fifth Ave.) 434 K St., Anchorage. Phone 907-274-5009. http://www.stephanfinearts.com.


Markets
Anchorage Market and Festival
More than 300 vendors operate booths every Saturday and Sunday in summer at this popular outdoor market. You'll find photographs, crafts, jewelry, home-crafted soaps, hand-painted ceramics, fresh produce, and a wide range of sweet and greasy foods to nibble on while you shop. One booth even offers Alaskan birch syrup and candies. Frequent live entertainment. Highly recommended; this is a must-see stop for both tourists and locals. Mid-May to mid-September Saturday and Sunday 10 am-6 pm. Free. West Third Avenue between E and C streets (across from the Hilton Hotel), Anchorage. Phone 907-272-5634. http://www.anchoragemarkets.com.

New Sagaya City Market
A gourmet, Asian-focused grocery with a deli, Kaladi coffee bar and La Roma bakery, this eclectic place is within walking distance of downtown hotels. It's particularly popular at lunch. The deli serves Chinese entrees, pizzas from a wood-fired oven, gourmet espresso, and such all-American favorites as roasted chicken and meat loaf. The bakery is one of the finest in town. Several additional locations. Daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $. Most major credit cards. 900 W. 13th Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-274-6173. http://www.newsagaya.com.

Northway Mall Wednesday Market
Enjoy fresh Alaska produce on Wednesday 9 am-4 pm late June-early October in the parking lot of the Northway Mall. The mall, with 50 shops, is open year-round. 3101 Penland Parkway, Anchorage.


Shopping Areas
Anchorage Fifth Avenue Mall
Houses several major chain stores, including Nordstrom, Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic, Eddie Bauer and The Body Shop, plus a lot of smaller shops, some of which sell local arts and crafts. Additionally, the shopping area south of Nordstrom, outside of the mall, has blossomed with specialty shopping boutiques, earning the area the nickname SONO (South of Nordstrom). Open Monday-Friday 10 am-9 pm, Saturday 10 am-8 pm, Sunday 11 am-6 pm. 320 W. 5th Ave., Suite 219, Anchorage. Phone 907-258-4003. http://www.simon.com/Mall/?id=231.

Dimond Center Mall
Alaska's largest mall houses 200 stores and offices, as well as an ice-skating rink, bowling alley, health club, library, post office and cinemas. Open Monday-Saturday 10 am-9 pm, Sunday 11 am-6 pm. 800 E. Dimond Blvd., Anchorage. Phone 907-344-2581. http://www.dimondcenter.com.


Specialty Stores
Alaska Native Medical Center Craft Shop
One of the best spots for locally made Alaska Native arts and crafts. Take some time to enjoy the Alaska Native art on each floor, too. Monday-Friday 10 am-2 pm. Also open the first and third Saturday of the month 11 am-2 pm. Cash or traveler's checks only. 4315 Diplomacy Drive (off East Tudor Road, inside the Alaska Native Medical Center), Anchorage. Phone 907-729-1122.

Alaska Sausage and Seafood Company
Whether you prefer smoked salmon, halibut or gourmet reindeer sausage, this specialty shop is an Anchorage must-see. The staff will even smoke your catch for you. Gift packages start around US$45 before tax, so you can take home a sampling to share (or not—we won't tell) with your friends back home. Open Monday-Friday 9:30 am-6 pm, Saturday 9:30 am-3 pm. 2914 Arctic Blvd., Anchorage. Phone 907-562-3636. Toll-free 800-798-3636. http://www.alaskasausage.com.

Alaska Wild Berry Products
This chocolate- and berry-product factory offers 15-minute tours during summer, complete with singing and dancing. Best known for delicious chocolate-covered berries, fudge and truffles, it also produces jams (including one made from rose hips) and other Alaska products. It has a big gift shop and a 20-ft/6-m chocolate waterfall, as well as a 153-person theater, grill, beer and wine garden, and an ice-cream shop. The Alaska Wild Berry Park and Village, a favorite with kids, includes a reindeer petting zoo. Daily. Free. 5225 Juneau St. (at Old Seward Highway), Anchorage. Phone 907-562-8858. Toll-free 800-280-2927. http://www.alaskawildberryproducts.com.

Cabin Fever
This charming boutique offers quality, unique gifts made by Alaskan artists. You can find local teas, ceramics with salmon designs, etched wine glasses, birch bowls, and many other treats and trinkets. Have a seat on the cedar chests and rustic birch furniture. Open daily. 650 W. Fourth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-278-3522.

David Green Master Furrier
Whether you are seeking a new fur item or are simply interested in seeing some of the best-quality Alaskan furs available, this gallery will amaze you. It offers fur slippers, tanned pelts, traditional-style mukluks, parkas, long and short coats, small souvenirs and more. Monday-Saturday 9 am-6 pm, Sunday by appointnent only. 130 W. Fourth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-277-9595. http://www.davidgreenfurs.com.

Downtown Co-op
On the first floor of the Fifth Avenue Mall is a small store filled with Alaska-made items as well as some imported goods. The craftspeople belonging to the co-op display their stained glass, purses, jewelry, pottery, folk art, candles, soaps, and a wide array of imported T-shirts and other mementos. Daily. Corner of Fifth Avenue and C Street (in the Fifth Avenue Mall), Anchorage. Phone 907-277-5620.

Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers' Co-operative
This cooperative sells woven qiviut (pronounced kiv-ee-ute), the soft undercoat from musk oxen, in the form of scarves, tunics, hats and other hand-knit items. It is considered eight times warmer than sheep's wool, and the material is accessed only by collecting wool that is shed from the undercoats of wild musk oxen or by combing these less-than-docile creatures. The items are all knitted by Alaska Native women. Each village that belongs to the co-op has its own weave pattern. Daily 10 am-6 pm (October-April closed Sunday). 604 H St., Anchorage. Phone 907-272-9225. Toll-free 888-360-9665. http://www.qiviut.com.

The Kobuk
This old-fashioned gift emporium specializes in flavored and unflavored coffees, teas and china accessories, along with candies, Alaska-made soaps and hundreds of other items. Sip a free sample of the Kobuk house blend coffee or some spicy Russian-influenced Samovar tea. Originally Kimball's Dry Goods, the store is in a historic building from 1915. Open Monday-Friday 10 am-6 pm, Saturday 11 am-6 pm. Closed Sunday. 504 W. Fifth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-272-3626. http://www.kobukcoffee.com.

The Ulu Factory
A piece of history and culture, Eskimo-style ulu knives are still used by Alaska Natives around the state. You can choose from an assortment with artistically carved handles. Unfortunately, many of the ulus sold in Alaska gift shops are made in China, but these knives are manufactured using only products from the U.S. If you buy one, you'll receive a lesson on how to properly hold and cut with the curved blades. These items must be packed in checked baggage on airlines. Mid-May to September daily; mid-September to mid-May Monday-Friday. 211 W. Ship Creek Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-276-3119. http://theulufactory.com.


Itinerary
Day Trips
To the Arctic Circle. The Land of the Midnight Sun is becoming an increasingly popular destination among adventurous travelers, although there isn't much to see or do once you get there. One tour option is a daylong guided trip by plane from Anchorage to Barrow on the Arctic Ocean; a better and less-rushed choice is to overnight in Barrow before returning to Anchorage or Fairbanks. Another option is a flight to Nome to see the terminus of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race and learn about the town's gold history. Contact Alaska Airlines Vacations (http://www.alaskaair.com) or Gray Line of Alaska (http://www.graylinealaska.com) for details.
To Denali National Park and Mount McKinley. If you have time for only one land tour, make it this one. You'll see Alaska's premier wildlife preserve and the continent's highest peak. Travel to and from Anchorage by rail. The scenery and possible wildlife viewing en route is a big part of the experience, so get a window seat, if possible. Once you arrive at the park, you can go river rafting or flightseeing or attend the Cabin Nite dinner theater (each are options that you may add to your package). You can take a hike on your own or take a safari wildlife tour and look for moose, caribou, bears and Dall sheep. Trips range from one to seven days, but we recommend spending at least two days at the park.
To Girdwood. This town lies approximately 40 mi/64 km south of Anchorage via the Seward Highway, a National Scenic Byway (turn left to Girdwood at the Alyeska Highway). The drive itself is a good reason to visit, as the road clings to the edge of scenic Turnagain Arm much of the way, with periodic pullouts to look for beluga whales and Dall sheep or simply to take in the mountains-and-water vista. Two local bus companies provide service to Girdwood from Anchorage if you don't have a vehicle.
Tucked away in a narrow mountain valley, the town is dominated by Mount Alyeska, the state's largest ski area. You can ride the Alyeska Tramway on a five-minute narrated trip up 2,300-ft-/700-m-tall Mount Alyeska. On a clear day, the view includes more than seven glaciers. These views lead to the name of the restaurant atop this mountain: The Seven Glaciers. If you are there in the evening, be sure to make reservations for this unforgettably romantic dining experience. For casual dining with a local flair, stop by Chair Five for casual Alaskan fare.
If you've ever had gold fever—or just want to find out what all the fuss is about—visit historic Crow Creek Mine (the exit for this is Crow Creek Mine Road, 3.5 mi/5.6 km directly off the Alyeska Highway). There you can tour the charming, century-old mining buildings and try your luck panning for gold. While you're there, stop by the Double Musky Inn for classic New Orleans dishes prepared with Alaskan seafood.

 

Alaska Rail to Denali National Park
 

To the Portage Valley and Portage Glacier. Located about 55 mi/90 km south of Anchorage on the Seward Highway (turn left at Mile 50 onto Portage Valley Road), the Portage Valley has more to offer than just the famous Portage Glacier. Several turnouts along the road offer great views of hanging glaciers on the mountainside, and a viewing platform just before Williwaw Campground overlooks a salmon-spawning stream. Interpretive signs help you distinguish among the species of salmon. Keep an eye out for a day-use area labeled Moose Flats. It offers picnic tables and a lovely 0.25-mi/0.4-km boardwalk to enjoy viewing moose and wild fowl. Farther into Portage Valley, a marked trail to Byron Glacier offers the chance to walk on a glacier with minimal risk.
One of the most-visited sights in Alaska, Portage Glacier (about 55 mi/90 km south) is offered as a seven-hour day trip from Anchorage. Despite the crowds, it is definitely worth seeing. This tour, with transportation included, makes time for a stop at the Begich-Boggs Visitors Center, located 6 mi/10 km down the Whittier Access Road off Seward Highway, which is filled with informative exhibits including a short film about the geological dynamics of glaciers and how they've shaped Alaska. The highlight of the tour is the cruise up to the glacier aboard the MV Ptarmigan. On the return trip to Anchorage, you will stop in Girdwood, have time for lunch and, if you choose, ride the tram to the top of Mount Alyeska for a glacier-filled view.
To Hatcher Pass. Northeast of Anchorage near the town of Palmer, Hatcher Pass is not accessible by public transportation, so you'll need to have your own vehicle. To get there, drive 50 mi/80 km north on the Glenn Highway and turn left onto Palmer-Fishhook Road. The first 8-mi/13-km stretch passes through rolling agricultural land, but then the road turns to gravel and enters the mountains, climbing sharply for 9 mi/14 km to Independence Mine State Historical Park. In summer, you can tour the mine buildings, which nestle in a gorgeous alpine setting. You can also hike a number of trails or ski cross-country (cross-country-ski rentals are available in midtown Anchorage). http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/units/indmine.htm.
Nearby Palmer is home to the fascinating Musk Ox Farm, where these unusual creatures are raised for their undercoat, called qiviut, which is like wool. It's processed and knitted by Alaska Natives into beautiful, ultrasoft and extremely warm garments. Because these fibers are easily crushed and broken, you will find hats and scarves but not mittens or high-impact items. Guided tours include historical facts and humorous trivia about the animals at the farm. This herd, and all Alaskan musk oxen, are descended from Greenland musk oxen, as those in Alaska were hunted to extinction in 1865.
Visit the Reindeer Farm as you head back toward Anchorage from Palmer. It is 7 mi/11 km south of Palmer and a bit difficult to find, but we're sure you will think the drive is worthwhile. Step into Rudolph's world and into its backyard, literally, as you enter a field filled with reindeer. Your entrance fee includes some of the reindeer kibble that these docile creatures enjoy. You'll also see moose, Sitka black-tailed deer and a small herd of elk. Horseback trail rides are available.
To Prince William Sound. Although cruise ships traveling the Gulf Coast Route usually sail past the Columbia Glacier, it's also possible to get a closer look on tours out of Anchorage. This one-day tour package includes round-trip bus transportation along scenic Turnagain Arm to Whittier, where you'll board a ship that will take you out to some of the world's largest glaciers. A natural-history guide provides detailed information along the way. Take binoculars: The marine wildlife is abundant. Lunch is included.
To Seward. This small coastal town is located approximately 125 mi/200 km south of Anchorage on the Seward Highway, but the scenery makes the road trip worthwhile. Also known as the gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park, Seward is also accessible via the Alaska Railroad, bus or air. Depending on what time of year you visit, you may partake in fly-fishing, boat charters, glacier and wildlife cruises, sailing expeditions, hiking, kayaking, flightseeing, dogsled rides, cross-country skiing and snow machining. If you happen to be in town during the Fourth of July holiday (U.S. Independence Day), don't miss the annual footrace to the summit and descent of nearby Mount Marathon.
To the Glenn Highway. A drive along this National Scenic Byway lets you explore the Matanuska Susitna (Mat-Su) Valley, then climb along the edge of the Chugach Range with views of glaciers and the Alaska Interior taiga or small tree forests. The highway connects with the Parks Highway in Wasilla, the Richardson Highway in Glenallen and the Alaska-Canada Highway (Al-Can) in Tok.
Local Tours
Trolley and carriage tours of downtown, historical walking tours and flightseeing tours of Denali National Park are just a few of the ways to see Anchorage and the surrounding region. Stop at the Log Cabin Visitors Center on Fourth Avenue for information on the tours available.
Walking-tour maps at the visitors center can help you enjoy the historical sights of downtown Anchorage at your own pace. Plan a stop at the Oscar Anderson home, which is representative of the decoration and accommodations of the early homes of Anchorage. Chugach Outdoor Center
Go river rafting on Sixmile Creek at Mile 6 with the Chugach Outdoor Center rafting company. With shuttle service from Anchorage, this company offers several kinds of trips to enjoy the white-water excitement on this Class IV and Class V waterway. It also has kayak and float trips on the Talkeetna, Tana and Resurrection rivers, on Kenai Lake and in Denali. All equipment is provided. US$65 per person for a shuttle round-trip from Anchorage (a cheaper option might be to rent a car). US$99 for a two- to three-hour Sixmile trip, US$149 for a four- to five-hour trip. Phone 907-277-7238. Toll-free 866-277-7238. http://www.chugachoutdoorcenter.com.

K2Aviation
Offers flightseeing tours of Mount McKinley. 14052 E. Second St., Talkeetna. Phone 907-733-2291. Toll-free 800-764-2291. http://www.flyk2.com.

Motorcoach Tours
Gray Line of Alaska offers numerous tours, both long and short. It has packages for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, glacier cruising and gold-rush-history tours. Package tours include Seward, Denali National Park, Fairbanks and/or the Arctic Circle. From one-hour city tours to multiday tours, this is a well-recognized, proven tour operator. Its many options can help you maximize your time in Alaska. Open mid-May to mid-September at the Westmark Anchorage Hotel, 705 W. Fifth Ave., or the Anchorage Hilton, 500 W. Third Ave. Phone 907-277-5581. Toll-free 800-478-6388. http://www.graylinealaska.com.

Phillips Cruises and Tours
Phillips Cruises and Tours offers a wonderful day trip that takes visitors to more than two dozen glaciers within Prince William Sound. Tours are given onboard a high-speed catamaran with space for 310 passengers. Two of the decks are enclosed and heated, and the top level provides a panoramic vista of the passing scenery and wildlife. These four-and-a-half-hour trips depart by road or rail from the port of Whittier, 60 mi/96 km south of Anchorage. The cost is US$139 adults, US$79 children (including taxes and fees). Transport by motorcoach is an additional US$50-$80 via the Alaska Railroad. Phone 907-276-8023. Toll-free 800-544-0529. http://www.26glaciers.com.

Rust's Flying Service
Rust's Flying Service offers floatplane flights to view Alaskan brown bears in Katmai National Park or Lake Clark National Park. The six-hour trips (US$595 per person) head to Redoubt Bay within Lake Clark. Longer 10-hour trips (US$795 per person) may include time at famous Brooks Camp within Katmai National Park. The destination and routing depend upon bear activity and weather conditions. Flights depart from Lake Hood, Anchorage. Phone 907-243-1595. Toll-free 800-544-2299. http://www.flyrusts.com.

Salmon Berry Tours
This operation offers a variety of tours year-round, including the winter Northern Lights Late Night Special. Participants leave Anchorage at 7 pm and drive north to the Talkeetna Roadhouse, where they are treated to homemade soups, breads and desserts, along with a stargazing seminar on the Alaskan night sky. Participants then don snowshoes and trek through the wilderness in search of the northern lights, returning to the lodge about 2 am. 527 W. Third Ave., Anchorage. Toll-free 888-878-3572. http://www.salmonberrytours.com.

Talkeetna Air Taxi
Take a flightseeing tour of Mount McKinley and walk on one of the glaciers. Check out the Web site for photos of scenery too spectacular for words. Prices begin at US$520 for a tour of Ruth Glacier or Ruth Gorge and Moose's Tooth. 14212 E. Second St., Talkeetna. Phone 907-733-2218. Toll-free 800-533-2219. http://www.talkeetnaair.com.

Trolley Tours
Starting from the historic log cabin at Fourth Avenue and F Street, Trolley Tours offers one-hour narrated tours by an onboard guide who gives a brief history of downtown Anchorage's streets and buildings. All-day passes allow passengers to hop on and off as they choose: This trolley stops at many tourist destinations around downtown and midtown areas. The museum tour stops at three of the best-loved museums, and you have the option to rejoin the trolley at 15-minute intervals. Daily 9 am-5 pm mid-May through September. The one-hour tour is US$15 adults, US$7.50 children ages 6-12. Phone 907-276-5603. Toll-free 888-917-8687. http://www.alaskatrolley.com.


Day By Day
Day 1—Start the day with a walk around downtown, beginning at the Log Cabin Visitors Center and, for information on state and federal parks as well as exhibits on wildlife found in Alaska, try the Alaska Public Lands Information Center across the street. Visit the Anchorage Museum and other sights in the downtown area. Spend the evening getting your fill of fresh Alaskan seafood at one of the restaurants overlooking Cook Inlet.
Day 2—Continue to explore the Anchorage area, spending the day at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, Hatcher Pass or Chugach State Park. In the evening, attend a show at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts.
Day 3—Make a day trip from Anchorage to Turnagain Arm, Portage Glacier, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and Girdwood. As an alternative, book a boat tour of the Prince William Sound glaciers through Phillips Cruises and Tours. Return to Anchorage for the night.
Day Plans
To help you make the most of your time in the city, we've designed three itineraries.
PLAN A
Anchorage Amble
This car-free plan will give you a good overview of the city. First (if you plan to be in Anchorage at dinnertime), make reservations at Simon and Seafort's or the Crow's Nest in the Hotel Captain Cook. Then stop by the visitors center at Fourth Avenue and F Street for an Anchorage Visitors Guide and a walking-tour map.
Start your tour across the street at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center, where you can view videos of Alaska scenery and wildlife, buy books and maps, and get information about Denali and other state and federal parks. Take a moment to look at the several interesting and historic buildings in the area: the old City Hall directly across the street (the yard there offers free "music in the park" at noon each Wednesday and Friday in summer) and Stewart's Photo Shop within the block, to the east. Both are buildings from Anchorage's earliest settlement.
If the weather is nice, roam the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail on foot or on a bicycle (you get onto the trail at the west end of Fifth Avenue). Spend as much time as you can looking for beluga whales, waterfowl and shorebirds in Cook Inlet. Return to the trailhead and, if it's lunchtime, grab a bite to eat from one of the street vendors along Fourth Avenue between E and G streets, or pop into the Downtown Deli and Cafe or Snow City Cafe on Fourth Avenue. Spend your afternoon doing some shopping in the downtown area, then walk to the Anchorage Museum at 625 C St. Later, enjoy the view while dining at Simon and Seafort's or the Crow's Nest.
PLAN B
Tundra, Glacier and Musk Oxen
Pack a picnic lunch—including insect repellent—and pick up a copy of The Milepost. Available at most bookstores and grocery stores, it indicates the gas stops and the photo ops. Point your rental car east on the Glenn Highway and spend an hour or two at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Then cruise past Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson (the high chain-link fence along the road is there to keep moose off the highway). Turn off at the Thunderbird Falls exit and make the easy 1-mi/1.6-km hike to the falls.
Continue on to Eklutna Historical Park and Eklutna Lake. As you approach the lake, look for Dall sheep on the slopes to your left. Plan ahead and take advantage of the picnic area. The glacier-fed lake is too cold for swimming, but a nearly level path follows the east side of the lake.
Return to Glenn Highway and head east through Palmer, home of the Alaska State Fair. At Milepost 50, you can turn left and tour the Musk Ox Farm to see the big, shaggy animals up close. If you have time, continue northeast 50 mi/80 km to a turnout with a great view of Matanuska Glacier. Or you can drive to Hatcher Pass. This 50-mi/80-km drive takes you through high tundra in the Talkeetna Mountains, crosses a pass at just under 4,000 ft/1,200 m and deposits you onto Parks Highway, 70 mi/115 km from Anchorage. Visit the Independence Mine State Historical Park and then head south on Parks Highway through the town of Wasilla, where you'll get back on Glenn Highway to return to the big city.
PLAN C
Moose, Marsh and More
Start with a big Alaskan breakfast at Gwennie's Old Alaska Restaurant on Spenard Road. Pick up some picnic supplies, and then drive to Kincaid Park at the west end of Raspberry Road (off southbound Minnesota Drive). If you want to get some exercise, rent a bike. You can reach the park by bicycle via the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail from downtown; it is 11 mi/18 km one way. Look for moose (but don't get too close) and stop at Little Campbell Lake. If you can block out the sound of aircraft landing beyond the screen of trees at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, you'll think you're at a remote spot in the backcountry. One of the best views from this park is from the yard of the Kincaid Outdoor Center (which has public-use facilities). If it is a clear day, you will see the Alaska Range, culminating to the north with Mount McKinley.
Take Seward Highway south out of town to Potter Marsh. You can park, walk along a boardwalk and see shorebirds and waterfowl that nest in the area. If you're lucky enough to be there in early summer, you'll see families of ducks, Canada geese and perhaps even migrating trumpeter swans. Bald eagles may be hunting in the area. Salmon spawn underneath the boardwalk in July. Just south of the marsh on the opposite side of the highway is the historic Potter Section House, headquarters for Chugach State Park, where you can get maps and other park information from within a retired Alaska Railroad car, now used as an information center.
Go from sea level into the mountains by heading east on O'Malley Road to the Glen Alps parking lot. This is the take-off point for a hike to Flattop Mountain. If you're not up to the 3-mi/5-km round-trip hike, there's an overlook near the parking lot where you can take in the view of the Anchorage Bowl.
Dining
Dining Overview
Anchorage is large enough to offer dining choices well beyond what travelers might expect so far north. You can start the day with sourdough pancakes in a bustling family restaurant, stop by New Sagaya City Market for a filling Chinese deli lunch, and then relax at a gourmet restaurant when evening arrives. You'll find restaurants from many Asian cultures (including Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese and Chinese), along with Mexican, Italian, Indian and Greek establishments.
Commercial fishing is an important part of Alaska's economy, and fresh seafood is a mainstay at many Anchorage restaurants. The state is famous for its salmon (especially king and red salmon), which is nearly always wild—not farm-raised. Fresh halibut, with its beautiful white meat and delicious flavor, is another favorite from the local waters, as are crabs (notably king crab), oysters and clams. Every chef has a unique way of preparing seafood, and some from the Anchorage area have gained national recognition.
A number of Anchorage's most enjoyable restaurants are in the heart of downtown, but others are scattered around this rather spread-out city. Reaching those in small, midtown strip malls or on the south end of town will require either a car or good knowledge of the bus schedule.
General dining times are 7-11 am for breakfast and noon-4 pm for lunch. Driven to extremes by the midnight sun, many residents and visitors alike find themselves eating dinner as late as 10 pm in the summer months.
Expect to pay within these general guidelines for a dinner for one, not including drinks, tax or tip: $ = less than US$10; $$ = US$10-$25; $$$ = US$26-$40; and $$$$ = more than US$40.

Local & Regional
Crow's Nest
Located on the 20th floor of the Hotel Captain Cook, this restaurant wins the dining-with-a-view prize. Most of the seats are along large windows, and some face Mount McKinley. The award-winning menu changes frequently, although the specialty is Alaskan seafood, especially Copper River king salmon and halibut. It includes five courses, with matched wines from the 10,000-bottle wine cellar (one of Alaska's largest). Monday-Saturday for dinner only. Reservations required. $$$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. 939 W. Fifth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-343-2217. http://www.captaincook.com/restaurants.php.

Glacier BrewHouse
Owned by the same folks who run the adjacent Ristorante Orso, the Glacier BrewHouse is a lively, noisy place with a large central fireplace and an open kitchen that is always a blur of activity. The menu changes daily, but specialties include fresh, local seafood, thin-crust pizzas, pastas and luscious desserts. You simply can't go wrong there. The gleaming brew kettles are visible through windows in the back—several varieties are always on tap. Daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended, especially on weekends. $$. Most major credit cards. 737 W. Fifth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-274-2739. http://www.glacierbrewhouse.com.

Marx Brothers' Cafe
Alaska's most acclaimed restaurant for more than two decades, it's a tiny place with an ever-changing menu. A few items are standbys: Van's Caesar salads made at your table, rack of lamb, elk bourguignon and freshly made birch-syrup butter-pecan ice cream—as well as specialties from the sea. Open May-September Tuesday-Saturday and October-April Tuesday-Thursday for dinner. Reservations required well in advance. $$$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. 627 W. Third Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-278-2133. http://www.marxcafe.com.

Moose's Tooth Pub and Pizzeria
This immensely popular Anchorage brewpub has a winning combination of good beer and unusual pizzas, including blackened halibut and Chicken Rockefeller. It's located in Midtown, and the inside has a tie-dye and Rasta theme. Its steady flow of customers means the noise level is always high. The same folks operate another Anchorage institution, Bear Tooth Theatre Pub (1230 W. 27th Ave., phone 907-276-4200; http://beartooththeatre.net), with low-priced movies and tasty meals served inside the theater or in two adjacent restaurants. Daily for lunch and dinner. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 3300 Old Seward Highway, Anchorage. Phone 907-258-2537. http://www.moosestooth.net.

Seven Glaciers Restaurant
Dine at 2,300 ft/713 m with panoramic views of the Chugach Mountains, including seven hanging glaciers and the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet. The food is as good as the view. Try the Alaska king crab legs, mesquite-grilled Angus beef tenderloin or the seafood bisque—and for dessert, a baked Alyeska. Daily for dinner. 1000 Arlberg Ave. (at Alyeska Resort), Girdwood. Phone 907-754-2237. http://www.alyeskaresort.com/dining/seven-glaciers-restaurant.aspx.

Simon & Seafort's
This popular restaurant has big windows facing Cook Inlet, making it a great place to watch the sun circle across the summer horizon. Fresh Alaskan seafood and buttery aged prime rib are the top choices, but anything on the menu is bound to please. The bar serves lighter fare, along with the restaurant menu, and usually has space if you didn't make a reservation for the dining room. For lunch, get the open-faced, oven-roasted, red king crab and artichoke sandwich. Monday-Friday for lunch, daily for dinner. Reservations recommended. $$$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. 420 L St., Anchorage. Phone 907-274-3502. http://www.simonandseaforts.com.

Sourdough Mining Company
Charming and rustic, this touristy eatery in the Alaska Wild Berry Park has home-style all-you-can-eat meals of corn fritters, baby back ribs and other barbecue. It also offers halibut and salmon, sourdough bread, steaks and more. A create-your-own-ice-cream-sundae bar is included. A half-hour humorous and historical show, The Adventures of Dusty Sourdough, takes place under a tent outside the restaurant after dinner, making this especially popular with tour groups. The show is free, and so is the shuttle ride to any Anchorage hotel. Daily for lunch and dinner, Sunday brunch 10 am-2 pm. Reservations recommended. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 5200 Juneau St., Anchorage. Phone 907-563-2272. http://www.sourdoughmining.com.


Cuisines
American
Arctic Roadrunner
A favorite among Alaskans and visitors for generations, this burger place is packed with character. Almost museumlike, its walls are covered with photos from decades of Alaskan history, along with trapping and mining memorabilia, wildlife mounts and more. Yet it is the food that has everyone all worked up: salmon burgers, halibut burgers and hamburgers with special-recipe fries. Every year, locals vote for their favorite burger joint, and every year the Arctic Roadrunner places at the top. This place is casual, busy and neat as a pin, and it offers a warm welcome for all. There's a second location at 2477 Arctic Blvd. (phone 907-279-7311), but the original Old Seward Highway spot has more historical mementos, plus creekside patio dining so you can watch salmon swimming upstream. Daily for lunch and dinner. $. No credit cards. 5300 Old Seward Highway, Anchorage. Phone 907-561-1245.

Double Musky
This restaurant is popular with locals and skiers from nearby Alyeska Ski Resort. Savor the New Orleans-style food, from Cajun cuisine to seafood pasta, and the lively (and noisy) atmosphere. Try the coconut-salmon appetizer, shrimp etouffee, crab-stuffed halibut and the double musky pie for dessert. If you arrive as the place it opens, you should get a table. Tuesday-Thursday 5-10 pm, Saturday and Sunday 4:30-10 pm. Reservations not accepted. $$$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. Crow Creek Road (at mile marker 0.3, about 40 mi/64 km south of Anchorage), Girdwood. Phone 907-783-2822. http://www.doublemuskyinn.com.

Sacks Cafe
This is one of the trendiest spots in town, with artsy decor and creative cooking, including tomato-Gorgonzola soup, a sirloin cheeseburger, duck, New Zealand rack of lamb and superb desserts. Vegetarian specials are always available, and the cafe features a wine bar and Sunday brunch, too. Listen to live jazz Thursday evening (no cover); piano jazz is featured on Sunday. Daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations required for dinner, recommended for lunch. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 328 G St., Anchorage. Phone 907-276-3546. http://www.sackscafe.com.

Southside Bistro
This fine-dining restaurant offers a diverse menu, innovative presentation and delightful ambience. It has an interesting clientele among the who's who in Alaska. Favorites include lamb, venison, grouse, salmon and other meats, complemented by good wines. Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended in spring and fall, required in summer. $$$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. 1320 Huffman Park Drive, Anchorage. Phone 907-348-0088. http://www.southsidebistro.com.


Asian
Bombay Deluxe Indian Restaurant
Despite a strip-mall location and simple decor, this Indian restaurant serves up consistently good meals, including such specials as palak chicken and lamb korma. The weekday lunch buffet is especially popular and includes a number of vegetarian dishes. Additional locations in Wasilla and Eagle River. Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner. Takeout and delivery also available. $$. Most major credit cards. 555 W. Northern Lights Blvd., Anchorage. Phone 907-277-1200. http://www.bombaydeluxe.com.

Chiang Mai Thai Restaurant
This very popular midtown restaurant is one of a handful of Thai eateries in Anchorage. It's a friendly, family-run place with fast service and enough room for the kids to play without disturbing other guests. Fresh spring rolls are always a hit as a starter, and the menu includes all the Thai standards. Portions are big. Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner only. Closed Sunday. $$. Most major credit cards. 3637 Old Seward Highway, Anchorage. Phone 907-563-8900.

Kumagoro Japanese Restaurant
When you step into this Japanese restaurant, the jungle of hanging plants immediately grabs your attention. The house specialty is the shabu-shabu dinner cooked at your table, but you'll also find more modest fare, including freshly made udon noodle soups and an evening sushi bar. Daily for lunch and dinner. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 533 W. Fourth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-272-9905. http://www.kumagoroalaska.com.


Greek
The Greek Corner
A small restaurant in midtown with charming staff and atmosphere. Try the souvlaki, stuffed eggplant or pasticcio, or the combination Greek platter if you can't decide. It offers a number of traditional Italian dishes, too. Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner only. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 201 E. Northern Lights Blvd. (across from Barnes & Noble), Anchorage. Phone 907-276-2820.


Italian
Little Italy Restaurante
Both authentic and romantic, this is a true find for Italian cuisine. Favorites include calamari rings and cannelloni alla rosini. This restaurant also offers a variety of Greek entrees, including roast leg of lamb and moussaka, along with a good selection of Greek wines. Daily for dinner. Reservations recommended. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 2300 E. 88th St., Anchorage. Phone 907-344-1515.

Orso
This classy downtown eatery offers inspired Italian dishes with an Alaskan touch. Try the wild-mushroom ravioli with smoked salmon. The desserts are wonderful, too, most notably the molten chocolate cake. Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Reservations recommended for dinner. $$$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. 737 W. Fifth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-222-3232. http://www.orsoalaska.com.

Sorrento's
A friendly and helpful staff, nice mood lighting and relaxed atmosphere make this a good choice for visiting or reviewing the day's adventures. It offers consistently excellent dishes such as chicken parmigiana, spaghetti alforno, many seafood dishes and a wide selection of pizzas. Daily for dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. 610 E. Fireweed Lane, Anchorage. Phone 907-278-3439.


Mexican
La Mex
Locals go for the good Mexican food and the grande margaritas. Try the generous combination platters or dinner plates such as the halibut-stuffed tacos with lime sauce and fresh fruit salsa. Affordable, delicious food in an atmosphere that caters to families and couples. There's a second location at 8330 King St. (phone 907-344-6399), but the one on Spenard Road is more convenient to downtown. Daily for lunch and dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. 2550 Spenard Road, Anchorage. Phone 907-274-7511. http://www.homeofthegrande.com.

Mexico in Alaska
One of the oldest and best Mexican restaurants in the state, it is almost certainly the most authentic. The menu includes all the standards, plus a vegetarian menu and such specialties as tacos al pastor and chicken in mole sauce. Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner. Closed Sunday. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. Discover Card not accepted. 7305 Old Seward Highway, Anchorage. Phone 907-349-1528. http://www.mexicoinalaska.com.


Vegetarian
Middle Way Cafe
This very popular, cozy and inviting little cafe specializes in sandwiches (most of which are vegetarian), wraps, smoothies, espresso and salads. It offers a fresh-juice bar. Tuesday evening is Irish dance night with the coffee bar available. Open daily for breakfast and lunch. $. Most major credit cards. 1200 W. Northern Lights Blvd., Anchorage. Phone 907-272-6433.

Organic Oasis Restaurant & Juice Bar
The menu at this friendly place includes soups, salads, tofu burgers, sandwiches, smoothies and even organic Alaskan beer and wine. Almost everything is vegetarian, but organic meats are also on the menu. Live music or other events most nights. Wi-Fi is available. Daily for lunch and dinner. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 2610 Spenard Road, Anchorage. Phone 907-277-7882. http://www.organicoasis.com.


Breakfast & Brunch
Gwennie's Old Alaska Restaurant
This classic Anchorage breakfast stop (it's busiest in the morning) serves sourdough pancakes, reindeer sausage, omelettes and other local favorites. Lunches and dinners feature smoked salmon, steaks and Alaskan king crab. Historical photos (including a picture attesting to a visit by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter) and Alaska memorabilia line the walls. Daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast served all day. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 4333 Spenard Road, Anchorage. Phone 907-243-2090. http://www.gwenniesrestaurant.com.

Snow City Cafe
This friendly little downtown cafe serves filling, award-winning breakfasts all day, plus fresh Alaskan seafood, inspired salads, pastas, reindeer reubens and a justly popular meat loaf. Try the crabby omelette or Kodiak Benedict. Rotating exhibits of local artwork line the walls, and hors d'oeuvres are served on the first Friday of each month. Call to reserve a table at least an hour in advance on weekend mornings. Daily for breakfast and lunch. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 1034 W. Fourth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-272-2489. http://www.snowcitycafe.com.

The Flying Machine
Located alongside Lake Hood, this hotel restaurant is best known for its enormous Sunday champagne brunch. The spread includes made-to-order omelettes, baked goods, reindeer sausages, king crab (in season), roast beef, grilled salmon, fruit crepes, pancakes, Belgian waffles and much more. It's a fun way to splurge. On warm days, sit on the deck and watch the floatplanes taking off. Daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $$$. Most major credit cards. 4800 Spenard Road (in the Millennium Hotel), Anchorage. Phone 907-243-2300.


Cafes & Tearooms
Downtown Deli and Cafe
Located across the street from the Log Cabin Visitors Center, this little deli and cafe combination has been serving visitors since the 1980s. It's a great place to enjoy a sandwich and soup, people-watch from sidewalk seating, and take a break when you're tired of tramping up and down Fourth Avenue. You can also get a good breakfast of blintzes or lox and bagels. Free Wi-Fi. Daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most major credit cards. 525 W. Fourth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-276-7116.


Coffeehouses
Cake Studio Bakery and Boutique
Delightfully decadent mousse, cakes, cupcakes, fudge, cookies, croissants and specialty desserts make this a popular place to relax with a cup of Raven's Brew coffee. Try the Peanut Butter Blast. Open Monday-Friday 7 am-10 pm, Saturday 9 am-10 pm, Sunday 9 am-8 pm. 608 W. Fourth Ave., No. 102, Anchorage. Phone 907-272-3995. http://www.alaskacakestudio.com.

Europa Bakery
One of the finest bakeries in Alaska. The artisan breads are in the thick-crusted European style. Stop by at lunchtime for a fresh sandwich, steaming cup of soup and a tasty dessert from the display case. The staff also makes a mean latte. Daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $. No credit cards. 601 W. 36th Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-563-5704.

Kaladi Brothers Coffee Company and Brayton Cafe
This coffee company roasts its own beans and has coffee for sale at 12 locations around Anchorage. Kaladi Brothers offers a nice range of sweets along with wonderful coffee blends, espressos, chai and other specialty drinks. Open daily. 6921 Brayton Drive, Anchorage. Phone 907-344-4480. http://www.kaladi.com.

Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge
Indulgent house-made chocolate truffles and espresso make this the perfect place to re-energize. Also available are chocolate bars from around the world. There is a second location at 751 E. 36th Ave. (phone 907-677-9985). Open Monday 11 am-6 pm, Tuesday-Thursday 8 am-8 pm, Friday 8 am-10 pm, Saturday 10 am-10 pm, Sunday 11 am-6 pm. 423 G. St., Anchorage. Phone 907-868-1818. http://www.moderndwellers.com.

The Bagel Factory
This is a local favorite for fresh bagels in numerous flavors, as well as omelettes, soups, sandwiches, fresh blintzes and espresso. Pick up a few bagels to take with you or order a sandwich for a picnic. Monday-Saturday for breakfast and lunch. $. Most major credit cards. 142 W. 34th Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-561-8871.


Steak Houses
Club Paris
This downtown institution, housed in a former mortuary, specializes in mouthwatering dinners of 4-in-/10-cm-thick filet mignon, and the Alaskan seafood is good, too. At lunchtime you can get a burger or sandwich, pastas and salads. Save room for the chocolate-sweet potato pie. Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner only. Reservations recommended. $$$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. 417 W. Fifth Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-277-6332. http://www.clubparisrestaurant.com.


Security
Personal Safety
Alaska's largest city has a well-deserved reputation as a particularly friendly community. Most visitors feel right at home there, striking up conversations with strangers and quickly establishing friendships. There are several cautions worth noting, however.
Under no circumstances should you walk out on the mudflats that extend out from the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail to the water's edge of Cook Inlet. Take binoculars if you want to bird-watch or look for belugas, but do not step out onto this benign-looking surface. The Cook Inlet (and down into Turnagain Arm) is composed almost entirely of quicksandlike glacial silt, and lives have been lost to it.
Anchorage has healthy bear and moose populations. If you encounter wildlife while you're on one of the trails or even in the city, make noise to let the animal know you're there. Don't run, and do not attempt to feed any wild animals. For more rules about wildlife safety, see http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/safety/bears.htm.
Anchorage is not a dangerous city. There isn't any area of the city where criminals target tourists, nor are there particular crimes that target tourists, such as organized pickpocketing or purse-snatching, but crimes of all types do occasionally occur. Using common sense will keep you in possession of your valuables and out of trouble. It isn't a good idea to go by yourself on a city trail late at night, even if there is daylight. Take a friend or friends along. Late-night trail assaults are uncommon but worth taking precautions against nonetheless.
As always, you should lock car doors and avoid leaving valuable items clearly visible inside vehicles, especially on Earthquake Park trails. Downtown is very safe to walk around, particularly in summer when it gets dark for only a few hours each day. Visitors frequently encounter individuals with alcohol-abuse problems downtown, especially near bars along Fourth Avenue. There are a few neighborhoods that are devoid of tourist attractions and not particularly attractive to travelers. These include Mountain View (northeast of downtown) and Fairview (southeast of downtown). Travelers would be wise to avoid these areas.
Dial 911 in an emergency to call the police, the fire department or an ambulance.
Health
In Anchorage, you won't need to take special precautions about water. Be warned that mosquitoes and other biting bugs are a nuisance both in and outside of Anchorage during summer months. Use a good insect repellent, preferably one containing deet, to defend yourself from Alaska's unofficial "state bird."
If you go for a hike outside the city, don't drink untreated water from lakes or streams. No matter how pristine the area seems, you should always assume that people and animals have been upstream. Also, take an extra layer of clothing with you in case the temperature drops. Carry a cell phone for emergencies, but be aware that it may not work in more remote areas. Finally, let someone in the city know where you are going and when you expect to return.
For emergencies in Anchorage or south of the city, contact the Providence Medical Center (phone 907-562-2211). North of Anchorage, you may consider the Valley Medical Center at the south side of Wasilla. Phone 907-861-6000.
Disabled Advisory
In general, Alaska is not very accessible for people with disabilities, although the city of Anchorage is better than most places. Buses (the Anchorage People Mover), trains, cruise ships and ferries all accommodate travelers in wheelchairs or with limited mobility. Many lodging places, particularly the newer hotels, offer accessible rooms. Alaska Yellow Cab has lift-equipped van service. Phone 907-222-2222.
Access Alaska is a nonprofit organization that distributes a free listing of travel resources for people with disabilities. Phone 907-248-4777. Toll-free in Alaska 800-770-4488. http://www.accessalaska.org.


Dos & Don'ts
Do be prepared to remove your shoes or boots upon entering a house. Many Alaskan homes (and most bed-and-breakfasts) have a no-shoes policy, particularly in the winter, when snowy boots can make a mess.
Do use caution when driving on the highway, especially after dark, as moose and other wildlife may dart across without warning.
Don't feed the wildlife, and do dispose of garbage properly. The city has had a problem with bears wandering into the city after food.
Do turn on your headlights when driving on the highway.
Do take insect repellent during summer months.
Do take an eye mask if light bothers you. Anchorage experiences 17-21 hours of daylight during summer months. Because of the daylight, don't expect to see the aurora borealis (northern lights) during the summer months.
Do make reservations at restaurants and rental car companies during summer months.
Hotels
Hotel Overview
Anchorage has an abundance of hotel and motel rooms, as well as bed-and-breakfasts. Many properties are located downtown, making it convenient for visitors to see the city on foot. Motels near the airport will not be convenient for sightseers without a vehicle. During peak summer season (July and August), you should make reservations well in advance, preferably several months ahead. Not surprisingly, prices are at their peak then. If you brave the city in winter, you'll find the rates substantially lower and the pace much more relaxed.
Hotel Listings


Phone: (1) 907-276-6000
Fax: (1) 907-343-2298
Toll Free: (1) 800-843-1950

Hotel Captain Cook
939 W 5th Ave 99501
info@captaincook.com  http://www.captaincook.com
547 Guest Rooms • 14 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: Heart of downtown
Nearby Points of Interest: Anchorage Museum (Alaskan art) - 7 blk • Performing Arts Center (Broadway plays/music) - 2 blk • Coastal Trail (hiking/walking/bikin) - 2 blk


Phone: (1) 907-245-0322
Fax: (1) 907-248-1886
Toll Free: (1) 800-321-2211

Courtyard by Marriott
4901 Spenard Rd 99517
http://www.courtyard.com
154 Guest Rooms • 2 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: Hotel is located one mile from the International Airport
Nearby Points of Interest: Alaska Zoo (Zoo) - 9 mi • Alaska Performing Arts Center (Point of interest) - 5 mi • Anchorage Museum of History and Arts (Museum) - 6 mi


Phone: (1) 907-770-5000
Fax: (1) 907-770-5001
Toll Free: (1) 866-770-5002

Dimond Center Hotel
700 E Dimond Blvd 99515
inf@dimondcenterhotel.com  http://www.dimondcenterhotel.com
109 Guest Rooms • 3 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: Heart of Anchorage's busiest shopping district
Nearby Points of Interest: Alaska Zoo (Zoo) - 4 mi • H2O Oasis (Water Park) - 3 mi • Portage Glacier (Glacier Park) - 45 mi


Phone: (1) 907-868-1605
Fax: (1) 907-868-3520
Toll Free: (1) 888-506-7848

Extended Stay Deluxe Anchorage-Downtown
108 E Eighth Ave 99501
AND@extendedstay.com  http://www.extendedstayhotels.com
89 Guest Rooms • 2 Meeting Rooms
Location: Located in the heart of downtown Anchorage
Nearby Points of Interest: Anchorage Museum (Museum) - 2 blk • 5th Ave Mall (Shopping Mall) - 2 blk • Performng Arts Center (Cultural Venue) - 4 blk






Phone: (1) 907-272-7411
Fax: (1) 907-265-7044
Toll Free: (1) 800-HILTONS

Hilton Anchorage
500 W Third Ave 99501
http://www.hilton.com
606 Guest Rooms • 12 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s] • Pets Allowed
Location: 1 block from Egan Conv Ctr and Anchorage Ctr for Performing Arts
Nearby Points of Interest: Tony Knowles Coastal Trail (Community Trail) - 2 blk • Anchorage Museum of History & Art (Museum) - 4 blk • 5th Ave Shopping mall (Shopping mall) - 2 blk






Phone: (1) 907-272-4553
Fax: (1) 907-277-4483
Toll Free: (1) 800-544-0988

Historic Anchorage Hotel
330 E St 99501
anchoragehotel@alaska.com  http://www.historicanchoragehotel.com
26 Guest Rooms • 2 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: Downtown, 1 Block to Convention Center
Nearby Points of Interest: Anchorage Museum of History & Art (mueseum) - 5 blk • Convention Center (convention center) - 1 blk • Performing Arts Center (theater) - 2 blk






Phone: (1) 907-276-0110
Fax: (1) 907-258-4914
Toll Free: (1) 800-544-0786

Inlet Tower Hotel & Suites
1200 L St 99501
info@inlettower.com  http://www.inlettower.com
164 Guest Rooms • 2 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s] • Pets Allowed
Location: Minutes away from downtown
Nearby Points of Interest: Shopping (Downtown Shopping) - .8 mi • William A Egan Civic & Convention Center (Convention Center) - .7 mi • Alaska Center for the Performing Arts (Arts-performances) - .7 mi






Phone: (1) 907-279-8000
Fax: (1) 907-279-8005
Toll Free: (1) 800-228-9290

Marriott Downtown Anchorage
820 W 7th Ave 99501
ancdt@columbiasussex.com  http://www.marriott.com/ancdt
395 Guest Rooms • 11 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Nearby Points of Interest: Anchorage Museum of History and Art (Museum) - 6 blk • Alaska Native Heritage Center (Museum) - 6 mi • Anchorage Zoo (Zoo) - 8 mi






Phone: (1) 907-243-2300
Fax: (1) 907-243-8815
Toll Free: (1) 800-544-0553

Millennium Alaskan Hotel Anchorage
4800 Spenard Rd 99517
http://www.millenniumhotels.com
248 Guest Rooms • 7 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s] • Pets Allowed
Location: Central location, 4 miles to downtown and 1.5 miles to airport
Nearby Points of Interest:






Phone: (1) 907-277-9501
Fax: (1) 907-274-0333
Toll Free: (1) 800-247-9070

Rodeway Inn
501 K St 99501
rsvp@alaska.com  http://www.voyagerhotel.com
40 Guest Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: 4 blks from conv center
Nearby Points of Interest: Anchorage Museum (Museum) - 8 blk • Alaska Experience (Theater) - 2 blk • Performance Arts Center (Performance Center) - 3 blk






Phone: (1) 907-276-8700
Fax: (1) 907-267-7561
Toll Free: (1) 800-325-3535

Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa
401 E Sixth Ave 99501
info@sheratonanchoragehotel.com  http://www.sheratonanchoragehotel.com
375 Guest Rooms • 10 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: Downtown
Nearby Points of Interest: Anchorage Museum of History and Art • Alaska Experience Theater • Alaska Public Lands Information Center






Phone: (1) 907-562-3247
Fax: (1) 907-562-3250
Toll Free: (1) 800-314-0783

SpringHill Suites by Marriott
3401 A St 99503
http://www.springhillsuites.com
101 Guest Rooms • 1 Meeting Room
Nearby Points of Interest:






Phone: (1) 907-276-7676
Fax: (1) 907-276-3615
Toll Free: (1) 800-544-0970

Westmark Anchorage
720 W 5th Ave 99501
wmanc-dc@hollandamerica.com  http://www.westmarkhotels.com
198 Guest Rooms • 5 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: Central downtown, next door to convention centre
Nearby Points of Interest: Egan Convention Center (Convention Center) - 1 blk • Performing Arts Center (Performance Center) - 1 blk • 5th Ave Mall (Shopping Center) - 2 blk




Facts
Geostats
Passport/Visa Requirements: All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico.
Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S. Citizens of Australia and the U.K. need a passport but usually do not require a visa for stays of 90 days or less.
Because the terms of the visa-waiver program are subject to change, it's wise to check with a U.S. Embassy prior to travel. Reconfirm travel document requirements with your carrier before departure.

Population: 279,671.
Languages: Primarily English. About 20 Alaska Native languages and dialects are spoken in Alaskan villages.
Predominant Religions: Christian (Protestant and Roman Catholic), although every major religion is represented.
Time Zone: 9 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-9 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is observed from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
Voltage Requirements: 110 volts.
Telephone Codes: 907, area code;
Money
Currency Exchange
Credit cards and traveler's checks in U.S. dollars are widely accepted around the city. If you need cash, you can use a major credit card or bank card to get U.S. dollars from an ATM. Most banks have ATMs, and you'll also find them at grocery stores and in shopping malls. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and at the airport.
Taxes
There is no sales tax in Anchorage or the Anchorage Borough. A sales tax that varies from town to town is applied in the Kenai Peninsula Borough south of Anchorage and in the Matanuska Susitna Borough north of Anchorage.
Tipping
The waitstaff at a restaurant is typically given 15%-20% of the total bill (more for exemplary service). Other individuals who provide personal services (such as tour-bus drivers, fishing guides, flightseeing pilots, housekeeping, coffee baristas and taxi drivers) are also commonly tipped, but there is no set amount. You might want to ask around discreetly to get an idea of the appropriate amount, or just use your judgment.
Weather
Anchorage has a temperate maritime climate, with cool summers and cold winters. The average annual temperature is a chilly 36 F/2 C. The area gets only around 15 in/40 cm of rain annually, but expect cloudy weather—more than 50% of the time—in summer. The city receives an average of 69 in/175 cm of snow annually.
June-August high temperatures are commonly in the 60s F/high teens C and can reach into the upper 70s F/mid-20s C on warm days. Winter temperatures are cold (but much milder than in Fairbanks and other parts of interior Alaska), with typical January nights around 6 F/-14 C. Periods of extreme cold are not uncommon in the winter.
Anchorage never gets completely dark in the middle of summer, and the summer solstice (20 or 21 June) is a time for celebration, with more than 19 hours of sunshine. The reverse occurs in winter, and by the winter solstice in late December, the city sees only about five hours of light.
Because of the long days and mild conditions, summer is when the vast majority of travelers go to Alaska. But winter also attracts its share of visitors, including hardy souls who go to take in the spectacular northern lights or to enjoy a dogsledding adventure.
What to Wear
Alaskans are quite informal, and dress-up occasions are rare. Business casual is about as spiffed up as you would ever need or want to be. Jeans or khakis and comfortable shirts and sweaters are the norm around town. Business travelers will be hard-pressed to find an Alaskan in a suit or tie for meetings, so don't bother packing those items unless you like to stand out in a crowd. You may see a couple in formal wear for an evening out on the town, but it is never required by dining or entertainment venues.
Even in summer, pack a light jacket or sweater for chilly evenings, plus a raincoat or umbrella for rainy days. Don't pack many pairs of shorts, as the temperature rarely gets high enough to warrant them. Winter travelers should take several heavy layers of outerwear, long underwear, gloves, a warm hat and winter boots. Regardless of the season, it's best to dress in layers so that you can adjust to changing conditions.
Communication
Telephone
Pay phones are becoming endangered because of ubiquitous cell phone use. Most government buildings and other community facilities still have them, but they are rare elsewhere in Anchorage.
Cell phone service is generally good, but visitors should check in advance to make sure their company has good coverage in the Anchorage area. Cell phone coverage varies in outlying areas.
Internet Access
Anchorage is a very "wired" city, with high-speed Internet access in most businesses, and an increasing number of cafes offering wireless services. All of the better hotels have Internet-ready rooms and/or business suites with Internet access, and many now also offer Wi-Fi throughout.
Internet access is also available at Barnes & Noble, many restaurants and on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus.

Cafe del Mundo
Part of a small chain, this midtown latte shop is a favorite of businesspeople. It offers free Wi-Fi for customers. There is a second location at Dimond Center Mall by Best Buy. 341 E. Benson Blvd., Anchorage. Phone 907-274-0026. http://www.cafedelmundo.com.

FedEx Office
These stores offer high-speed Internet access in their computer workrooms. PC systems are available. US$0.20 per minute. 300 E. Dimond Blvd., Suite A, and 2210 E. Northern Lights Blvd., Anchorage. Phone 907-344-0056 (East Dimond Boulevard) and 907-276-4228.

Kaladi Brothers
These coffee shops offer three Internet cafes in Anchorage. Wireless and cable network is available at each location. Open daily. Free Wi-Fi. 6921 Brayton Drive, Anchorage. Phone 907-344-6510. http://www.kaladi.com.

Sub Zero
This hip, smoke-free downtown martini bar has free Wi-Fi for customers but is only open in the evening. 614 F St., Anchorage. Phone 907-276-2337. http://subzeromicrolounge.com.


Mail & Package Services
Post Office
The downtown branch is centrally located. You may want to call to locate the branch closest to your hotel. Monday-Friday 10 am-5:30 pm. 344 W. Third Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-279-9188. Toll-free 800-275-8777.


Newspapers & Magazines
Anchorage's daily newspaper is the Anchorage Daily News (http://www.adn.com). It provides complete coverage of regional, national and international news and has a thick Friday entertainment section that details coming events.
The Anchorage Press (http://www.anchoragepress.com) is a free alternative paper available in racks around town. It's published weekly and offers good nightlife and dining coverage. Regional weekly newspapers are available throughout the city. An online Alaska news service is available at http://www.alaskadispatch.com.
For visitor guides and travel information, refer to http://www.anchorage.net.
Transportation
Downtown Anchorage is readily accessible on foot, and the city is laid out on a relatively level floodplain. Once you get away from downtown, the city sprawls to the east and south in a hodgepodge of neighborhoods and shopping malls. There is well-posted, if infrequent, bus service to the suburbs.
The downtown trolley, based out of a gift shop in front of the Log Cabin Visitors Center on Fourth Avenue, offers downtown- and midtown-area transportation with scheduled stops and services.
If you want to explore outside of Anchorage, or to reach such places as Chugach (pronounced CHEW-gatch) State Park and sights south of town along Turnagain Arm, you'll probably want to rent a car. Traffic is generally not heavy, although the city does experience a rush hour (of sorts) on weekdays. Taxis are expensive, so they aren't practical for sightseeing.

Air
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) is located 5 mi/8 km southwest of downtown. Most travelers use the domestic terminal, but the airport also has a separate international terminal connected by shuttle bus. This ultramodern facility features more dining options, spacious bookshops and gift shops, expanded seating areas and dramatic windows facing the mountains. Both the domestic and international terminals offer interesting exhibits of Alaska Native artwork and displays of Alaskan wildlife from life-size polar and brown bears to snow geese. Runway upgrades should not impact airport visitors. Free Wi-Fi. Phone 907-266-2526. http://www.anchorageairport.com.
Connecting Transportation


Many of the city's hotels offer shuttle service, which is the best way to travel to and from the airport. If yours doesn't, you can board a taxi just outside the baggage-claim area. Expect to pay around US$30 for a ride to downtown. City People Mover buses offer inexpensive (US$1.75) service every half hour 6 am-11 pm alternating between downtown and the Dimond Center. Consult a schedule prior to your arrival by calling the People Mover Rideline at 907-343-6543.
Alaska Eagle River Shuttle is a door-to-door shuttle bus that serves the airport. Rates depend on the distance, but it's US$30 for one to three people to downtown or US$75 per hour for door-to-door service. Phone 907-338-8888. http://www.alaskashuttle.net.
One noteworthy but odd development at the airport is the addition of a US$28 million railway terminal. Unfortunately, the railroad link will operate only when commissioned by cruise ships. If you are not given a transfer from a cruise ship to travel via the railroad to your hotel, do not bother going to the airport's railroad terminal. The train won't even be at the airport if the cruise companies don't charter it in advance.
Bus
Alaska Direct Bus Line
Provides bus connections between Anchorage and other cities in northern Alaska (including Fairbanks and Delta Junction) and to Whitehorse in the Canadian Yukon. Phone 907-277-6652. Toll-free 800-770-6652. http://www.alaskadirectbusline.com.

Alaska/Yukon Trails
Offers year-round service connecting Anchorage with Denali National Park and Fairbanks, along with summer-only runs between Fairbanks and Whitehorse and Dawson City in the Yukon. Toll-free 800-770-7275. http://www.alaskashuttle.com.

Homer Stage Line
Provides van service south from Anchorage to Homer year-round and to Seward in the summer. Phone 907-868-3914. http://www.thestageline.net.


Car
Anchorage is a very long drive from anywhere in the continental U.S. (it's 2,400 mi/3,860 km from Seattle, Washington). The Glenn Highway enters Anchorage from the northeast and connects with the Alaska Highway, which leads through Canada to the Lower 48 states. South of Anchorage, the Seward Highway provides connections to the Kenai Peninsula, a popular recreation destination. During summer, it gets heavy use by both locals and visitors. Be aware that Alaska law requires slow-moving vehicles, such as recreational vehicles, to pull over if there are more than five vehicles behind them. Fortunately, there are periodic passing lanes and plenty of pullout areas.
Traffic within Anchorage is bad by Alaskan standards but wholly uncongested compared with cities this size around the world. During weekday rush hours or following heavy snowstorms, there are minor backups on the main arteries, particularly the New Seward Highway and Glenn Highway.
On-street downtown parking can be a challenge at times, but a space is usually available within a few blocks of where you want to go. You can also park in lots, the JCPenney parking garage at Fifth Avenue and E Street, or the city parking garage at Fifth Avenue and A Street. Parking is not a problem in other parts of Anchorage.



Public Transportation
The People Mover
This bus system serves the sprawling Anchorage area. It offers free service downtown but charges a fee for all other areas. Buses run Monday-Friday 6 am-10 pm, Saturday 8 am-8 pm and Sunday 9:30 am-6:30 pm. US$1.75 adults, US$4 for an all-day pass (can be purchased on the bus for exact change). 3600 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-343-6543 for the Rideline. http://www.peoplemover.org.


Ship
Although Anchorage has a commercial port facility, it is used almost entirely for shallow-draft freighter traffic. Most cruise ships that travel to south-central Alaska dock at Seward, 127 mi/204 km south of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula, or Whittier, 57 mi/92 km southeast on the west side of Prince William Sound. Once in Seward or Whittier, cruise-ship passengers travel to Anchorage by bus or train.
Taxi
Taxi service is available to all parts of Anchorage and can be summoned by calling the various cab companies. Don't expect to see taxis cruising the streets except at the airport and downtown. Some options include Anchorage Checker Cab (phone 907-274-3333) and Anchorage Yellow Cab (phone 907-272-2422).
Train
Alaska Railroad
The only state-owned railway in the U.S., it offers daily summer service from Anchorage south to Seward and north to Denali National Park and Fairbanks. All trains stop at the depot downtown. 411 W. First Ave., Anchorage. Phone 907-265-2494. Toll-free 800-544-0552. http://www.alaskarailroad.com.


For More Information
Convention & Visitors Bureau
Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau
Located in a sod-roofed log cabin near the center of downtown, the ACVB has hundreds of brochures from local businesses, plus a helpful staff. It also maintains booths in the third terminal of the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport near baggage claim. Daily. 524 W. Fourth Ave. (on the corner of Fourth Avenue and F Street), Anchorage. Phone 907-276-4118. Toll-free 800-478-1255. http://www.anchorage.net.


Tourist Offices
Alaska Public Lands Information Center
This popular visitors center focuses on the millions of acres/hectares of federally owned lands in Alaska, including national parks, forests and wildlife refuges. The center includes natural-history displays, a trip-planning computer and interactive videos. The gift shop sells maps and books on nature and Alaskan special interests (fiction and nonfiction). A variety of Alaska-themed movies are screened in the auditorium, and travelers can book passage on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system. Join the Captain Cook 45-minute guided walking tour at 11 am or 2:30 pm June-August. Take a photo ID for entrance to the historic Federal Building that houses this facility. Memorial Day-Labor Day daily, Monday-Friday the rest of the year. Free. 605 W. Fourth Ave., Suite 105, Anchorage. Phone 907-644-3661. http://www.alaskacenters.gov/anchorage.cfm.


Events
Calendar
Anchorage had a symphony orchestra before it had paved roads—so it's not surprising that concerts and dance events are scheduled thick and fast through autumn, winter and spring at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. In summer, fairs, baseball games and rodeos round out outdoor entertainment events to take advantage of the midnight sun.
Anchorage's signature event, the Fur Rondy Festival, is held each winter, in February. It includes numerous winter dogsled races that attract mushers from all over, who compete in a weekend racing season that is capped by the Iditarod in early March.
For more information about upcoming events in Anchorage, contact the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau. Phone 907-276-4118. http://www.anchorage.net.
To call any of the numbers listed in this calendar from outside the U.S. or Canada, you must first dial your country's international access code, followed by the U.S. country code, 1.
Information in this calendar is subject to change and should be confirmed.
April 2011
Early-Mid April—ECHL Hockey The Division IAA Alaska Aces compete at Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. For information and tickets, call 907-258-2237. http://www.alaskaaces.com. Concludes mid April
Early-Mid April—Concert The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra performs regularly at Evangeline Atwood Concert Hall, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information and tickets, call 907-274-8668. http://www.anchoragesymphony.org. Concludes mid April
Late April—Native Youth Olympics More than 300 young Native Americans compete in traditional sporting events. Wells Fargo Sports Complex, University of Alaska at Anchorage campus. For information, call 907-793-3600. http://www.citci.com.
Throughout April—Performance With three theaters and eight resident performing-arts companies, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts regularly hosts concerts, Broadway musicals, dance, choral music and other performances. 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information, call 907-263-2900. For tickets, call 907-263-2787. http://www.alaskapac.org. Continues through late May
May 2011
30 May—Memorial Day Public holiday.
7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29 May—Anchorage Market and Festival More than 300 vendors congregate downtown to sell souvenirs, produce, exotic goods and just about everything else. The event also includes a continuous lineup of live entertainment. 10 am-6 pm. Third Avenue and E Street parking lot, downtown. For information, call 907-272-5634. http://www.anchoragemarkets.com/main.html.
Throughout May—Performance With three theaters and eight resident performing-arts companies, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts regularly hosts concerts, Broadway musicals, dance, choral music and other performances. 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information, call 907-263-2900. For tickets, call 907-263-2787. http://www.alaskapac.org. Concludes late May
June 2011
Early-Late June—Minor-League Baseball Anchorage is home to two semiprofessional baseball teams, the Anchorage Bucs and Anchorage Glacier Pilots. Both play under the midnight sun at Mulcahy Stadium, 16th Avenue and Cordova Street. For information about Bucs games, call 907-561-2827. http://www.anchoragebucs.com. For information about Pilots games, call 907-274-3627. http://www.glacierpilots.com. Continues through early August
Mid June—AWAIC Summer Solstice Festival Celebrity entertainment, arts-and-crafts booths and plenty of food highlight this benefit at Town Square near Anchorage's Performing Arts Center. Admission is free. For information, call Abused Women's Aid in Crisis at 907-279-9581. http://www.awaic.org.
18 Jun—Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon More than 4,000 runners participate in Alaska's largest marathon that is also a Boston Marathon qualifier. The courses for the Youth Cup, Five Miler, and full, relay and half-marathons go from the foothills of the Chugach Mountains past the waters of Cook Inlet. The simultaneous Summer Solstice Festival in Town Square attracts celebrity entertainment. For information, call 907-786-1325. http://www.mayorsmarathon.com.
4, 5, 11, 12 Jun—Three Barons Renaissance Fair Plays, arts and crafts, living-history demonstrations, performances by local musicians and food are all part of the festivities. Tozier Track, 3400 E. Tudor Road. For information, call 907-868-8012. http://www.3barons.org.
4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 Jun—Anchorage Market and Festival More than 300 vendors congregate downtown to sell souvenirs, produce, exotic goods and just about everything else. The event also includes a continuous lineup of live entertainment. 10 am-6 pm. Third Avenue and E Street parking lot, downtown. For information, call 907-272-5634. http://www.anchoragemarkets.com/main.html.
July 2011
4 Jul—Freedom Days Festival This Fourth of July celebration at Mulcahy Stadium features baseball, fireworks and food. 16th Avenue and Cordova Street. For information, call 907-276-4118, or toll-free 800-478-1255.
4 Jul—Independence Day Public holiday. The city sponsors a daylong series of patriotic, cultural and family-oriented activities. A charity pancake breakfast begins the day, followed by a parade that salutes the area's local military and diverse cultures with marching bands and equestrian groups. For information, call 907-276-4118, or toll-free 800-478-1255. http://www.anchorage.net.
6-10 Jul—Bear Paw Festival Highlights of this family-oriented festival include a parade, classic-car show and carnival. Downtown Eagle River (15 mi/24 km northeast of Anchorage). For information, call 907-694-4702. http://www.bearpawfestival.org.
2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31 Jul—Anchorage Market and Festival More than 300 vendors congregate downtown to sell souvenirs, produce, exotic goods and just about everything else. The event also includes a continuous lineup of live entertainment. 10 am-6 pm. Third Avenue and E Street parking lot, downtown. For information, call 907-272-5634. http://www.anchoragemarkets.com/main.html.
Late July—Arctic Thunder The U.S. Navy Blue Angels aerial acrobatic team performs along with U.S. Army Golden Knights parachuting team. Elmendorf Air Force Base. http://www.alaskaairshow.org.
Continues through early August
Throughout July—Minor-League Baseball Anchorage is home to two semiprofessional baseball teams, the Anchorage Bucs and Anchorage Glacier Pilots. Both play under the midnight sun at Mulcahy Stadium, 16th Avenue and Cordova Street. For information about Bucs games, call 907-561-2827. http://www.anchoragebucs.com. For information about Pilots games, call 907-274-3627. http://www.glacierpilots.com. Continues through early August
August 2011
Early August—Minor-League Baseball Anchorage is home to two semiprofessional baseball teams, the Anchorage Bucs and Anchorage Glacier Pilots. Both play under the midnight sun at Mulcahy Stadium, 16th Avenue and Cordova Street. For information about Bucs games, call 907-561-2827. http://www.anchoragebucs.com. For information about Pilots games, call 907-274-3627. http://www.glacierpilots.com. Concludes early August
Early August—Arctic Thunder The U.S. Navy Blue Angels aerial acrobatic team performs along with U.S. Army Golden Knights parachuting team. Elmendorf Air Force Base. http://www.alaskaairshow.org.
Concludes early August
25-31 Aug—Alaska State Fair This is the big end-of-summer blowout, and the fairgrounds are jammed with midway rides, agricultural exhibits (including Alaska's famous giant vegetables), arts and crafts, live entertainment and, of course, lots of food. State Fairgrounds, 2075 Glenn Highway, Palmer (50 mi/80 km north of Anchorage). For information, call 907-745-4827. http://www.alaskastatefair.org. Continues through 5 Sep
6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28 Aug—Anchorage Market and Festival More than 300 vendors congregate downtown to sell souvenirs, produce, exotic goods and just about everything else. The event also includes a continuous lineup of live entertainment. 10 am-6 pm. Third Avenue and E Street parking lot, downtown. For information, call 907-272-5634. http://www.anchoragemarkets.com/main.html.
September 2011
Early-Late September—Performance With three theaters and eight resident performing-arts companies, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts regularly hosts concerts, Broadway musicals, dance, choral music and other performances. 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information, call 907-263-2900. For tickets, call 907-263-2787. http://www.alaskapac.org. Continues through late May 2012
1-5 Sep—Alaska State Fair This is the big end-of-summer blowout, and the fairgrounds are jammed with midway rides, agricultural exhibits (including Alaska's famous giant vegetables), arts and crafts, live entertainment and, of course, lots of food. State Fairgrounds, 2075 Glenn Highway, Palmer (50 mi/80 km north of Anchorage). For information, call 907-745-4827. http://www.alaskastatefair.org. Concludes 5 Sep
3, 4 Sep—Anchorage Market and Festival More than 300 vendors congregate downtown to sell souvenirs, produce, exotic goods and just about everything else. The event also includes a continuous lineup of live entertainment. 10 am-6 pm. Third Avenue and E Street parking lot, downtown. For information, call 907-272-5634. http://www.anchoragemarkets.com/main.html.
5 Sep—Labor Day Public holiday.
Late September—Concert The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra performs regularly at Evangeline Atwood Concert Hall, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information and tickets, call 907-274-8668. http://www.anchoragesymphony.org. Continues through mid April 2012
October 2011
Early October—Make it Alaskan Festival The oldest festival devoted solely to Alaskan arts and crafts, this event features more than 240 booths, live music by Alaskan artists, exhibits and food. Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. For information, call 907-279-0618. http://www.miafestival.com.
Early-Late October—College Hockey The University of Alaska at Anchorage Seawolves play their Western Collegiate Hockey Association home games at Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. http://www.goseawolves.com. Continues through mid March 2012
Mid-Late October—ECHL Hockey The Division IAA Alaska Aces compete at Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. For information and tickets, call 907-258-2237. http://www.alaskaaces.com. Continues through mid April 2012
18 Oct—Alaska Day Public holiday marking the anniversary of the formal transfer of the Alaskan territory from Russia to the U.S.
20-22 Oct—Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Public events include the Native Arts Fair and Quyana Alaska, a program of Native American dances. Dena'ina Center. For information, call 907-274-3611. http://www.nativefederation.org.
Throughout October—Performance With three theaters and eight resident performing-arts companies, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts regularly hosts concerts, Broadway musicals, dance, choral music and other performances. 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information, call 907-263-2900. For tickets, call 907-263-2787. http://www.alaskapac.org. Continues through late May 2012
Throughout October—Concert The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra performs regularly at Evangeline Atwood Concert Hall, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information and tickets, call 907-274-8668. http://www.anchoragesymphony.org. Continues through mid April 2012
November 2011
Mid-Late November—Men's and Women's College Basketball The University of Alaska at Anchorage Seawolves play their Pacific West Conference home games at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex (3211 Providence Drive) and at Sullivan Arena (1600 Gambell St.). http://www.goseawolves.com. Continues through early March 2012
11 Nov—Veterans Day Public holiday.
19, 20 Nov—Annual Crafts Emporium at the Egan Center The largest gathering of fine artisans in Alaska features holiday crafts, pottery, furs, photographs and prints by around 300 artists and crafters. Free admission. Egan Center, 555 W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 907-263-2850. http://www.anchorageconventiondistrict.com.
24 Nov—Thanksgiving Day Public holiday.
Late November—Great Alaska Shootout On Thanksgiving weekend, top college men's basketball teams from around the nation head north for a preseason tournament—one of only four in the nation—and a chance to beat the Division II University of Alaska Seawolves. Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. http://www.goseawolves.com.
Throughout November—College Hockey The University of Alaska at Anchorage Seawolves play their Western Collegiate Hockey Association home games at Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. http://www.goseawolves.com. Continues through mid March 2012
Throughout November—Performance With three theaters and eight resident performing-arts companies, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts regularly hosts concerts, Broadway musicals, dance, choral music and other performances. 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information, call 907-263-2900. For tickets, call 907-263-2787. http://www.alaskapac.org. Continues through late May 2012
Throughout November—ECHL Hockey The Division IAA Alaska Aces compete at Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. For information and tickets, call 907-258-2237. http://www.alaskaaces.com. Continues through mid April 2012
Throughout November—Concert The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra performs regularly at Evangeline Atwood Concert Hall, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information and tickets, call 907-274-8668. http://www.anchoragesymphony.org. Continues through mid April 2012
December 2011
25 Dec—Christmas Public holiday.
31 Dec—Fireworks Alyeska Ski Resort hosts Anchorage's traditional New Year's Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks. For information, call 907-754-1111 or 907-784-2248. http://www.alyeskaresort.com.

Throughout December—Concert The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra performs regularly at Evangeline Atwood Concert Hall, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information and tickets, call 907-274-8668. http://www.anchoragesymphony.org. Continues through mid April 2012
Throughout December—ECHL Hockey The Division IAA Alaska Aces compete at Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. For information and tickets, call 907-258-2237. http://www.alaskaaces.com. Continues through mid April 2012
Throughout December—College Hockey The University of Alaska at Anchorage Seawolves play their Western Collegiate Hockey Association home games at Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. http://www.goseawolves.com. Continues through mid March 2012
Throughout December—Performance With three theaters and eight resident performing-arts companies, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts regularly hosts concerts, Broadway musicals, dance, choral music and other performances. 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information, call 907-263-2900. For tickets, call 907-263-2787. http://www.alaskapac.org. Continues through late May 2012
Throughout December—Men's and Women's College Basketball The University of Alaska at Anchorage Seawolves play their Pacific West Conference home games at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex (3211 Providence Drive) and at Sullivan Arena (1600 Gambell St.). http://www.goseawolves.com. Continues through early March 2012
January 2012
Mid January—Great Alaska Beer and Barleywine Festival One of the world's largest celebrations of this type of beer, this festival features around 100 brands by 40 area breweries. Egan Center, 555 W. Fifth Ave. http://auroraproductions.net/beer-barley.html.
1 Jan—New Year's Day Public holiday.
16 Jan—Martin Luther King Jr. Day Public holiday.
19-29 Jan—Anchorage Folk Festival This popular event attracts folk-music artists from Alaska and the lower 48 states. It includes more than 120 free performances, workshops, dances and special events over two weekends. Wendy Williamson Auditorium, University of Alaska campus. http://www.anchoragefolkfestival.org.
Late January—Sled Dog Races The Alaskan Sled-Dog and Racing Association hosts races at Tozier Memorial Track, which has 20 mi/32 km of trails. 3400 Tudor Road. For information, call 907-562-2235. http://www.asdra.org. Continues through late February
Throughout January—College Hockey The University of Alaska at Anchorage Seawolves play their Western Collegiate Hockey Association home games at Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. http://www.goseawolves.com. Continues through mid March
Throughout January—Men's and Women's College Basketball The University of Alaska at Anchorage Seawolves play their Pacific West Conference home games at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex (3211 Providence Drive) and at Sullivan Arena (1600 Gambell St.). http://www.goseawolves.com. Continues through early March
Throughout January—Performance With three theaters and eight resident performing-arts companies, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts regularly hosts concerts, Broadway musicals, dance, choral music and other performances. 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information, call 907-263-2900. For tickets, call 907-263-2787. http://www.alaskapac.org. Continues through late May
Throughout January—ECHL Hockey The Division IAA Alaska Aces compete at Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. For information and tickets, call 907-258-2237. http://www.alaskaaces.com. Continues through mid April
Throughout January—Concert The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra performs regularly at Evangeline Atwood Concert Hall, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information and tickets, call 907-274-8668. http://www.anchoragesymphony.org. Continues through mid April
February 2012
20 Feb—Presidents Day Public holiday.
Late February—Fur Rondy Festival For more than 70 years, this celebration has reveled in winter with one eye on approaching spring. Midway rides, ice-carving events, dogsled races, a fur auction and outdoor games get the locals out to shake off cabin fever. Various venues. For more information, call 907-274-1177. http://www.furrondy.net. Continues through early March
Throughout February—Concert The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra performs regularly at Evangeline Atwood Concert Hall, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information and tickets, call 907-274-8668. http://www.anchoragesymphony.org. Continues through mid April
Throughout February—Sled Dog Races The Alaskan Sled-Dog and Racing Association hosts races at Tozier Memorial Track, which has 20 mi/32 km of trails. 3400 Tudor Road. For information, call 907-562-2235. http://www.asdra.org. Concludes late February
Throughout February—ECHL Hockey The Division IAA Alaska Aces compete at Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. For information and tickets, call 907-258-2237. http://www.alaskaaces.com. Continues through mid April
Throughout February—College Hockey The University of Alaska at Anchorage Seawolves play their Western Collegiate Hockey Association home games at Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. http://www.goseawolves.com. Continues through mid March
Throughout February—Men's and Women's College Basketball The University of Alaska at Anchorage Seawolves play their Pacific West Conference home games at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex (3211 Providence Drive) and at Sullivan Arena (1600 Gambell St.). http://www.goseawolves.com. Continues through early March
Throughout February—Performance With three theaters and eight resident performing-arts companies, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts regularly hosts concerts, Broadway musicals, dance, choral music and other performances. 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information, call 907-263-2900. For tickets, call 907-263-2787. http://www.alaskapac.org. Continues through late May
March 2012
Early March—Fur Rondy Festival For more than 70 years, this celebration has reveled in winter with one eye on approaching spring. Midway rides, ice-carving events, dogsled races, a fur auction and outdoor games get the locals out to shake off cabin fever. Various venues. For more information, call 907-274-1177. http://www.furrondy.net. Concludes early March
Early March—Iditarod Sled Dog Race This annual race to Nome (1,100 mi/1,770 km away) begins at Fourth Avenue and D Street in downtown Anchorage. There's also an international ice-carving competition in which beautiful, if temporary, works of art are created from blocks of ice. For information, call 907-376-5155. http://www.iditarod.com.
Early March—Men's and Women's College Basketball The University of Alaska at Anchorage Seawolves play their Pacific West Conference home games at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex (3211 Providence Drive) and at Sullivan Arena (1600 Gambell St.). http://www.goseawolves.com. Concludes early March
Early-Mid March—College Hockey The University of Alaska at Anchorage Seawolves play their Western Collegiate Hockey Association home games at Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. http://www.goseawolves.com. Concludes mid March
Mid March—Duct Tape Ball Annual charity benefit featuring—what else?—duct tape. Attendees are invited to dress from head to toe in the sticky gray fix-all, and the tables and decor also feature duct tape. http://www.anchorage.net/2422.cfm.
4 Mar—Tour of Anchorage Four races make up one of the largest cross-country ski marathons in North America. The 25K classic, and 25K, 40K and 50K freestyles wind through Anchorage and end in Kincaid Park, Raspberry Road. For information, call 907-276-7609. http://www.tourofanchorage.com.
30 Mar—Seward's Day Public holiday commemorating the country's 1867 purchase of Alaska from Russia.
Throughout March—Concert The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra performs regularly at Evangeline Atwood Concert Hall, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information and tickets, call 907-274-8668. http://www.anchoragesymphony.org. Continues through mid April
Throughout March—ECHL Hockey The Division IAA Alaska Aces compete at Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St. For information and tickets, call 907-258-2237. http://www.alaskaaces.com. Continues through mid April
Throughout March—Performance With three theaters and eight resident performing-arts companies, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts regularly hosts concerts, Broadway musicals, dance, choral music and other performances. 621 W. Sixth Ave. For information, call 907-263-2900. For tickets, call 907-263-2787. http://www.alaskapac.org. Continues through late May


Seward, Alaska

Overview
Introduction
Set along the protected waters of Resurrection Bay on the eastern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, Seward, Alaska, is a terminus for many Gulf of Alaska cruises and is a base for exploring nearby Kenai Fjords National Park. It's surrounded by forest and park preserves, snowcapped peaks, calving glaciers, waterfalls and cliffs. Visitors can easily reach Seward by air, cruise ship, ferry, motorcoach or car.



Must See or Do
Sights—Calving glaciers at Kenai Fjords National Park; Lowell Point or Waterfront Park for unencumbered views of Resurrection Bay.
Museums—See the history of the city at the Seward Museum; take in historic movies and displays of the area at Kenai Fjords Information Center.
Memorable Meals—Seafood at Ray's Waterfront; fish-and-chips, steaks and pastas at Christo's Palace; salmon and prime rib at Salmon Bake Restaurant; white-mushroom pizza at Resurrection Roadhouse.
Late Night—The microbrews and rustic, log-cabin feel at Salmon Bake Restaurant; pool tables, live music and karaoke at the Yukon Bar; live music and poker at The Pit Bar.
Walks—Two Lakes Trail; the trails at Exit Glacier or Harding Icefield; the biking and walking trail at Waterfront Park.
Especially for Kids—Hands-on exhibits and a touch tank at Alaska SeaLife Center; the kid's outdoor park near the start of the Historic Iditarod Trail on the beachfront.
Geography
A mecca for fishermen, biologists and naturalists, Seward continues to be a desired destination with awesome beauty nestled on the northwestern bank of Resurrection Bay at the foot of Mount Marathon on the Kenai Peninsula. Glaciers suspended from the highest peaks of the Kenai Fjords National Park, otters playing in the bay and many other natural wonders make this one of the most scenic port cities in Alaska.
On the east side of the Kenai Peninsula, there is just room enough for the town of Seward to cling to the foot of the Kenai Mountains. The city is oriented north and south, and travelers go by road, boat or plane into the north end, with the SeaLife Center, Lowell Point and Caines Head at the south end. Not more than six blocks wide, it is easy to navigate with the water to the east and Mount Marathon to the west. Seward is also the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad.
History
Utilized by Alaska Natives since prehistoric times and "discovered" by Russian explorers in the late 1700s, this exquisitely beautiful location was not truly settled until the late 1890s. An ice-free port, Seward offered a viable transportation route to gold mines, to Anchorage and to the far north for mining enterprises.
By the late 1890s, it became obvious that a railway was needed to transport quantities of mineral resources much greater than dog teams could haul, and in 1903, the Alaska Railroad was started north to Anchorage. Shortly after the arrival of the railroad, the city was named in honor of William Seward, the secretary of state during U.S. President Abraham Lincoln's administration, who spearheaded the purchase of what is currently Alaska from the Russian government.
The town's original focus as an import and export location was briefly supplemented in the 1920s by fur production from a fox farm. A larger impact, though, came with World War II and the influx of military supplies and nearly 4,000 personnel. Seward became the largest U.S. military port north of Seattle. (Caines Head State Recreation Area is the site of the abandoned Fort McGilvray.) Following the war, Seward quickly reverted back to a fishing village as the natural resources located in Resurrection Bay drew commercial attention.
In 1964, an earthquake and a following tsunami wiped out the town's waterfront. Both the Seward Community Library and the Seward Museum have exhibits that document the damage.
The famous Iditarod dogsled race runs from Anchorage to Nome each year, but the original beginning of the trail was in Seward—on the waterfront at Fourth Avenue and Railway, to be exact (look for the Mile 0 marker with a dogsled monument and interpretive displays). The Iditarod Trail was being used as early as the 1880s for gold prospectors to haul supplies in dogsleds north to the mines in nearby Hope and Sunrise, as well as Nome. The lucky miners mushed their dogs back to Seward's port with sleds full of the precious metal, sometimes millions of dollars worth at one time. (Tales are still told of armed guards escorting one miner and his loot along the trail into town.)
Today, Seward is a busy shipping, fishing, marine research and tourism hub.
Port Information
Location
Seward is the beginning or end of the line for cruise passengers sailing the Gulf of Alaska route. The town may blur by if you are in a hurry to get on your ship or to get on the road to Anchorage for the plane ride home. If there's any flexibility in your schedule, we recommend taking at least a few hours to explore this interesting port in south-central Alaska.
The cruise-ship dock is about 0.5 mi/0.8 km northeast of the town's Small Boat Harbor on Port Avenue. A Seward Visitors Bureau information office just across the Seward highway from the cruise dock is open Monday-Saturday 9 am-6 pm, Sunday 10 am-4 pm Memorial Day-Labor Day. In winter the visitor center is open 9 am-5 pm Monday-Friday. This is where you can find information and reserve shore-side excursions (2001 Seward Highway, phone 907-224-8051; http://www.seward.com). You can walk into town from the dock or take a taxi from the visitors center. Some cruise lines provide a van shuttle service to the harbor and downtown.
Information booths are also located at the Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor Center at the small boat harbor on Fourth Avenue, and at the Seward Museum at the corner of Third Avenue and Jefferson Street, adjacent to Millionaire Row and its historic homes. Learn about local trails, cabins and wildlife at the U.S. Forest Service on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Jefferson Street. The Seward Library, at Fifth and Adams streets, shows a movie about the 1964 earthquake and tsunami daily at 2 pm during the summer.
Shore Excursions
Shore excursions available from Seward often include small-boat cruises to see glaciers and wildlife in Resurrection Bay, chartered salmon-fishing trips, tours of the Ididaride sled-dog kennels (including a ride on a wheeled sled pulled by dogs), a helicopter flight and dog sled ride on a glacier, flightseeing, kayaking and bus trips to Exit Glacier in nearby Kenai Fjords National Park. Additional options are available; ask your cruise director or inquire at the visitors center.
Most cruise lines offer trips to Kenai Fjords National Park (with a stop at Exit Glacier) and the Alaska SeaLife Center in downtown Seward, as well as flightseeing and fishing excursions in the Seward area. Some lines heading north on the scenic Seward Highway to Denali (Mount McKinley) north of Anchorage stop at the glacier-ringed Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. Phone 907-754-2111. Toll-free 800-880-3880. http://www.alyeskaresort.com.
For longer post- or pre-cruise stays, depart from Seward and head to the private Alaska Native-owned Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge, 12 mi/19 km from Seward, a one-hour boat ride away on Fox Island. Spend several relaxing days in a heated seaside wilderness cabin. Or, consider a nature excursion that includes three days and nights of fishing, whale-watching, glacier-watching and other outdoor scenery. Several tours take visitors to the Gulf of Alaska glaciers and to see marine wildlife. Toll-free 877-777-4053. http://www.kenaifjordslodge.com.
Potpourri
The Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park is the largest ice field contained within the U.S. The ice field accumulates 400-800 in/1,016-2,032 cm of snow each year. It takes 30-50 years for that snow to compress into glacial ice.
The Dall's porpoise often flirts with cruise ships touring Kenai Fjords National Park. They are the fastest small cetacean, logging speeds of up to 30 knots.
Glaciers are typically blue in color because the ice absorbs long-wavelength frequencies of light while reflecting short-wavelength frequencies, such as blue.
An incredible 4,500 gallons/17,030 liters of water is pumped into the Alaska SeaLife Center daily to keep the Steller sea lions happy.
The Seward Community Library holds the original flag that seventh-grader Benny Benson entered in a contest to design a state flag for Alaska—he won.
See & Do
Sightseeing
Gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park, Seward offers diverse sightseeing opportunities. In addition to Millionaire's Row, the Iditarod National Historic Trail, Founders Monument, Benny Benson Memorial, Seward Museum and Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor Center downtown, Seward has been dubbed the Mural Capital of Alaska. Mural and historic locations are noted on the downtown walking tour available at http://www.seward.com/visit.htm.
Don't miss the Alaska SeaLife Center where you can get nose to nose with seals and sea lions.
Recognized for scenic, natural, historical and recreational values, the 127 mi/204 km Seward Highway is an All-American Road, USDA Forest Service Scenic Byway and Alaska Scenic Byway. The road begins in Seward, paralleling the Iditarod National Historic Trail and the Alaska Railroad as far as Moose Pass and reconnects at the eastern tip of Turnagain Arm, ending in Anchorage. http://www.dot.state.ak.us/stwdplng/scenic/byways-seward.shtml.
Resurrection Bay kayak and boat trips provide the most dramatic views of the Kenai Fjords and glimpses of wildlife, or you can flightsee over the Harding Icefield, the largest icefield in the U.S.
Historic Sites
Millionaire's Row
Along Third Avenue North is Millionaire's Row, a string of historic private homes built in the early 1900s by officials of the Alaska Central Railroad. The former home of Frank Ballaine is at 437 Third Ave.—his brother was John Ballaine, founder of both Seward and the railroad. Over at 209 Fourth Ave. is Brown & Hawkins, a general store that dates back to 1904 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Check out the old cash register.)


Museums
Seward Museum
Don't be fooled by the Seward Museum's bland exterior; it has some fascinating displays including an excellent collection of Alaska Native woven baskets from around the state. The museum also includes gold-rush memorabilia and artifacts from the 1780s, when the Russians had a shipyard at Resurrection Bay. What stands out most is the collection of photographs from the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake: The strongest earthquake ever recorded in North America, it rocked Alaska's coast and destroyed Seward's waterfront. If you have time, try to attend the Iditarod Trail History or Seward History slide shows June-September Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7 pm. May-October daily 10 am-5 pm. US$3 adults, US$0.50 children. 336 Third Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-3902.


Nature
Be sure to pay a visit to Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. If you've got wheels, take the Seward Highway north out of town and turn left at the marked road at Mile 3.7. Follow the road for about 9 mi/14 km to the ranger station. There are several short, scenic trails branching off from there, or you can work up an appetite by hiking up alongside the glacier to the Harding Icefield, from which Exit Glacier flows.
Rangers lead nature walks from the station at 10 am and 2 pm daily midsummer. Mountain goats inhabit the nearby cliffs, and black bears are relatively common. Don't get too close to the glacier, and don't venture onto the ice field unless you're properly equipped and have had experience hiking on glaciers. The Exit Glacier Nature Center is open 9 am-8 pm daily Memorial Day-Labor Day. The center has interpretive programs, exhibits, visitor information and a bookstore.
The Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor Center also has useful information, videos and interpretive displays. Open daily 8:30 am-7 pm Memorial Day-Labor Day. 1212 Fourth Ave. next to the Small Boat Harbor.
If you don't have a car, there are other ways to see the park. Tour boats offer half- or full-day trips from Seward into the Kenai Fjords waterways. Also, flightseeing trips explore the Harding Icefield and buses go to Exit Glacier. Sea kayakers can arrange for boats to drop them off along the park's coastline. http://www.nps.gov/akr/kefj.
Parks & Gardens
Caines Head State Recreation Area
The site of abandoned World War II Fort MacGilvray, South Beach Garrison, remains of ammunition magazines and a U.S Army dock are located 4.5 mi/7.2 km from downtown Seward, accessible by boat or by the Lowell Point coastal trail. The park has picnic areas, campsites and many natural attractions, as well. Phone 907-224-3434 (Seward State Parks Lowell Point Office). http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/caineshd.htm.


Zoos & Wildlife
Alaska SeaLife Center
At the entertaining and very educational Alaska SeaLife Center, you can watch through large glass windows as otters, seals, Steller sea lions and other animals frolic in multistoried tanks. One of the most fascinating exhibits features seabirds that can be viewed from above or below the water. Another favorite exhibit focuses on the different species and life cycles of salmon. Touch tanks that house sea stars and other tide-pool creatures allow hands-on enjoyment for the young and old alike. Wounded birds and marine mammals are also cared for at the center. Make reservations for a special behind-the-scenes tour. An extensive gift shop carries treasures for kids and adults. Open May-October Monday-Thursday 9 am-6:30 pm, Friday-Sunday 8 am-6:30 pm. Winter hours are Monday-Friday 10 am-5 pm. US$20 adults, US$15 students ages 12-17, US$10 children ages 4-11, free for children younger than 4. 301 Railway Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-6300. Toll-free 888-378-2525. http://www.alaskasealife.org.


Recreation
Seward offers a plethora of activities for all ages. If you like the outdoors, try bird-watching, dog-sledding, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, mountain biking and sailing. A popular activity is cruising on a ship to view Kenai Fjords National Park and seeing blue tidewater glaciers calving into the ocean.
Bicycling
Lowell Point Road is a great place to bicycle. It runs south of town along the shore of Resurrection Bay toward Caines Head State Recreation Area. Traffic can be heavy, depending on how the fish are biting, but it's a quick way to get clear of downtown Seward.
A more peaceful and especially scenic route is the paved biking and walking trail through Waterfront Park, directly adjacent to the bay. The trail starts at Mile 0, at the edge of the SeaLife Center's parking lot, and serves as a monument to the Iditarod trailhead. Gently winding and level, it is less than 1 mi/1.6 km in length.
More ambitious cyclists can take the Glacier Highway to Mile 3 and follow the paved Leirer/Exit Glacier Road 9 mi/14 km to Exit Glacier. Seward Bike Shop
Rentals include a helmet. Prices start at US$14 half-day, US$23 full-day. 411 Port Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-2448. http://www.sewardbikeshop.com.


Boating & Sailing
Several companies offer kayaking opportunities in Resurrection Bay and the Kenai Fjords. Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking Company
This local company offers a variety of kayaking experiences at Kenai Fjords, Fox Island or Lowell Point. It also offers guided hiking trips. Open May-September 7:30 am-7 pm. US$65 for three hours, including equipment and instruction. Expect to pay US$179-$399 for all-day glacier-viewing trips. Small Boat Harbor Adventure Center, Seward. Phone 907-224-4426. Toll-free 800-770-9119. http://www.sunnycove.com.


Fishing
Charter-boat services abound in Seward. There's excellent salmon fishing in Resurrection Bay, and the halibut fishing is good, too. Even if you don't go fishing yourself, consider hanging around the Small Boat Harbor in the late afternoon as the boats return to unload the catch of the day. This is a great opportunity to see what lurks beneath the surface of the bountiful bay.
There are numerous charter companies in Seward—just ask at the visitors center. Your lodging may also offer some package deals. Half- and full-day trips are available, usually April-September. Most outfits supply all of the gear and bait you need. Fees range from US$195-$235 per person for a full day (approximately 11 hours) of halibut fishing, US$230 per person for salmon. A half-day outing (five or six hours) costs around US$160 per person. Be sure to ask if there's an extra charge for cleaning your catch—policies and prices vary significantly.
If you go out on a chartered boat during a fishing derby, don't forget to purchase derby tickets before you go. Most Alaska derbies charge a nominal entrance fee of around US$10 per day or US$50 for the entire derby. We've heard plenty of sad stories about visitors who embark on day trips, neglect to spend a few bucks for a ticket, and then haul in a fish that would have won a substantial cash prize.
Hiking & Walking
There are several accessible hikes from town. The Two Lakes Trail starts behind the AVTEC building at Second Avenue and B Street, continues for 1 mi/1.6 km around the base of Mount Marathon and circles two lakes. The trail ends at the Benny Benson memorial site, which boasts a monument to the designer of Alaska's state flag. Much of the trail consists of a boardwalk with picnic benches along the way. We like this trail for the beautiful view of a waterfall suspended above the city.
If you're ambitious and in good shape, you can try the three-hour, progressively steep climb to the top of 3,022-ft/937-m Mount Marathon. The trailhead is marked at the western end of Jefferson Street, and from the top you'll be rewarded with amazing views. This is the location of the annual Mount Marathon race that takes place each Fourth of July.
Caines Head State Recreation Area to the south of town starts out of the Lowell Point parking lot and has a 5-mi/7-km hike to an aging World War II fort that overlooks the bay. Begin your hike two hours before low tide—the Tonsina Point to North Beach section of the trail is under water at high tide. http://www.alaskastateparks.org.
North of town at Mile 3 of Seward Highway is the paved Leirer/Exit Glacier Road to Exit Glacier. The trailhead is at Mile 9, Exit Glacier Road. The first 0.3 mi/0.5 km of the 0.8 mi/1.3 km Lower Loop trail at Exit Glacier is wheelchair accessible. The Upper Loop is 1 mi/1.6 km. For the adventurous, the Harding Icefield Trail is a strenuous 3.5-mi/5.6-km hike with amazing views. http://www.nps.gov/kefj/planyourvisit/exit-glacier.htm.
If you don't have a car, Exit Glacier Guides offers an hourly shuttle between Seward's small boat harbor and Exit Glacier late May-early September 8:30 am-5 pm. The ecofriendly shuttle van is powered by WVO (waste vegetable oil). Phone 907-224-5569. http://www.exitglacierguides.com.
Nightlife
There isn't much nightlife in Seward, but Fourth Avenue is your best bet for bar-hopping.
Options usually include a handful of colorful bars that occasionally offer live music. Be aware that bars in Seward can be very smoky.
Bars, Taverns & Pubs
American Legion Hall
This private club offers Steak Night on Friday, Taco Tuesdays and karaoke, you must be a member or guest of a member to attend. 402 Fifth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-5440.

Seward Alehouse
Serves a good selection of beers. 215 Fourth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-2337.

The Pit Bar
Live music and poker nights are offered some nights. Open 8 am-5 am. Seward Highway, Mile 3.5, Seward. Phone 907-224-3006.

Thorn's Showcase Lounge
This upscale bar serves good food, too.

Tony's Bar
Popular sports bar. 135 Fourth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-3045.

Yukon Bar
This bar has billiards tables, karaoke twice a week, open jam once a week, a DJ one night a week and live music on weekends. Fourth Avenue and Washington Street, Seward. Phone 907-224-3063.


Performing Arts
Big-name shows aren't the norm in small-town Seward, but the community is full of talented performers who can be seen at the Seward Playhouse and Resurrect Art Coffee House Gallery.
Venues
Resurrect Art Coffee House Gallery
This coffeehouse offers regular performing-arts events, many of which are sponsored by the Seward Arts Council. It also displays artwork created mainly by Seward artists. 320 Third Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-7161. http://www.resurrectart.com.

Seward Playhouse
Offers a wide variety of live performances in a smoke-free environment. 215B Fourth Ave. (downtown), Seward. Phone 907-224-2787.


Shopping
You'll find art galleries and shops concentrated downtown and around the Small Boat Harbor.
Galleries
The Seward Arts Council sponsors First Friday Gallery walks. http://www.sewardartscouncil.org. Irvin Pottery
Retired school teachers Tom and Sharon Irwin create great pottery pieces inspired by the natural colors around Seward: Resurrection Bay blue, rain-forest green, Mount Marathon autumn gold. 14527 Rainforest Circle, Seward. Phone 907-224-3534. http://www.irvinpottery.com.

Rainy Day Creations
Blown, stained and fused glass and lampwork beads are this small shop's specialty. 10564 Bear Paw Drive, Seward. Phone 907-224-5429.

Starbird Studio
This is a pleasant spot to browse through wildlife-focused art and sculptures. Much of the artwork is provided by Dennis Treadwell, who uses bronze as his medium. Open May-September. 221 Fourth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-8770. Toll-free 888-868-8770. http://www.starbirdstudio.com.


Markets
The Grazing Moose Summer Market
This summertime market sells fresh produce, art, nachos, flower baskets and baked goods. Sometimes shoppers are serenaded by local musicians. Open June-September Thursday-Sunday 10 am-4 pm. 312 Fifth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-491-1076. http://www.thegrazingmoose.com.


Specialty Stores
A Flyin' Skein
The "Yarn Lady" offers unique yarns, classes and information about crafters' cruises. Open daily 11 am-7 pm in summer; Tuesday-Friday 2-6 pm, Saturday 11 am-6 pm in winter. 223 Fourth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-5648. http://www.aflyinskein.com.

Brown & Hawkins Store
This is the oldest continuously operated business in Seward, with the original bank vault, cash register and other memorabilia. It's on the National Register of Historic Places. It's also a good place to go if you need apparel or shoes for the Seward climate. 209 Fourth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-3011. http://www.cityofseward.net/hpc/historic_properties/brown_hawkins_store.shtml.htm.

Once In A Blue Moose
This Anchorage-based store carries all the clever T-shirts and trinkets you could ever need. There's a second location in the boat harbor (phone 907-632-4447). Open daily mid-April through September. Closed in winter. 230 Fourth Ave. (uphill from the SeaLife Center), Seward. Phone 907-224-5335. Toll-free 888-490-1898. http://www.onceinabluemoose.com.

Sew 'n Bee Cozy
A carved orca sits outside the front door of this quilting and sewing supply store. Open Monday-Saturday 10 am-7 pm, Sunday noon-5 pm in summer; Monday-Saturday 11 am-6 pm in winter. 211 Fourth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-7647. http://www.sewnbeecozy.com.

Sweet Darlings Candy Shop
Attached to the Brown & Hawkins Store, this famous shop sells authentic Italian gelato, homemade fudge, saltwater taffy and peppermint bark. 209 Fourth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-3011. Toll-free 888-467-3011. http://www.sweetdarlings.com.

Urbach's Clothier
This is where Seward locals shop for clothes. 218 Fourth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-3088.


Itinerary
Local Tours
There are many reputable tour operators in town. The visitors center has lists of companies and individuals who offer guided fishing, helicopter rides, kayaking, sailing, scuba diving, wildlife viewing and other tours. Booking offices for several outfits are located near the harbormaster office building at the Small Boat Harbor. Reservations are recommended, but spur-of-the-moment adventures can often be accommodated.
You can pick up a walking-tour map of the town at the dock or at the Seward Chamber of Commerce's visitors center, which is located in an old railcar downtown at at 2001 Seward Highway. Phone 907-224-3094. http://www.seward.com.
Bardy's Trail Rides
Experience the part of Seward destroyed by the 1964 earthquake and ride on horseback to Resurrection Bay. Overnight trips are also available. Two-hour rides are US$85. Mile 3 Seward Highway to Old Nash Road, Seward. Phone 907-224-7863. http://www.sewardhorses.com.

Exit Glacier Guides
Trips include hiking, ice-climbing, ice-hiking, helicopter ice-hiking, kayaking in Resurrection Bay or Aialik Bay to Aialik Glacier, or a combination. Prices range US$125 for five hours of ice-hiking (equipment included) to US$350-$415 for fly-in glacier exploration. Located at the Train Wreck shopping area in the Small Boat Harbor, Seward. Phone 907-224-5569. http://www.exitglacierguides.com.

Godwin Glacier Dog Sled Tours
This outfit offers a unique combination of dog-sledding, glacier-landing and spending a night on a glacier for US$520. US$300 glacier-landing only. For a glacier-landing plus dog-sledding, prices are US$450 adults, US$420 children age 12 and younger. Open June-September. Phone 907-224-8239. Toll-free 888-989-8239. http://www.alaskadogsled.com.

Kenai Fjords Tours
Owned and operated by Cook Inlet Region Inc. Alaska Natives, this company offers outings mid-May to mid-September on 95-ft-long/30-m-long boats to Kenai Fjords National Park. Prices range US$89-$189 per adult, depending on the length of the trip and whether or not a meal is provided. 1304 Fourth Ave. (in the Small Boat Harbor), Seward. Phone 907-224-8068. Toll-free 877-777-4051. http://www.kenaifjords.com.

Major Marine Tours
An Anchorage-based company, Major Marine cruises are hosted by a uniformed and licensed national park ranger, including a Junior Ranger program for children. It offers outings to Kenai Fjords National Park on boats that range 85-115 ft/26-35 m, holding approximately 160-200 passengers. Alaska salmon and prime-rib meals are offered onboard for an additional US$19. Tours available April-September. Prices range US$69-$149 per adult, depending on length of trip. Located at the Small Boat Harbor, Seward. Phone 907-224-8030. Toll-free 800-764-7300. http://www.majormarine.com.

Sailing Inc.
Sail aboard the 32-ft/10-m Beneteau 323 Yebo! to enjoy porpoises, whales, otters and the Kenai Fjords. US$75 adults for two hours, US$175 for six hours. Located in the Small Boat Harbor, Seward. Phone 907-224-3160. http://www.sailinginc.com.

Seavey's Ididaride Sled Dog Tours
What would a trip to Alaska be without a dogsled tour? Mitch Seavey (the 2004 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race winner and 2008 All-Alaska Sweepstakes Champion) and his family offer 90-minute tours of the area with a dog team, including a 2-mi-/4-km-long dogsled ride May-September. In winter (November-April), weather permitting, mush a dog team on the snowy trail to Exit Glacier. Reservations recommended. Summer tour: US$59 adults, US$29 children. Winter tour: US$249, or ride in the dogsled for US$99 adults, US$59 children. Mile 1.1, Old Exit Glacier Road, Seward. Phone 907-224-8607. Toll-free 800-478-3139. http://www.ididaride.com.


Day By Day
To Denali National Park/Mount McKinley via the Seward Highway. If you have time for only one land tour, make it this one: You'll cover the most territory, see Alaska's premier wildlife preserve and (weather permitting) the continent's highest peak. Travel from Seward is by motorcoach or train—or both—along the Seward Highway, a National Scenic Byway. The scenery en route is a big part of the experience, so get a window seat if possible so you can catch the waterfalls, rivers and glacier views.
Once you arrive at the park, you can go river rafting, flightseeing or horseback riding. You can take a hike on your own or take a bus tour into the park (leaving daily every half-hour) from the park entrance and look for moose, caribou, bears, Dall's sheep, wolves and much more. Plan to spend at least two days at the park and don't miss the hilarious dinner theater offered nearby.
If you go on to Fairbanks, the state's second-largest city, you should ride the authentic stern-wheeler Riverboat Discovery on the Chena and Tanana rivers. This experience alone is worth a visit to Fairbanks: The Discovery stops at Iditarod veteran Susan Butcher's riverside home, shows sled dogs in action and takes you to a restored Alaska Native village.
Dining
Dining Overview
If you like seafood, you'll love Seward's restaurants—it's hard to find a menu that doesn't prominently feature halibut, as well as other fresh fish.
Local & Regional
Christo's Palace
A downtown restaurant that serves Greek, Italian and Mexican cuisine, as well as seafood. It has an extensive wine list. Open daily year-round for lunch and dinner. $-$$$. 133 Fourth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-5255. http://www.christospalace.com.

Le Barn Appetit
Enjoy savory crepes and Belgian waffles made by Yvon, who is originally from Belgium, and his wife, Janet. You can take your freshly caught fish to this restaurant to have it prepared. Open daily in summer for breakfast, lunch and early dinner; in winter by reservation only. $$. 11786 Old Exit Glacier Road, Seward. Phone 907-224-8706. http://www.lebarnappetit.net.

Ray's Waterfront
A favorite among locals, Ray's has an eclectic range of artistically prepared options. Dine on fresh local seafood and pasta while watching the activity in the Small Boat Harbor. (You can often spot sea otters and sea lions swimming between the boats.) Open mid-May to September. $$-$$$. Located in the Small Boat Harbor, Seward. Phone 907-224-5606. http://rayswaterfrontak.com.


Cuisines
American
Resurrection Roadhouse
Choose between two menus: Alaska seafood and steaks or burgers and specialty pizzas. The restaurant, inside the Seward Windsong Lodge, offers spectacular views of the Resurrection River. Pizzas and burgers are also offered at the Goliath Bar and Grill, also part of the Alaska Native-owned Windsong Lodge. Open daily mid-May to mid-September for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $$$. 31772 Herman Leirer Road, Seward. Phone 907-224-7116. Toll-free 877-777-4079. http://www.sewardwindsong.com.

Salmon Bake Restaurant
This restaurant is a favorite because of its stock of great Alaskan beers served in mason jars and in bottles. It serves seafood, steaks and burgers. Although a bit loud with a rustic, woodsy interior, it's a well-lit, busy and jovial place to meet tourists and locals alike. Open daily for dinner mid-May to mid-September. $$. Exit Glacier Road, Mile 0.5, Seward. Phone 907-224-2204. http://www.sewardalaskacabins.com.

The Smoke Shack
This place serves the best ribs in town. Try the pulled pork sandwich or the Big Kahuna hamburger cooked outside on the deck. The small restaurant is inside a railcar at the Train Wreck near the harbor. Open daily year-round. $$. 411 Port Ave., Railcar No. 4, Seward. Phone 907-224-7427.


Mediterranean
Apollo Restaurant
This restaurant puts an Italian and Greek twist on savory seafood pastas and fettucini di mare. It also serves lamb chops, gyros, calzones, burgers and homemade soups. Best of all, the owners smoke their own salmon. Open daily year-round for lunch and dinner. $$. 229 Fourth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-3092. http://www.apollorestaurantak.com.


Continental
Gene's Place at Hotel Seward
Dine on tequila-marinated prawns and scallops, halibut cheeks Rosario with gorgonzola cream, or reindeer sausage in the historic Victorian-style Hotel Seward. Open daily year-round for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $$-$$$. 221 Fifth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-8001. Toll-free 800-440-2444. http://www.hotelsewardalaska.com.


Seafood
Chinook's Waterfront Restaurant
This waterfront restaurant serves stunning views of the harbor along with a great seafood saute, snow crab portobella, shrimp and risotto and halibut cheeks, along with steaks and pastas. The copper-trimmed first-floor dining room is casual with a sports-bar atmosphere. The second floor is more upscale. Open daily April-October for lunch and dinner. $$-$$$. 1404 Fourth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-2207. http://www.chinookswaterfront.com.


Security
Personal Safety
Crime isn't a significant problem in Seward, but take the usual precautions and be aware of your surroundings.
Health
Mosquitoes and other nibblers can be a nuisance. Don't venture out of town without a good insect repellent, preferably one containing deet as an active ingredient. If you go for a hike, don't drink untreated water from lakes or streams. No matter how pristine the area seems, people and animals may have fouled the waters.
Always be aware of the possibility of encountering a moose or bear. If you do, don't approach them and try to avoid quick actions that may incite them to charge. Inquire locally for details on recent bear activity and more advice on how to behave around both of these species.
Providence Seward Medical Center offers 24-hour medical services. 417 First Ave. Phone 907-224-5205. http://www.providence.org/alaska/seward.
Disabled Advisory
Curbed sidewalks have ramps, and most business locations and restaurants comply with the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Seward does not have public transportation or a ride service for the disabled. The best approach for disabled travelers would be to call ahead to specific venues they are interested in before touring Seward.
Dos & Don'ts
Do wear sunglasses, sunscreen or a brimmed hat when approaching a glacier. Be sure to wear a light jacket since the temperature around the glacier usually drops at least 10 degrees F/6 degrees C.
Do take seasickness preventative measures (such as Dramamine or Bonine) if needed prior to departing on a cruise to Kenai Fjords National Park, since you will enter the Gulf of Alaska and may hit rough seas.
Don't touch or let your kids play with devil's club, a shrub with large leaves of five to seven lobes, and cow parsnip, a wild celery that has a long stem connected to large, compound leaves up to 10 ft/3 m long. Both cause skin irritation and are common plants found on the side of the road or on trail systems.
Do witness the birth of a sea-lion pup in the spring through a live video at the Alaska SeaLife Center.
Don't take a banana on any boat trip. It's bad luck.
Don't rely on the weather forecast for Seward if you're heading to a glacier—they make their own weather.
Don't speed in Seward, especially if you have out-of-town plates. You might end up in the Seward Phoenix Log. Every police charge, including traffic tickets, is reported in its "Matter of Record" section.
Hotels
Hotel Overview
Seward has a few larger hotels and lodges and a scattering of small ones. The downtown area has the most rooms and offers deluxe accommodations. Several smaller hotels line the main street as you travel north of downtown. Rooms are often booked full in summer months, so early reservations are recommended. Winter months offer reasonable rates along with good availability.
The plentiful bed-and-breakfasts and cabins are excellent opportunities to experience some local flavor. Campgrounds and RV parks are also available.
Facts
Geostats
Passport/Visa Requirements: All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico. Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S.
Passports are required for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders with the U.S. and for cruise passengers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda. Reconfirm travel-document requirements with your carrier prior to departure.

Population: 2,609.
Time Zone: 9 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-9 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is observed from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
Voltage Requirements: 110 volts.
Telephone Codes: 907, area code for all of Alaska;
Money
Currency Exchange
Among the banks in town are Wells Fargo on Third Avenue and First National Bank on Fourth Avenue. Both have ATMs.
Banking Hours
Generally Monday-Friday 10 am-5 pm.
Taxes
The local sales tax is 3% out-of-town, 7% in town. Seward has an 11% hotel-occupancy tax.
Tipping
In restaurants, leave 15% unless good service warrants more.
Weather
The beautiful snows and clear days of winter make Seward a stunning destination, but the typical below-freezing winter temperatures (20s F/-7 to 0 C on average) and snow create fewer opportunities for dining, shopping and exploring. The city appears to sleep beneath the blanket of the winter season. Summer is its busiest season, with cool temperatures typically in the 50s F/10-15 C, and there is often a light rain. Annual rainfall averages 66 in/168 cm.
What to Wear
None of the restaurants in town demand a jacket or tie, and the general rule is "come as you are." Lightweight jackets and long sleeves are necessary to be comfortable in summer, and khaki pants are acceptable dress attire for any event, with casual jeans appropriate pretty much anytime and anywhere.
Fishing charters and fjord tours are commonly accompanied by a slow drizzle and a cool breeze, so be prepared with warm layers when you plan to be out on the water. (Often the charter boats offer rain slickers.) Dress in layers for warmth, not fashion, and you will fit right in. A fleece jacket or vest with lightweight rain-resistant outerwear and water-resistant shoes should keep you warm and snuggly.
Communication
Telephone
Pay phones are available around town at Safeway, the harbormaster's office and the cruise ship terminal, among other places.
Cell phone coverage is good in town, but spotty on the Seward Highway.
Internet Access
The Seward Community Library on Adams Street and the Sit 'n Spin espresso shop and laundromat on Third Avenue offer public computers with Internet access, but no Wi-Fi for personal computers.
Most hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, and some cabins offer Wi-Fi. Even some campgrounds provide Wi-Fi for guests. Sea Bean Cafe
Enjoy free wireless service, breakfast, lunch, coffee and ice cream. 225 Fourth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-6623.


Mail & Package Services
The post office is open Monday-Friday 9:30 am-4:30 pm, Saturday 10 am-2 pm. 507 Madison Ave. Phone 907-224-3001.
Newspapers & Magazines
Every Thursday, pick up a copy of The Seward Phoenix Log, where you can find out just about every bit of local gossip. http://www.thesewardphoenixlog.com.
Alaska Newspapers Inc. publishes the Seward Alaska Visitors Guide (http://www.alaskanewspapers.com). Seward Alaska is a free visitor's guide offered by the Seward Visitor Center, which you can order for free at http://www.seward.com.
Transportation
Seward Airport (PAWD/SWD), 2 mi/3.2 km northeast of town, is home to several air taxi operations but has no control tower (http://www.airnav.com/airport/PAWD). Scheduled commercial flights are available at Kenai Municipal Airport and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
You can see most sights on foot, but if you plan a long stay in Seward, you'll be well-served by renting a car.
Taxi service is available in town. A ride from the cruise-ship dock to downtown costs about US$10. You can also rent a car for around US$75 per day (cars are limited, so reserve in advance).
If you need to travel between Seward and Anchorage, you can catch Alaska Railroad's daily 6 pm train to Anchorage from the gazebo at the corner of Seward Highway and Port Avenue (phone 907-265-2494, toll-free 800-544-0552. http://www.akrr.com). The fare is US$75 one-way, US$119 round-trip.
Seward Bus Line (phone 907-224-3608, toll-free 888-420-7788; http://www.sewardbuslines.net), Gray Line (toll-free 888-452-1737; http://www.graylineofalaska.com), the Magic Bus (phone 907-230-6773), Alaska Tour and Travel (phone 907-245-0200, toll-free 800-208-0200; http://www.alaskatravel.com) and others offer daily bus service from Seward to Anchorage and points in between. One-way tickets cost US$50-$145 or US$95-$290 round-trip.
For More Information
Convention & Visitors Bureau
Kenai Fjords National Park Information Center
For more information on Kenai Fjords National Park, stop by the Kenai Fjords Information Center in the Small Boat Harbor area. The center also sells books, audiotapes and videotapes on the park and other Alaska subjects, and it has a regular schedule of short movies offered at no charge. A topographic map in the center will assist you in understanding the layout of this mountainous region. Open 8:30 am-7 pm Memorial Day-Labor Day. 1212 Fourth Ave., Seward. Phone 907-224-3175. http://www.nps.gov/kefj.

Seward Chamber of Commerce Conference and Visitors Bureau
June-September Monday-Saturday 9 am-6 pm, Sunday 10 am-4 pm; October-May Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm. 2001 Seward Highway, Seward. Phone 907-224-8051. http://www.seward.com.


Events
Calendar
The biggest events in Seward are the annual fishing derbies: the Halibut Derby, which runs virtually all summer (early May-late July), and the Silver Salmon Derby, which draws anglers from around the world during the month of August. Prizes are worth more than US$100,000.
The Polar Bear Jump-Off Festival, held in late January, is a winter-weekend festival filled with fun events and games, but the main attraction is the Jump-Off, an icy plunge into Resurrection Bay by costumed jumpers who collect pledges to benefit the American Cancer Society.
The Whale Migration Celebration in April heralds the arrival of spring with workshops and cruises to see the more than 22,000 gray whales migrating from Baja California to the Bering Sea.
In May there's Military Appreciation Week and the Seward Harbor Opening Weekend, complete with a parade of boats, sidewalk sales, marine safety demonstrations by the U.S. Coast Guard and food.
July explodes with activities, including the Fourth of July celebration featuring music, food, fireworks, a parade and a grueling footrace up 3,022-ft/937-m Mount Marathon. The tradition began in 1915 as a wager whether a person could, in less than an hour, run from midtown to the top of the mountain. Although the original race took more than an hour, the current record is 43 minutes. http://www.sewardak.org/news-events/marathon/marathon.htm.
Performers from all over Alaska gather every September for the Seward Music and Arts Festival. http://www.sewardfestival.com.
In December, Seward hosts visitors from the Anchorage area aboard the Alaska Railroad for the Holiday Train Getaway. There are holiday shopping specials, caroling, children's activities and visits with Santa. Toll-free 800-544-0552. http://alaskarailroad.com.
A good source for events and activities in town is the Seward Conference and Visitors Bureau. Phone 907-224-8051. http://www.seward.com.


Sitka, Alaska

Overview
Introduction

The setting of Sitka, Alaska, in a tranquil bay on Baranof Island, is nothing short of spectacular. Tiny islands dense with evergreen trees dot the blue-green water, which is crisscrossed by dozens of fishing boats. Looming over the town and waterfront is Mount Edgecumbe, a Mount Fuji look-alike located on a nearby island.
Sitka also has a rich legacy of artifacts and traditions from the Alaska Native, Russian and early-U.S. eras. It is the ancestral home of the Kiksadi Tlingit people. In the 1800s, before Alaska was sold to the U.S., the town was a major Russian port, headquarters of the Russian American Co., established to promote the fur trade, and capital of Russian North America.
Sitka has 24 listings on the National Register of Historic Places, seven of which are National Historical Landmarks, and Sitka was named one of America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
But don't spend all your time touring historic buildings—Sitka also has an abundance of wildlife. Humpback whales frolic in the bay; massive brown bears and Sitka black-tailed deer roam through nearby forests of Sitka spruce and hemlock; and thousands of seabirds, including the rare rhinoceros auklet and tufted puffin, flock to St. Lazaria National Wildlife Refuge at the mouth of Sitka Sound.


Must See or Do
Sights—Get a sense for Sitka's history by touring St. Michael's Cathedral, Castle Hill, Sitka National Historical Park and Russian Bishop's House.
Museums—The Sheldon Jackson Museum; the Sitka Historical Society and Museum.
Memorable Meals—Try Alaskan tapas or the Katlian special salmon at Ludvig's Bistro; enjoy beautiful views at The Raven Room; savor fresh seafood and ocean-view dining at the Channel Club.
Late Night—Sample calamari and drinks at the Kadataan Lounge in the Westmark Sitka Hotel; fraternize with locals, sip a beer and sample a sandwich at the Pioneer Bar.
Walks—Get a copy of Sitka Trails and try some easy hikes in the area; climb to the top of Mount Edgecumbe.
Especially for Kids—Search for sea stars and hermit crabs at a beach; see bald eagles at the Alaska Raptor Center; attend a kid's talk at the Sitka National Historical Park; pet orphaned cubs at Fortress of the Bear.
Geography
Sitka is one of southeast Alaska's most picturesque communities. Accessible only by air or sea (like most southeast Alaska communities), Sitka sits on the outer coast of Baranof Island in serene Sitka Sound, a body of water that protects the community from the pounding Pacific Ocean but not from the rain. The average annual precipitation measures 96 in/244 cm, including 39 in/99 cm of snow.
Hundreds of spruce- and hemlock-studded islands dot the sound, and snowcapped volcano Mount Edgecumbe rises majestically 3,200 ft/992 m in the background. (It last erupted 8,000 years ago.) Sitka has only 14 mi/23 km of paved roads.
History
The Russian American Co.'s insatiable search for sea-otter fur lured the Russians to the Sitka region in 1799. The Kiksadi Clan of the Tlingit people living in the area refused to become slaves to the fur traders and attacked the Russian outpost in 1802, killing most of the Russians and their Aleut slaves. Two years later, company manager Alexander Baranof retaliated and drove out the Tlingits, founding New Archangel—which became Sitka—and built a stockade on what became known as Castle Hill.
In the 19th century, Sitka was the fur-trading capital of the world. It was the busiest port on the eastern side of the Pacific and the only shipyard north of Hawaii. By 1867, however, overhunting had diminished the sea-otter and fur-seal trade, so the Russians sold Alaska to the U.S. for US$7.2 million on 18 October.
After 60 years as the capital of Russian North America, Sitka continued to function as the capital of the territory of Alaska until 1906, when the capital was moved to the gold-rich town of Juneau. Sitka's legacy is its blending of Tlingit, Russian and American culture and history, evident in the landmarks, tours and museums around town.
Port Information
Location
Plan to be on deck when your ship sails into Sitka Sound, particularly if it's a sunny day: The views of the town from the ship are beautiful.
Large cruise ships anchor in the sound, which is protected from the rough seas of the Pacific. Passengers are tendered to the visitors pier near Crescent Harbor or to O'Connell Bridge. Smaller cruise ships are at the visitors docks. It's an easy walk to town and to most of the sites, including the Sitka National Historic Park.
Visitor information can be obtained from the visitors desk at Harrigan Centennial Hall, near Crescent Harbor, one block from O'Connell Bridge, or at the Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau, 303 Lincoln St. A visitor kiosk at O'Connell Bridge also is available when cruise ships are in town. Open Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm in summer. Phone 907-747-5940. http://www.sitka.org.
Shore Excursions
Consider signing up for the excursions offered by your ship. They may not be the least expensive way to see the area, but you won't have to waste your limited time making arrangements yourself—and you won't have to worry about missing the ship. Shore excursions and their prices vary from cruise line to cruise line. Check with your ship's shore-excursion staff or your travel agent for additional information.
Explore Sitka's Russian history via bus tour followed by a Russian dance performance, learn about eagles at the Alaska Raptor Center, or bike and hike through the area. Boat tours allow you to watch sea otters and other wildlife, experience a working salmon hatchery, enjoy sportfishing and watch whales. Tranquil Sitka Sound is the perfect place to learn to maneuver a two-person sea kayak or experience the underwater environment from the comfort of a semisubmersible vessel.
Potpourri
Archaeologists excavated 300,000 artifacts weighing a total of 4,100 lbs/1,845 kg from four buried Russian American Co. buildings in the Castle Hill area of Sitka.
Known as the "Paris of the Pacific" in 1867, Sitka was the busiest port on the west coast of North America in the mid-19th century.
Sitka is the largest city in terms of area in the U.S. at 4,811 sq mi/12,461 sq km, of which 1,937 sq mi/5,017 sq km (or 40%) is water.
The name Sitka is from the Tlingit phrase Shee At'ika, which means people on the outside of Shee, the Tlingit name for Baranof Island or for the volcano at Mount Edgecumbe.
During World War II, 30,000 military personnel and 7,000 civilians were entrenched on Japonski Island, currently the location of the airport and Mount Edgecumbe High School.
In July, Sitka averages 18.5 hours of daylight per day.
In a ceremony that took place in Sitka, the Russians sold Alaska to the U.S. for US$7.2 million.
The Sitka National Historical Park is the oldest federally designated park. It was established in 1910 to commemorate the Battle of Sitka.
Sitka was featured in the movie The Proposal. Although the actors never got farther north than Rockport, Massachusetts, the film crew did insert some great shots of Sitka into the film.
Since 2009, a Spirit of Alaska Statehood design adorns one Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400 aircraft. Winner of the Paint the Plane competition, Sitka 16-year-old Hannah Hamburg envisioned a musher and sled dog, Alaska Native canoe, whale, state ferry and a bear, with the theme: "We're all pulling together."
See & Do
Sightseeing
Sightseeing in Sitka provides visitors with a glimpse of Russian, American and Tlingit cultures and conflicts in the area. A must-see is the Sitka National Historical Park.
The major wildlife attractions in the area focus on bears, humpback whales, sea otters, seabirds and birds of prey.
Historic Sites
Start your tour with a stroll around downtown Sitka. A walking-tour map is available at the Harrigan Centennial Hall visitors center or online at http://www.sitka.org/maps.html.
Nearby are two other sites connected to Russian history: the Russian Blockhouse (206 Lincoln St., phone 907-747-0110), a replica of the one that separated the Russian and Tlingit sections of town in the early 1800s; and the Russian Cemetery, which contains the grave of Princess Maksoutoff, the wife of Alaska's last Russian governor. Both sites are behind the Pioneers Home (a big red-roofed building that has a lovely garden and a gift shop, at 120 Katlian St.). It was built in 1934 on the Russian parade grounds.
Across from the home is Totem Square, which contains an old Russian cannon, three anchors, petroglyphs and a totem pole with a double-headed eagle that was carved by a local artist. It symbolizes Sitka's Russian heritage. Walk to the top of Castle Hill, a state park near Totem Square that was an early stronghold of the Kiksadi Tlingit people and the site of Baranof Castle (1837-98), former home of the first Russian governor. It's also the site where Alaska was officially transferred from Russia to the U.S. in 1867. The sweeping views of the sound make climbing all those steps (100, we think) more than worth it. (There's also a wheelchair ramp that begins at the bridge.)
The remnants of a more recent war are south of town. Japonski Island—now home to the University of Alaska Southeast at Sitka, Mount Edgecumbe High School, the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Center, U.S. Coast Guard air and boat station, and Rocky Gutierrez airport—was the headquarters for U.S. military forces based in Sitka during World War II. The ruins of bunkers and gunning sites can be visited. Russian Bishop's House
East of town is the Russian Bishop's House, the town's oldest intact Russian building. Painted mustard yellow, the two-story house is one of the few log buildings still standing and the largest Russian log building in North America—it was built in 1842 as a residence for the bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church. Now a museum, it houses artifacts from the Russian colonial period, including a priest's robe and an antique samovar. Nearby Building 29, the Log Cache (at 206 Lincoln St), is one of the few spruce-log structures from the Russian era. Built in 1835, it's insulated with sawdust. Open daily in summer 9 am-5 pm; call for a reservation in winter. Free admission or US$4 tour (given every half-hour). Lincoln and Monastery streets, Sitka. Phone 907-747-6281. http://www.nps.gov/sitk/historyculture/russian-bishops-house.htm.

Sitka Lutheran Church
This church contains artifacts from the Finnish Lutheran Church (built in 1843), the first Lutheran church on the west coast of North America. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Free, volunteer-led tours are available mid-May to mid-September. 224 Lincoln St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-3338. http://www.sitkalutheranchurch.org.

Sitka National Historical Park
This park reveals another side of the area's heritage. It is also known by locals as Totem Park. Stop first at the park's visitors center, where there are displays of Russian and Alaska Native artifacts, and ranger programs. See demonstrations of native crafts, such as a silversmith or wood carvers working on totem poles at the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center inside the visitor center. You can also watch the short, informative video Voices of Sitka.
A 1-mi/1.6-km trail winds through the 100-acre/40-hectare park's dense second-growth spruce forest along the sound. The free, self-guided oceanside trail is dotted with totem poles, many of which are replicas of poles collected for the 1904 celebration of the Louisiana Purchase. (Ask park rangers to lend you a copy of the booklet "Carved History." It explains the various carvings.) Don't rush through the park—you'll want to spend time contemplating the intricately carved poles.
The trail takes you past the site of the 1804 Battle of Sitka between the Russians and Tlingits. (The Russians won.) You'll also cross a bridge over the Indian River, which teems with spawning salmon at times. A connecting trail takes you to a memorial to the Russians who died in the battle. The park is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Trails open 6 am-10 pm mid-May to September and 7 am-8 pm in winter. Visitors center open 8 am-5 pm daily mid-May-September, Monday-Saturday October to mid-May. The Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center is located east of town at 106 Metlakatla St. (at the end of Lincoln Street), Sitka. Phone 907-747-6281 (historical park) or 907-747-8061 (cultural center). http://www.nps.gov/sitk.

St. Michael's Cathedral
Located in the heart of downtown, St. Michael's Cathedral is a National Historic Landmark. Its onion dome and cross-topped steeple symbolize Sitka's Russian history. Built 1844-48, the original building burned in 1966; however, it was rebuilt according to the original design. The interior is dark and sparsely furnished (churchgoers stand during the service), but it contains several treasures, including a tabernacle made by Faberge and icons painted by Russian artists. Open 9 am-4 pm Monday-Saturday, Sunday by appointment unless a service is being held. US$2 donation requested. 240 Lincoln St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-8120.

St. Peter's by the Sea Episcopal Church
This church was built in 1899. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 611 Lincoln St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-3977.


Museums
Sheldon Jackson Museum
The oldest museum in Alaska and its first concrete building (built in 1895), this has one of the state's best collections of Alaska Native artifacts. The items, many of which belonged to Sheldon Jackson, a missionary in the late 1800s, include dogsleds and umiaks (Inuit boats) as well as Alaska Native carvings and clothing. May-September daily 9 am-5 pm, October-April Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-4 pm. US$4 in summer, US$3 in winter. 104 College Drive, Sitka. Phone 907-747-8981. http://www.museums.state.ak.us/sheldon_jackson/sjhome.html.

Sitka Historical Society and Museum
This museum in Harrigan Centennial Hall contains a scale model of Sitka as it looked in 1867, when the U.S. bought Alaska from Russia, Tlingit and Russian cultural artifacts, a gift shop and a map of the National Register of Historic Landmarks sites in Sitka. The New Archangel Dancers (Russian folk dancers) perform when cruise ships are in town in the main auditorium of the building (check with the visitors center for times). Outside, you can admire a hand-carved 50-ft/15-m canoe—a replica of the ones used by the Tlingits for special ceremonies. May-September Sunday-Friday 9 am-5 pm, Saturday 11 am-3 pm; October-April Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-4 pm. Museum admission US$2. 330 Harbor Drive, Sitka. Phone 907-747-6455 (museum) or 907-747-5516 (New Archangel Dancers). http://www.sitkahistory.org.


Nature
Ambitious hikers with some time to spare may want to try one of Sitka's challenging mountain trails. The U.S. Forest Service Ranger District office north of town sells a guide called Sitka Trails for US$1. Phone 907-747-6671.
The visitors centers also have recreational guides, maps and information on bear safety and wildlife viewing.
The waters around Sitka are wonderful for viewing wildlife. If you don't take an organized wildlife tour, you may still be able to find someone to take you on a boat ride around the area. Sea otters are abundant, and you can sometimes see humpback whales. Humpback whales pass Sitka during their annual spring and late fall migrations; however, some whales remain in southeast Alaska year-round. Whale Park on Sawmill Creek Road, 6 mi/10 km south of town, is a good place to look for them.
St. Lazaria National Wildlife Refuge, one of the 2,500 islands in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, is a 65-acre/26-hectare island that hosts some 500,000 seabirds, including the comic-looking tufted puffins and the rhinoceros auklet. Several tour operators offer trips to the island, 20 mi/32 km west of Sitka at the mouth of Sitka Sound, and a remote camera captures the activity, shown in Harrigan Centennial Hall.
Parks & Gardens
There is a variety of state parks in the Sitka area, including Baranof Castle, Halibut Point, Old Sitka, Sealion Cove and others. More information is available at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/sitka.htm. Whale Park
In early spring and late fall in particular, head to this park, about 6 mi/10 km south of downtown. It's one of the best places to view the giants of the sea through telescopes or listen to whale sounds using hydrophones from shore. There's also a sheltered picnic area. Free. Sawmill Creek Road, Sitka.


Zoos & Wildlife
Alaska Raptor Center
For a look at some of the great winged creatures that live in Alaska, head to this nature center just a short walk from Sitka National Historical Park (a trail joins the two). At the center, dedicated volunteers and veterinarians nurse injured or sick birds of prey back to health so they can be returned to the wild. Birds that don't fully recover are kept at the center and can be seen on your own or as part of a tour. The center also has a flight barn where visitors can watch eagle recuperative flight training, which helps the birds strengthen their wings. Guided tours available, and there is a gift shop on-site. Mid-May to mid-September Sunday-Friday 8 am-4 pm. US$12 adults, US$6 children age 12 and younger. 1000 Raptor Way, Sitka. Phone 907-747-8662. Toll-free 800-643-9425. http://www.alaskaraptor.org.

Fortress of the Bear
This is a 3-acre/1-hectare habitat for orphaned brown bear cubs. The natural setting replicates southeast Alaska brown bear habitat. There's also a petting farm. May-September daily 9 am-6 pm, October-April Wednesday-Sunday 10 am-4 pm. US$11 adults, US$5 children age 6 and older. 4639 Sawmill Creek Road, Sitka. Phone 907-747-3032. http://www.fortressofthebear.org.

Sitka Sound Science Center
Part of the Sheldon Jackson Hatchery, the Ahlgren Aquarium features a self-guided tour of an 800-gal/3,028-l observation tank, touch tanks, five in-wall aquariums, whale bones, exhibits and an artist's mural. Open 8 am-5 pm. Donation US$2. 834 Lincoln St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-8878. http://www.sitkasoundsciencecenter.org.


Recreation
Perhaps Sitka's greatest attraction is the outdoors. Fishing, hiking, bird and wildlife-watching and even golf are all available in the surrounding area.
Bicycling
Yellow Jersey Bike Shop
This bike shop rents bikes and offers a list of 10 biking trails, including Starrigavan Bay and Valley Harbor Mountain Road, Thimbleberry Lake, Blue Lake, Green Lake and Kruzof Island. Open Monday-Friday 9 am-6 pm, Saturday 9 am-5:30 pm. US$25 per day, US$100 per week. 329 Harbor Drive, Sitka. Phone 907-747-6317. http://www.yellowjerseycycles.com.


Bird Watching
St. Lazaria Island is a seabird haven in the summer. This is the place to see tufted puffins and rhinoceros auklets, but you must do your viewing from the water. You can rent a kayak or boat, or join a tour.
Boating & Sailing
Sitka Sound is one of the best places to learn to kayak, and there are thousands of miles/kilometers of sheltered waterways to explore. Sitka Sound Ocean Adventures (phone 907-752-0660) and several other companies provide kayak and gear rentals, training and guides.
Fishing
With so many boats in town, the fishing has to be good—and it is, especially June-August. A variety of fishing trips can be arranged, depending on how much time you have. The Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau keeps a list of charter operations and prices (phone 907-747-5940). Expect to pay around US$165-$199 for a half-day excursion.
Golf
Sea Mountain Golf
This nine-hole course includes a covered driving range, restaurant and lounge. Open daily 8 am-6 pm in summer. US$47.50 for nine holes, US$55 for 18 holes; cart included. 301 Granite Creek Road, Sitka. Phone 907-747-5663. http://www.seamountaingolf.com.


Hiking & Walking
Sitka has more than 40 mi/64 km of trails, including an easy 2.5-mi/4-km (one way) Sitka Cross Trail and the 4-mi/6-km Indian River Trail that follows a salmon stream through a rain forest and ends at an 80-ft/25-m waterfall (allow six hours round-trip).
The moderately difficult Gaven Hill Trail is 3 mi/5 km one way to the top of 2,500-ft/775-m Gaven Hill, then up a steep 200-ft/62-m climb to Harbor Loop Trail, with impressive vistas (allow six hours).
These and other trails are described in the "Sitka Trails" booklet, available from Alaska Geographic (http://www.alaskageographic.org). Another guide, also called "Sitka Trails," is available from the Tongass National Forest Sitka Ranger District at 204 Siginaka Way. Phone 907-747-6671.
Scuba & Snorkeling
Island Fever Diving and Adventures
This outfit offers diving instruction and tours as well as bicycle rentals. 805 Halibut Point Road, No. 5, Sitka. Phone 907-738-1535. http://www.islandfeverdiving.com.


Nightlife
Typical of a small town, Sitka isn't brimming with nightlife activities. What you will find, however, is a handful of classy and salty bars filled with colorful locals.
Bars, Taverns & Pubs
Ernie's Old Time Saloon
Ernie's has chips, peanuts, billiards and darts to offer its patrons, along with live music Friday and Saturday nights. 130 Lincoln St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-3334.

Kadataan Lounge
Offers seafood, steaks and deep-fried calamari along with drinks. Open mid-May to mid-September Monday-Friday 10 am-11 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am-midnight. 330 Seward St. (in the Westmark Sitka Hotel), Sitka. Phone 907-747-0980. http://www.westmarkhotels.com/sitka-food.php.

Pioneer Bar
Also known as P-Bar, it features an Alaska maritime theme with hundreds of photos on the walls. There's also a billiards table, and hot dogs, chips and nuts are available. 212 Katlian St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-3456.

Victoria's Pour House
This pub offers drinks and a good menu. Smoke-free. 118 Lincoln St. (next to Victoria's in the Sitka Hotel), Sitka. Phone 907-747-9301. http://www.sitkahotel.com/pour_house.html.


Performing Arts
There aren't many regular performing-arts activities in Sitka, though special events are scheduled throughout the year. Your best bet is to visit the events section of the Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau Web site. http://www.sitka.org.
Dance
New Archangel Dancers
The New Archangel Dancers offer 30-minute shows of Russian and Ukrainian folk dances by local women in authentic costumes. They perform when cruise ships are in town. Tickets are sold 30 minutes before the performance. Harrigan Centennial Hall, 330 Harbor Drive, Sitka. Phone 907-747-5516. http://www.newarchangeldancers.com.

Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi Native Dancers
The Naa Kahidi Dancers offer a 30-minute Tlingit dance performed in full regalia at the Sitka Tribal Community House, a traditional Tlingit Clan house. Look for performance times posted around town. 200 Katlian St. (next to the Pioneers' Home), Sitka. Phone 907-747-7290. Toll-free 888-270-8687. http://sitkatours.com/sheetka.html.


Venues
Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center
Check out performances at the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center in Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center. Tlingit artists are often working on their art at the center. Classes are also offered in Tlingit crafts, such as beadwork, weaving, bentwood-box and box-drum making. 106 Metlakatla St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-8061. http://www.nps.gov/sitk/parkmgmt/southeast-alaska-indian-cultural-center.htm.


Spectator Sports
Sporting events in Sitka are often centered around festivals and holidays, such as the Mud Ball and softball tournaments on Labor Day weekend, or the many running events during festivals, such as the 10K run during WhaleFest in November.
Shopping
For such a small town, Sitka has plenty of interesting shops. Its Russian items—lacquer boxes, paintings, icons and nesting dolls—are what set this town apart from the rest in southeast Alaska.
Contemporary Alaskan art and sculpture by local artists are available, too, as are quality traditional goods made by the Tlingits (including silver jewelry, totem poles, carvings and woven baskets).
For campy Alaska souvenirs to take home, there are plenty of shops near the pier that sell gold nuggets, totem-pole key chains and T-shirts. You can also buy smoked salmon (by the can and the slab).
Bookstores
Old Harbor Books
This independent bookstore sells most everything and is also a great place to find books relating to the environment and Alaska Native works. 201 Lincoln St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-8808.


Galleries
Artist Cove Gallery
This gallery has a large selection of local sculpture, paintings and other works of art. Open daily in summer 10 am-6 pm. Call for winter hours. 241 Lincoln St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-6990. http://www.artistcovegallery.com.

Baranof Arts and Crafts Association
This local artist gallery is open in summer at Harrigan Centennial Hall. 330 Harbor Drive, Sitka. Phone 907-747-6536 (summer) or 907-747-3033 (off season). http://www.bacasitka.org.

Sitka Rose Gallery
This shop carries Alaskan art—sculptures, paintings, baskets, pottery and jewelry—by more than 100 Alaska artists. It is located in a historic Victorian house with bright pink Sitka roses cascading from a fence. The gallery makes a colorful backdrop for a picture. Open May-September 9 am-5:30 pm, October-April 11 am-5:15 pm. 419 Lincoln St., Sitka. Toll-free 888-236-1536. http://www.sitkarosegallery.com.

The Fishermen's Eye
This gallery of Alaska art prominently features works by Sitka residents. Open daily 10 am-5 pm in summer, Monday-Friday 10 am-5 pm in winter. 239 Lincoln St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-5502. http://www.fishermenseye.com.


Specialty Stores
Abby's Reflection Apparel and Quiltworks
This is a quilter's store, with Alaska-themed fabrics, needlework and apparel. 231 Lincoln St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-3510. http://www.abbysreflection.com.

Absolute Fresh Seafoods
This family-owned business sells fresh, canned and smoked salmon, halibut, rockfish and prawns, and it ships year-round. It also has great recipes. Open daily 8 am-8 pm in summer, 10 am-5 pm in winter. 475 Katlian St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-7577. Toll-free 877-747-7566. http://www.absolutefreshseafoods.com.

Alaska Raptor Center Gift Shop
Unique eagle, raven and other raptor-oriented gifts. The proceeds fund bird education and hospitalization. Open mid-May to mid-September Sunday-Friday 8 am-4 pm. 1000 Raptor Way, Sitka. Phone 907-747-8662. Toll-free 800-643-9425. http://www.alaskaraptor.org.

Big Blue Fisheries
An excellent source of fish to ship home. Open in summer Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm. 216 Smith St., Unit B, Sitka. Phone 907-966-9999. http://www.alaskasmokedfish.com.

Chocolate Moose and Sitka Flowers
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a sampling of chocolates and truffles from this shop. Open daily year-round. Closed Sunday in winter. 104 Lincoln St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-5577. http://www.sitka-flowers.com.

Fairweather Gallery and Gifts
This place has wearable art: hand-painted clothing, including T-shirts and sweatshirts, as well as scarves, dresses and jewelry. 209 Lincoln St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-8677. http://www.fairweatherprints.com.

Goldsmith Gallery
From opals to gold nuggets to cloisonne, this locally owned jewelry shop has it all. Phone 907-747-5744.

Made in Sitka Gift Shop
This small gift shop in the Sitka Tribal Community House sells locally made artwork, lovebird apparel and Alaska Native dance T-shirts. Open daily mid-May to mid-September 10 am-3 pm. 200 Katlian St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-7137. http://sitkatours.com/shop.html.

Russian American Co.
As the name implies, this company sells Russian-made items: antique samovars, amber and Faberge jewelry, lacquer boxes, porcelain and Matryoshka nesting dolls (ranging in price US$10-$3,000). This store has been the place to shop for anything Russian since 1980. Open in summer Monday-Saturday 10 am-5:30 pm, Sunday 10 am-4 pm; in winter Monday-Saturday 10 am-5 pm, closed Sunday. 407 Lincoln St. (second floor of the Bayview Trading Co.), Sitka. Phone 907-747-6228. Toll-free 800-742-6228. http://www.russianamericancompany.com.

Sheldon Jackson Museum Gift Store
The Friends of the Sheldon Jackson Museum sells Alaska Native woodcarvings, masks, baskets, dolls, ivory and other items made by Alaska Natives statewide in the museum gift store. Its book selection is also focused on Alaska Natives. Native artists demonstrate their crafts on-site. Open daily mid-May to mid-September 9 am-5 pm; Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-4 pm the rest of the year. Phone 907-747-8981.

Sitka Historical Society and Museum Gift Store
The museum store sells quality Alaska Native arts and gifts, including shawls, potlatch bowls, drums, silver jewelry and spirit boxes, plus historical books. Open daily early May to mid-September 8 am-5 pm; Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-4 pm the rest of the year. 330 Harbor Drive, Sitka. Phone 907-747-6455. http://www.sitkahistory.org/art-gifts.shtml.

WinterSong Soap Co.
This store sells locally made herbal soaps, lotions and salves. 419 Lincoln St., Sitka. Toll-free 888-819-8949. http://www.wintersongsoap.com.


Itinerary
Local Tours
The Sitka visitors centers have a list of companies and individuals that offer fishing, wildlife and other tours. Be aware that because Sitka is so small, the cruise lines prebook many tours when a ship is in port. (The sea-otter tour is often booked solid, for example.) Most of the tours offered by local operators are similar to those arranged by cruise ships. Prices may vary. Allen Marine Tours
This outfit offers sea otter and other wildlife tours, including a nesting-bird tour to St. Lazaria Island in a fully enclosed catamaran with wrap-around windows. Mid-May to mid-September. Call for weekday departures. Phone 907-747-8100. Toll-free 888-747-8101. http://www.allenmarinetours.com.

Dove Island Lodge
This lodge offers fishing and fly-out fly-fishing trips to its guests. Phone 907-747-5660. Toll-free 888-318-3474. http://www.doveislandlodge.com.

Harris Aircraft
This company offers floatplane tours of the area. US$199 for a one-hour tour with a water landing; US$105 for 20 minutes. 404 Airport Road, Sitka. Phone 907-966-3050. http://www.harrisair.com.

Island Fever Diving and Adventures
This outfit offers diving instruction as well as snorkeling, birding, photography and biking tours. 213 Harbor Drive, Sitka. Phone 907-747-7871. http://www.islandfeverdiving.com.

Sea Life Discovery Tours
Passengers are taken on a warm, dry underwater experience in Sitka Sound in a semisubmersible boat. Toll-free 877-966-2301. http://www.sealifediscoverytours.com.

Sitka Sound Ocean Adventures
This company offers guided kayaking tours. 112 Toivo Circle, Sitka. Phone 907-752-0660. http://www.ssoceanadventures.com.

Sitka Tours
This outfit offers tours of Sitka from a Russian perspective. Tours last about three hours and are primarily for cruise ship passengers. Phone 907-747-8443.

Sitka Tribal Enterprises
Walking and bus cultural tours that focus on Alaska Native history. US$53 for a tour of the town, Sitka National Historic Park and a performance by the Naa Kahidi dancers. US$66 includes the Raptor Center as well. 204 Katlian St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-7290. Toll-free 888-270-8687. http://sitkatours.com.

Sitka Wildlife Tours
Offers a two-hour van tour of Japonski Island, Totem Park, Silver Bay and Fortress of the Bear. US$55. Phone 907-747-4712. Toll-free 800-750-4712. http://www.sitkawildlifetours.com.


Dining
Dining Overview
Sitka's restaurant options are limited, and most prominently feature seafood.
On occasion, a colorful tent, labeled "Crab Feast," is set up to sell freshly steamed Dungeness crabs. Find it behind Brenner's Fine Clothing and Gifts at 124 Lincoln St.
Expect to pay within these general guidelines for a dinner for one, not including drinks, tax or tip: $ = less than US$10; $$ = US$10-$25; $$$ = US$26-$40; and $$$$ = more than US$40.
Local & Regional
The Channel Club
A local favorite for grilled steaks, seafood and a large salad bar, plus a lounge. Try the king crab and prime rib specials in season. The nautical decor complements views of Sitka Sound. A courtesy van is available. Open nightly for dinner. Closed late December-January. $$-$$$. 2906 Halibut Point Road (about 4 mi/6 km outside of Sitka), Sitka. Phone 907-747-7440. http://www.sitkachannelclub.com.

Victoria's
Stop at Victoria's for tasty soups, sandwiches, salads and the best breakfast in town. Open mid-May to mid-September for breakfast, lunch and dinner; mid-September to mid-May for breakfast and lunch only. $$. 118 Lincoln St. (in the Sitka Hotel), Sitka. Phone 907-747-3288. Toll-free 888-757-3288. http://www.sitkahotel.net.


Cuisines
American
Sea Mountain Restaurant and Lounge
Overlooking Sitka Sound and Mount Edgecumbe volcano, this restaurant is north of downtown Sitka overlooking a nine-hole golf course. It serves American fare—prime rib, steaks, seafood (including king crab in season) and pasta. Open May-October Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner. $$. 301 Granite Creek Road, Sitka. Phone 907-747-5663. http://www.seamountaingolf.com.


Mediterranean
Ludvig's Bistro
This tiny, 30-seat Mediterranean restaurant features a great menu and Sitka's most elegant dining. Named for Beethoven, Ludvig's is cozy, with Moroccan tapestries and wooden wine racks decorating the mustard-colored walls. Try the chef's Spanish-influenced fare, Alaska-style tapas, Caesar salad with bacon-wrapped scallops, the chef's Katlian Special salmon, Sitka rose-covered chocolate cake and the freshly baked breads. Open May-September for dinner. Reservations recommended. $$$-$$$$. 256 Katlian St., Sitka. Phone 907-966-3663. http://www.ludvigsbistro.com.


Cafes & Tearooms
Harry's Soda Shop
A 1950s-style soda fountain located inside Harry Race Pharmacy and Photo, Harry's is the place for ice cream. Try the Blue Lake shake, a Tsunami or Mount Edgecumbe Eruption. Open year-round Monday-Friday 8:30 am-6 pm, Saturday 9 am-5 pm, Sunday 11 am-4 pm. 106 Lincoln St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-8006. http://www.whitesalaska.com.


Coffeehouses
Highliner Coffee Co.
This coffeehouse and Internet cafe has excellent pastries. Try the breakfast-stuffed croissants and Scandinavian cookies. Old fishing photos provide the decor. Open daily year-round. $. 327 Seward St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-4924. http://www.highlinercoffee.com.

The Backdoor Cafe
Free-trade organic coffee, homemade soups, yummy baked goods, freshly squeezed juices and a delightful environment with local art on display. Open daily year-round. $. 104 Barracks St., Sitka. Phone 907-747-8856.


Seafood
The Raven Dining Room
Wonderful views of the harbor accompany excellent seafood and salads. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $$-$$$. 330 Seward St. (inside the Westmark Sitka Hotel), Sitka. Phone 907-747-6241. http://www.westmarkhotels.com/sitka-food.php.

The Wild Spot
This seasonal seafood cart is laden with fresh halibut, salmon, prawns and other seafood from the Absolute Fresh Seafood Co. commercial processing plant. Open daily 11 am-5 pm in summer. $-$$. 236 Lincoln St., Sitka. Phone 907-738-0134. http://www.absolutefreshseafoods.com.

Two Chicks and a Kabob Stick
Honey-glazed or spice-rubbed halibut, salmon, steak or prawn kabobs are the specialty at this restaurant run by two Sitka sisters. It also serves sandwiches and tacos. Open May-September. $-$$. 124 Lincoln St., Sitka. Phone 907-738-2919. http://www.chickskabob.com.


Security
Personal Safety
Crime is minimal in Sitka. But use common sense: Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Sitka is in brown bear country, so the city of Sitka offers "Living with Bears," a pamphlet about bear safety. http://www.cityofsitka.com/documents/livingwithbears.pdf.
Health
Mosquitoes and other nippers can be bothersome, so carry a good insect repellent on hikes, preferably one containing deet as an active ingredient. And always be aware of the possibility of encountering a bear. If you do, don't approach it, and try to avoid quick actions that may alarm it. Inquire locally for details on recent bear activity and more advice on how to behave around the animals.
The Sitka Community Hospital is north of town at 209 Moller Avenue, off Halibut Point Road (phone 907-747-3241). Moore Clinic is at 814 Halibut Point Road. Phone 907-747-3446.
There are also two pharmacies: Harry Race Pharmacy and Photo at 106 Lincoln St. (phone 907-747-8006) and White's Pharmacy, at 705 Halibut Point Road. Phone 907-747-5755. http://www.whitesalaska.com.
Disabled Advisory
Sitka Tours and Sitka Tribal Tours both have vans that accommodate wheelchairs. All major attractions are wheelchair accessible, as is the Sitka Tribal Enterprises Community Ride bus. For assisted rides, phone 907-747-8617 (Monday-Friday 8 am-4 pm).
Dos & Don'ts
Don't forget your rain jacket, because Sitka is in a rain forest.
Do look for the differences between Haida poles, which leave blank spaces between figures, and Tlingit poles.
Do walk to the top of Castle Hill, which offers views of Sitka Sound.
Don't leave Sitka without visiting Princess Maksutov's grave at the Russian Cemetery.
Do pick up a tide table from Sitka National Historical Park or any store that sells fishing supplies and head to Totem Beach, John Brown's Beach or Halibut Point State Recreation Area to look for sea stars, sand dollars, hermit crabs, mussels, anemones and barnacles.
Do tune into Whale Radio at 88.1 FM to listen to live whale songs 24 hours daily.
Don't forget to remove your hat if you are male and cover your head with a scarf if you are female when visiting St. Michael's Cathedral. Most parishioners will lend you a scarf.
Do be considerate of locals and ask permission before taking photographs.
Don't stand in the middle of the street when taking photographs.
Hotels
Hotel Overview
Sitka has hotel rooms in addition to bed-and-breakfasts, lodges, campgrounds, RV parks, a youth hostel and even a lighthouse on a private island for large groups. Lodge stays often include various tours and gourmet meals.
Reservations are a must May-August. Accommodations tend to fill up six to 12 months ahead of time for summer.
Hotel Listings


Phone: (1) 907-747-6241
Fax: (1) 907-747-5486
Toll Free: (1) 800-544-0970

Westmark Sitka
330 Seward St 99835
wmsit-fd@hollandamerica.com  http://www.westmarkhotels.com
101 Guest Rooms • 2 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s] • Pets Allowed
Location: Near the harbor in heart of downtown
Nearby Points of Interest: Totem Park (Historic Site) - .7 mi • Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center (Visitor Center) - .7 mi




Facts
Geostats
Passport/Visa Requirements: All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico. Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S.
Passports are required for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders with the U.S. and for cruise passengers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda. Reconfirm travel-document requirements with your carrier prior to departure.

Population: 8,627.
Time Zone: 9 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-9 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is observed from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
Voltage Requirements: 110 volts.
Telephone Codes: 907, area code for all of Alaska;
Money
Currency Exchange
Currency can be obtained at any of the banks in town. First National Bank (318 Lincoln St., phone 907-747-7000) and Wells Fargo Bank (300 Lincoln St., phone 907-747-3226) are near the pier, and both have ATMs. Other options include Alaska Pacific Bank (315 Lincoln St., phone 907-747-8688), ALPS Federal Credit Union (401 Halibut Point Road., phone 907-747-6261) and First Bank (203 Lake St., phone 907-747-6636).
Taxes
Sitka has a 5% sales tax, a 6% bed tax and an 11% hotel-occupancy tax. May-September, the sales tax increases to 6% and the hotel-occupancy tax to 12%.
Tipping
Tip 15% in restaurants unless good service warrants more.
Weather
Sitka has an average summer temperature of 60 F/15 C. The coldest month is January, which has an average high of 29 F/-2 C. August is the warmest month, averaging 62 F/16 C. June-August tends to be drier than the rest of the year. The weather in Sitka is generally unpredictable because Sitka resides in a temperate rain forest.
What to Wear
Layering is the key to comfort in southeast Alaska. Start with a short- or long-sleeve shirt and long pants; add a fleece vest or jacket, sweater or hooded sweatshirt. The next layer should be a light waterproof jacket with a hood or hat for drizzly days, accompanied by comfortable weather-resistant walking shoes. Take shorts just in case the sun shines. Attire is casual and practical.
Communication
Telephone
There are public telephones in Harrigan Centennial Hall. 330 Harbor Drive, Sitka.
Cell phone coverage is generally good in town, but check with your service providor to make sure your phone will work once you arrive.
Internet Access
Sitka's Kettleson Memorial Library at 320 Harbor Drive has computers and Internet access. Open Monday-Friday 10 am-9 pm, Saturday and Sunday 1-9 pm. Phone 907-747-8708. Highliner Cafe
This cafe offers Internet access with phones and phone cards. Phone 907-747-4924. http://www.highlinercoffee.com.


Mail & Package Services
The post office, located east of the town center, is open Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5:30 pm. 1207 Sawmill Creek Road. Phone 907-747-3381.
There is also a Pioneer Station Postal Unit at 338 Lincoln St. Phone 907-747-8491.
Newspapers & Magazines
Sitka's weekday newspaper is The Daily Sitka Sentinel (http://www.sitkasentinel.com). It also produces the free travel guide All About Sitka, available at many locations throughout town and online at http://www.travelsitka.com.
Transportation
Sitka's Rocky Gutierrez airport (SIT) is about 2 mi/3 km west of Sitka on Japonski Island. Car rentals and taxis are available at the airport. There is currently no shuttle service. There is daily jet service into Sitka.
Alaska Marine Highway ferries also stop in Sitka during the summer months. From Juneau, it's about 5-6 hours aboard the fast ferry Fairweather. The Sitka Tours ferry shuttle bus provides service from the ferry terminal for US$8 one way. The ferry terminal is 7 mi/11 km from downtown at 5307 Halibut Point Road. Phone 907-747-3300. Toll-free 800-642-0066 for reservations. http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/index.shtml.
Sitka is such a small town that you can see almost everything on foot—unless you have difficulty walking or are very short of time. Transportation options include the Visitors Transit Bus that loops the attractions every half-hour when large cruise ships are in town (1,000 or more visitors). US$10 for an all-day pass, US$5 one-way to the Alaska Raptor Center. Phone 907-747-7290.
Sitka Tribal Enterprises operates a public bus called the Community Ride, which operates 6:30 am-6:30 pm. An all-day pass is US$5 adults. The buses are wheelchair accessible. Phone 907-747-7103. Toll-free 888-270-8687. http://publictransit.sitkatribe.org.
Several taxi companies serve the area. You can usually find a cab near the pier or cruising the city. Most offer tours. Rental cars also are available, but make reservations in advance during summer months. Expect to pay US$65 a day.
Events
Calendar
Sitka's diverse history means there are plenty of festivals and events year-round. During Russian Orthodox Christmas (7 January), people carry brightly decorated stars around town, eating and drinking along the way—an event that's called "starring." It's sponsored by St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church. Phone 907-747-8120.
February features the Sitka Jazz Festival (http://www.sitkajazzfestival.com). March is Arti Gras, Sitka's spring gallery walk and music celebration (http://www.artigras.info). April is when the town's fishing fleet is blessed.
Following the Mother's Day Quilt Show, the Sitka Salmon Derby is in late May, and the popular Sitka Summer Music Festival is in June. This month-long chamber-music festival attracts famous artists and includes daily concerts, a crab feed, boat parties, a Chocolate Rhapsody Dessert party, an ice cream social and other events. http://www.sitkamusicfestival.org.
The Sitka Fine Arts Camp at Mount Edgecumbe High School, also in June, is a month of fine arts for teenagers and elementary students (http://www.fineartscamp.org). The Fourth of July features a crafts fair, parade, fireworks and food. Also in July is the Home Skillet Music Festival, an all-ages event featuring local and out-of-town bands playing soul, hip-hop and rock-n-roll.
The appropriately named Mudball Classic Softball tournament is in September, a rainy month (http://www.sitkasoftball.com). The Running of the Boots and Season's End Celebration is an annual family event, also in September, involving decorated rubber boots (locals refer to them as Sitka sneakers). http://www.runningoftheboots.org.
Mid-October is the annual Alaska Day Festival, which celebrates the actual transfer ceremony in Sitka in 1867 when the U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia (http://www.alaskadayfestival.org). November is the Native American Heritage Festival, an annual fashion show and parade, and a gathering of Alaska Native peoples. WhaleFest in early November celebrates marine wildlife with educational lectures by biologists, a sea chantey concert and marine tours. Phone 907-747-7964. http://www.sitkawhalefest.org.
In late November and December, Sitkans celebrate the holidays with a bazaar, polar dip, parade and the Sitka Artisans Market. http://sitkacoc.com/sitka-artisans-market.html.

Skagway, Alaska

Overview
Introduction

Located at the northern end of the Inside Passage, Skagway, Alaska, emerged in the late 1890s as a makeshift gold-rush town of tents and shacks with a population of 8,000-10,000 adventurers who arrived by boat with supplies for the hellish trek overland to the Yukon gold fields. Of course, the town had its temptations, too: painted ladies, gambling houses and 80 saloons. A famous person from that time is Jefferson R. "Soapy" Smith, a con artist who ran Skagway and swindled new arrivals out of their savings. (He was killed in a shoot-out in 1898.)
Today, Skagway's rushers arrive on cruise ships. Next to Juneau, Skagway is the most popular port in southeast Alaska. The town has become something of a gold-rush theme park: Much of Skagway has been painstakingly restored and designated as the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Locals dress in 1890s costumes and give tours in vintage autos. Dance-hall girls kick up their legs in restored saloons, and Soapy Smith is immortalized in the play Days of '98.
Although some may find Skagway overly cute and contrived (not to mention crowded when cruise ships are docked), the town can be a fun place to visit and relive the past with the friendly residents.


Must See or Do
Sights—The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park with many of Skagway's gold-rush era buildings, exhibits and a free movie; vistas from the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad; turnouts on the Klondike Highway.
Museums—Gold-rush artifacts in Skagway City Museum; exhibits in the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad train depot; family posessions at the Moore Cabin.
Memorable Meals—Sweet Tooth Cafe or Glacial Smoothies for breakfast or lunch; the Skagway Fish Co. or the Stowaway Cafe on the waterfront for fresh Alaska halibut and salmon; Starfire for Thai cuisine; Olivia's Bistro in the historic Skagway Inn for chicken pot pie, beer-sauteed carrots and baby greens from the garden; Kone Kompany for ice cream.
Late Night—The Red Onion Saloon features a brothel museum, varied music and plenty of food; the Skagway Brewing Co. offers local microbrews and food; Eagles Hall has Days of '98, the state's longest-running play.
Walks—The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park's free narrated walking tour of downtown; Lower Dewey Lake and the Chilkoot trails.
Especially for Kids—Earning a Junior Trail Ranger badge at the National Park Service visitors center at Second and Broadway; the Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau's "Kids Itinerary," which involves walking, exploring, rides and ice cream.
Geography
The gateway to the Klondike is at the northern tip of Alaska's Inside Passage at the head of Lynn Canal. A triangle of flat land wedged between mountains on two sides and ocean on the third, Skagway still feels like a frontier town, with boardwalks and false-fronted buildings.
The Skagway River and the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad flank the town on either side. State ferries and cruise ships dock downtown, and you can walk anywhere in town, much of which is part of the historic district. The town is 15 blocks long and four blocks wide.
Both the railroad and the highway to Canada climb above the treeline in a few miles/kilometers, offering expansive views of the northern tip of the Inside Passage and the town hemmed in by ocean and snow-dusted mountains.
Skagway and Haines are the only two southeast Alaskan communities that are accessible via road from the rest of North America. Skagway is approximately 819 mi/1,318 km from Anchorage and 702 mi/1,133 km from Fairbanks. Even though Skagway is only 14 mi/22 km northeast of Haines, it's about a one-hour ferry ride and 359 mi/578 km via road.
History
Skagua, home of the north wind, began as a Tlingit hunting and fishing area at the head of a traditional trading route through the coastal mountains. Capt. William Moore of Canada homesteaded the area in the late 1880s and named it Mooresville. When gold was discovered in the Klondike in 1896, gold seekers steamed up the Inside Passage to Skagway.
From town, miners hauled the required "ton of goods" over the precipitous Chilkoot (the poor man's trail) or the White Pass trails through the mountains to the Canadian gold fields 600 mi/965 km inland. The "Golden Stairs" of Chilkoot Pass saw a long, black line of miners hiking, with heavy packs on their back, single-file up steps chopped into the snow. Some of these stampeders were forced to hike this trail as many as 30 times in order to transport their required gear. Dead Horse Gulch is a landmark reminder of the 3,000 horses that died crossing the White Pass Trail.
The trip got easier in 1900 with the construction of the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. It took brute strength, 450 tons of explosives and the lives of 35 men to complete this engineering landmark, a narrow-gauge railway that climbs from tidewater to 2,865 ft/888 m in 20 mi/32 km. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Days of '98 show, and a train ride commemorate this era of Skagway's history.
The newspaper provides a historic timeline at http://www.skagwaynews.com/skagwaytimeline.html.
Port Information
Location
Most ships pull in at the railroad dock at the southeast end of Skagway. The dock can accommodate two large ships. A few yards/meters away is the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad station where passengers board vintage parlor cars for the train ride to the White Pass, a route followed by gold-rush prospectors headed for the Yukon in the 1890s. Next door, in the old depot, is the visitors center for the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, which offers information and guided walking tours.
The Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau is in the historic Arctic Brotherhood (A.B.) Hall, about two blocks from the dock, at Second and Broadway. Open Monday-Friday 8 am-6 pm, Saturday and Sunday 8 am-5 pm in summer; Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm in winter. Phone 907-983-2854. Toll-free 888-762-1898 for brochure requests. http://www.skagway.com.
Shore Excursions
Consider signing up for the excursions offered by your ship. They may not be the least expensive way to see the area, but you won't have to waste your limited time making arrangements yourself—and you won't have to worry about missing the ship. Shore excursions and their prices vary from cruise line to cruise line. Some may include lunch and drinks or additional stops. Check with your ship's shore-excursion staff or your travel agent for additional information.
Adventures can include a trip on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, flightseeing, dogsledding, fishing, bike and jeep adventures, panning for gold, or various historical or sightseeing hikes.
Potpourri
The Canadian government required gold-seekers to carry huge amounts of supplies, including 400 lbs/141 kg of flour, 200 lbs/90 kg of bacon and 100 lbs/45 kg of beans.
In the late 1800s, Skagway was the largest city in Alaska because of the number of gold prospectors who passed through town.
Of the 100,000 gold-seekers who started the Chilkoot Trail, only 30,000 arrived at Dawson City.
The Golden Circle consists of Skagway, Haines, Whitehorse, Haines Junction and Juneau.
In mid-December, Skagway receives about 12 minutes of sunlight each day. In the summer, it receives about two hours of darkness per day.
The White Pass & Yukon Railroad is an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark (along with the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty and the Panama Canal).
Thirty-five men died building the White Pass & Yukon Railroad.
Soapy Smith and his crew used to feed the hungry and then rob them in their sleep.
In 1916, Skagway was coined the "Garden City of Alaska" because more than half of the residents had gardens.
Skagway was the first city incorporated in Alaska on 28 June 1900.
Skagway comes from a Tlingit word that has many interpretations, including windy place with white caps on the water, home of the north wind, or end of salt water.
See & Do
Sightseeing
There is much to see in and around Skagway. For the visitor who is short on time, we recommend one of the many organized tours available. A sightseeing opportunity that shouldn't be missed is a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad.
Historic Sites
From the harbor northeast along Broadway (the town's main street) are seven blocks of restored saloons and storefronts that are part of the Historic Park, much of which is owned by the National Park Service. Among the more interesting sights on Broadway are Soapy Smith's Parlor (where the "boss" of Skagway held court until he was shot), the Mascot Saloon (with exhibits on saloon life), the Golden North Hotel (now shops full of gold-rush-era furnishings and, reportedly, a friendly female ghost) and Eagles Hall (the state's longest-running play, Days of '98, is still performed there). Gold Rush Cemetery
If you want to stretch your legs, walk 2 mi/3 km northeast of town to the Gold Rush Cemetery and visit the graves of notorious swindler Soapy Smith and the heroic town surveyor Frank Reid, who finally stopped Soapy with a bullet. Beautiful Reid Falls is behind the cemetery—well worth the short walk.

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
This historical park's visitors center makes an excellent introduction to Skagway. To get a stirring introduction to gold-rush fever, take time to watch the center's excellent 25-minute movie, Gold Fever: Race to the Klondike, about Skagway's Klondike history. It's shown every hour except 10 am, when the rangers give a 45-minute talk on various topics. The National Park Service rangers also offer 45-minute walking tours of the town seven times daily. Visitor center open daily 8 am-6 pm early May-late September. Museum (downstairs) open daily 8 am-6 pm May- September, daily 8 am-5 pm October-April. Second and Broadway (in the restored White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad depot), Skagway. Phone 907-983-2921. http://www.nps.gov/klgo.

Moore Cabin
Skagway's founder, Capt. William Moore, built this cabin in 1888, and it has been restored to its 1904 appearance. It documents pioneer life—many of the family's original possessions are on display. Tours of the cabin are available. Open daily 10 am-5 pm late May-early September. Fifth Avenue (between Broadway and Spring Street), Skagway. Phone 907-983-2921.

White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad
The most spectacular scenery in the area is from the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, a narrow-gauge line built in 1898 that takes you on a scenic ride along the historic Klondike Trail. Ride in old-fashioned, wheelchair-accessible parlor cars as you climb to the 3,000-ft-/930-m-high summit of White Pass. Most visitors opt for the three- to four-hour summit loop that includes stunning views of Bridal Veil Falls in a 20-mi/32-km stretch past Dead Horse Gulch and Inspiration Point. Tickets are sold at the depot. US$110 adults, US$55 for children ages 3-12. 231 Second Ave., Skagway. Toll-free 800-343-7373. http://www.wpyr.com.


Museums
Skagway City Museum
This museum is located in the 1899 stone McCabe Building (also the city hall). The descendants of Skagway's first settlers meticulously preserved artifacts, photos and records of the town's history, and those items form the nucleus of the museum. Also on display are artifacts of the Native American tribes of southeast Alaska, as well as some Inupiat and Yup'ik Eskimo materials. Open Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm, Saturday 10 am-5 pm, Sunday noon-4 pm May-September. Call for an appointment in winter. US$2 adults, free for children younger than 12. Located at the corner of Seventh and Spring streets, Skagway. Phone 907-983-2420. http://www.skagwaymuseum.org.


Nature
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
This place can only be reached by boat or plane May-September, but it is well worth a visit to see snow-covered mountain ranges rising more than 15,000 ft/4,650 m, coastal beaches, tidewater glaciers and deep fjords. Several companies offer flightseeing tours, another excellent way to see the park. Park headquarters are at Bartlett Cove in Gustavus, and the park's visitors center is located in Glacier Bay Lodge. Phone 907-697-2230. http://www.nps.gov/glba.


Recreation
The more adventurous might enjoy rock climbing along the White Pass Trail or exploring the ghost-town ruins of Dyea by bike or horseback. An Alaskan sled dog and musher's camp takes visitors for wheeled dogsled rides. Visitors also have the option of taking a helicopter flightseeing tour or dogsledding on a glacier. Other adventures combine wilderness or snowshoe hikes with helicopter flights.
Adventures by sea include catamaran whale-watching cruises, a Chilkoot Trail hike and floatplane adventure, fishing and kayaking.
Bicycling
Sockeye Cycle
Cyclists should enjoy Sockeye Cycle's five- or 10-day Canal Road Tour, which explores the Northeast Yukon Territory, or a self-guided, multiday tour of the Golden Circle, which includes Haines and Skagway. For those with limited time, opt for Skagway by bike, a 1.5-hour ride for US$45 with the option of a snack and tour of Jewell Gardens (US$63) or a snack and brewery tour (US$67). Call for prices of multiday tours. Phone 907-983-2851. http://www.cyclealaska.com.


Hiking & Walking
Strolling through the flat streets of downtown Skagway is an easy trip back in time to the gold-rush days. See the walking tour suggestions at http://www.skagway.com/skagwaywalkingtour.html.
Close to town are two short, easy hikes: Yakutania Point (1.6 mi/2.6 km round-trip) and Gold Rush Cemetery and Lower Reid Falls (4 mi/6.4 km round-trip). The Skagway Trail Map describes these and more challenging trails and access points. http://www.skagway.com/skagwaytrailmap.html.
Chilkoot Trail
The 33-mi-/53-km-long Chilkoot Trail follows the route that prospectors took into gold country. The trail starts in the ghost town of Dyea, near Skagway. The hike takes a few days—it took gold-rush stampeders three months. But even a couple of hours can give you a sampling of the ruggedly beautiful land around Skagway.
On the sides of the trail, the National Park Service has preserved skeletons of boats, telegraph cables, cans, boots, stoves and other items that stampeders tossed along the way. It crosses the border between the U.S. and Canada, so you'll need to take a passport and to purchase permits. Most hikers take the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad back to Skagway. Be sure to visit the National Park Service Chilkoot Trail Center, open June-Labor Day daily 8 am-5 pm. Make reservations with both the U.S. National Park Service and Parks Canada. Phone 907-983-9234. http://www.nps.gov/klgo/planyourvisit/chilkoottrail.htm or http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/yt/chilkoot/index.aspx.

Lower Dewey Lake Trail
This trail is an easy one-hour hike that leads, naturally, to Lower Dewey Lake, about 1 mi/1.6 km southeast of town. You can hike on a path that circles the water (3.6 mi/5.8 km), and if you want to go farther, continue on the trail at the north end of the lake—it leads into higher country. Be aware that the trail is quite steep. The trailhead is at the edge of town—take Third Avenue east and cross the railroad tracks.


Nightlife
Skagway is certainly a small town, and nightlife options are therefore limited. The most popular option is a rowdy night at The Red Onion Saloon.
Bars, Taverns & Pubs
Skagway Brewing Co.
Dating from 1897 and starting again in 2007, the Skagway Brewing Co. is a local hot spot with handcrafted microbrew beers and pub grub, including crab cakes, hot wings and Philly steaks. Open year-round. Seventh and Broadway, Skagway. Phone 907-983-2739. http://www.skagwaybrewing.com.

The Red Onion Saloon
Claiming to have been Skagway's most exclusive brothel, The Red Onion Saloon is a renovated dance hall and bordello built in 1898, now on the National Historic Register. It was moved to its present location in 1914 (the movers accidentally installed it backward). Now it's a thoroughly respectable establishment, though it can still get pretty wild at night. It serves sandwiches, pizza, chili, stew and nachos and is smoke-free. You can tour the historic brothel, and keep an eye out for Lydia, the resident ghost. Open April-October daily from 10 am. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 205 Broadway (corner of Second Street), Skagway. Phone 907-983-2222. http://www.redonion1898.com.


Performing Arts
Check out the longest-running show in Alaska, Days of '98, a stage show about Soapy Smith. Shows at 10:30 am, 12:30 and 2:30 pm mid-May to mid-September, and at 8 pm June-August. Eagles Hall, Sixth and Broadway. Phone 907-983-2545. http://thedaysof98show.eskagway.com.
The Skagway Arts Council sponsors the Skagway International Folk Festival in April and the North Woods Writers Symposium in June. http://skagwayartscouncil.blogspot.com.
Spectator Sports
What Skagway lacks in regular sports teams, it makes up for in special events held throughout the year, such as the International Softball Tournament in July, the Klondike Road Relay (110-mi/177-km overnight race from Skagway to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory, Canada) and the Buckwheat Ski Classic in March.
The Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau keeps an up-to-date list of events at http://www.skagway.com/events.html.
Shopping
Gold nuggets, jewelry, fur hats, train whistles, train T-shirts—Skagway's shops, both on and just off Broadway, are packed with such items. Many Skagway shops don't have set hours but vary according to cruise-ship schedules. Quite a few are open mid-May to mid-September and closed in winter.
Bookstores
Skaguay News Depot and Books
This historic bookstore and newsstand has a good selection of Alaska and Yukon books, maps, calendars, magazines and out-of-town newspapers. Open daily 9 am-6 pm in summer; Monday-Friday noon-5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 1-4 pm in winter. 260 Broadway, Skagway. Phone 907-983-3354. http://www.skagwaybooks.com.

Skagway Museum Store
The Skagway Trail of '98 Museum store offers books and gold-rush memorabilia. Open in summer. 700 Spring St., Skagway. Phone 907-983-2420.


Galleries
A Gathering of Spirits
The artist sculpts wood, ivory and antler and creates jewelry. He also shows the work of other Alaskan and Yukon artists. Open in summer. Fifth and Sixth streets (in the old barber shop), Skagway. Phone 907-983-3874. http://www.agatheringofspirits.com.

Corrington's Alaskan Ivory
Corrington's has a nice selection of objects made from walrus ivory, soapstone, gold and Alaska jade, as well as Lladro figurines and hand-carved antlers. Open in summer. 525 Broadway, Skagway. Phone 907-983-2579.

Kirmse's
Cara Cosgrove has reopened the old Kirmses Curios, a jewelry and watch-repair store from 1897, known for the two Alaska Native totems outside. Cosgrove sells locally crafted fine art and jewelry, specializing in fossil ivory carvings. Open in summer. 500 Broadway, Skagway. Phone 907-983-3773.

Lynch & Kennedy
Lynch & Kennedy specializes in Native American artwork, sculpture, prints, totemic rugs, knives, glass art, Alaska Native masks and jewelry. Open in summer. 350 Broadway, Skagway. Phone 907-983-3034. Toll-free 866-983-3034. http://www.lynch-kennedy.com.

Rushin' Tailor's Quilt Alaska/Changing Threads
Alaska- and Northern-themed fabrics, quilt kits, patterns, Alaskan-dyed yarns, and needlepoint and other needle-art projects are available at this friendly store, which also includes Changing Threads. You can also find qiviut, wool from the undercoat of the musk ox. Open Monday-Saturday 9 am-5 pm May-September, or when cruise ships are in town; Wednesday-Saturday noon-4 pm October-April. 370 Third Ave., Skagway. Phone 907-983-2397. Toll-free 800-981-5432. http://www.quiltalaska.com.


Markets
You Say Tomato
A good but pricey natural-foods store with freshly baked bread and provisions for hikers. North Eden Cafe, located inside the store, offers wraps and range-raised buffalo burritos 7:30 am-2:30 pm seasonally. Open Monday-Friday 11 am-7:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday noon-6:30 pm in summer; Tuesday-Saturday noon-6:30 in winter. State at 21st Avenue, Skagway. Phone 907-983-2784. http://yousaytomatoskagway.blogspot.com.


Specialty Stores
Dedman's Photo Shop and Art Gallery
For the history buff, Dedman's Photo has old-time photos of Skagway. They aren't out on the counter for casual browsers, but if you're interested, ask and staff members will be glad to dust them off for you. The store also has shirts, lip balm, chocolate (try the Grizzly Bar) and other souvenirs plus an upstairs art gallery. Open in summer. Third and Broadway, Skagway. Phone 907-983-2353. http://www.coldnosegifts.com.

Dejon Delights
A Haines family business, Dejon Delights sells smoked salmon and halibut, plus it gives free samples. You'll also find other Alaska foods (birch syrups, jams, salmon jerky, canned salmon), kitchen accessories, books and gifts. Open daily in the summer. 387 Fifth Ave., Skagway. Toll-free 800-539-3608. http://www.alaska-smoked-salmon.com.

Klothes Rush Gifts
Advertised as "Alaskan outfitters for trail, mountain and home," the Klothes Rush provides everything from everyday apparel to special clothing commemorating the Chilkoot trail and other Alaska-themed gifts, including jewelry. Open daily 9 am-7 pm May-September; Monday-Saturday 10 am-5:30 pm October-April. 499 Broadway, Skagway. Phone 907-983-2370. Toll-free 800-664-2370. http://www.klothesrush.com.

Richters Jewelry and Curio
This store specializes in gold jewelry and moves a lot of gold. Open in summer. 220 Broadway, Skagway. Phone 907-983-2424.

Taiya River Jewelry
Since 1976, Casey McBride has been designing beautiful pieces wrought from gold nuggets found by miners in the Yukon and British Columbia. Three other goldsmith designers also sell the creations at the store. Open year-round. 252 Broadway, Skagway. Phone 907-983-2637. Toll-free 800-943-2637. http://www.taiyariverjewelry.com.

The Mountain Shop
This shop does it all: It sells outerwear, clothing and footwear for outdoor activities, plus offers wilderness tours and rents climbing and paddling accessories. Open daily 9 am-8 pm. 355 Fourth Ave., Skagway. Phone 907-983-2544. http://www.packerexpeditions.com.

The Train Shoppe
You can find White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad clothing, model trains, souvenirs and espresso at the Train Shoppe or the Little Caboose-on-the-Dock. Open in summer. 231 Second Ave., Skagway. Phone 907-983-2217. Toll-free 800-343-7373. http://www.wpyr.com/trainshoppe.


Itinerary
Local Tours
There are several reputable tour operators in Skagway. (The visitors bureau has a list of fishing charters and wildlife and other tour outfits.)
Tour options run the gamut from train rides to horseback riding to rafting to dogsledding. Take in Skagway aboard a yellow 1920s-era bus and learn about the city's rowdy past from costumed conductors. Other options include touring a massive Klondike gold dredge and panning for the yellow metal, and visiting the gold-rush-era Liarsville Trail. You can also enjoy an Alaska garden, gourmet cooking and wine-tasting tour.
Various motorcoach tours take visitors across the scenic White Pass to Carcross and lunch in Canada's legendary Yukon Territory.
For a walking tour of historic Skagway sites, see http://www.skagway.com/skagwaywalkingtour.html.
Alaska Garden Gourmet
This escorted Alaska garden tour and hands-on seafood-cooking demonstration ends with a light meal crafted from the garden's ingredients at Olivia's Bistro in the historic Skagway Inn. You leave with recipes and seeds for your own garden. US$90. 655 Broadway (Seventh & Broadway), Skagway. Phone 907-983-2289. Toll-free 888-752-4929. http://www.skagwayinn.com/garden.html.

Alaska Travel Adventures
Tours include a Jeep Klondike adventure, gold rush trail and a Liarsville camp salmon bake. US$45-$139 adults, US$30-$93 child. Phone 907-789-0052. Toll-free 800-323-5757. http://www.bestofalaskatravel.com.

Frontier Excursions and Adventures
Tours range from the Summit & City (city, cemetery and White Pass summit overlook) to the White Pass train and highway combination to the river float and White Pass to custom luxury-SUV charter tours. City and summit US$45; river float and White Pass US$100 adults, US$70 children ages 12 and younger; charter luxury SUV US$120 per hour. Call for train and highway combo pricing. Phone 907-983-2512. Toll-free 877-983-2512. http://www.frontierexcursions.com.

Jewell Gardens and Garden City Glassworks
The organic flower and vegetable garden tour explains why Skagway is called Alaska's garden city. There's also a glassblowing theater demonstration. Open mid-May to mid-September; lunch available at Poppies 11 am-3 pm daily. US$12. Klondike Highway, Mile 1.5, Skagway. Phone 907-983-2111. http://www.jewellgardens.com.

Skagway Streetcar Co.
This company provides theatrical drivers in gold-rush-era costumes who take you around town. US$42 adults, US$21 children age 12 and younger. 270 Second Ave., Skagway. Phone 907-983-2908. http://www.skagwaystreetcar.com.

Southeast Tours
One package includes a sightseeing tour of historic Skagway and the White Pass summit area. The tour crosses the border with Canada, so all participants must have a passport and photo I.D. Other options are Yukon sightseeing (US$70), Yukon mountain biking and hiking or horseback riding (US$140) and a Chilkoot hike and float trip (US$95). US$50 for city and White Pass, US$70 for Yukon sightseeing, US$95 for Chilkoot hike and float trip, US$140 for Yukon mountain biking and hiking or horseback riding. Phone 907-983-2990. http://www.southeasttours.com.

Temsco Helicopters
A helicopter glacial tour and dogsled ride on the Denver glacier has to be one of the most dramatic Alaskan adventures. US$479. You can also do a helicopter glacial discovery tour for US$289. Ore dock (on the waterfront), Skagway. Phone 907-983-2900. Toll-free 866-683-2900. http://www.temscoair.com.


Dining
Dining Overview
Many of Skagway's restaurants are open only in the summer—they're definitely geared to tourists. Prices are high, and waits can be long if several ships are in port at the same time.
Expect to pay within these general guidelines for a dinner for one, not including drinks, tax or tip: $ = less than US$10; $$ = US$10-$25; $$$ = US$26-$40; and $$$$ = more than US$40.
Local & Regional
Sweet Tooth Cafe
We like this restaurant for its fresh halibut burgers, sandwiches with freshly baked breads, and homemade soups. Open year-round for breakfast and lunch, closes 2 pm. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 315 Broadway, Skagway. Phone 907-983-2405.

The Bonanza Bar and Grill/Chilkoot Dining Room
The Bonanza Bar and Grill section serves salads, burgers and ribs. The Chilkoot Dining Room serves a variety of Alaskan and typical American foods. Open mid-May to mid-September for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. Third and Broadway (in the Westmark Inn), Skagway. Phone 907-983-6214 Bonanza Bar & Grill; 907-983-6000 Chilkoot Dining Room. http://www.westmarkhotels.com.


Cuisines
Asian
Starfire
Serves Thai cuisine for lunch and dinner. Restaurant open seasonally. $-$$. Most major credit cards. Fourth Avenue (between Broadway and Spring), Skagway. Phone 907-983-3663.


Italian
American Skagway Pizza Station
Offers a full bar (but it's smoky), pizza, calzones, Alaskan king crab, pastas and salads. Open for lunch and dinner; bar open until 2 am. $-$$. 444 Fourth Ave. (in the Fourth Street Hotel), Skagway. Phone 907-983-2200. http://pizzastation.eskagway.com.


Cafes & Tearooms
Glacial Smoothies and Espresso
This cafe offers daily soup and baked goods along with espresso, smoothies, sandwiches and ice cream. Internet available. Open year-round daily 6 am-5 pm. $. 336B Third Ave., Skagway. Phone 907-983-3223. http://www.glacialsmoothies.com.


Seafood
Olivia's Bistro
Located in historic Skagway Inn, this restaurant features creatively prepared fresh Alaskan seafood and tapas, including chicken pot pie, halibut chowder, and fresh-from-the-garden rhubarb crisp. $. Seventh and Broadway, Skagway. Phone 907-983-2289. Toll-free 888-752-4929. http://www.skagwayinn.com/olivias.html.

Skagway Fish Co.
This is a true Alaskan seafood restaurant with checkered tablecloths and rock 'n' roll music. It is noted for its great halibut-and-chips. Open for lunch and dinner mid-May to October. $-$$$. 201 Congress Way (on the waterfront overlooking the small-boat harbor), Skagway. Phone 907-983-3474.

The Stowaway Cafe
This is a local favorite—Skagway's best restaurant—in a bright blue building with mermaid decor that overlooks the boat harbor. It serves fresh seafood—grilled or blackened salmon and halibut—spicy rock fish, wasabi salmon, and great Caesar salads. Open for brunch, lunch and dinner mid-May to October. 205 Congress Way, Skagway. Phone 907-983-3463. http://stowaway.eskagway.com.


Other Options
Kone Kompany
In summer, there's almost always a line at this shop, which serves homemade fudge, crispy cones and Dreyer's ice cream. Seasonal. $. 485 Broadway, Skagway. Phone 907-983-3439.


Security
Personal Safety
The crime rate in Skagway is negligible. But use common sense: Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Health
Dahl Memorial Clinic, on 14th Avenue between State and Broadway streets, offers medical care. Phone 907-983-2255. After hours, call 911.
Although Skagway is seldom plagued by insects, mosquitoes and other flying critters can be bothersome, so carry a good insect repellent on hikes, preferably one containing deet as an active ingredient. Don't drink untreated water from lakes or streams. No matter how pristine the area seems, people and animals may be upstream, and it's not wise to take the chance. And always be aware of the possibility of encountering a bear. If you do, don't approach it, and try to avoid quick actions that may alarm it. Inquire locally for details on recent bear activity and more advice on how to behave around the animals.
Disabled Advisory
Skagway is one of the most accessible communities in Southeast Alaska. The terrain is flat, and the historic downtown is compact. Although boardwalks and some stores will be a challenge, the streets are wide and most visitors are on foot. SMART, the local transit authority, provides an accessible bus. State ferries, cruise ships and the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad provide accommodations for wheelchairs.
Dos & Don'ts
Don't forget to obtain the necessary permits and pay reservation fees if you plan to hike the Chilkoot Trail.
Do cross the Yukon Suspension Bridge over the white waters of the Tutshi River. It is located about 30 mi/48 km from Skagway.
Do ride the legendary White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, known as the "toughest 110 miles of track in the world."
Do look for mink, great blue herons, kingfishers, seals, otters and whales.
Do visit the Gold Rush Cemetery and find Soapy Smith's tombstone.
Don't use an umbrella if you want to blend in with the locals. Because of the afternoon breezes, it will probably blow away anyway.
Hotels
Hotel Overview
In addition to the main hotels—the Sgt. Preston, the White House, Mile Zero, the Westmark Inn and Skagway Inn—there are a number of bed-and-breakfast facilities, cabins and bungalows located throughout the area. Some feature handmade quilts and antiques; others provide rustic artwork or a woodsy setting. Reservations are recommended a year in advance, especially during the summer.
Facts
Geostats
Passport/Visa Requirements: All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico. Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S.
Passports are required for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders with the U.S. and for cruise passengers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda. Reconfirm travel-document requirements with your carrier prior to departure.

Population: 865.
Time Zone: 9 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-9 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is observed from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
Voltage Requirements: 110 volts.
Telephone Codes: 907, area code for all of Alaska;
Money
Currency Exchange
The only bank in town, Wells Fargo, is at the corner of Sixth and Broadway. It has an ATM. Phone 907-983-2264.
Taxes
Skagway has a 3% sales tax and an 8% bed tax. May-September, the sales tax increases to 5%.
Tipping
In restaurants, leave 15% unless exceptional service warrants more.
Weather
Skagway's maritime climate features cool summers and mild winters. Average summer temperatures range from 45-67 F/7-19 C and winter temperatures average 18-37 F/-8 to 3 C.
Skagway gets less rain than most southeast Alaskan communities, with an average annual precipitation of only 26.5 in/67 cm. Annual snowfall is also light: 49.1 in/125 cm.
This "home of the north wind" has winds from the south in summer and from the north in winter at a mean wind speed of 15-22 mph/24-35 kph. Most people visit in summer; others prefer the quieter seasons of early May or mid-September when golden leaves transform the gold-rush town.
What to Wear
Layering is the key to comfort in southeast Alaska. Start with short- or long-sleeve shirts and long pants; add a fleece vest, sweater, hooded sweatshirt or light jacket; and finish with comfortable waterproof boots or shoes and rain gear for misty, drizzly days.
You won't need heavy down coats in summer, but you should take a water-resistant jacket and shorts in case the sun shines. Attire is casual. In the winter, we recommend that you wear spikes or some form of grip for the bottom of your shoes because of the ice on the ground.
Communication
Telephone
Public phones are available at many locations all over town and at the cruise dock. Cell phone usage is sporadic in town and on the highway.
Internet Access
Skagway Ports of Call offers Internet service, money orders and Western Union. Second and State streets. Phone 907-983-3398. Free wireless is also available at the Skagway Public Library (769 State St.), but it's slow.
Mail & Package Services
The post office is open Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5 pm. It's at the corner of Sixth and Broadway. Phone 907-982-2330.
Newspapers & Magazines
Be sure to pick up a copy of Skagway from the Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Skagway Alaskan also has important listings of events and local news. The Skagway News is published twice monthly on the second and fourth Friday. Phone 907-983-2354. http://www.skagwaynews.com.
Transportation
Downtown Skagway is compact and easy to negotiate on foot. Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau offers a listing of local transportation at http://www.skagway.com/gettingaround.html. Rental cars are available from a couple of firms downtown. Call ahead to reserve a vehicle. There is no local taxi service.
Another option for getting around is a van shuttle provided by Skagway Municipal and Regional Transit's SMART. It runs from the ship to shops at the north end of town for US$2 or US$5 all day, and a wheelchair-accessible bus is also available. Phone 907-983-2743.
Bicycles are perfect for getting around town and into the countryside.
The city's airport (SGY) is located in town along the Skagway River.
Travel by water to Haines and Juneau is available year-round from the Alaska Marine Highway System state ferry. Alaskans call them the "blue canoes." Located on the dock at the ferry terminal. Prices vary according to vehicle size. You can also walk on. Phone 907-983-2941. Toll-free 800-642-0066. http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/index.shtml.
Summers only, Alaska Fjordlines offers the Fjord Express to Juneau, leaving Skagway at 8 am and returning to Skagway at 8:15 pm. No vehicles. US$115. Located in Haines. Phone 907-766-3395. Toll-free 800-320-0146. http://www.alaskafjordlines.com.
The Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry provides 45-minute trips between Haines and Skagway in summer, US$35 one-way, US$68 round-trip. Located at the Small Boat Harbor, Skagway. Phone (Haines) 907-766-2100. Toll-free 888-766-2103. http://www.hainesskagwayfastferry.com.
For More Information
Convention & Visitors Bureau
Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau
The bureau is located two blocks from the cruise-ship dock in the historic Arctic Brotherhood Hall, a unique structure sporting 8,833 pieces of driftwood on the front facade. Daily 8 am-6 pm in summer. Second and Broadway, Skagway. Phone 907-983-2854. Toll-free 888-762-1898 to request a visitor guide. http://www.skagway.com.

Events Calendar
Skagway offers a handful of events throughout the year that will interest visitors. The Buckwheat Ski Classic, a cross-country ski race to British Columbia, is cause for celebration in March. Fourth of July festivities include food, a parade, fireworks, international softball tournament and a ducky derby. Skagway's infamous con man, Soapy Smith, gets an annual wake in early July, when the cast of Days of '98 leads residents and visitors in a toast to the man.
Summer is abloom in Alaska, and the Eastern Star Flower Show in mid-August showcases Skagway's beautiful gardens. In September, Skagwayians gear up for the Klondike Trail of '98 International Road Relay, a 110-mi/177-km footrace to Whitehorse in Canada's Yukon Territory. And to wrap up the year, the city puts on an annual quilt retreat in October and a White Pass and Yukon Route Santa train and Yuletide Ball in December.
The Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau maintains an up-to-date list of events at http://www.skagway.com/events.html.


Haines, Alaska

Overview
Introduction

Haines, Alaska, is situated on a spit of land on the west side of the Lynn Canal along one of the deepest fjords in the Inside Passage. It is one of only three ports in southeast Alaska with access to North American roads. As a result, Haines is a busy place in the summer. Many vacationers (and their vehicles) ride a ferry to Haines and head up the Haines Highway to the Alaska Highway into northwestern Canada and the Alaskan interior. Other visitors arrive by cruise ship. In warm-weather months, the town's population swells considerably.
A haven for bald eagles and artists, Haines is distinctive, with the officers' quarters of historic Fort William H. Seward nestled around a parade ground and the snowy 6,500-ft/2,015-m Cathedral Peaks towering in the background—all visible from the water. The first permanent army post in Alaska, the fort now houses hotels, restaurants, art galleries, Alaska Indian Arts and the Chilkat Center.
Each fall, more than 3,500 eagles flock to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve on the Chilkat River to feast on a late run of salmon. Several hundred remain in the area throughout the year.

Must See or Do
Sights—Fort William H. Seward; Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve; Haines Highway.
Museums—Alaska Native arts and crafts, including a Chilkat blanket, along with pioneer and gold-rush artifacts at the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center; interpretive displays on the natural history of the Chilkat Valley and its annual eagle population at the American Bald Eagle Foundation; 1,800 hammers at the Hammer Museum.
Memorable Meals—Chile verde, carne asada tampiqueno or tacos de pescado with fresh halibut at Mosey's Cantina; warm chocolate molten cake with pistachio ice cream and cherry compote at the Halsingland Hotel Commander's Room Restaurant; fresh crab, seafood and prime rib at the Fort Seward Lodge Restaurant.
Late Night—The Pioneer Bar on Front Street, featuring a back bar from 1886; the Officers' Club Lounge at Hotel Halsingland at Fort Seward.
Walks—Traversing rain forest on the Battery Point Trail; great views hiking on Mount Riley; Mount Ripinsky's north peak (3,650 ft/1,132 m); the 7-mi/11-km hike through beach and forest on the Seduction Point hiking trail.
Especially for Kids—Visiting Dalton City, a replica frontier town created for the Disney movie White Fang; playing on the playground at Tlingit Park; skateboarding at Haines Skate Park.
Geography
The rainy maritime climate of southeast Alaska meets the drier continental climate of interior Alaska and Canada at Haines, resulting in warmer and drier conditions during summer than most southeast Alaska communities. The area sports not only the hemlock and spruce forests of the Alaska's Inside Passage rain forest but also pines, birch, cottonwood and other deciduous trees prevalent in the interior. Wild berries abound, drawing 120 species of birds, foremost among them the American bald eagle. Haines has the largest congregation of bald eagles in the world each fall. About 3,500 eagles congregate along the Chilkat River in the Valley of the Eagles.
Tucked on a peninsula between Lynn Canal and the Chilkat Inlet, Haines is further defined by a backdrop of mountains. Chilkat Range peaks tower 3,500-6,000 ft/1,085-1,860 m above the small community. A short flight to the west is Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, home to 11 tidewater glaciers. The drive northwest along the Haines Highway skirts Kluane National Park and Preserve and the Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park, both part of the first binational World Heritage Site, 20 million acres/8.1 million hectares of protected wilderness that includes the largest nonpolar ice cap in the world and 350 valley glaciers.
History
Haines has a lot to offer the history buff. Originally called Deishu (pronounced DAY-shoo), meaning "end of the trail," it was a trading post and ancestral home for both the Chilkoot and Chilkat Tlingit tribes. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was one of the gold-rush gateways to the Klondike. An early entrepreneur, Jack Dalton, used the Tlingit Trail through the coastal mountains to create a toll road and charged miners en route to the Klondike. Part of that trail became the picturesque Haines Highway.
Missionary S. Hall Young and naturalist John Muir chose Haines as the site for a Presbyterian mission. The town was named for Francina Haines of the Presbyterian Home Missions Board. Commercial fishing, three canneries employing imported Chinese laborers, the timber industry and agriculture flourished in the fertile area.
An ongoing border dispute between the U.S. and Canada prompted construction of Fort William H. Seward, named for the secretary of state who arranged Alaska's purchase from Russia in 1867. Men, mules and oxen cleared the land. Foundations for the buildings were cut from local granite, and by 1904, officers stationed in this wilderness outpost had ornate Victorian fireplaces and beautifully carved door and window frames in their quarters. It was the only military base in Alaska for the next 20 years. The fort was decommissioned after World War II and is now a National Historic Landmark.
Port Information
Location
Unlike many other southeast Alaska communities, Haines is not inundated with cruise ships during the summer. While some ports get three to five ships a day, Haines sees no more than three ships each week.
Most cruise ships pull up to the Port Chilkoot dock at the foot of historic Fort Seward, a few blocks south of the town center. Some smaller cruise ships dock at the Fast Ferry dock, a block south of the Port Chilkoot dock. On those rare occasions when more than one ship is in port, passengers may be tendered to the dock in smaller craft. There is also a small-boat harbor downtown, and the Alaska Marine Highway ferry terminal is 5 mi/8 km north of town.
It's about a 10-minute walk from the docks to downtown. The visitors center there is open Monday-Friday year-round 8 am-5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 8 am-noon in the summer. The center has a brochure with a walking-tour map of the town and Fort Seward. Nature lovers should ask for "Haines is for Hikers," a brochure listing several nature walks and hikes. There's also a local bird list (many bald eagles and other birds spend time in Haines each year). The visitors center is at 122 Second Ave. S. Phone 907-766-2234. Toll-free 800-458-3579. http://www.haines.ak.us.
Shore Excursions
Popular shore excursions include tours of the town and surrounding sights by van or bicycle, river-rafting through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, kayaking in the area fjords (Lutak and Taiya inlets), hiking in the Alaskan rain forest and flightseeing trips to nearby glaciers. Charter boats offer saltwater fishing, and several outfits guide hunting trips. There's also fly-in fishing. For motorists, the Golden Circle drive is a scenic jaunt to the Yukon and Skagway, and the return to Haines is via a summer water taxi.
Potpourri
Thanks to an alluvial fan reservoir of relatively warm water and a late run of salmon, more than 3,500 eagles congregate in the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, Miles 18-24 Haines Highway, during the fall. The Chilkat Valley is a year-round home for 200-400 eagles.
The bald eagle, found only on the North American continent, can fly at 30 mph/48 kph and reach 100 mph/161 kph during a dive. Their wing span is 6-8 ft/1.8-2.4 m and they weigh 9-12 lbs/4-5.4 kg, with females slightly larger than males. They can spot fish, their main diet, from more than a mile/kilometer away. Eagles mate for life and live up to 30 years. You can recognize an immature eagle by its mottled brown and white plumage. It takes four to six years for eagles to develop the characteristic white (bald) head and tail feathers.
In the early 20th century, when eagles were thought to threaten salmon runs, there was a US$2 bounty paid for bald eagle carcasses. The birds are now protected by federal law.
Built in 1903, Fort Seward is Alaska's first military post. It was designed to be a show place, a symbol of the U.S. Army's strength in Alaska. The officers' quarters had the latest conveniences, including indoor flush toilets, claw-footed bathtubs and marble-topped washstands.
The Alaska Native trade route from water to the interior was dubbed the "grease trail," because one of the most important items on the route was oil extracted from eulachon (pronounced hooligan), tiny candlefish or smelt that are so oily you can light them and use them as candles.
See & Do
Sightseeing
As you would expect, sightseeing in Haines is heavy on nature and the history of the Native American people who live in the area. The scenery is compelling. The Valley of the Eagles is at the foot of mountains with year-round snow, wedged between two rivers and at the start of a National Scenic Byway.
Historic Sites
American Bald Eagle Foundation
This foundation presents a diorama with interpretive wildlife displays, an eagle education center, gift shop and information about the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. Open daily in summer; by appointment only in winter. 113 Haines Highway, Haines. Phone 907-766-3094. http://www.baldeagles.org.

Dalton City
Another vintage town is located at the fairgrounds in Haines, though it's not exactly an authentic one: The Walt Disney Company donated the sets from the 1990 movie White Fang to the fairgrounds, and they've been used to create Dalton City, a replica of a frontier gold-rush town. The Southeast Alaska State Fair takes place at the fairgrounds in late July. Haines Highway, Haines. Phone 907-766-2476. http://seakfair.org.

Fort William H. Seward
In the center of the historic district is Fort William H. Seward, the first U.S. military outpost in Alaska, built between 1902 and 1904 to maintain an American military presence during a border dispute with Canada. Home to 1,500 troops during the construction of the Alaska Highway, the fort was decommissioned in 1947. The ornate Victorian buildings have been converted to art galleries, a hotel and a restaurant. On the fort's parade grounds is a replica of the Raven's Fort Tribal House. A cannery building was moved to the fort in 1926 and then converted to a recreation center. It is now the Chilkat Center for the Arts, a community theater. At the Alaska Indian Arts building (formerly the fort hospital), you can watch Native American artisans carve totem poles and create silver and bead jewelry. Pick up a Fort Seward walking map from the visitor center or the Sheldon Museum on Main Street. Open Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm in summer. Fort Seward Drive, Haines. Phone 907-766-2160. http://alaskaindianarts.com or http://www.sheldonmuseum.org/fortwilliamseward.htm.


Museums
Hammer Museum
This unusual museum features more than 1,800 hammers from around the world. The centerpiece is an 800-year-old Tlingit war hammer that museum founder Dave Pahl found while digging the foundation for the museum. Open May-October Monday-Friday 10 am-5 pm. Admission US$3. 108 Main St., Haines. Phone 907-266-2374. http://www.hammermuseum.org.

Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center
This museum displays an extensive collection of Alaskana. It houses exhibits of Alaska Native artwork as well as artifacts from gold-rush days. Contemporary local art is exhibited April-September, and there's a gift shop. 11 Main St. (downtown), Haines. Phone 907-766-2366. http://www.sheldonmuseum.org.


Nature
If one thing distinguishes Haines from other southeast Alaska ports, it's the huge number of bald eagles—more than 3,000—that live in the area in the late fall and early winter. It's the largest gathering of eagles in the world. (The town postmark reads "Valley of the Eagles.") Even in spring and summer, 200-400 eagles nest in the area. At that time of year, the best place to see them is in the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve
The preserve is located along a 5-mi/8-km stretch of the Chilkat River, about 18 mi/29 km northwest of Haines. Visitors can view the birds from the preserve's walkways along Haines Highway. Look for them at the tops of the tallest trees. It's easy to pick out their distinctive white heads against the deep green foliage of the spruce and hemlock trees. Miles 18-21 Haines Highway, Haines. http://www.baldeagles.org/preserve.html.

Haines Highway
Named a National Scenic Byway, the 44-mi/71-km road from Haines to the Canadian border is stunning, paralleling the braided Chilkat River and Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve at Mile 9-24, Haines Highway. At Mile 22 is the turnoff for the Alaska Native Chilkat village of Klukwan (http://chilkatindianvillage.org), and the turnoff for the historic Porcupine Mining District is at Mile 26. After crossing the border into Canada (you'll need a passport), the road winds along the edge of the St. Elias Mountains and skirts the Tatshenshini-Alsek Wilderness Park and the adjacent Kluane National Park and Preserve, a UNESCO International World Heritage Site. To the west are the largest ice fields in the world with the exception of the polar ice caps. The Haines Highway converges with the Alaska Highway at Haines Junction in the Yukon Territory at Mile 151 Haines Highway. http://www.dot.state.ak.us/stwdplng/scenic/byways-haines.shtml or http://www.haines.ak.us/byway/index.php.


Parks & Gardens
Tlingit Park
Children looking for a place to run around and play will have a good time there. The park has no fees or set hours, and it features a playground with a fort, boats, equipment to climb on and a bear's mouth kids can walk through. First Avenue and Haines Highway, Haines.


Zoos & Wildlife
Kroschel Films Wildlife Center
Animal trainer and filmmaker Steve Kroschel (Never Cry Wolf, Out of the Wilderness) has gathered 36 mammals indigenous to the region in a live-animal wildlife center. Explore more than 1 mi/1.6 km of trails through park habitat with people-friendly caribou, coyotes, wolves, wolverines and other mammals. Guided tours available. Mile 27 Haines Highway turnoff to Mile 1.8 Mosquito Road, Haines. Phone 907-767-5464. http://www.kroschelfilms.com.


Recreation
As you would expect, recreation in Haines focuses on the outdoors. Since many visitors go to Haines via cruise ship, the shore excursions offered by the ships are popular. If you go to Haines independently, be sure to check out the visitors center for advice.
Bird Watching
More than half of the 100,000 bald eagles in North America live in Alaska and British Columbia. Though bald eagles can be seen anywhere in Southeast Alaska—just scan the trees for a white head—they are most impressive when they congregate each fall in the Chilkat Valley near Haines. About 3,000 eagles feed on spawned-out salmon there October-February, and the town holds a festival in their honor.
Bird-watchers from around the world go to see the Chilkat Valley gathering of eagles as well as 260 species of birds and up to 400 eagles year-round. A checklist of local bird species is available at http://haines.ak.us/tripplanning/birds.pdf.
For more information on birding in Alaska and the Chilkat Valley, visit http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=birding.main or http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=refuge.chilkat.
Boating & Sailing
Several outfits offer jetboat, rafting, kayaking, fishing and whale-watching tours. Independent travelers should reserve a spot since cruise ship passengers book on board. Fishing is available from First Choice Charters (phone 907-314-0681 or 320-224-7646) and Driftwood (phone 320-260-5828). Chilkat Guides
Offers guided rafting trips in the Chilkat River Eagle Preserve for US$93.90. It also has a number of multiday tours that combine hiking and rafting on the Alsek and Tashenshini rivers. 170 Sawmill Road, Haines. Phone 907-766-2491. Toll-free 888-292-7789. http://raftalaska.com.

Chilkat River Adventures
Provides jetboat tours of the Eagle Preserve and upper Chilkat River mid-May to mid-September. 842 Main St., Haines. Phone 907-766-2050. Toll-free 800-478-9827. http://www.jetboatalaska.com.

Chilkoot Lake Tours
Sightsee aboard a pontoon boat on serene Chilkoot Lake. Eagle sightings guaranteed. For more excitement, try a Screamin' Eagle airboat. Summer only. 1069 Haines Highway, Haines. Phone 907-766-2891. Toll-free 800-354-6009. http://www.alaskaeagletours.com.


Golf
Valley of the Eagles
This nine-hole course lies on wetlands that are periodically covered by high tides in winter. Summer daylight playing 3 am-10 pm. Greens fees: US$20 per nine-hole round, US$90 for five-round pass, US$175 for 10-round pass. Pull-cart rental US$5 per day. Mile 1.5 Haines Highway (near town), Haines. Phone 907-766-2401. http://hainesgolf.com.


Hiking & Walking
All Haines trails are free, with no set hours of operation. For more information, contact the Haines Parks office (phone 907-766-2292) or the Southeast Alaska trails system (phone 907-364-2427; http://www.seatrails.org). Pick up a "Haines is for Hikers" brochure at the visitor center on Second Street. Chilkat State Park
This park provides access to three trails: Battery Point, Seduction Point and Mount Riley.
Battery Point Trail, 2 mi/3 km one way, provides an easy hike with access from any of three marked trailheads. Follow the Beach Road around Portage Cove.
Seduction Point, 7 mi/11 km one way, is another easy trail that runs along forests and beaches on the Chilkat Peninsula. It has a 50-ft/15.5-m gain in elevation. The trailhead lies 7 mi/11 km south of Haines on Mud Bay Road and is marked.
Mount Riley trail is moderately difficult. It runs 4 mi/6 km one way with a 1,760-ft/546-m gain in elevation. Mud Bay Road (7 mi/11 km south of town), Haines.

Mount Ripinsky Trail
This trail runs roughly 4-5 mi/6-8 km one way and gains 4,700 ft/1,457 m in elevation. It is Haines' most difficult trail (depending on how far you go). The trailhead is a little more than 1 mi/2 km from downtown. (Take Second Avenue to Young Road. The trailhead is accessed via Seven Mile Saddle.)


In-Line Skating
Haines Skate Park
The Hut at Oslund Park offers skateboarders and in-line skaters ramps, pipes, ledges and trails. The covered, lighted facility closes at curfew. Mile 1 Haines Highway, Haines.


Skiing
Haines is a prime location for winter heli-skiing, snowcat operations, ice climbing, cross-country skiing and snow-machining. Several outfitters offer tours and multiday packages, including Alaska Heli-Skiing (http://www.alaskaheliskiing.com), Alaska Nature Tours (http://www.alaskanaturetours.net), Rainbow Glacier Adventures (http://www.joeordonez.com) and Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures (http://www.skiseaba.com). More information is available at http://haines.ak.us.
Swimming
Haines Borough Swimming Pool
The heated, indoor pool is open year-round. Hours vary. 112 Third Ave., Haines. Phone 907-766-2666.


Nightlife
Haines doesn't have much of a nightlife, particularly by Alaskan standards. A good place to unwind is the Pioneer Bar, which occassionally has live entertainment on weekends (phone 907-766-3443). Another good bar is the saloon at Fort Seward Lodge, a popular place on the weekends with its red-velvet swing and its ceiling plastered with money (phone 907-766-2009). You can also relax with a drink in the Officers' Club Lounge at Hotel Halsingland. Phone 907-766-2000.
Performing Arts
Haines has an active arts council that sponsors many community events during the year. Occasional regional and national touring groups perform in the community at the Chilkat Center for the Arts at Ford Seward. Dance parties at Fort Seward Lodge take place Saturday night throughout the year. For more information, visit http://hainesak.com/arts.
Shopping
Look for high-quality (and unusual) works of art of all kinds in Haines. The work of the town's artist colony is for sale at a variety of stores downtown.
Bookstores
Babbling Book
Good selection of books about Alaska as well as cards, calendars and gifts. 223 Main St., Haines. Phone 907-766-3356.


Galleries
Catotti and Goldberg Art Studio
Watercolor, oil and pastel paintings created by Rob Goldberg and Donna Catotti are for sale. Mile 6.5 Mud Bay Road, Haines. Phone 907-766-2707. http://www.artstudioalaska.com.

Sea Wolf Gallery
Operated by local artist Tresham Gregg along with a second shop, Whale Rider Gallery, at 16 Portage St. (phone 907-766-2540). Both shops carry wood carvings, art prints, jewelry and paintings inspired by Alaska Native culture. On the parade grounds at Fort Seward, Haines. Phone 907-766-2558. http://www.tresham.com.

Uniquely Alaskan Arts
Native carvings, jewelry and prints. 201 Willard St., Haines. Phone 907-766-3525.

Wild Iris
This art shop and garden is located in the home of Fred and Madeleine Shields. Fred creates jewelry from gold, silver, stones and beads. Madeleine is a painter and printmaker. Clothing, cards and Alaska Native art round out the inventory. Portage Street (near the cruise dock), Haines. Phone 907-766-2300.


Specialty Stores
Alaska Rod's
Sells handcrafted items from local artists, including knives, photography and lip balm made in Haines. Open year-round. Second and Main, Haines. Phone 907-766-2352. http://www.alaskarods.com.

Bear's Den Gifts
Features hats and Alaskan carvings. 8 Main St., Haines. Phone 907-766-2117.

Bell's Store
Alaskan gifts and flowers. It packs and ships locally caught seafood, too. 18 Second Ave., Haines. Phone 907-766-2950. Toll-free 800-446-2950.

Chilkat Valley Arts & Treasures
Features prints and crafts made by local artists; 209 Willard St., Haines. Phone 907-766-3230.

Dejon Delights
Good source of fresh and smoked salmon and halibut. 37 Portage St., Haines. Phone 907-766-2505. Toll-free 800-539-3608. http://www.alaska-smoked-salmon.com.

Gold Spot Jewelry
Carries gold nuggets and nugget jewelry as well as a variety of other souvenirs. 8 Second Ave., Haines. Phone 907-766-2772.

Haines Brewing Co.
This local brewery makes handcrafted beers using organic base malts and no filtering or pasteurizing. There's a tasting room on-site, or you can buy a liter or half-gallon to go. Also offers logo clothing and pint glasses. Open Monday-Saturday 1-7 pm. 108 White Fang Way (in Dalton City at the Southeast Alaska Fairgrounds, Mile 0.5 Haines Highway), Haines. Phone 907-766-3823. http://www.hainesbrewing.com.

Lost Coast Surf Shop
Offers smoked salmon, outdoor apparel and prints. Second and Main (near the back entrance to the Wild Iris), Haines. Phone 907-314-0335. http://www.lostcoastsurfshop.com.

Material Girls
This shop carries fabric, needlework and patterns for all your quilting or yarn needs. 322 Main St., Haines. Phone 907-766-3391.

Sheldon Museum Gift Shop
Locally made gifts, jewelry and lots of books. 11 Main St., Haines. Phone 907-766-2368.

The Alaska Side
This family-owned store carries a wide variety of gifts, souvenirs and collectibles. It will also ship your purchases for you. 204 Main St., Haines. Phone 907-766-2703.


Itinerary
Local Tours
Several reputable tour companies in Haines offer private and group tours. The visitors center can provide a complete list. Alaska Mountain Guides and Climbing School
Based in Haines, this company offers world-wide travel adventures. The most popular local day trips are kayaking and hiking (US$85 half-day, US$125 full day). It also offers glacier trekking as well as multiday and private guided trips. 56 Mud Bay Road, Haines. Phone 907-766-3366. Toll-free 800-766-3396. http://www.alaskamountainguides.com.

Alaska Nature Tours
Offers three- and six-hour bus trips to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve and other areas for birding and wildlife photography or guided hikes. Half-day tour is US$85 with lunch and tax. 109 Second Ave., Haines. Phone 907-766-2876. http://www.alaskanaturetours.net.

Fly Drake
Flightseeing tours of the Glacier Bay area. Phone 907-314-0675. http://www.flydrake.com.

Keet Gooshi Tours
Keet Gooshi Tours offer cultural trips to the Tlingit village of Klukwan in the heart of the eagle preserve. 32 Helms Loop Road, Haines. Phone 907-766-2168. http://www.keetgooshi.com.

Mountain Flying Service
One of several flightseeing companies that offers tours over Glacier Bay National Park. Prices start at US$159 per person for a one-hour flight, including transportation to the airport. Phone 907-766-3007. Toll-free 800-954-8747. http://www.flyglacierbay.com.

Rainbow Glacier Adventures
This outfit provides guided nature walks and kayaking trips. Phone 907-766-3576. http://www.joeordonez.com.

Sockeye Cycle
Sockeye Cycle offers a a variety of daily and extended guided or self-guided bicycle tours that include Fort Seward, rides near the river, Valley of the Eagles and the Golden Circle Tour, among others. 24 Portage St., Haines. Phone 907-766-2869. Toll-free 877-292-4154. http://www.cyclealaska.com.

Wings of Alaska
Wings of Alaska has scheduled flights to Juneau for US$109 one-way. It also has flights to Skagway, Gustavus and other northern southeast Alaska communities, and can charter flightseeing tours over Glacier Bay National Park. Phone 907-766-2030. http://www.wingsofalaska.com.


Dining
Dining Overview
Haines has an excellent variety of restaurants for a city its size, and many of them are chef-owned. Seafood is the biggest item on most menus, and the locally caught halibut is tasty wherever you get it.
Expect to pay within these general guidelines for a dinner for one, not including drinks, tax or tip: $ = less than US$10; $$ = US$10-$25; $$$ = US$26-$40; and $$$$ = more than US$40.
Cuisines
American
33 Mile Roadhouse
The only restaurant between Haines and Haines Junction, this roadhouse is known for its chili, fresh-baked goods and hamburgers. Open daily except Tuesday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. Mile 33 Haines Highway, Haines. Phone 907-767-5510. http://www.33mileroadhouse.com.

Bamboo Room Restaurant and Pioneer Bar
This local hangout serves up typical U.S. diner fare year-round. The halibut-and-chips is a favorite dish. The restaurant is smoke-free. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. Second Avenue and Main Street, Haines. Phone 907-766-2800. http://www.bamboopioneer.net.

Hotel Halsingland Commander's Room Restaurant and Officers' Club Lounge
Gourmet food complements the Victorian decor of historic Fort Seward. Try the Moroccan lamb shank, fennel-dusted salmon or roasted Dungeness crab, with a chocolate truffle torte for dessert. Summer only for breakfast, espresso and dinner. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. 13 Fort Seward Drive (in the meticulously restored commanding and bachelor officers' quarters at Fort Seward), Haines. Phone 907-766-2000. Toll-free 800-542-6263. http://www.hotelhalsingland.com/restaurant.html.


Mexican
Mosey's Cantina
A favorite Haines restaurant, Mosey's serves up authentic Mexican cooking. Try the house-made red and green chili specialties, chile verde, carne asada tampiqueno, tacos de pescado—it's all good. Front porch seating is also available. Open March-October Wednesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner. Soapsuds Alley (one block uphill from the cruise ship dock), Haines. Phone 907-766-2320. http://www.moseyscantina.com.


Breakfast & Brunch
Chilkat Restaurant and Bakery
Full espresso bar, doughnuts and pastries for breakfast. For lunch, try the hamburgers on home-style buns with sweet-potato fries, halibut sandwiches, house-made soups and pies as well as Thai cuisine. $. Most major credit cards. Fifth and Dalton streets, Haines. Phone 907-766-3653.


Cafes & Tearooms
Mountain Market and Cafe
Offers beer, wine and spirits along with natural foods, organic produce, sandwiches, tortilla wraps, soups, freshly baked goods and an espresso bar with freshly ground coffee. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and early dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. 151 Third Ave., Haines. Phone 907-766-3340.


Seafood
Fireweed Restaurant
Serves seafood, pasta, organic cuisine, salads, freshly baked breads and pizzas. Summer only. $$. Most major credit cards. Building 37, Blacksmith Road (in Fort Seward), Haines. Phone 907-766-3838.

Harbor Bar and Lighthouse Restaurant
Bordering the small-boat harbor, this restaurant features a bar that dates to 1886 and a great view. Specialties include seafood, hamburgers, espresso and freshly made pies. Open year-round. $$. Most major credit cards. 101 Front St., Haines. Phone 907-766-2444.


Steak Houses
Fort Seward Lodge and Restaurant
Specializes in steak, prime rib and seafood, including fresh crab mid-June to mid-August. Open year-round except November to mid-January. Reservations recommended. $$. Most major credit cards. 39 Bay Road, Mile 0 Haines Highway (in a historic building in Fort Seward), Haines. Phone 907-766-2009. Toll-free 877-617-3418.


Security
Personal Safety
Crime isn't a significant problem in Haines, but use common sense. Be aware of your surroundings.
Health
Mosquitoes and other insects can be a nuisance when you're in the woods, or rafting or fishing on streams. Be sure to carry a good insect repellent on hikes (preferably one containing deet). Don't drink untreated water from lakes or streams. No matter how pristine the area seems, people and animals may have fouled the waters.
Always be aware of the possibility of encountering a bear. If you do, don't approach it, and try to avoid quick actions that might alarm it. Inquire locally for details on recent bear activity and more advice on how to behave around the animals.
The SEARHC Haines Medical Clinic provides 24-hour service. 131 First Ave. S. Phone 907-766-6300. http://www.searhc.org.
Disabled Advisory
Although streets are wide, Haines is hilly. The local senior center van is accessible and available if local seniors haven't scheduled it. Call ahead Monday-Thursday 8 am-3 pm. First Avenue next to Tlingit Park. Phone 907-766-2383.
Dos & Don'ts
Don't try to haggle prices in local stores. Though prices are often high in Alaska, haggling is insulting.
Do be patient at eagle-viewing areas. The eagles may be slow to show themselves or might not be seen at all.
Do use turnouts to view eagles, stay off the flats where the eagles feed and give them adequate space.
Do not clean fish in a camping area. Use a stream that will carry debris away and not lure bears into your camp.
Do recognize that the Alaska Native Chilkat and Chilkoot people both inhabited the Haines area. Chilkat River and Chilkoot Lake and Chilkoot River are named for these Tlingit people.
Hotels
Hotel Overview
Fort Seward offers several venues, including a hotel, lodge and bed-and-breakfasts. Other accommodations are scattered around town. Haines is busiest in summer, during heli-skiing season January-April and for community events. Reservations are recommended.
Facts
Geostats
Passport/Visa Requirements: All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico. Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S.
Passports are required for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders with the U.S. and for cruise passengers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda. Reconfirm travel-document requirements with your carrier prior to departure.

Population: 2,200.
Time Zone: 9 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-9 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is observed from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
Voltage Requirements: 110 volts.
Telephone Codes: 907,
Money
Currency Exchange
First National Bank at 23 Main St. has an ATM, as do Howser's IGA Grocery, the Fogcutter and the Quick Stop.
Taxes
The local sales tax is 5.5%. The hotel tax is 4%.
Tipping
Tip 15% in restaurants, unless good service warrants more.
Weather
The maritime climate in Haines features cool summers and mild winters. Average summer temperatures range from 45-67 F/7-19 C and winter temperatures average 18 to 37 F/-8 to 3 C. Haines gets less rain than most southeast Alaska communities, with an average annual rainfall of 52 in/132 cm and 133 in/338 cm of snow in winter. Most people visit in summer and in November, but the winter also offers heli-skiing and snowmachine adventures.
What to Wear
Layering is the key to comfort in southeast Alaska. Start with a short- or long-sleeve shirt and long pants; add a fleece vest, sweater, hooded sweatshirt or light jacket; and finish with comfortable, waterproof boots or shoes and rain gear for misty, drizzly days. You won't need heavy down coats in summer, but you should take shorts just in case the sun shines. Attire is casual.
Communication
Telephone
There are public telephones at the ferry terminal, small boat harbor, visitor center on Second Avenue and along Main Street between Second and Third avenues and elsewhere around town, including at the cruise-ship dock.
ACS and AT&T cell phones work in town, but most people lose service at about Mile 7 Haines Highway.
Internet Access
Internet access is available at the Haines Borough Public Library on Third Avenue (phone 907-766-2545), and the occasional Internet cafe pops up from time to time. The Rusty Compass Coffee House at 116 Main St. offers free Wi-Fi, and there are free Wi-Fi hotspots around town. Phone 907-766-6550. http://www.aptalaska.net.
Mail & Package Services
The local post office is open Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm, Saturday 1-3 pm. 55 Haines Highway. Phone 907-766-2930. There is also a stamp machine at the visitors center.
Newspapers & Magazines
Copies of the Juneau Empire are available in Haines, but most locals get their news from the weekly Chilkat Valley News. http://www.chilkatvalleynews.com.
Transportation
You can get just about everywhere on foot in Haines, although it's a bit of a hike to the airport, ferry terminal, and Bald Eagle Preserve. Local taxi service is available from Haines Taxi and Tours for a quick lift to the center of town or a personal tour. Service is informal, and rates are negotiable. Expect to pay about US$10-$20 for a town tour, and US$30-$35 for eagle-viewing trips and tours of the local lakes by van.
Air
Haines Airport (HNS) is 4 mi/7 km northwest of town. Daily scheduled flights to and from Skagway, Juneau and other communities are available. Charter-flight services also use the Haines Airport.
Car
There are several rental car companies in town: Captain's Choice (phone 907-766-3111), Eagle's Nest (phone 907-766-2891), Hotel Halsingland (phone 907-766-2000), Lynn View Lodge (phone 907-766-3713) and Beach Road House (phone 907-766-3060). Rates range US$49-$69 per day.
Ferry
Alaska Fjordlines
Provides daily express ferry service from Haines and Skagway to Juneau in the summer, leaving Haines at 8:45 am and returning at 7:30 pm. US$155 round-trip, plus bus transfer to town and snacks. Phone 907-766-3395. Toll-free 800-320-0146. http://www.alaskafjordlines.com.

Alaska Marine Highway System
Alaska's Marine Highway ferries carry passengers and vehicles throughout southeast Alaska. Mile 4.5 Lutak Road (5 mi/8 km north of town), Haines. Phone 907-766-2111 (Haines terminal). Toll-free 800-642-0066 (reservation line). http://www.ferryalaska.com.

Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry
Provides 45-minute trips between Haines and Skagway in summer. US$35 one way, US$68 round-trip. 142 Beach Road, Haines. Phone 907-766-2100. Toll-free 888-766-2103. http://www.hainesskagwayfastferry.com.


Other
Two-wheel transportation is also available. Rent a bicycle from Sockeye Cycle for US$14 for two hours minimum, US$35 a day. Phone 907-766-2869. http://www.cyclealaska.com.
For More Information
Additional Reading
If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name by Heather Lende (Algonquin Books). This comic and poignant account of the lives and deaths of some of the citizens of Haines is by a local author.
Haines: The First Century by Elisabeth S. Hakkinen (E.S. Hakkinen). Available from the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center.
Charles H. Anway by Robert E. Henderson (R.E. Henderson). Pioneer, miner and horticulturist, Anway was the Johnny Appleseed of Alaska and the father of the Haines Strawberry Festival, which became the Southeast Alaska State Fair. Available from the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center.
Convention & Visitors Bureau
Haines Visitor Center
Centrally located near Second Avenue and Willard Street, the Haines Visitor Center is a short distance from the small boat harbor on Portage Cove. Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 8 am-noon. 122 Second Ave. S., Haines. Phone 907-766-2234. Toll-free 800-458-3579.


Events
Calendar
Haines is host of the Great Alaska Craftbeer & Homebrew Festival at the end of May, when you can taste the best of the region's microbrews (http://seakfair.org/beerfestival.php). You can also fish for salmon at the end of May at the Memorial Day King Salmon Derby.
International visitors go to Haines for the Kluane-Chilkat Bike Relay, a 160-mi/258-km bike ride along the Haines Highway from Haines Junction in Canada to Haines, held the third weekend in June. Phone 867-633-2579. http://www.kcibr.org.
The annual Summer Solstice Celebration features food, live music and beer until midnight. The Fourth of July is a popular celebration in all southeast Alaska communities; Haines celebrates with the grueling Mount Ripinski footrace, a parade and fireworks. http://www.haineschamber.org.
One of the biggest parties in the area is the southeast Alaska State Fair and Bald Eagle Music Festival. For five days in late July, fairgoers are treated to food, rides, livestock and logging shows, live music and daily entertainment. Phone 907-766-2476. http://www.seakfair.org.
In early November, Haines celebrates its most famous residents when the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival welcomes the return of the majestic birds to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve for the winter. Activities include educational seminars, tours and family events. http://www.baldeaglefestival.org.
In January, Haines hosts the Alcan 200 Road Rally, a snow-machine race. http://www.alcan200.org.
For more information on events in Haines, contact the Haines Convention and Visitors Bureau. Phone 907-766-2234. Toll-free 800-458-3579. http://haines.ak.us.


Juneau, Alaska

Overview
Introduction

Juneau, Alaska, enjoys a majestic setting in a narrow fjord with Mount Juneau and Mount Roberts towering above it. To the east is the vast expanse of glacial ice known as the Juneau Icefield, and to the west are the wilderness islands of the Inside Passage.
Because of the natural beauty that surrounds the city—as well as its gold-rush era buildings and many shops—this state capital is a popular tourist destination. In fact, Juneau is visited by more cruise ships than any other port in Alaska.


Must See or Do
Sights—Mendenhall Glacier, Nugget Falls and the visitors center; the view of Juneau from the top of Mount Roberts Tramway or from Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure overlook; a flight over the Juneau Icefield; a floatplane excursion past glaciers; bears at Pack Creek Brown Bear Preserve on Admiralty Island; whale-watching; seeing the glacier calve at Tracy Arm Fjord; a zipline ride through the rain forest; logger competitions during Gold Rush Days the last weekend in June.
Museums—Relics from gold-rush days at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum; Alaska native culture, art and state history at the Alaska State Museum; maps of the mine tunnels and gold-mining equipment at the Last Chance Mining Museum.
Memorable Meals—An authentic salmon feast at Gold Creek Salmon Bake or the Taku Glacier Lodge; beer-battered halibut at the Thane Ore House; marionberry-glazed duck at the historic Gold Room in the Baranof Hotel; sweet-potato crab cakes at Twisted Fish Co. Alaskan Grill; pizza at Pizzeria Roma; breakfast at the Sandpiper Cafe; steamer clams or the halibut taco at the Flight Deck; dinner at Zephyr.
Late Night—Blues and jazz at the Alaskan Hotel & Bar; live music with views of the water and floatplanes at Hangar on the Wharf; the Island Pub in Douglas.
Walks—Exploring Mendenhall Glacier trails; following the miners' path up Perseverance Trail; exploring the Douglas Treadwell Mine ruins near Sandy Beach; hiking along the alpine trails at the top of the Mount Roberts Tramway; exploring historic downtown Juneau from the docks to South Franklin Street and up the hill past St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox church.
Especially for Kids—Macaulay Salmon Hatchery; A-J Mine and Gastineau Mill; Sandy Beach and Savikko Park on Douglas Island; the Rock Dump; the Auke Recreation Area; a helicopter flight; dogsledding on a glacier; seeing seals in Tracy Arm Fjord; exploring the mining ruins at the Last Chance Mining Museum; playing with artifacts at the Alaska State Museum; hiking along Mendenhall Lake to Nugget Falls waterfall at the Mendenhall Glacier.
Geography
Downtown Juneau hugs Gastineau Channel, where cruise ships dock. Juneau also includes Douglas, across the channel on Douglas Island; Thane; the Lemon Creek area; Mendenhall Valley; Mendenhall Glacier; Auke Bay; and what locals call "out the road."
The downtown historic district, encompassing a few blocks, is the lively center of the city. Egan Drive, also known as Thane Road and Glacier Highway, runs along the water, and Franklin, Seward and Main streets comprise the downtown shopping districts with restaurants, bars and hotels.
City and state buildings, museums and churches are within walking distance from the docks. South Franklin, Willoughby and Main streets, originally built along the shoreline, are flat, but the sidewalks by some streets continue as staircases, testimony to why Juneau is nicknamed the "Little San Francisco of the North."
History
In 1880, Chief Cowee from the Auk Tribe led pioneers Joe Juneau and Richard Harris to a gold deposit, which started the famed Alaska gold rush. Hard-rock mining at the Alaska-Juneau mine in Juneau and the Treadwell mine in Douglas quickly replaced placer mining—gold panning—and became the most important industry in Juneau. (These two world-class mines, largest of their kind at the time, operated until a cave-in and flood at the Treadwell in 1917 and a worker shortage during World War II at the Alaska-Juneau. Juneau's streets along Egan Drive and parts of South Franklin are built with gold tailings, the leftover dirt from mining.)
In 1906, Juneau was named the capital of Alaska, still a U.S. territory. It officially became the state capital on 3 January 1959, when Alaska achieved statehood. Southeast Alaska grew and prospered with its fishing, mining and logging industries.
The Tlingit culture retains a strong influence on the economy and arts, and some natives continue to practice a traditional way of life in outlying villages. As a tourist mecca, Juneau is one of the most-visited cities in Alaska, especially during the summer months.
Port Information
Location
Cruise ships dock at one of six locations, labeled A-F: A for the AJ Dock, B for the Franklin Dock, C for the Intermediate Vessel Float, D for the Cruise Ship Terminal, E for the Alaska Steamship Dock at Marine Park and F for the Seadrome Dock for smaller vessels. The docks line the waterfront from Egan Drive to the southeast end of town on South Franklin Street.
If more than four large ships are in port—as is often the case in midsummer—some ships anchor in the channel and tender passengers in smaller craft to the terminals. As many as seven ships have been in port at one time, depositing throngs of visitors on the city. Downtown Juneau is within easy walking distance, but you'll need transportation (taxi, tour coach or local bus) to reach outlying attractions.
Visitor-information and tour-company kiosks are located at Marine Park and the Cruise Ship Terminal. In addition, the main visitors center is in Centennial Hall on Egan Drive.
Shore Excursions
Consider signing up for the excursions offered by your ship. They may not be the least expensive way to see the area, but you won't have to waste your limited time making arrangements yourself—and you won't have to worry about missing the ship. Shore excursions—and their prices—vary from cruise line to cruise line. Check with your ship's shore-excursion staff or your travel agent for additional information.
So many different tours are offered in Juneau; the hard part is deciding among them. The more adventurous should consider helicopter or floatplane tours of glaciers and fjords, glacier-trekking or dogsledding on a glacier. Those who prefer the water to the air might consider whale-watching, fishing for salmon or halibut, fly-fishing for Dolly Varden or cutthroat trout, or sea kayaking near seals, sea lions and whales. You can also enjoy a placid float down the Mendenhall River or a Mendenhall Lake canoe adventure.
Other options include exploring the historic sites of downtown Juneau, donning hard hats while touring a historic gold mine, panning for gold or taking a bike-and-brew tour of the Auke Bay area. You can tour the glacier by bus and then feast on salmon, or marvel at spawning Alaska salmon at a local hatchery. Hikes in the rain forest and rain-forest gardens are a great way to explore, and two ziplines through the rain forest provide additional adventure. Because most ships are in port eight hours or more, you can sometimes choose more than one tour.
If you have a bit more time, explore nearby Tracy Arm Fjord or Glacier Bay, home to 16 tidewater glaciers. Around Juneau, many outstanding wilderness lodges beckon sportfishing and whale-watching enthusiasts and ecotourists. Spend a day watching brown bears at Pack Creek on Admiralty Island. Fly to Yakutat for world-class fly-fishing and steelhead fishing or to surf Alaska's lost coast. Take a memorable fast-ferry day trip up Lynn Canal to Haines or historic Skagway. Ferries also go to Sitka, Petersburg, Wrangell, Hoonah and other southeast communities, but you'll need two to three days.
Potpourri
Land area around Juneau is increasing at a rate more than 10 times faster than rising global sea levels. With the decreasing weight of melting glaciers, the land is bouncing back. One nearby island is now 18 ft/6 m higher than it was when Capt. Vancouver sailed by it more than 200 years ago.
Located smack in the middle of a rain forest, Juneau receives an average of 54 in/137 cm of precipitation a year, 16 in/41 cm more than famously wet Seattle. Autumn is the wettest season.
You can't judge a bear by its color. Black bears actually come in a range of colors, including a rare blue-gray variation called the glacier bear. Many black bears are brown—not to be confused with brown bears, which are also brown. So how do you tell the difference? Size matters. Black bears tend to be the size of a very large dog, weighing up to 400 lbs/180 kg. Brown bears are usually much larger, closer to pony size, and can weigh 500-1,000 lbs/230-450 kg.
Talking or singing as you walk through the woods is the best way to let bears know you're coming.
Prior to the discovery of gold in Juneau in 1880, the largest Alaska Native settlement in the area was Auk Village near Auke Bay. Juneau, called Dzantik'i Heeni by the Tlingits (meaning where the flatfish gather) was a fish camp and summer home. People didn't live there year-round because of the horrendous frigid Taku winds barreling down the mountain passes from the Juneau Icefield. Auke Recreation Area, about 14 mi/22 km north of town, is where the Tlingit Auk people lived.
See & Do
Sightseeing
One of the first things you'll notice in Juneau is the contrast between the gold-rush era buildings and modern high-rises—and, on the street, between the rubber-booted fisherfolk and the suit-and-tie government employees. The Historic District is crammed with shops, galleries, bars, hotels and restaurants. You'll even find an old five-and-ten store. City and state buildings, churches and museums are a few blocks away, so most of the points of interest are within walking distance.
Before you make your way through the streets or take one of the tours, you may want to get the big picture by taking the Mount Roberts Tramway, which is located next to the cruise-ship docks.
Historic downtown can be easily explored on foot with the help of a walking-tour map (they're available at the visitor-information kiosks near the cruise-ship docks or the Centennial Hall Visitors Center at the corner of Egan and Willoughby).
From the docks, head north along South Franklin Street, the city's former red-light district, to the Seawalk and Marine Park. Monuments located along the wharf include a community sundial near the ship terminal and a sculpture of Patsy Ann, a deaf dog that met steamships in days past. There are also memorials to the USS Juneau, to hard-rock or underground miners and to area fisherfolk. Downtown murals depict the Tlingit legend of creation and turn-of-the-century steamship passengers.
Along the waterfront, narrow lanes wind past art galleries, gift shops, restaurants and Victorian homes. This flat area is wheelchair-accessible and pleasant for strolls. The paths begin to climb steeply until they become natural staircases. Both the hills and the architecture were the inspiration for Juneau's nickname, "Little San Francisco of the North." The wooden buildings have colorful facades, and streets are decorated in summer with banners, baskets of flowers, and flags from all the states.
Juneau's best features are the mountains, the ice and the water that define this community. Think about a helicopter ride over the Juneau Icefield—it can include glacier landings or a dogsledding experience. You can go whale-watching for humpbacks and orcas along Stephens Passage, take a city bus or tour to Mendenhall Glacier, or visit a salmon hatchery. In late summer, when salmon swim upstream to spawn, black bears are often seen fishing in the stream near the Mendenhall Glacier around sunrise and twilight.
Historic Sites
The Windfall Fisherman, a life-size bronze bear sculpture by Skip Wallen, is situated near the state Capitol at Third and Main streets off the sidewalk in a small park—children enjoy climbing on it. Historic photos and colorful tales of the past line the seawalk.
A walk through Juneau's downtown historic district along South Franklin and Front streets is a walk through history. The area was once home to more than 30 bars and several bordellos, but they have been transformed into gift shops and restaurants. Emporium Mall, formerly the 1901 Alaska Steam Laundry and built in the late-Victorian style, features hallways decorated with historical photos of the city's colorful past. This was the center of Juneau's business district.
Across the street, the Alaskan Hotel & Bar is the city's oldest continuously operating hotel. Built in 1913, it was originally a miner's hotel and bordello—the ambience remains to this day. The restored Senate Building, a minimall, was the 1883 site of the Juneau Brewery. McDonald's (Lewis Building, 1896) is on one of the first claimed lots in Juneau.
Alaska State Capitol
Completed in 1931, the Capitol housed the governor, the legislature and other territorial and federal offices until Alaska became a state in 1959. The building continues to serve as Alaska's seat of government. The marble and limestone in the portico columns and the lobby came from Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska. Free guided tours are available mid-May through mid-September. Fourth and Main streets, Juneau. http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/misc/capitol.php.

Chapel by the Lake
On a clear day, worshippers in the pews of this 1950s log chapel can stare past the minister to Mount McGinnis, the Mendenhall Glacier and Auke Lake. It's a miracle anyone ever listens to the sermon in this picturesque chapel, which is still used for weddings and Sunday services. At other times, it is open for visitors. Donations accepted. University of Alaska Southeast is adjacent to the chapel. 11024 Auke Lake Way (12 mi/20 km from Juneau), Auke Bay. Phone 907-789-7592. http://www.chapelbythelake.org.

Shrine of St. Therese
This beach-stone church dedicated to St. Therese of Lisieux, the patron saint of Alaska, is tucked on an island accessible by a 400-ft/125-m gravel causeway on Lynn Canal, 23 mi/37 km north of Juneau. It's a favorite spot for picnickers, fishermen and scuba divers, as well as people seeking spiritual renewal. Whales, seals, sea lions and eagles are often seen from the shrine, set against the majestic backdrop of the Chilkat Mountains. The log lodge and several cabins are used for retreats and weddings, as well as government and business workshops. The shrine also features outdoor Stations of the Cross, a columbarium and a labyrinth. Open year-round. Mass is held Sunday at 1:30 pm during the summer. Donations accepted. 5933 Lund St. (Mile Marker 23), Juneau. Phone 907-780-6112. http://www.shrineofsainttherese.org.

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church
St. Nicholas church was built in Siberia in 1894, disassembled, shipped to Juneau and then reassembled. This octagonal structure with an onion dome is said to be the oldest continuously functioning Russian Orthodox church in Alaska. The church is filled with Russian icons and religious relics. On Sunday, the liturgy is sung in three languages: English, Slavonic and Tlingit. The church and gift shop are open May-September Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm, Saturday 11 am-3 pm and Sunday 1-5 pm, October-April by appointment. US$2 donation. 326 Fifth St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-1023. http://www.stnicholasjuneau.org.

The Governor's Mansion
The mansion is a 14,400-sq-ft/1,340-sq-m, three-story, Federal-period Greek Revival-style house. It was built in 1912 for US$40,000, and is the official residence of the Governor of Alaska. It features a 1939 totem pole near the front entrance that tells the story of human and the mosquito's origins and why there are tides. Tours are available with advance reservations. 716 Calhoun Ave. (two blocks uphill from the city museum), Juneau. Phone 907-465-3500.

The State Office Building
Irreverently called the S.O.B. by residents, this government building has an eighth-floor viewing deck that provides a perfect view of Juneau's lovely waterfront. The enormous atrium contains a small garden with a beautifully carved totem pole and a huge stuffed brown bear, but it's the 1928 Kimball pipe organ that's of most interest. It was purchased by pioneer W.D. Gross, founder of the motion-picture industry in Alaska, and used in his Coliseum Theatre until 1939. Free Friday noon concerts are staged there. 709 W. Ninth St., Juneau. http://www.pstos.org/instruments/ak/juneau/state-bldg.htm.

Totem poles
Tlingit-carved totem poles link the capital city with its Alaska Native roots. The Wooshkeetaan totem pole outside Centennial Hall, at the corner of Willoughby Avenue and Egan Drive, describes how people came via the Taku River to Juneau. The Friendship totem pole is in the Juneau Courthouse lobby on Fourth Street between Main and Seward streets. Two poles, Harnessing the Atom and the Four Story totem, are outside the city museum on Fourth and Main.
Across the street on the eighth floor of the State Office Building (Fourth and Calhoun streets) is the Waasgo or Old Witch totem. The Governor's totem, outside the Governor's House, tells the creation story of populating the earth with land animals, sea mammals and mosquitoes. In the Juneau Douglas High School atrium is a Haida pole carved in Sukkwan in 1880.


Museums
Alaska State Museum
The best museum in the city—if not the state—offers a wealth of Alaskan history within walking distance from the cruise ships. You can sit in a replica of a Tlingit clan house and examine Alaska Native clothing and a traditional walrus-skin boat. The museum also features exhibits about gold and copper mining, cultural artifacts from the Eskimo, Aleut, Tlingit, Haida and Athabascan Indians and the Russian period. Don't miss the exhibit on Alaska's major artists. An eagle's nest inhabited by stuffed birds sits atop a two-story nesting tree—a circular staircase allows you to see it from all angles. A children's room includes a replica of Vancouver's ship Discovery along with dress-up clothes and touchable furs. Two museum stores sell quality items. A second location is at 124 Seward St. This museum is definitely a must-see. Mid-May to mid-September daily 8:30 am-5:30 pm; mid-September to mid-May Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-4 pm. US$5, free to those younger than 18. 395 Whittier St., Juneau. Phone 907-465-2901. http://www.museums.state.ak.us.

Juneau-Douglas City Museum
This museum is dedicated to the history of Juneau and has more than 10,000 artifacts. You can watch the video Juneau, A City Built On Gold, study the topographic map, see a 700-year-old woven fish trap found in a local river or check out interpretive displays about gold mining and Juneau history. Originally built by public contributions as the Juneau Public Library in 1950, the structure was a memorial to veterans of World War I and World War II and was the official site of the statehood ceremony in 1959. May-September Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am-5 pm; October-April Tuesday-Saturday noon-4 pm. US$4, free admission in winter. One-hour historic downtown walking tours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 1:30 pm mid-May through mid-September, US$10 for adults, US$7 for those 18 and younger. Fourth and Main streets, Juneau. Phone 907-586-3572. http://www.juneau.org/parksrec/museum.

Last Chance Mining Museum
Located at the end of Basin Road and a short stroll across Gold Creek, this museum showcases mining memorabilia from Juneau's gold-rush days. A must for map-lovers, the museum has 3-D and aerial maps, a multilayered glass map of the ore bodies, and the world's largest air compressor. You can walk there from downtown in about 45 minutes. Open mid-May to late September daily 9:30 am-12:30 pm and 3-6:30 pm. US$4. 1001 Basin Road, Juneau. Phone 907-586-5338.


Nature
Macaulay Salmon Hatchery
You can feed salmon smolts in May and June and watch the salmon swim up ladders the rest of the summer. Saltwater aquariums and a gift shop are inside the Ladd Macaulay Visitor Center, along with a gigantic brown bear who will gladly pose for pictures with you (he has no choice—he's stuffed). Outside, you can snap some pictures with a group of bronze bears, the Gang of Four, by Juneau sculptor Skip Wallen. The Gastineau Channel is an excellent place to fish, and poles can be rented in summer from a shack nearby. The hatchery is open May-September Monday-Friday 10 am-6 pm; call for times in winter. US$3.25 adults, US$1.75 children. Brochures at the visitors center at Centennial Hall have a coupon for a free admission with one paid admission. 2697 Channel Drive (Gastineau Channel, 3 mi/5 km north of downtown), Juneau. Phone 907-463-4810. Toll-free 877-463-2486. http://www.dipac.net.

Mendenhall Glacier
The mighty Mendenhall Glacier is the area's most famous natural landmark and a must-see. The drive-up glacier is a 1-mi-/2-km-wide river of ice emanating from the Juneau Icefield, which is larger than the U.S. state of Rhode Island. The river is also 12 mi/19 km long and 300 ft-1,800 ft/95 m-550 m deep. If the sky is overcast when you're there, consider yourself lucky: The glacier's blue ice is more spectacular then. But any day is a good day to visit the glacier. An elevated trail allows visitors to watch black bears fishing in a nearby salmon stream in summer. These are wild bears, so keep a safe distance from them.
Any visit to the glacier, which is 13 mi/21 km northwest of town at the end of Glacier Spur Road, should include a stop at the visitors center. It has a large map of the entire ice field, and a telescope provides you with a close-up view of Mendenhall and the sheep frequenting the steep slopes on either side. There's also a short video and interactive exhibits. U.S. Park Service rangers lead nature hikes near the glacier—there's a photo loop trail that's handicap-accessible. Black bears frequent the area in July and August so you may be able to take that once-in-a-lifetime photo.
To get to Mendenhall, you could take a city bus to within 1 mi/2 km of the visitors center (US$1.50 adults; disabled visitors and seniors 65 and older ride free; children 5 and younger ride free with an adult; the bus arrives every 30 minutes) and walk the fairly level path. Several groups offer tours for about US$15 (check with the dockside visitors center for information). An Express Shuttle from the docks is US$5 each way. If you take a tour bus that sticks to its schedule, you'll only have about 45 minutes at the glacier before heading back. It's worth staying longer to maneuver around to the spectacular Nugget Falls waterfalls on the right of the glacier, getting close enough to feel the spray coming down. Most flightseeing and helicopter tours also fly over the glacier.
In addition to the six trails around the Mendenhall Glacier, there are more than 100 hiking spots in the area. Pick up a copy of Juneau Trails at a local bookstore. The Centennial Hall visitors center has a direct line to the U.S. Forest Service, which has maps and other information. May-September the visitors center is open daily 8 am-7:30 pm; October-April Thursday-Sunday 10 am-4 pm. US$3 adults, free for children younger than 12; admission is free to everyone in winter. Phone 907-789-0097. http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/districts/mendenhall.

Pack Creek Brown Bear Preserve
Seated on Admiralty Island, about 30 mi/48 km south of Juneau, the Stan Price State Wildlife Sanctuary at Pack Creek is a good place to view bears in the wild from a protected platform. The preserve is home to the world's largest (and most accessible, particularly June-August) brown-bear population. The Tlingit called the island Kootznoowoo, which means fortress of the bears.
The best way to get there is by air. Several firms offer bear-viewing floatplane flights, including Ward Air (phone 907-789-9150; http://www.wardair.com), Tal Air (phone 907-789-6968) and Alaska Seaplane Service (phone 907-789-3331; http://www.flyalaskaseaplanes.com). Bring rain gear, mosquito repellent, boots or sandals to walk from the float plane to the shore (there is no dock), a snack (rangers put these in bear-proof containers). There are no toilet facilities. Expect to pay US$161-$270 per person round-trip, depending on whether or not the plane is full and the size of the airplane. You can also arrange a guided fly-fishing and/or bear-viewing trip with Alaska Fly-N-Fish (phone 907-790-2120; http://www.alaskabyair.com). US$600 for 5.5-hour trips, with permits and outfitting. Limited permits from the U.S. Forest Service are available for US$50 per person per day early July-late August, US$20 per person per day June-early July and late August-September. Phone 907-586-8800. http://wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=refuge.pack_ck.

Tracy Arm Fjord
A favorite one-day adventure is a boat trip to Tracy Arm Fjord and the Sawyer glaciers. En route you'll often see orca and humpback whales, porpoises, sea birds, bears ambling along the beaches, waterfalls, sheer rock cliffs, and hundreds of seals atop recently calved icebergs or along the shores. May-September 8 am-6 pm. US$150 adults, US$95 children. 76 Egan Drive, Juneau. Phone 907-463-2509. Toll-free 800-228-3875. http://www.adventureboundalaska.com.


Parks & Gardens
Glacier Gardens
With flowers overflowing from the tops of upside-down, uprooted trees, this 50-acre/20-hectare garden is a magical mix of natural forest and creative gardening on the site of a former landslide area. Guided tours in covered, motorized carts wind through the rain forest past waterfalls and ponds to the 580-ft-/180-m-level of Thunder Mountain. There, a walkway and overlook provide views of the Mendenhall Valley, Gastineau Channel, Chilkat mountains and low-flying eagles that nest in the gardens. Floral arches and overhead plants adorn the atrium, a favorite place for weddings and home to the Garden Gift Shop and Wild Berry Cafe. Open daily May-September 9 am-6 pm. Admission US$21.95 adults, US$15.95 ages 6-12, free for children younger than 6. 7600 Glacier Highway (7 mi/11 km from downtown), Juneau. Phone 907-790-3377 in summer; 907-789-5166 in winter. http://www.glaciergardens.com.

Savikko Park
This public park on Douglas Island encompasses aptly named Sandy Beach, ball fields, picnic shelters, an ice-skating arena and the historic ruins of the Treadwell Mine, which burned down in 1926. Pilings from the old piers, building ruins and mining equipment still stand along the beach and forested trail. More than 1,000 men worked at the mine, which produced 3.3 million ounces of gold from 1882 to 1922. 105 Savikko Road, Douglas. Phone 907-586-5226 (Parks Department) or 907-586-2201 (Information Center). http://www.juneau.org/parkrec/facilities/douglas.php.


Wineries, Breweries & Distilleries
Alaska Brewing Co.
Visit the Alaska Brewing Co. to watch fermenting and bottling, and taste a free sample of Juneau's award-winning beers, including Smoked Porter and Alaskan Amber. There's also a museum and gift shop. Open May-September daily 11 am-6 pm, October-April Thursday-Saturday 11 am-5 pm. 5429 Shaune Drive (4 mi/7 km from downtown), Juneau. Phone 907-780-5866. http://www.alaskanbeer.com.


Other Options
Mount Roberts Tramway
Ride in one of the two 60-person trams up 2,000-ft/620-m Mount Roberts for a spectacular view of downtown, the Gastineau Channel, Douglas Island, the Chilkat Mountains and nearby mining ruins from the 3,500-sq-ft/325-sq-m observation deck and Mountain House (Shaa Hit). Venture along one of the hiking trails through the rain forest; visit a live eagle at the Juneau Raptor Center Bald Eagle Display; shop at Raven Eagle gift store; watch Seeing Daylight, a short video about the Tlingit people; or eat lunch or dinner at the Timberline Bar and Grill. There are also craft demonstrations by Alaska Native artists. The tram runs every five to 10 minutes. US$27 adults, US$13.50 children ages 6-12. Phone 907-463-3412. http://www.goldbelttours.com.


Recreation
Opportunities to hike, bike and paddle around Juneau are abundant. You can strike off on your own with a walking-trail map from the visitors center or rent a bike or a kayak and explore the area independently. Juneau offers more than 80 trails and 90 short walks.
If time is limited, however, consider taking a tour. Juneau has dozens of firms offering every possible recreational option—from fishing for salmon to bear-watching by floatplane to dogsledding on a glacier.
Beaches
Juneau is stretched out along the water, but most of the beaches are rocky. The aptly named Sandy Beach on Douglas Island is a rare exception. It was created by the mine tailings from the historic Treadwell Mine. Kids and dogs love to splash in the water there. Take the city bus to Douglas, and then walk a few blocks past the harbor to the beach.
The beaches at Auke Recreation Area, at Milepost 15.7 on Glacier Highway, and False Outer Point, on the northern end of Douglas Island, are more suitable for beach walks and cookouts. Check the tide table before driving 30 mi/48 km north to Eagle Beach, where low tides reveal expanses of sand to match the mountain views, and you can watch eagles up close.
Bicycling
Many hotels and lodges allow guests to use their bikes, or they can be rented from a number of different locations. Cycle Alaska
Cycle Alaska rents bicycles and offers fun tours, including a Glacier View Bike and Brew tour for US$99 and Eaglecrest Ski Area to False Outer Point bike ride plus the Mount Roberts Tramway for US$119. Bike-rental prices are US$35 for four hours, US$45 for eight hours, US$50 for 24 hours, US$190 for a week. 5454 Jenkins Drive (in the Lemon Creek area), Juneau. Phone 907-321-2453. http://www.cycleak.com.

Driftwood Lodge
The lodge will rent bicycles to nonguests. Available mid-May to mid-September. US$15 for six hours or US$31.50 per day. 435 W. Willoughby, Juneau. Phone 907-586-2280. http://www.driftwoodalaska.com.


Bird Watching
Southeast Alaska's rain forest is home to more than 300 species of birds, including bald eagles, ravens, jays, hummingbirds and ptarmigans, plus wintering ducks and geese that visit the Mendenhall wetlands. May is the migration month, and June is the month for watching nesting birds. Of course, the most visible are the bald eagles, which gather by the hundreds around canneries, fishing boats and marinas during salmon season.
The Mendenhall Wildlife Refuge and Juneau airport wetlands are easily accessed birding hot spots as are Eagle Beach, Amalga Marsh and Point Bridget State Park. Arctic terns delight visitors at the Mendenhall Glacier April-August.
For a birding list, visit http://home.gci.net/~juneaubird/index.html. There is also a list of bird-watching places at the Juneau Ranger District. Phone 907-586-8800. http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/districts/mendenhall/birdwatching.shtml and http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=birding.main. Juneau Audubon Society
The Juneau Audubon Society leads bird walks from downtown on Wednesday at noon. There are bird-watching events at the glacier. Phone 907-586-8800. http://www.juneau-audubon-society.org/index.html.


Boating & Sailing
For sailors, Juneau has an active yacht club that holds races through the summer (http://juneauyachtclub.com), a youth sailing club that offers lessons (http://www.juneauyouthsailinginc.org) and a rowing club (http://juneau-rowing.org).
Alaska Boat and Kayak Center
If you want to go it alone, kayak and canoe rentals, as well as tours, are available through this company. Expect to pay US$50 for a single kayak for a full day or US$70 for a double. Full-day classes are also available for US$150 per person. Auke Bay Harbor (20 minutes north of downtown Juneau), Auke Bay. Phone 907-789-6886 or 907-364-2333 for reservations. http://www.juneaukayak.com.

Alaska Travel Adventures
Alaska Travel Adventures offers a 3.5-hour Mendenhall Glacier float trip (US$119 adults) or canoe trip (US$149), as well as sea-kayak trips across Gastineau Channel (US$89 adults), gold panning (US$55), the Gold Creek Salmon Bake (US$39) and four-hour custom Hummer tours (US$699 for four adults and one child). The popular Best of Juneau trip includes whale-watching, the Mendenhall Glacier and the salmon bake for US$169. 9085 Glacier Highway, Suite 301, Juneau. Phone 907-789-0052. Toll-free 800-323-5757. http://www.bestofalaskatravel.com.

Panhandle Powerboats
Rent small powerboats (18-22 ft/6-7 m) in Auke Bay. US$195-$400, depending on the size of the vessel. 5422 Shaune Drive, Juneau. Phone 907-789-5767. http://www.panhandlepowerboats.com.


Bowling
Juneau Bowling Center
This 10-lane alley was built in 1959 and has been renovated to modern standards. Open daily. A game, including shoes, is US$5.25. 608 W. Willoughby Ave., Juneau. Phone 907-586-2695. http://www.juneaubowlingcenter.com.


Fishing
Fishing trips are offered by a number of charter boats that will take you fishing for salmon or halibut. Expect to pay at least US$145 per person for a half-day outing, with four to six anglers on board. You can also take a plane trip to prime fishing waters. Half- and full-day trips run US$350-$475.
For a list of companies offering air and boat-fishing trips, contact the visitors center. Phone 907-586-2201.

Bear Creek Outfitters
Trips include a floatplane flight and seven hours of on-stream time. US$625 per person for two or fewer fishermen. Half-day trips are also available. Fishermen will also need a nonresident license, US$20, available from the guide. Phone 907-789-3914. http://www.juneauflyfishing.com.

Sea Runner Guide Service
Fly-fishing expeditions usually include a floatplane or helicopter flight plus stream or lake fishing. Half-day US$395; full day US$630. Phone 907-957-0780. http://www.sea-runner.com.


Golf
Mendenhall Golf
If you can't live without golf no matter where you are, this nine-hole, par-3 public course offers specials for visitors as well as scenic glacier views. Open April-October 8 am-6:30 pm. Greens fees US$12. For US$30, there's a visitors' special that includes nine holes, a pull cart, clubs and tees. No credit cards. 2101 Industrial Blvd. (10 mi/16 km from downtown), Juneau. Phone 907-789-1221. http://home.gci.net/~hakari/mendenhall_golf/golf.html.


Hiking & Walking
Alaska's spectacular scenery beckons almost everyone for an outdoor walk or a hike up winding trails—and there are a variety of levels. Juneau is a walker's paradise. If you're downtown, Perseverance Trail will take you past old mining ruins to an elevation of 700 ft/217 m in three to four hours. Take Gold Street to Basin Road and follow the trail at the end. Granite Creek Trail branches off Perseverance Trail and reaches as high as 1,200 ft/372 m. For super-fit hikers, another branch off Perseverance Trail leads steeply to the top of Mount Juneau (3,576 ft/1,089 m).
Alpine trails at the upper level of Mount Roberts Tramway provide great overlooks of downtown Juneau. On Douglas Island, the Dan Moller Trail and the False Outer Point Loop Trail are near the end of North Douglas Highway.
Mendenhall Glacier offers a variety of trails from the easy 0.3-mi/0.5 km Photo Point Trail, 0.5-mi/0.8-kilometer Trail of Time and 1.5 mi/3 km Moraine Ecology Trail to the more challenging East Glacier Loop, Nugget Creek and West Glacier trails. The Glacier Visitors Center has information. Phone 907-789-0097. http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/recreation/trails/traillist.shtml.
In addition to the trails around the Mendenhall Glacier, there are more than 100 hiking spots in the area, including Kaxdigoowu Heen Dei Trail at Brotherhood Bridge, the Airport Dike, Auke Nu by Auke Bay as well as Treadwell Ditch, False Outer Point, Herbert Glacier, Montana Creek, Peterson Lake, Mount McGinnis, Windfall Lake and Point Bridget trails. Pick up a copy of Juneau Trails at a local bookstore.
The Centennial Hall Visitors Center on Egan Drive and Willoughby Avenue has a direct line to the U.S. Forest Service, which has maps and other information about hiking and bears. Phone 907-586-2201. Trail Mix has a good Web site at http://www.juneautrails.org, and so does the Juneau Guide at http://www.juneau-guide.com/juneau-alaska-hiking.htm.
To find the best wildlife-viewing areas, visit http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov.
Ice Skating
Treadwell Arena
This skating rink offers public-skate hours and skate rental, as well as lessons August-April. The facility operates as a kids' camp in summer, with no ice. The basic entry fee is US$4 adults, US$3 children. US$2 skate rental. Savikko Park (across the channel from Juneau), Douglas. Phone 907-586-0410. http://www.juneau.org/parkrec/icerink/index.php.


Scuba & Snorkeling
Cold water makes for great visibility, and there's plenty to see underwater around Juneau, but diving there is only for the experienced diver. King crab, tomcod, needlefish, Dungeness crab, flounder, snails, hermit crabs, sea lions, porpoises and jellyfish all frequent the area.
Favorite dive sites include an underwater park with an artificial reef in Auke Cove, a lush wall and ledges at the end of Ann Coleman Road, coral-encrusted rock at the Shrine of St. Therese, the well-sheltered Sunshine Cove and several historic shipwrecks. Scuba Tank
This dive shop offers equipment rentals, scuba training, dive charters and a variety of other services. 2219 Dunn St., Juneau. Phone 907-789-5115. http://www.thescubatank.com.


Skiing
Many local trails, including Mendenhall Lake Campground, serve as Nordic (cross-country) and skate-skiing areas in winter. Visit http://jnski.org for up-to-date information. Alaska Powder Descents
This company offers heliskiing and snowboarding out of Adlersheim Wilderness Lodge, 33 miles/53 km from Juneau. Located in Yankee Cove's historic Bessie Creek mining area. February-April. Half-day is US$450; full day is US$875. Lodging not included. Mile 33, Glacier Highway, Juneau. Phone 907-364-2333. http://www.alaskapowder.com.

Eaglecrest Ski Area
Home of Olympic downhill champion Hilary Lindh, this ski area offers 640 acres/259 hectares of open-tree terrain, with 34 alpine ski runs, a tubing hill, 6.2 mi/10 km of Nordic ski trails, night skiing and a terrain park for US$43 all day. The day lodge provides ski rental and repair, lessons, lockers and a cafeteria. On weekends and holidays, a bus runs from valley and downtown locations to the ski area for US$8 round-trip. 3000 Fish Creek Road (12 mi/19 km from downtown Juneau, on Douglas Island), Douglas. Phone 907-586-5284 or 907-790-2000. http://www.skijuneau.com.


Spas and Health Clubs
Alaska Club
A full-service health club, with weight equipment, treadmills, aerobics classes, steam rooms, saunas, hot tubs and racquetball courts. It has a second location in the Mendenhall Valley at 2841 Riverside Drive (phone 907-789-2181). Open Monday-Friday 4:45 am-10 pm (till 9 pm in summer), Saturday and Sunday 7:30 am-8 pm. 641 W. Willoughby Avenue, Suite 210, Juneau. Phone 907-586-5773. http://www.thealaskaclub.com.

Pavitt's Health and Fitness
This club has a stationary lap pool, sauna, snack bar, lots of weight equipment, treadmills, bikes and classes. Open daily 24 hours. US$15 for a day pass. 10004 Glacier Highway, Juneau. Phone 907-789-5556. http://www.gopavitt.com.

Rock Dump
Everyone's climbing the walls at this indoor climbing gym, which has 40 top ropes and more than 11,000 sq ft/1,020 sq m of climbing surfaces, including a bouldering area and a 40-ft/12-m open pitch. Open Monday-Friday 4-10 pm, Saturday and Sunday 2-10 pm. US$13 per day ages 14 and older, US$10 younger than 14, US$3 for shoe rental. 1310 Eastaugh Way (south of Juneau off Thane Road), Juneau. Phone 586-789-4982. http://www.rockdump.com.


Swimming
Augustus Brown Swimming Pool
This covered public facility offers two pools, high and low diving boards, an exercise area and a sauna. US$4.25 adults, US$2.25 children, US$2 seniors for a one-hour swim. 1619 Glacier Ave., Juneau. Phone 907-586-5325. http://www.juneau.org/parkrec/pool.


Nightlife
The best way to look for nightlife in Juneau is with your ears. Just listen for music as you walk up South Franklin Street, down Front Street and through the Merchant's Wharf. Usually, there's live music, DJs and karaoke. On a sunny summer night, don't be surprised if the locals are still outside playing.
Bars, Taverns & Pubs
Imperial Billiard & Bar
The oldest bar in Juneau, dating from 1891, this is the place to hang out for a couple of games of billiards, darts and a few beers. Wednesday is trivia night, and a DJ plays hip-hop Thursday-Saturday nights. 241 Front St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-1960.

Marlintini's
This is a popular hangout in the Mendenhall Valley. There are 13 televisions blasting sports events along with billiards tables, video tables, boxing and a dance floor. Thursday is open-mike, Thursday and Friday a DJ plays 10 pm-2 am and Sunday features open pool. 9121 Glacier Highway (above Donna's Restaurant), Juneau. Phone 907-789-0799.

Red Dog Saloon
With its sawdust floor and swinging doors, the Red Dog does pander to tourists. But it's a fun place with honky-tonk music, locally brewed beer and fascinating Alaska memorabilia cluttering the walls and ceiling. (The stuffed halibut is humongous.) 278 S. Franklin St., Juneau. Phone 907-463-3658. http://www.reddogsaloon.com.


Live Music
Alaskan Hotel & Bar
This Victorian hotel, built in 1913, has retained its gold-rush decor and two-story bar room. Located in the back of the Alaska Hotel, the bar has live music—blues or folk—Friday and Saturday 9 pm-3 am. Most Thursdays it hosts an open-mike night. 167 S. Franklin St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-1000. Toll-free 800-327-9347. http://www.thealaskanhotel.com.

The Island Pub
You'll find this hot spot in Douglas, which lies within the city of Juneau on the northeast coast of Douglas Island. Formerly Mike's Place, the Island Pub is known for great pizzas, draft and bottled beer, and a nice selection of wines. The foccacia bread and pizza crust are made in-house and baked in a brick oven. Watch orcas right outside the window. Live music Saturday in the summer. Open daily 11:30 am-10 pm for food. Bar open til 1 am Monday-Friday, til 2 am Saturday and Sunday. 1102 Second St., Douglas. Phone 907-364-1595. http://www.theislandpub.com.


Performing Arts
Theater
Perseverance Theatre
This small theater produces quality performances that surpass its size. Since it was founded in 1979, the theater has premiered more than 60 new plays by Alaskan and national playwrights. 914 Third St., Douglas. Phone 907-364-2421. http://www.perseverancetheatre.org.


Other Options
Juneau Arts and Humanities Council
This is the place to learn about local happenings in art, music, dance and theater, including the Juneau Lyric Opera Co., the Juneau Symphony, Opera to Go, Theatre in the Rough, the Canvas and Juneau Dance Unlimited. Located in the Juneau Arts and Community Center (JACC) next to Centennial Hall downtown, 350 Whittier St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-2787. http://www.jahc.org.


Shopping
Juneau has more shopping options than any other port in Alaska—some stores are typical and some unique. But the variety of specialty and souvenir stores, art galleries, crafts, elegant furs and clothing are some of the best anywhere.
South Franklin Street, near the cruise terminals, is shopping central: It's packed with stores selling expensive Alaska Native art and beautiful gold and silver jewelry, as well as T-shirts and trinkets. Tram Plaza, at 495 S. Franklin St., is near Franklin Dock, the southernmost cruise-ship terminal. The Senate Building, at 175 S. Franklin St., houses several shops on two levels: Boheme (women's clothing), Changing Tides (quilting and fabrics), Skeins (knitting), Juneau Artists Gallery (handmade local art, jewelry, photography and prints), Bear's Lair (Alaska-themed gifts) and Juneau Fly Fishers.
In addition to the shops downtown, Juneau has two malls in the Mendenhall Valley: the Mendenhall Mall on Mendenhall Mall Road and Nugget Mall at 8745 Glacier Highway (http://www.nuggetmalljuneau.com). The Airport Shopping Center, a short walk from the airport, houses a used-book store, hardware store, flower shop and other specialty stores.
Shopping Hours: Usually daily 10 am-6 pm, but many shops open earlier and stay open late if a cruise ship is in port. Shopping malls often remain open until 9 pm.
Antique Stores
Deja vu Antiques
A pleasing collection of old stuff, from costume jewelry to home accessories. Merchants Wharf, 2 Marine Way, No. 122, Juneau. Phone 907-463-6700.


Bookstores
Amazing Bookstore
Friends of the Juneau Public Library sell and give away books to benefit local libraries. Open Monday-Friday 1-7 pm, Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday noon-5 pm. 9131 Glacier Highway (in the Airport Shopping Center), Juneau. Phone 907-789-4913. http://www.friendsjpl.org/bookstore.

Hearthside Books and Toys
Specializes in books about Alaska, and also sells toys, games, maps and gifts. There is a second location in Nugget Mall (phone 907-789-2750). 254 Front St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-1726. http://www.hearthsidebooks.com.

Observatory Bookstore
A used-book store specializing in unique, collectible Alaskan, Russian and other polar-area books and maps. May-September open Monday-Friday 10 am-5:30 pm, October-April open Monday-Friday 12:30-5 pm. 299 N. Franklin St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-9676. http://www.observatorybooks.com.

Rainy Retreat Books
A good selection of new and used books. Open Monday-Friday 9:30 am-6 pm. 113 N. Seward St., Juneau. Phone 907-463-2665. http://juneaubooks.com.


Department Stores
Fred Meyer
A full-spectrum store, selling everything from groceries and clothes to furniture and tools. 8181 Old Glacier Highway, Juneau. Phone 907-789-6500. http://www.fredmeyer.com.


Galleries
Decker Gallery
This gallery features the works of beloved Alaskan artist Rie Munoz. 233 S. Franklin St., Juneau. Phone 907-463-5536.

Gallery of the North
Browse through this upstairs gallery for paintings, prints, sculptures, ivory and rugs crafted by Alaska Native artists. Art from the Lower 48 is also well-represented. 147 S. Franklin, Juneau. Phone 907-586-9700.

The Juneau Artists Gallery
This artist-owned, cooperative gallery in the Senate Building specializes in locally created crafts, including fused-art glass, prints, sketches and paintings, jewelry, scarves, pottery and photography. The artists serve as salespersons, and locals shop for gifts there. 175 S. Franklin St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-9891. http://www.juneauartistsgallery.com.


Specialty Stores
Annie Kaill's
Annie Kaill's is a great place to pick up Alaskan art, pottery and jewelry, including collectible porcelain figurines of Alaska Natives by C. Allen Johnson. (The coffee and jelly beans are free.) 244 Front St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-2880. http://www.anniekaills.com.

Bear's Lair
A Juneau favorite, Bear's Lair specializes in unique Alaskan-themed gifts, such as wildflower- and salmon-etched glassware, cabin quilts and throws, slate products, shell serving dishes, carved wood bowls and bears, handmade Christmas ornaments, pottery and a variety of baby gifts. 175 S. Franklin St. (in the historic Senate Building), Juneau. Phone 907-586-5059. http://bearslairgifts.com.

Boheme
A trendy, upscale clothing shop with bling-laden accessories for contemporary, independent women. May-September open 8 am-9 pm, October-April open 10:30 am-5:30 pm. 175 S. Franklin St (in the Senate Building), Juneau. Phone 907-586-2050.

Caribou Crossings
Features unique Alaskan gifts and apparel. Open May-September. 497 S. Franklin St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-5008. Toll-free 877-586-5008. http://www.cariboucrossings.com.

George's Jewelry and Gifts
Fine jewelry, gifts and Alaska Native crafts. 194 S. Franklin St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-1810.

Imagination Station
With a great assortment of toys, games, books and dolls, this is a favorite store not only for children but for the kid in all of us. Open Monday-Friday 10 am-6 pm, Saturday 10 am-5 pm, Sunday noon-5 pm. 174-A S. Franklin St. (in the Emporium Mall), Juneau. Phone 907-586-8697. http://www.alaskantoys.com.

Midnight Sun Gifts
Housed in the historic Germania Building, original site of the Red Dog Saloon, this locally owned and operated store stocks made-in-Alaska and Alaska Native collector's pieces: whalebone and moose antler carvings, ulus and Eskimo dolls. It also carries DeRosa porcelain figurines, soaps, jewelry, clothing, and animal prints and paintings. May-September open daily 8 am-9 pm, October-April open daily 10 am-6 pm. 158 S. Franklin St., Juneau. Phone 907-463-1226.

Nugget Alaskan Outfitter
A local favorite, this outfitter features outdoor Alaskan clothing, shoes and gear for work or play. 8745 Glacier Highway, No. 145 (in the Nugget Mall), Juneau. Phone 907-789-0956. Toll-free 800-478-6848. http://www.nuggetoutfitter.com.

RainTree Quilting
This store offers unique Alaskan fabrics and kits for quilting and embroidery. Lots of samples decorate the walls. 2213 Dunn St. (off Glacier Highway across from Frontier Suites), Juneau. Phone 907-789-7900. http://www.raintreequilting.com.

Rufus K Page
Browse this store for locally made jewelry, Alaska Native-themed stories and legends, shawls and scarves, fun socks, aprons, ties and moose-themed pajamas. Recycled wool-felted jackets, sweaters and mittens will keep you warm. There's also a kids' gift corner. Open daily in summer. Merchants Wharf, 2 Marine Way, No. 120, Juneau. Phone 907-586-2600.

Shoefly & Hudsons
Step out in style, no matter what the weather. You may need two pairs of shoes: one for muddy outdoors and a pair of three-inch party heels "with attitude" for the captain's table dinner. The socks and purses are also outrageously fun. 109 Seward St. (next to Juneau Drug Store), Juneau. Phone 907-586-1055. http://www.shoeflyalaska.com.

Taku Smokeries and Store
Stop in for a free sample of locally caught smoked sockeye or king salmon and for a self-guided tour of the smoking and packing operations. 550 S. Franklin St. (next to the tram and Twisted Fish restaurant), Juneau. Phone 907-463-3474. http://takustore.com.

The Foggy Mountain Shop
If you want to hike or backpack in the Juneau area, this is the place to go for advice. Also pick up rugged clothing and gear for cold, wet outdoor weather. 134 N. Franklin St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-6780. http://www.foggymountainshop.com.

The Jewel Box
Founded during territorial days, this is Juneau's oldest jewelry store and one trusted by locals. 248 Front St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-2604.

William Spear Design
Sells unique enameled pins and zipper pulls that are wearable works of art and perfectly sized to carry home easily. They come in designs for every taste and interest. 174 S. Franklin St., No. 201, Juneau. Phone 907-586-2209. http://wmspear.com.


Itinerary
Local Tours
Outdoor adventure is what really draws visitors to Juneau. Considered the gateway to the glaciers, the capital city is the place to arrange flightseeing and helicopter treks to the Juneau Icefield, boat tours of Glacier Bay National Park or Tracy Arm Fjord, whale-watching tours in Icy Strait, world-class salmon and halibut fishing charters, or kayaking trips in the serene waters of the Inside Passage. If you want to gawk at brown bears fishing, you can arrange a trip to Admiralty Island National Monument's Pack Creek and Stan Price Wildlife Preserve at Pack Creek. You can also learn about the area's mining heritage and visit one of the quaint villages nestled along Inside Passage waters: Tenakee Hot Springs, Elfin Cove and Pelican, or visit the Tlingit communities of Angoon or Hoonah.
One of the most popular excursions is a helicopter or flightseeing trip to the Juneau Icefield. Some tours include a glacial hike or a short dogsled ride on the glacier. Others are strictly flyovers. Be prepared for cancellation if the weather is bad. Companies offering the tours include Coastal Helicopters (phone 907-789-5600, toll-free 800-789-5610; http://www.coastalhelicopters.com), Era Helicopters (toll-free 800-843-1947; http://www.flightseeingtours.com), NorthStar Trekking (phone 907-790-4530, toll-free 866-590-4530; http://www.northstartrekking.com) and Temsco Helicopters (phone 907-789-9501, toll-free 877-789-9501; http://www.temscoair.com). Tour lengths and prices vary.
Most outfitters also offer kayaking day trips with instruction, equipment and a guide. If you are an experienced paddler, you can rent a kayak or canoe and explore the inlets along Gastineau Channel on your own through Alaska Boat and Kayak at Auke Bay.
Several tour operators offer a variety of tours to large groups and more independent-minded visitors. (Most tours offered are similar to those arranged by cruise ships.) Tours normally operate May to mid-September.
Two Web sites provide historic walking tour maps and information: http://www.juneau.org/cddftp/HSD/downtown_historic_district.php and http://www.traveljuneau.com/cms/d/downtown_street_tour.php. Air Excursions
Offers flightseeing tours of Southeast Alaska. 401 Main St., Gustavus. Phone 907-766-3800. http://www.airexcursions.com.

Alaska Canopy Adventures
Alaska Canopy Adventures offers its tour 200 ft/62 m above the Treadwell Mine area, with a boat trip from Juneau to Douglas Island and back. US$179. 406 S. Franklin St., No. 210, Juneau. Phone 907-523-2920. http://www.alaskacanopyadventures.com.

Alaska-Gastineau Mill and Gold Mine Tour
To learn about Juneau's mining history, visit the 1916 Alaska-Juneau (A-J) Mine and Gastineau Mill, one of the biggest gold mines in Alaska. Your underground and aboveground tour comes with a hard hat and a demonstration of old mining equipment. You also get a chance to pan for the shiny stuff. Dress warmly. Book through Holland America Princess Alaska Tours. Tickets are US$65, US$35 children 12 and younger. 500 Sheep Creek Mine Road (4 mi/6 km south of downtown), Juneau. Phone 907-586-9625 (Holland America).

Alaska Zipline Adventure
Alaska Zipline Adventure operates its tour at Eaglecrest, Juneau's ski area, an alpine environment with spectacular scenery. It also has combination zipline and glacier, indoor climbing and Jeep tours. US$139. Phone 907-321-0947. http://www.alaskazip.com.

Dolphin Jet Boat Tours
Dolphin Jet Boat Tours provides trips into the water to see whales and other marine life. Prices start at US$105. 9571 Meadow Lane, Juneau. Phone 907-463-3422. Toll-free 800-719-3422. http://www.dolphintours.com.

Gastineau Guiding
Local residents lead rain-forest and sea-coast nature hikes, whale-watching tours, wilderness sea kayaking and a photo safari by land and sea. US$74-$195, depending on the length of the tour. 1330 Eastaugh Way, Suite 2, Juneau. Phone 907-586-8231. http://www.stepintoalaska.com.

Mountain Travel Sobek
This international travel company specializes in multiday Glacier Bay trips. A six-day plane ride/kayak/camping trip for six people is US$2,995 per person, plus US$350 airfare. (There's also a more strenuous eight-day trip for the same price.) The company also operates three-day camping and kayak trips to see the whales of Point Adolphus for US$995 per person, as well as a Glacier Bay escape, five days kayaking and camping for US$1,995 and US$180 airfare. Toll-free 888-687-6235. http://www.mtsobek.com.

Orca Enterprises
Personalized whale-watching tours on a high-speed boat. Three or four trips are offered daily in summer. Reservations required. About US$120 adults. 495 S. Franklin St., Juneau. Phone 907-789-6801. Toll-free 888-733-6722. http://www.alaskawhalewatching.com.

Taku Glacier Lodge Flight and Feast
On this three-hour, 30-mi/48-km floatplane tour, you'll have a window seat as you fly past five glaciers and land on the Taku River across from Hole-in-the-Wall Glacier. Inside the historic log lodge, you'll feast on wild Alaska king salmon as part of your breakfast, lunch or dinner as you listen to the adventures of Mary Joyce, a daring woman who dogsledded 1,000 mi/1,610 km from Juneau to Fairbanks in the winter. There's time to explore the lodge, wander wilderness trails and possibly see the local bear Scarface or his family. May to mid-September. US$260 adults. 2 Marine Way, No. 175, Juneau. Phone 907-586-6275. http://www.wingsairways.com.


Day Plans
To help you make the most of your short time in Juneau, we've designed three itineraries.
PLAN A
Juneau Walkabout
If you didn't sign up for the ship-sponsored salmon bake, make reservations for the Thane Ore House Salmon Bake or the Gold Creek Salmon Bake—you have to partake of this quintessential Alaskan meal sometime during your visit to the state. Both offer free transportation from town.
Ride the Mount Roberts Tramway up to the 2,000-ft/620-m mountain peak for a spectacular view of the surrounding area. If the tramway wait is too long, do the walking-tour part of this plan first and go back to the tram later. Explore the trails, shops, movie and restaurant at the top of the tram—and visit the live eagle just outside the Mountain House.
After your descent, stroll along the Juneau Seawalk. When you reach the Juneau Library (above the parking garage at 292 Marine Way), look for the mural depicting the Tlingit creation story, in which salmon were transformed into the first humans, on the back of the city building.
Walk along Admiral Way and turn left at South Franklin Street. Peek into the rowdy Red Dog Saloon. Turn left at Front Street and walk uphill on Main Street to see Skip Wallen's bronze statue of a brown bear fishing. Take a right on Fourth and go uphill on Franklin Street to the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church at 326 Fifth St.—just look for the onion-shaped dome.
Backtrack a bit to the Alaska State Capitol and Juneau-Douglas City Museum at the corner of Fourth and Main. The museum's video about the city of Juneau and interpretive displays on gold mining are both worth a look. Continue west on Fourth Street (it winds around and becomes Calhoun Street) to the Governor's Mansion. A totem pole that shows the origins of man and the mosquito is outside.
Retrace your steps on Calhoun. Go under the overpass and down the stairs to your right to Willoughby Street. You'll see the Alaska State Museum on Whittier Street. Take time to roam the two floors of this fantastic museum. Then prepare for dinner. If it's Friday, join locals at Marine Park (next to the cruise ships) for Concert in the Park, an informal outdoor music fest.
PLAN B
The Ice Age and Back
Rent a car, and make reservations for dinner. Then grab a picnic lunch and slip on a jacket and hiking shoes. Head north on the waterfront road, which becomes Egan Drive and then Glacier Highway. Continue past the airport and follow the signs to the Mendenhall Glacier, 13 mi/21 km northwest of town.
After seeing the displays at the visitors center, hit the hiking trails. One short path takes you to a scenic spot where you can snap dramatic photos of Mendenhall Glacier (appropriately, it's called the Photo Point Trail). You can also take the unmarked path to the right of the glacier to a majestic waterfall—well worth the effort.
Get back in the car and follow the signs back to Egan Drive/Glacier Highway and turn right toward Auke Bay. Stop at the turnoff for the University of Alaska Southeast and Chapel by the Lake for snapshots of Mendenhall Glacier reflected in Auke Lake. Past Auke Bay and the ferry terminal on Glacier Highway is Auke Recreation Area, former site of the Auke Tlingit village—it's a good place to have your picnic. Continue on the road to the Shrine of St. Therese at Mile 23. This stone church tucked on an island accessible by a gravel causeway is a whale-watching retreat.
On your return to the city, stop by Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure and ride in a covered shuttle through the rain forest and magical upside-down trees, stopping for a panoramic sunset view of Gastineau Channel and coffee in the flower-festooned greenhouse.
PLAN C
Rainy Day
Don't despair at the downpour. Put on a raincoat and head out to enjoy the rain forest. Buy a ticket for the Juneau Trolley or walk up South Franklin Street, where the many interesting shops have overhangs to keep the rain off. Grab a coffee at Heritage Coffeehouse then continue along South Franklin to browse through your choice of bookstores: Hearthside, Rainy Retreat Books and the Observatory Bookstore are all located on the same block.
Follow Seward Street north to Fourth Street and turn left, walking past the marble columns of the State Capitol to the small city museum at 114 West Fourth St. After boning up on local history, dash across the street to the massive State Office Building. Admire the Old Witch totem in the atrium, then take the elevator to the eighth floor to see the old organ as you walk past a rooftop view of the city. Go through to the far side and take the elevator to the first floor (thus avoiding a walk in the rain). Another dash across the street puts you in the main visitors center at Centennial Hall. After picking up local maps, go out the back entrance and cross the parking lot to the State Museum.
When you're hungry, retrace your path through Centennial Hall, and then back across Egan Drive to the blue Merchant's Wharf building, where the expansive windows at the Hangar on the Wharf restaurant afford a view of the water. From there, catch a cab or shuttle to the Mendenhall Glacier and admire it from the visitors center. On the way back, stop at Glacier Gardens, where you can explore the outdoors from the shelter of covered golf carts. Or go underground to get out of the rain by exploring the tunnels on the Alaska Gastineau Mill and A-J Mine Tour.
Finish the evening with the Alaskan kitsch of the Red Dog Saloon on South Franklin Street or in the equally historic Alaskan Bar.
Dining
Dining Overview
Seafood is the specialty of most restaurants, but the city also has a surprising array of different cuisines. A salmon bake is an experience every visitor should have, so make reservations in advance.
If you like beer, ask for an Alaskan Amber, Stout, IPA, White or Pale Ale. They're brewed year-round by Juneau's award-winning Alaska Brewing Co. along with seasonal summer and winter ales.
For a snack while you're shopping downtown, be sure to sample some fudge from the Alaskan Fudge Co. To warm up on a drizzly day, savor a huge cup of hot chocolate and a cookie from Paradise Cafe.
When several cruise ships are in town during the summer, or if there's a major event, it's best to make reservations. This is generally not necessary during the rest of the year.
Expect to pay within these guidelines for a meal for one, not including drinks, tax or tip: $ = less than US$10; $$ = US$10-$20; $$$ = US$21-$50; and $$$$ = more than US$50.
Local & Regional
Gold Room
Located at the beautiful and historic Westmark Baranof Hotel, the Gold Room has excellent Alaskan cuisine and fine wines. The crispy marionberry-glazed half-duckling and hazelnut-crusted elk fillet in a port cherry-wine sauce are excellent, as is the king crab. Open for lunch and dinner. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 127 N. Franklin St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-2660. Toll-free 800-544-0970. http://www.westmarkhotels.com/juneau-food.php.

Hangar on the Wharf
You can watch floatplanes take off and land while you eat at this waterfront restaurant at Merchants Wharf, an old converted airplane hangar built on pilings overlooking Gastineau Channel's busy floatplane dock and home to several restaurants and shops. Try the halibut tacos, hot ciabatta sandwiches, Cajun chicken or blackened salmon Caesar salad and steaks. Be sure to sample a local Alaskan Brewing Co. microbrew from a selection of 100 beers, including 28 on draft—the biggest selection in southeast Alaska. Also a popular, smoke-free late-night hangout. Open for lunch and dinner. Reservations available. $$. Most major credit cards. Merchants Wharf, 2 Marine Way, No. 106, Juneau. Phone 907-586-5018. http://www.hangaronthewharf.com.

Sandpiper Cafe
Half a block from the Alaska State Museum, this is an airy, casual restaurant. Breakfast favorites include sourdough ricotta pancakes, Mandarin-orange French toast and smoked salmon omelettes. For lunch, go wild with wild-game buffalo burgers, or the specially made corned beef hash. Also popular are the citrus chicken salad with chili-lime dressing and chicken cashew salad. Espresso gets raves there. No alcohol. Open year-round daily for breakfast and lunch. $$. Visa and MasterCard accepted. 429 W. Willoughby Ave., Juneau. Phone 907-586-3150.


Cuisines
Asian
Canton House
Authentic Chinese cuisine in a beautiful, spacious restaurant with lots of windows. Favorites are Mongolian beef, lo mein and the combination lunch specials. Daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended. $$. Most major credit cards. 8585 Old Dairy Road (at the corner of Egan Drive and Glacier Highway, across from Nugget Mall), Juneau. Phone 907-789-5075. http://www.cantonhouse.net.

Chan's Thai Kitchen
Small, inexpensive and popular Auke Bay restaurant with unique dishes and dinette-table decor. Pad thai, cashew chicken and spring rolls are popular. Tuesday-Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner only. No reservations, so arrive early. $$. 11806 Glacier Highway, Auke Bay. Phone 907-789-9777.

Dragon Inn
This popular restaurant serves genuine Chinese cuisine. Hong Kong transplant and owner Peter Lan offers specialties such as Mongolian beef, dim sum, and sweet and sour chicken and pork. Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner only. Reservations recommended. $$. 5000 Glacier Highway (in the Lemon Creek area), Juneau. Phone 907-586-4888.

Seong's Sushi Bar
This small, popular sushi bar serves fish as fresh as it can be, along with Chinese food. Open for lunch and dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. 740 W. Ninth St. (across from the Federal Building), Juneau. Phone 907-586-4778.

Zen
This upscale restaurant serves Asian fusion cuisine in a nicely decorated, spacious room in the Goldbelt Hotel with water views across Egan Drive. Favorites on the menu are ginger halibut, black cod stir-fry, Thai coconut-curry shrimp, and steaks. For lunch, the peanut chicken salad is a best-seller. Full wine menu from the Jaded Bar, attached to the restaurant. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Breakfast is also served in summer. Reservations recommended. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 51 Egan Drive, Juneau. Phone 907-586-5075 or 907-586-1551 (Jaded Bar). http://www.zen-restaurant.net.


Italian
Bullwinkle's Pizza Parlor
A Juneau institution since 1973, with tasty pizza (garlic chicken is a favorite), a good salad bar, buffalo wings, sandwiches and all-you-can-eat popcorn. Kid-friendly with family style tables surrounded by arcade machines. There is a second location at Mendenhall Mall (phone 709-789-3900). Open daily for lunch and dinner. $-$$. 318 Willoughby Ave., Juneau. Phone 907-586-2400. http://www.bullwinklespizza.com.

Pizzeria Roma
A huge mural of the Juneau waterfront and historic Alaska Coastal Hangar decorates this cozy Marine Wharf restaurant. Try the Jamaican bacon and Guido's combo pizzas, or the delicious Insalata Roma salad. Among the favorites are scampi, osso bucco, chicken Tuscany, focaccia sandwiches, freshly baked tiramisu and cannoli. In the summer, it also serves oysters and steamer clams. Open daily for lunch and dinner. $$. Merchants Wharf, 2 Marine Way No. 104, Juneau. Phone 907-463-5020. http://pizzeriaroma.hangaronthewharf.com.

Tarentino's
Romantic decor, soft music and candles set the scene for Juneau's newest Italian restaurant. Zuppa de mari, a Roman-style fish soup, is laden with local fresh fish. Other favorites are chicken marsala, halibut piccata and veal parmesan. Open daily for lunch and dinner in summer, Monday-Saturday in winter. $$. 140 Seward St., Juneau. Phone 907-523-0344.


Mexican
El Sombrero
A popular Juneau eatery in the heart of downtown since 1979, featuring combination platters and Mexican munchies. On a sunny day, ask to sit on the second-story patio to enjoy a view of bustling Franklin Street. Open daily for lunch and dinner. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 157 S. Franklin, Juneau. Phone 907-586-6770.

Olivia's de Mexico
A family-owned and -operated Juneau tradition since 1974, this festive restaurant is in a vibrantly decorated basement. Try any of the homemade Mexican dishes, including the chili verde or chili relleno. Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 222 Seward St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-6870.


Breakfast & Brunch
Silverbow Inn Bakery and Back Room Restaurant
In a historic building, this oldest continually operating bakery in Alaska (since 1898) is known for its homemade, New York-style bagels and freshly baked bread, pastries, soups, salads and sandwiches. Casual dining along the window or in the back room, which also serves as a funky hangout for locals and bed-and-breakfast patrons. The Back Room becomes a free cinema Monday-Wednesday at 8 pm. Catering is also available. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 120 Second St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-4146. http://www.silverbowinn.com.

Southeast Waffle Co.
This hangout near the University of Alaska Southeast has a great view of Auke Bay, free Wi-Fi and breakfast all evening—so long as it's waffles. But these waffles go beyond the traditional butter and syrup. Try the omelette waffle with salsa or a sandwich with your mocha or latte. Open Monday-Thursday 6 am-10 pm, Friday 6 am-11 pm, Saturday 7 am-11 pm and Sunday noon-10 pm. $-$$. 11806 Glacier Highway, Auke Bay. Phone 907-789-2030.


Cafes & Tearooms
Capital Cafe
Located in the Baranof Hotel, this cafe features halibut and chips, clam chowder, salads and traditional breakfast fare. Monday-Friday 6 am-2 pm, Saturday and Sunday 7 am-2 pm. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 127 N. Franklin St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-2600. http://www.westmarkhotels.com/juneau-food.php.

Paradise Cafe
This small cafe is the place to go for delicious baked-from-scratch cookies, pastries or Berries in Paradise, a croissant topped with egg custard, berries and fresh whipped cream. Enjoy homemade soup, pasta, salads and wraps—plus great coffee—at indoor or outdoor tables with cruise ship or water views. Open in summer daily for breakfast and lunch; in winter, Monday-Friday for breakfast and lunch. $-$$. 245 Marine Way, Juneau. Phone 907-586-2253. http://paradisecafeyeehaw.com.

The Hot Bite
A small indoor-outdoor eatery where locals munch on sandwiches—such as portabella mushrooms brushed with garlic olive oil, stuffed with spinach and four cheeses, and then grilled and served on a toasted Kaiser bun—hamburgers, charbroiled chicken, and halibut and chips. Try one of the smooth old-fashioned milk shakes for dessert. The hardest part is picking a flavor from the long list of possibilities. Open for lunch and early dinner in summer only. Reservations not accepted. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 11465 Auke Bay Harbor Road (13 mi/21 km north of downtown), Auke Bay. Phone 907-790-2483.

Vintage Fare Cafe
"Vintage" aprons and kitchen tools decorate this popular cozy cafe at Nugget Mall in the valley, where the locals go. Smoothies, croissants, bagels and breakfast wraps laden with hash browns, cheese and scrambled eggs are popular fare for breakfast, and there's a full espresso bar. For lunch, try the freshly baked quiches, homemade soups, and an assortment of wraps and sandwiches. The homemade Alaska-sized cookies, brownies, muffins and breads are warm and tempting. There's usually a sample on the counter. Vintage Fare is also a wireless Internet cafe. Open year-round Monday-Saturday for breakfast, lunch and dinner; Sunday for brunch and early dinner. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 8745 Glacier Highway (in the Nugget Mall), Juneau. Phone 907-789-1865.


Coffeehouses
Heritage Coffee Co.
This local espresso chain has six locations throughout Juneau, including coffee bars and kiosks, as well as the Heritage Glacier Cafe in the Mendenhall Mall shopping area (phone 709-789-0692). Its slogan is "The cup that tamed the last frontier." $-$$. 174 S. Franklin St., Juneau. Phone 907-586-1087. Toll-free 800-478-5282. http://www.heritagecoffee.com.

Valentine's Coffee House & Pizzeria
A popular meeting place, Valentine's specializes in homemade foods. The egg, sausage and tomato wrap is great for breakfast. Lunch specialties include the chicken pesto and Greek calzone, fresh salads, and homemade breads and soups. Try the coconut curry chicken. Daily 7 am-8 pm. $-$$. Visa and MasterCard accepted. 111 Seward St. (downtown), Juneau. Phone 907-463-5144. http://valentinescoffeehouse.com.


Continental
Zephyr
Mediterranean cuisine in the historic Simpson Building comes with candlelit ambience and an extensive European wine list. Try the lamb with citrus honey and couscous, veal osso bucco with saffron risotto and Aegean pasta dishes. Open daily for dinner year round. $$-$$$. 200 Seward St., Juneau. Phone 907-780-2221.


Late Night
Merchants Wharf is the place to go for a late-night snack. The Hangar on the Wharf serves food in the bar. Pizzeria Roma stays open until 10 pm. Pel Meni
Serving only Russian dumplings filled with either meat or potatoes, Pel Meni offers a quick, inexpensive and satisfying late-night snack, popular with the younger crowd. Open Monday-Friday 11:30 am-1:30 am, Saturday and Sunday 11:30 am-3:30 am. $. Merchant's Wharf, 2 Marine Way, Juneau.


Seafood
Thane Ore House Salmon Bake
This rustic restaurant—popular with locals because the fish is fresh—is an Alaskan experience. It offers a great all-you-can-eat salmon bake as well as ribs, beer-battered halibut, homemade baked beans, salad bar and corn bread. You enter through what looks like a mine tunnel, and there is a free museum of Alaska Gastineau mine relics in an adjacent room. Nearby is the Sheep Creek salmon run. Eat outside with views of Gastineau Channel on sunny days or snuggle up by the roaring fireplace when it's drizzly. Reservations recommended for large groups. $$. Most major credit cards. 4400 Thane Road, Juneau. Phone 907-586-3442. http://www.thaneorehouse.com.

T.K. Maguire's
Seafood—especially the captain's plate and king crab—along with steaks, prime rib, pastas and Alaska-sized salads are the specialties of this longtime Juneau restaurant. Maguire's has "Juneau's best Sunday brunch" as well as a lounge. Early mining photos decorate the walls. Open Monday-Saturday 7 am-9 pm, Sunday 10 am-9 pm. $$. 375 Whittier St. (in the Prospector Hotel across from the boat harbors on Gastineau Channel), Juneau. Phone 907-586-3711. http://www.prospectorhotel.com/restaurant.htm.

Twisted Fish Co. Alaskan Grill
Wild Alaska seafood (the tempura halibut, cedar-plank salmon with berry chutney and king crab are house specialties) served with an excellent waterfront view. Try the shrimp fritters with spicy Thai sauce. The restaurant also has great pasta, salads, buffalo burgers and steaks. Open for lunch and dinner in the summer. Closed in the winter. Reservations recommended. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 550 S. Franklin St., Juneau. Phone 907-463-5033. http://twistedfish.hangaronthewharf.com.


Security
Personal Safety
Crime isn't a significant problem in Juneau. Use common sense and be aware of your surroundings. There are many foreign visitors and crewmembers constantly in and out of the city. Also, be on the lookout for black bears.
Health
Mosquitoes and other nibblers aren't nearly as bad as in other parts of Alaska but can be a nuisance when you're out hiking or fishing near the woods around dusk—don't venture out of town without a good insect repellent.
Always be aware of the possibility of encountering a bear. If you do, don't approach it and try to avoid quick actions that may alarm it. Inquire locally for details on recent bear activity and advice on how to behave around the animals. Forest-service rangers offer bear-viewing advice at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center and at the U.S. Forest Service Tongass National Forest, Juneau Ranger District. Phone 907-586-8800. http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/forest_facts/safety/bearfacts.shtml.
Bartlett Regional Hospital is located 4 mi/6 km north of downtown at 3260 Hospital Drive. Phone 907-796-8900. http://www.bartletthospital.org.
Disabled Advisory
Most of Juneau is wheelchair accessible, and most shops and downtown hotels are at ground level. Several buses with Capital Transit have wheelchair lifts, as do downtown trolleys. The Juneau International Airport and the Alaska Marine Highway ferries are accessible.
Care-a-Van, located at 1805 Glacier Highway, operates an accessible van for locals. With 24-hour notice, drivers will assist visitors when the schedule allows. Phone 907-463-6194. http://www.ccsjuneau.org/63,careavantransportation.
For more information about accessibility, contact Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL) and Outdoor Recreation and Community Access (ORCA) at 3225 Hospital Drive. Phone 907-586-4920. Toll-free 800-478-7245. http://www.sailinc.org.
South East Alaska Medical Suppliers rent wheelchairs for US$55 plus deposit for one to seven days, or for US$81 per month. It also has respiratory equipment, ramps, scooters and other supplies. Located at 5636 Glacier Highway, Suite 200, in the Lemon Creek area. Phone 907-586-6880. http://www.sealaskamedsupply.com.
Dos & Don'ts
Do dress casually—and in layers. Be sure to take along comfortable walking shoes and a raincoat.
Don't make insulting comments about ravens or eagles—they're important mythological figures to Alaska Natives.
Do be very careful with trash, which will attract bears. Dispose of it in the latched trash cans you'll find around town, but don't deposit mail in those cans (they resemble mailboxes).
Don't be surprised to see people dressed in rubber boots, even in fine restaurants.
Don't hike alone. And do always tell someone where you're going and when you expect to return.
Hotels
Hotel Overview
Juneau has about a dozen major hotels and motels. The oldest hotels—some historic, some grand and some well worn—are all downtown. Newer hotels surround the airport. Most offer airport shuttles, and many can make extended-stay arrangements. A variety of bed-and-breakfasts provide additional choices.
Beyond Juneau, you will find a number of lodges and resorts accessible by float plane, wheel plane or boat. National forest campgrounds at Mendenhall Lake, Auke Bay and Eagle Beach State Recreation Area provide sites for tents and recreational vehicles (http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/recreation/rec_facilities/jnurec.shtml).
A few public-use cabins are within hiking distance of the Juneau road system. They cost US$35 per night and can be reserved in advance (toll-free 877-444-6777; http://www.recreation.gov/campgroundSearch.do).
Several other cabins are accessible by boat or float plane. In Juneau, the Point Bridget and Eagle Beach State Park cabins can be rented through the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. Phone 907-269-8400. http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/cabins.
Hotel Listings


Phone: (1) 907-790-6435
Fax: (1) 907-790-6621
Toll Free: (1) 888-559-9846

Extended Stay Deluxe Hotel
1800 Shell Simmons Dr 99801-9374
juneau@aspenhotelsak.com  http://www.extendedstaydeluxe.com
94 Guest Rooms • 2 Meeting Rooms
Location: Adjacent to the airport
Nearby Points of Interest: Mendenhall Glacier (Monument-Glacier) - 5 mi • State Museum (Museum) - 11 mi






Phone: (1) 907-586-6900
Fax: (1) 907-463-3567
Toll Free: (1) 888-478-6909

Goldbelt Hotel
51 Egan Dr 99801
gbh@hotel.com  http://www.goldbelthotel.com
105 Guest Rooms • 3 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: Near downtown
Nearby Points of Interest: Mendenhall Glacier - 15 mi • Mt Roberts Tram • State Capitol


Phone: (1) 907-789-3772
Fax: (1)
Toll Free: (1) 888-658-6328

Pearsons Pond Luxury Inn & Adventure Spa
4541 Sawa Circle 99801-8723
book@PearsonsPond.com  http://www.pearsonspond.com
8 Guest Rooms • 2 Meeting Rooms
Location: Near Glacier Bay departures, Mendenhall Glacier, airport, historic
Nearby Points of Interest: Mendenhall Glacier & Tongass Nat'l Forest (Monument) - 1 mi • Glacier Bay cruise and flightseeing (National Monument) - 30 mi • Admiralty Island - Pack Creek (National Monument) - 20 mi


Phone: (1) 907-586-3737
Fax: (1) 907-586-1204
Toll Free: (1) 800-331-2711

Prospector Hotel
375 Whittier St 99801
prospect@ptialska.net  http://www.prospectorhotel.com
64 Guest Rooms • 3 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s] • Pets Allowed
Nearby Points of Interest: Centenial Hall (Convention center) - 1 blk • Alaska State Museum (Museum) - 1 blk


Phone: (1) 907-586-2660
Fax: (1) 907-586-8315
Toll Free: (1) 800-544-0970

Westmark Baranof Hotel
127 N Franklin St 99801
wmbnf.fde@hollandamerica.com  http://www.westmarkhotels.com
196 Guest Rooms • 7 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: Near the state capitol, conv ctrr, shopping & major tour attractions
Nearby Points of Interest:




Facts
Geostats
Passport/Visa Requirements: All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico. Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S.
Passports are required for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders with the U.S. and for cruise passengers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda. Reconfirm travel-document requirements with your carrier prior to departure.

Population: 30,690.
Time Zone: 9 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-9 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is observed from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
Voltage Requirements: 110 volts.
Telephone Codes: 907, area code for all of Alaska;
Money
Currency Exchange
Several banks have ATMs and offices near the cruise docks, including Alaska Pacific Bank, First Bank, First National Bank of Alaska and Wells Fargo Bank. Banks are generally open Monday-Friday 10 am-5 pm.
Taxes
In the city and borough of Juneau, there is a 5% sales tax. There is no state sales tax. The hotel occupancy tax rate is 12%.
Tipping
Tip 15% unless good service warrants more.
Weather
Temperatures in Juneau are typically mild, with an average of 55 F/12 C. The warmest months are June-August when there is 18 hours of daylight in June. Daytime temperatures range from 44 F/6 C to 75 F/23 C—and sometimes even warmer. Winter temperatures range in the 20s-30s F/-5 to 0 C and seldom dip further than that. Juneau is in a temperate rain forest, so you can expect rain—usually mist—any time of the year and about 280 overcast days annually. Snow alternates with rain during the winter.
What to Wear
Hypothermia is a threat any time of the year, so dress in layers. It may be cool in the morning, but as the day goes on, you may want to take off a jacket or sweater. Also, pack a hat, waterproof shoes, a raincoat and some light clothing. If you're hiking, take a hat and gloves—and a friend.
Juneau is casual, so you can attend the symphony in jeans and boots. Business wear can be a bit more formal—take a suit to be on the safe side.
Communication
Telephone
Like the wooly mammoth, public pay phones are becoming extinct in Juneau, so you'll want a cell phone. Call your local provider to verify you'll have service. Juneau has ATT, GCI and Alaska Communications Systems (ACS); it does not have Sprint or Verizon.
Internet Access
Wi-Fi service is available at a variety of locations, including the downtown and valley locations of Heritage Coffeehouse, Silverbow Cafe, McDonalds, University of Alaska Southeast library, Auke Bay Harbor and at Southeast Waffle Co. in Auke Bay. For a listing of Wi-Fi hot spots, see http://www.superpages.com/cities/mtg/wifi/ak/juneau. Juneau Public Library
Wi-Fi access is available at the downtown branch. Computers are also available for use. Monday-Thursday 11 am-9 pm, Friday-Sunday noon-5 pm. 292 Marine Way, Juneau. Phone 907-586-5249. http://www.juneau.org/library.

Universe Electronics
Offers Wi-Fi access, an international call station and photo developing along with a cyber lounge with espresso and computer stations. Open May-September 9 am-8 pm. 109 S. Franklin St. (in the purple Elks Building), Juneau. Phone 907-463-4330.


Mail & Package Services
There are U.S. Post Offices downtown at the corner of South Franklin and Front streets (near the clock) and in the Federal Building, northwest of the cruise dock at 709 W. Ninth St. Priority and Express Mail take longer than in the lower 48 states.
Warning: Don't put your mail in the bear-proof garbage containers—they look like mailboxes.
Newspapers & Magazines
The Juneau Empire provides local, national and international news six days a week. The arts and entertainment section comes out on Thursday. http://www.juneauempire.com.
The Empire also prints Capital City Weekly, a free weekly paper listing events throughout Southeast Alaska. http://www.capitalcityweekly.com.
National newspapers can be purchased at Hearthside Bookstore or can be read at the library.
Transportation
Juneau International Airport (JNU) is about 9 mi/145 km northwest of downtown. A cab ride to or from the city runs US$20-$25. The airport has extended its runway safety area and renovated the terminal. Phone 907-789-7821. http://www.juneau.org/airport.
Consider renting a car in Juneau. It's an inexpensive way to take in what the area has to offer, particularly if there are several people in your group. Make reservations in advance to ensure that a car will be waiting for you. Most of the major U.S. rental car agencies have offices in Juneau and at the airport. Expect to pay a minimum of US$65 a day for a midsize vehicle late May through mid-September.
Downtown can be easily explored on foot. Capital Transit public buses also circle the city and valley areas on the half-hour 7 am-11:45 pm. (The buses don't serve the ferry terminal.) Fares are US$1.50 adults; local seniors, disabled people and children younger than 5 ride free. Taxis are plentiful, particularly around the cruise terminals, and most drivers offer guided tours. An hour-long tour costs about US$55 for a group of up to seven persons, but rates can be negotiated.
Ferries traveling the Inside Passage stop at Auke Bay, 14 mi/23 km northwest of Juneau. For Alaska Marine Highway ferry information and reservations, check at Centennial Hall Visitor Information Center. Phone 907-465-3941. Toll-free 800-642-0066 (Monday-Friday 7 am-5 pm). Or, phone the Auke Bay Ferry terminal at 907-465-3940. http://www.ferryalaska.com or http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/index.shtm.
For More Information
Recommended Guidebooks
The Milepost (Morris Communications). Published annually, it has accurate directions of Alaska and Canada along the Alaska Highway and beyond.
Ninety Short Walks Around Juneau by Mary Lou King (Taku Conservation Society).
The Nature of Southeast Alaska: A Guide to Plants, Animals and Habitats by Rita O'Clair (Alaska Northwest Books).
Additional Reading
The Alaska Almanac: Facts About Alaska (Alaska Northwest Books).
Northern Flights by Gerry Bruder (Pruett Publishing).
The Native People of Alaska by Steve Langdon (Greatland Graphics). A short introduction to Alaska Natives.
Images From the Inside Passage: An Alaskan Portrait by Winter and Pond by Victoria Wyatt (University of Washington Press).
Capitol Offense by Mike Doogan (Putnam). A murder mystery set in Juneau.
The Only Kayak: Journey Into the Heart of Alaska by Kim Heacox. The author kayaked Glacier Bay.
Juneau Centennial Cookbook by Jane Stewart. The book has some great anecdotes.
Tourist Offices
Juneau Convention & Visitors Bureau
The main visitors center is in Centennial Hall. Open May-September daily 8:30 am-5 pm, October-April Monday-Friday 9 am-4 pm. 101 Egan Drive, Juneau. Phone 907-586-2201. Toll-free 888-581-2201. http://www.traveljuneau.com.


Events
Calendar
Juneau's large arts and entertainment community ensures there's always something happening.
Just as cabin fever sets in around February, Juneau crafters design gowns and present a fashion show using "found" materials—the Wearable Art show, Cirque de Pluie. Everything from wood to salmon skins is fair game. http://www.jahc.org.
The weeklong Alaska Folk Festival in early April includes performances, workshops and dances by entertainers from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, all of which are free. http://akfolkfest.org.
The Juneau Jazz and Classics festival in late May also attracts artists and musicians from the local area and the Pacific Northwest (http://www.jazzandclassics.org). The Spring King Salmon Derby also takes place in May. http://www.springkingderby.org.
The biennial Celebration Native Cultural Conference occurs in early June in even-numbered years with dances, crafts and performances (http://www.sealaskaheritage.org). During Gold Rush Days in late June, miners and loggers compete to climb poles, throw axes and play tug-of-war, along with other activities.
The town's Fourth of July celebration begins at midnight on 3 July with a fireworks presentation downtown over Gastineau Channel. Parades and sandcastle-building contests are held on the Fourth of July. The Frank Maier Marathon & Douglas Island Half Marathon take place in late July. In fact, there are runs all year long, including the Magnificent Mendenhall Mud Puddle Meet, Only Fools Run At Midnight, Aukeman Sprint Triathlon, and Nifty 50 race, among others. http://www.southeastroadrunners.org.
The Golden North Salmon Derby takes place in mid-August, with anglers competing for prizes in this annual fish-off. http://www.goldennorthsalmonderby.org.
Alaska crafts from statewide artists are available during Juneau's Public Market in late November. The year ends with Gallery Walk in early December, a weekend of food and art. http://www.jahc.org.
For more information about upcoming events in Juneau, contact the Juneau Convention & Visitors Bureau (phone 907-586-2201; toll-free 888-581-2201; http://www.traveljuneau.com) or the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council (phone 907-586-2787; http://www.jahc.org).


Ketchikan, Alaska

Overview
Introduction

Ketchikan, Alaska, is the site of an ancient Tlingit fish camp and was a supply town during the gold rush. Ketchikan is about 3 mi/5 km long but only a couple of blocks deep. Located on the southwest shore of Revillagigedo Island, it's the first port of call into Alaska, hence its nickname, The First City.
Ketchikan is considered an Alaska Native cultural center for the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian tribes, as well as a sportfishing mecca. The town generally gets more than 150 in/388 cm of rain annually, but don't let the liquid sunshine (as residents prefer to call it) keep you inside—Ketchikan is worth exploring in any kind of weather.


Must See or Do
Sights—Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center; Saxman Native Village; Totem Bight State Historical Park for restored totems; a tour of George Inlet Cannery.
Museums—Exhibits on Ketchikan's history and collectibles and art at Tongass Historical Museum; Totem Heritage Center for its collection of 19th-century totem poles; natural exhibits at Southeast Alaska Discovery Center.
Memorable Meals—The fresh halibut-and-chips basket at The Halibut Hole; Annabelle's Famous Keg and Chowder House for the seafood chowder in a sourdough loaf; any salmon or halibut entree at Heen Kahidi; the seafood or steaks at Salmon Falls Resort.
Late Night—First City Saloon for billiards and 20 beers on tap; the First City Grill for the original halibut taco; live entertainment and chowder at the Fish Pirates Saloon.
Walks—A stroll through the Saxman Native Village; a hike on the Deer Mountain Trail; the boat harbor and Tongass Narrows; the Historic Ketchikan walking tour in downtown and the West End.
Especially for Kids—The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show; kayaking up Ketchikan Creek or fishing off Stedman Street Bridge; the Bear Creek zipline by Alaska Canopy Adventures.
Geography
Ketchikan is only accessible by air or water. It is located on Revillagigedo Island, in the heart of the 17-million-acre/6.9-million-hectare Tongass National Forest. The city sits at the base of Deer Mountain and is encircled by the Tongass Narrows waterway. Behm Canal encircles most of the island.
Tongass Avenue is the main north-south highway, but its name changes as it progresses through town—it is Stedman Street at the base of Ketchikan Creek, Mill Street as it heads toward the docks, Front Street along the downtown docks, then Water Street north of Front Street.
A number of streets are really stairs or short passages. A few blocks from the dock is the once-rowdy Creek Street, now a tame boardwalk. It is really a walkway on pilings along Ketchikan Creek, featuring quaint shops that were once bordellos.
History
For generations, the proud and resourceful Tlingit and Haida tribes spent the summer months near where Ketchikan now stands. They caught salmon in the rivers and creeks, and hunted bear and deer. There is almost no evidence of the Tlingit and Haida being whalers.
Spanish and Russian explorers arrived in the 17th and 18th centuries; the first Russians arrived in 1741 searching for new travel routes, fur and opportunities for settlements and political expansion. Their arrival gave rise to clashes.
The U.S. purchased the Alaska territory from Russia in 1867, after Canada passed on the opportunity. Entrepreneurs Mike Martin and George Clark opened a salmon saltery in Ketchikan in 1886 along with a trading post and the city's first post office.
The gold rush of 1898 brought thousands of newcomers to the territory. Ketchikan became a major port of entry, supplying goods and passage to the Yukon. After the gold rush, commercial canning companies sprang up along the coast as the demand for salmon grew. Logging also became a major industry during World War II.
Today, Ketchikan relies on tourism as travelers flock to the area for its untamed beauty.
Port Information
Location
Ketchikan is a popular first or last stop on many Alaskan cruises, and as many as six cruise ships can dock there. Ships have assigned dock space or they anchor in Tongass Narrows, and passengers are tendered into town by smaller craft. Most visitor attractions are within walking distance of the docks.
Ketchikan's visitors center is on the docks at 131 Front St. on Berth Two and has free walking-tour and kayaking maps, brochures and tour-reservation booths. Public phones and restrooms are also available there. The center is open daily 8 am-5 pm in summer and whenever ships are in port. Winter hours (October-April) are Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm. Phone 907-225-6166. Toll-free 800-770-3300. http://www.visit-ketchikan.com.
A second visitors center is located near Berth Three and also has pay phones and restrooms. Public restrooms are also located near Berth Four in the Newtown area.
Shore Excursions
Consider signing up for the excursions offered by your ship. They may not be the least expensive way to see the area, but you won't have to waste your limited time making arrangements yourself—and you won't have to worry about missing the ship.
Shore excursions—and their prices—vary from cruise line to cruise line. Check with your ship's shore-excursion staff or your travel agent for additional information.
Potpourri
The town's main highway, Tongass Avenue, is 32 mi/50 km long, but it has only four traffic lights.
At one time, Ketchikan had 13 canneries, earning it the nickname "Salmon Capital of the World."
Visitors can still follow the Married Man's Trail from the old red-light district back to town.
There are no igloos in southeast Alaska. They exist in the northern part of the state.
Ketchikan is at 55 degrees latitude, the same as Malmo, Sweden; the southern portion of Canada's Hudson Bay; and Moscow.
Ketchikan, Alaska's rain capital, boasts an average annual rainfall of 155 in/394 cm. In 2005, the town was one of the wettest spots on earth after accumulating 200 in/508 cm of rain. A "drought" occurred in 1982 when only 81 in/206 cm of rain was recorded.
Ketchikan has the world's largest collection of standing totem poles at Saxman Village, Totem Bight and the Totem Heritage Center.
Ketchikan comes from the Tlingit word Kitsch-kan, which can be translated as "spread wings of a prostrate eagle" or "Kitsch's home." There is no record of any area chief being named Kitsch.
Mike Martin and George Clark originally purchased the town site next to the creek from a native named Paper Nose Charlie, according to the original deeds. But Paper Nose Charlie was not even a member of the local Tlingit tribe, so it's not clear how he had the authority to sell the town site in the first place.
See & Do
Sightseeing
Stop by the visitors center on the dock to pick up the Historic Ketchikan walking-tour map and guide to area attractions. The 2-mi/3-km tour is an excellent way to see many of Ketchikan's sites. Even if you stray from the map, don't worry: The town isn't big enough to get lost in. The city has also put up signage to make it even easier for visitors to find sites of interest and then return to the docks.
The walking tour will take you past the turreted, Victorian-style Burkhardt House; the 1954 tunnel on Front Street, which claims to be the only tunnel that you can go over, around and through; and E.C. Phillips & Sons, one of the few remaining cold-storage and fish-processing plants in the city.
You might also want to drop by the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, one block inland from the cruise docks. It provides interpretive exhibits about the rain forest, wildlife and native cultures, a film about the Tongass National Forest, and information on public lands, area hiking, kayaking and local ecosystems.
Along with the prosperity brought by salmon and mining came a red-light district built on the pilings above Ketchikan Creek. The community had as many as 30 bordellos before prostitution became illegal in 1953. Most of the women moved on; one who didn't was Dolly Arthur, whose bordello is now a museum, Dolly's House.
Strolling along the rest of Creek Street and checking out the various shops can be great fun. There are also a few cafes where you can eat outside if the weather is nice. Or just hang over the railings and watch the fish and kayakers go by. While you're on Creek Street, catch the tram up to Cape Fox Lodge. From there you'll be treated to one of the best views of Ketchikan.
Historic Sites
George Inlet Cannery
Built in 1913 as the Libby, McNeill & Libby Cannery, it employed labor from China and the Philippines. Closed in 1958, it reopened in 1996 as a historic landmark, with guided tours of the early cannery operations and equipment available to cruise-ship passengers only. Open May-September. Tours are US$48 through local tour operators. 13194 S. Tongass Highway (12 mi/19 km south of downtown), Ketchikan. Phone 907-247-1840.

Saxman Native Village
This village, named after a Presbyterian teacher who was lost at sea, has a collection of 24 totems planted in the ground. In addition to the poles, there's a cedar replica of the Beaver Clan House and a carving shed. Open Monday-Friday. Free admission. Tours, demonstrations and performances have fees. 2706 S. Tongass Highway, Saxman (2.3 mi/3.7 km south of town), Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-4166.

Totem Poles
Ketchikan has one of the world's largest collections of totem poles. Cedar totem poles are symbolic storytellers, characterized by creatures such as eagles, killer whales, beavers, bears and wolves. They are carved for a variety of reasons—from mortuary poles that hold ashes of the deceased to celebrations. During the early 1900s, as Alaska Natives moved closer to towns where employment could be found, whole villages were abandoned and the totems were left. In 1938, the U.S. Forest Service began a rescue program to preserve and repair many of these monuments.
Each pole has a name, such as Thunderbird and Whale, Man Wearing Bear Hat, Sea Monster Pole and Halibut Pole. Two parks outside of town feature large collections of totem poles: Saxman Native Village, about 2.5 mi/4 km south of town; and Totem Bight State Park, about 10 mi/17 km north of town. Many of the totem poles around Ketchikan are replicas; older poles require regular maintenance and repair.


Museums
Dolly's House Museum
This popular bordello from 1903-53 was owned by Creek Street's famous madam, Dolly Arthur. The distinctive sea-green house with red trim can't be missed. Costumed ladies stand at the front door and the second-floor window beckoning visitors in for a tour. May-September daily. US$5. 24 Creek St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-6329. http://www.margaretdeefholts.com/dollyarthur.html.

Southeast Alaska Discovery Center
Explore the exhibits on Native culture, the rain forest, natural resources and ecosystems. The museum is also an information center for camping facilities, outdoor activities and public lands. Gift shop, theater and bookstore on-site. Open May-September Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 8 am-4 pm; October-April Thursday-Sunday 10 am-4 pm. US$5, free for children age 15 and younger. 50 Main St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-228-6220. http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/districts/discoverycenter.

Tongass Historical Museum
Stop by this museum to learn about the town's fishing heritage. Exhibits on Ketchikan history, Native culture and art rotate every three months. May-September daily 8 am-5 pm; October-April Tuesday-Friday 1-5 pm, Saturday 10 am-4 pm. Admission US$2. 629 Dock St. (in the Library Building, near the intersection of Dock and Bawden streets), Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-5600. http://www.city.ketchikan.ak.us/departments/museums/tongass.html.

Totem Heritage Center
This museum collects and preserves totem poles retrieved from abandoned Alaska Native villages. The center contains 33 poles and pole fragments, many of which are more than 100 years old. May-September daily 8 am-5 pm (a 15-minute tour is available), October-April Monday-Friday 1-5 pm. US$5. 601 Deermount St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-5900. http://www.city.ketchikan.ak.us/departments/museums/totem.html.


Nature
Pods of orca whales go into Tongass Narrows for salmon—tour boats often encounter them along with seal colonies on rocks. Floatplane tours flying to and from Misty Fjords often spot whales moving along Behm Canal. Bears usually visit streams where salmon go to spawn during early-morning hours or late afternoon. Occasionally, they are seen on the Creek Street boardwalk. Misty Fjords National Monument
The sheer rock walls, towering above coves, are overwhelming. Visitors can opt for a flightseeing day trip over Misty Fjords or boat tours. During these tours, you may see bald eagles in the air, brown and black bears on the ground, and whales and sea lions in the ocean. Ketchikan-Misty Fjords Ranger District, 3031 Tongass Ave., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-2148. http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/districts/ketchikan/kmrdintro.shtml.


Neighborhoods & Districts
Newtown
This was the first part of Ketchikan to develop after downtown in the early 1900s. It features many historic buildings and older stores, as well as a working harbor and colorful live-aboard boats.

Nobb Hill
The area features many of Ketchikan's stateliest homes from the early 1900s. The roads are steep, but the views are worth it.

Stedman-Thomas
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was once the home to Alaska Natives and other minorities who worked in the canneries. It features many historic buildings and is located between downtown and Thomas Basin.

Thomas Basin
This marina was a baseball field until the 1920s. The city installed pilings and expanded it over the mudflats. There are viewing areas, decks and picnic tables around the marina—worth the walk past the red-and-white Potlatch building and along the breakwater. Often, eagles flock there. Thomas Basin is Ketchikan's second-largest boat harbor, home to a portion of the local fishing fleet. At the end of Ketchikan Creek, Ketchikan.


Parks & Gardens
City Park
This park was once home to holding ponds for salmon in the early 1950s. It is now a tranquil spot with a fountain, brooks, benches and picnic tables. At the northern end of Ketchikan Creek, Ketchikan.

Eagle Park
This park features Thundering Wings, a huge eagle by renowned Tlingit carver Nathan Jackson. Front Street (near the docks), Ketchikan.

Totem Bight State Historical Park
This park has 14 poles, most of which are more than 50 years old. You can also stop by a Tlingit clan house. To reach the site from the North Tongass Highway at Mile 9.9, walk along a short path through the rain forest to a clearing covered with wildflowers. The totems and the scenery are truly spectacular—if you really want to appreciate the view, take along a picnic lunch and spend an hour or more there. Kiosks near poles interpret the carvings. Free, but donations are accepted. Ketchikan Ranger Station, 9883 N. Tongass Highway, Ketchikan. Phone 907-247-8574. http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/totembgh.htm.

Whale Park
Designed in the shape of a whale, this park is full of flowers and contains the Chief Kyan Totem Pole (a replica of a pole first erected in Ketchikan in the 1880s). It is also home to the antique Billingsley Clock—said to be the oldest timepiece in the city, it still keeps accurate time. The clock once stood by the Knox Brothers Curios Store on Mission and Tongass streets. Mill Street, downtown, Ketchikan.


Other Options
Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show
The show is a rowdy re-creation of logging competitions from Alaska's past. You can watch chopping, sawing, axe-throwing, pole-climbing and log-rolling events from a heated, covered facility. The hour-long performances take place May-September three to four times a day, depending on the number of ships in port. US$35 adults, US$17.50 children ages 3-12, free for children age 2 and younger. 420 Spruce Mill Way (behind the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center), Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-9050. Toll-free 888-320-9049. http://www.lumberjacksports.com.


Recreation
Ketchikan fishing is legendary with all five species of salmon plus halibut, red snapper, cod, shrimp and crab. Freshwater fly-fishing is also popular locally and on Prince of Wales Island.
Salmon lure eagles, bears and other wildlife, so a hike through the Tongass National Forest may provide glimpses of wildlife and more than 250 species of birds.
Kayak the Tongass Narrows around islands or through majestic Misty Fjords National Monument, a northern version of the Grand Canyon.
Bicycling
Maps and information on bike trails are provided at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center at 50 Main St. (phone 888-320-9049). You can also find information and maps at the visitors centers at 131 Front St. and Berth Three. Phone 800-770-3300.
Bird Watching
During salmon season, white-tailed, white (bald)-headed eagles are everywhere. With their distinctive call, they'll gather in trees, fly around fishing boats and processing plants, and perch on jetties. Bird-watchers won't want to miss seeing them dive and seize prey out of the water.
Other birds such as ravens, hummingbirds, Steller's jays and Canada geese are abundant in the area. The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center offers comprehensive brochures, guides and maps for viewing birds. Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center
The center features scenic paths around what were once the native holding ponds for salmon, and a beautiful fountain. Photographers and bird-watchers can get up close to eagles, and visitors can feed the salmon that will be released to the wild on reaching adulthood. Sample Alaska smoked salmon in the Interpretive Center. Open May-September 8 am-4:30 pm. Admission US$12; free for children younger than 12. 1158 Salmon Road (near Ketchikan Creek and City Park), Ketchikan. Phone 907-228-5530. Toll-free 800-252-5158. http://www.kictribe.org/businesses/dmthec/index.html#tours.


Boating & Sailing
Southeast Sea Kayaks
This company rents kayaks for US$49-$59 per day. Guided trips in Ketchikan harbor (about three hours) start at US$94 adults. For a wilderness experience, kayak in Orcas Cove, a 20-minute boat ride from Ketchikan, and fly through Misty Fjords in a seaplane (a five-hour trip for US$399). 1621 Tongass Ave., Suite 101B, Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-1258. Toll-free 800-287-1607. http://www.kayakketchikan.com.


Fishing
Because of all its canneries, Ketchikan bills itself as the "Salmon Capital of the World." Exploring the waters around the town while casting for fish is an exhilarating experience. Several charter firms offer trips. The visitors center has a complete list of operators. Expect to pay about US$150 per person for a half-day trip (four-person minimum). Fishing licenses cost extra: US$25 per day for nonresidents, and US$10 for a king-salmon sticker (if you catch a king but don't have a sticker, you'll have to release it).
Processing of caught fish is done at dockside for an additional charge (by the pound) and is shipped via FedEx to whatever address you provide. Knudson Cove Marina
This marina manages 19 fishing charter boats. 407 Knudson Cove Road, Ketchikan. Phone 907-247-8500. Toll-free 800-528-2486. http://www.knudsoncove.com.

Stedman Street Bridge
This spot over Ketchikan Creek is a great fishing spot for adults and children. During the season, visitors can rent poles and get a fishing license from a little blue shop next to the bridge. Fish can be processed and vacuum-packed for shipment home.


Hiking & Walking
There are plenty of opportunities for hiking in the surrounding Tongass National Forest, although most trails are not accessible from downtown. There is a public trail and bike path along Ketchikan's waterfront from downtown to the village of Saxman, a distance of approximately 2 mi/4 km, and the path has been extended out to Mountain Point, an additional 3 mi/5 km.
Most other trails require transportation or a guide, so check the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center at 50 Main St. for a map and the names of tour guides. Phone 907-228-6220. http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/recreation/trails/traillist.shtml.
SEAtrails also lists seven Ketchikan trails online, with access points, elevation gain, distance, difficulty and maps. http://www.seatrails.org/com_ketchikan/index.htm. Deer Mountain Trail
The 3-mi/5-km Deer Mountain Trail begins at the base of Deer Mountain (behind City Park). It's about a four-hour hike. The trail is very steep, so wear your hiking boots. Also take insect repellent and water with you. The first overlook is about 1 mi/1.5 km up—you can always turn around there after you're done gaping at the incredible views.

Rainbird Trail
This trail is located less than a mile/kilometer from downtown. It begins and ends on the Third Avenue bypass road. It is not as strenuous as the Deer Mountain Trail and much shorter, but offers spectacular views of both downtown and Ketchikan's West End. The beginning and the end of the trail are fairly steep, but the majority of the trail is flat and easy to walk. A map of the trail is available at the visitors center.

Ward Lake Trail and Perseverance Lake Trail
One of Ketchikan's most scenic trails is the 1.3-mi/2.1-km-long trail at Ward Lake, which goes through old-growth forest. It is approximately 8 mi/13 km from downtown on the North Tongass Highway. Across the road is the 2.3-mi/3.7-km Perseverance Lake trail, great for berry picking in late July and August. Make noise to alert bears you are in the area.


Other Options
Alaska Canopy Adventures
Zip through the rain forest from 10 treetop platforms on eight dual ziplines and cross three suspension bridges (sky bridges) for a unique perspective on nature on the Rainforest Canopy and Zipline Expedition. Another adventure, the Bear Creek Zipline, welcomes families. US$179 per person for each tour. 4085 Tongass Ave., Suite 201, Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-5503. http://www.alaskacanopy.com.


Nightlife
Ketchikan once had more than a dozen bars in its downtown area alone. Most were kept going by the large numbers of fishermen and loggers in town during the summer. But with those industries in decline and tourism growing, economics have driven most of the bars out. There are still a few longtime bars left, such as the Arctic Bar in Newtown, but Ketchikan's days as the nightlife capital of Alaska are gone.
Nightlife in Ketchikan can include anything from pizza at My Office Sports Bar and Godfather's Pizza to dancing at First City Saloon. Nights are long in winter, and many bars are open late.
During the off-season, the Saxman Native Village Bear Clan House hosts open-mike nights. Anyone in the community who wants to perform can do so. Admission is US$5 and tickets must be purchased in advance from the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council.
Bars, Taverns & Pubs
Arctic Bar
For 70 years, the Arctic has been one of Ketchikan's watering holes. It has a covered deck, the Burger Queen grill next door and Paula—bartender, owner and raconteur. Paula was named the "heart of Ketchikan" by the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau. 509 Water St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-4709. http://www.arcticbar.com.

First City Saloon and First City Grill
This bar features 20 beers on tap, a dance floor, TV screens, pool tables and live entertainment. The First City Grill serves the original halibut taco. Locals like this place. Nightly till 2 am. No cover. 830 Water St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-1494.

Fish Pirates Saloon
Decorated with fish and cannery memorabilia, this bar serves seafood, including good fish and chips, chowders and salads. It also has live entertainment. Open Monday-Friday 11 am-5 pm, Thursday-Saturday 9 pm-1 am. 76 Front St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-1600.

Heen Kahidi Lounge
A panoramic view and mud pie for dessert are two of the benefits at this upscale bar located in the Cape Fox Lodge. Open 11 am-10 pm. 800 Venetia Way, Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-8001. Toll-free 866-225-8001. http://www.capefoxlodge.com.

My Office Sports Bar and Godfather's Pizza
This former bowling alley houses a bar decorated with bowling memorabilia, seven TVs and pool tables. Godfather's Pizza, which is alcohol-free, is next door in Suite 102. 2050 Sea Level Drive, Suite 103, Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-0690.

Sourdough Bar and Liquor Store
This smoke-free sports bar on the dock has a great marine photo gallery. 301 Front St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-2217.


Performing Arts
Programs include performances by traveling orchestras, opera, folk music, ballet and dance companies.
The Monthly Grind is a local talent show that occurs the third Saturday of the month at the Saxman Tribal House September-May. Admission is US$5 but will be refunded if you bring a dessert. Contact the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council for more information at 907-225-2211.
The Haida Descendant Dancers practice on the second Friday of the month May-September 6:30-7:30 pm at Totem Bight State Park Clan House. Practices are open to the public. No charge.
Dance
Ketchikan Theatre Ballet
Puts on three programs annually. Performances take place at Kayhi Auditorium at the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council. 330 Main St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-9311. http://www.ktbdance.com.


Music
Ketchikan Community Concert Band and Concert Choir
Performances take place in the fall and spring. Phone 907-225-3650.


Theater
The First City Players
This group offers Broadway-style productions at the Kayhi High School Auditorium and other venues. 2610 Fourth Ave., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-4792. http://www.firstcityplayers.org.


Venues
Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council and Main Street Gallery
Shows take place throughout the year. 330 Main St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-2211. http://www.ketchikanarts.org.


Spectator Sports
Locals gather on Wednesday afternoon to watch the sailboat races of the Ketchikan Yacht Club located in Thomas Basin Marina on Tongass Narrows. Phone 907-225-3262. http://www.ketchikanyachtclub.org.
In the winter, local high school sports dominate. In the summer, Ketchikan has five athletic fields that are booked by local baseball, softball and soccer groups. Contact the Gateway Recreation Center at 601 Schoenbar Road for schedules. Phone 907-225-9579.
Shopping
There's a wide variety of shopping in Ketchikan, especially for Alaska-made items. The best shops are along Front Street and on nearby Dock, Mission, Mill, Spruce Mill and Main streets. Creek Street, off Stedman Street in the old red-light district, is home to many quaint stores.
Visitors should keep in mind that some of the Alaskan-themed items for sale are imported from Asian countries. However, Ketchikan does offer excellent Alaska Native and native-made goods such as carvings, jewelry, pottery and crafts. There are also excellent books written by Alaskans about totem poles, the area's history and native culture, as well as cookbooks.
If you are purchasing local arts or crafts, you should look for a little silver-and-black sticker on the item. The one with a polar bear designates the item was made in Alaska; the one with a hand indicates the item was made by an Alaska Native. Although this is meant to guarantee the item is an Alaskan original, not all Alaskan artists pay to have the stickers on their items. Often, a store proprietor will tell you about the artist of a piece you admire, or the item will have a tag with information about the artist.
Shopping Hours: During cruise-ship season (May-September), most shops are open daily or when cruise ships are in port. The rest of the year, hours are generally Monday-Saturday 9 am-5 pm.
Bookstores
Parnassus Books
This cozy bookstore has been in the same location for decades. It carries an excellent selection of books on Alaskan history, culture, cooking, cards, music and gifts, as well as children's books. 5 Creek St. (Star Building, upstairs), Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-7690. http://www.ketchikanbooks.com.


Galleries
Ketchikan has more master carvers than anywhere else in Alaska. You can see artists at work in their shops at the House of Haida (728 Water St., Suite 101; phone 907-247-4438); Crazy Wolf Studio (607 Mission St.; phone 907-225-9653); Ketchikan Carvers at the Creek (28 Creek St.; phone 907-225-3018); and Our Living Legends (331 Stedman St.; phone 907-225-2266). Arctic Spirit Gallery
Located under the welcome arch, this gallery sells totem poles, masks, scrimshaw art, carvings, bentwood boxes, and Northwest Coast and Alaska Native baskets. 310 Mission St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-6626. http://www.arcticgallery.com.

Crazy Wolf Studio
This studio carries items by Tsimshian artist Ken Decker. His specialty is drums, along with paddles, carved argillite figures, totem poles and bentwood boxes. Other local artists are also featured. 607 Mission St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-9653. http://www.crazywolfstudio.com.

Exploration Gallery
Located at the entrance to Creek Street, this gallery features Alaskan and locally made pottery, as well as jewelry, maps and prints. Cahoots Coffee Shop is also on-site, serving specialty soups and sandwiches. 105 Stedman St. (by Whale Park), Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-4278. http://www.explorationgallery.com.

Ketchikan's Carver at the Creek
Tlingit artist Norman Jackson sells masks, wood carvings, jewelry, ivory and baskets. 28 Creek St., Lower, Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-3018. http://www.normanjackson.com.

Scanlon Gallery
This frame shop is one of the finest art galleries in the city, carrying the works of artists such as Rie Munoz and Barbara Lavellee with their colorful depictions of Alaskan life, as well as glass, books, clothing and jewelry. 318 Mission St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-247-4730. http://www.scanlongallery.com.

Soho Coho
This contemporary arts-and-crafts gallery is the headquarters of artist Ray Troll, famous for his fantastical fish art. The shop also carries the works of other local artists in jewelry, photography and handmade crafts. 5 Creek St. (Star Building), Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-5954.

The Point
Alaska artist Terry Pyles shows local and regional art as well as his own paintings. The gallery also sells beads, yarn, coffee and specialty soups year-round in the coffee shop. 25 Jefferson Way, No. 102, Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-2858. http://www.alaskanart.net.


Shopping Areas
Ketchikan Plaza
The mall has a Safeway Foods, Sears, McDonald's, Alaska Indoor Sports, a beauty salon, Wells Fargo Bank and a variety of gift shops. 2417 Tongass Ave., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-7000. http://www.ketchikanplaza.com.

Salmon Landing Market
The market features shops that sell quilts, clothing, tea, Alaska souvenirs and T-shirts. There are also restaurants and a coffee shop. The south end of the docks, downtown, Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-3289.

Tongass Trading Co.
This is one of Ketchikan's oldest businesses. Two downtown stores are located on opposite street corners at Dock and Front streets. They carry a variety of clothing, from T-shirts, seasonal fashions and formal wear to all-weather sports gear and equipment, luggage, salmon products, collectibles and souvenirs. Additional locations include Tongass Trading Furniture Store at 2324 Tongass Ave. and the Marine Outdoor store at 2521 Marine Works Way. 201 Dock St. and 312 Dock St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-5101. Toll-free 800-235-5102. http://www.tongasstrading.com.


Specialty Stores
Bronze Maiden Seafoods
Recognized by the U.S. Commerce Association for quality products, this is an A-Z seafood shop, featuring every kind of local fresh seafood. It also provides recipes, and it packages and ships its products. A specialty is Silver Lining Seafoods smoked salmon pate. Open year-round. 1414 Tongass Ave., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-2646. http://www.bronzemaidenseafoods.com.

Forget-Me-Not Sweater Shoppe
Stay warm with sweaters, gloves and hats from around the world and qiviut (musk-ox wool) scarves sold in this locally owned shop. Open year-round. 716 Totem Way, Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-3667. http://www.forgetmenotsweaters.com.

Poker Creek Gold
This shop sells mining artifacts, Alaskan gold nuggets, minerals and gold-nugget jewelry. You can even buy a chunk of gold. 18 Creek St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-3252.

Royal Treasures
This shop features a large collection of Russian-made items, such as hand-painted nesting dolls, Faberge-style egg pendants, amber jewelry and Lomonosov porcelain. 55 Main St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-8042.


Itinerary
Day Trips
To Prince of Wales Island. This is the third-largest island in the U.S. It has small fishing villages, logging camps and Alaska Native communities. Evidence suggests that the island has been inhabited for a very long time: Human bones dating back more than 9,000 years have been found. Today, it offers access to world-class fishing and hunting areas and has several totem parks.
El Capitan caves is another highlight, part of the island's massive karst (eroded limestone) cave system. Prince of Wales Island is part of a volcanic chain, and there are hot springs near the caves (too hot for swimming). Logging on the island has been restricted, and visitors will see clearings where forests are slowly returning. Marble quarries exist from the island's mining days. A number of lodges offer sportfishing packages. For more information, contact the Prince of Wales Chamber of Commerce. Phone 907-755-2626. http://www.princeofwalescoc.org.
You can get there via a 25- to 45-minute flight, or a three-hour Inter-Island Ferry Authority ride. US$40.70 one-way, US$19.80 children. The ferry leaves Ketchikan at 3:30 pm, arriving at Hollis on Prince of Wales Island at 6:30 pm. It returns to Ketchikan the next day at 8 am. Phone 866-308-4848. http://www.interislandferry.com.
Local Tours
Flightseeing tours of Misty Fiords National Monument, LeConte Glacier (near Petersburg), the Stikine River (near Wrangell), Hyder on the border with British Columbia, and Prince of Wales Island are popular. Among those offering the trips are:
Island Wings Air Service


1243 Tongass Ave., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-2444. Toll-free 888-854-2444. http://www.islandwings.com.
Misty Fjords Air & Outfitting


Narrated floatplane tours of Misty Fjords National Monument. During the 90-minute tour, you'll see spectacular scenery with snow-capped mountains, sheer cliffs, waterfalls and lakes, mountain goats, orcas and other wildlife. US$229 per person. 1716 S. Tongass Highway, Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-5155. Toll-free 877-228-4656. http://www.mistyfjordsair.com.
Pacific Airways


Daily scheduled service to Craig on Prince of Wales Island, US$135 one way or US$270 round-trip. A 90-minute trip through Misty Fjords is US$199 per person with a four-person minimum. 1935 Tongass Ave., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-3500. Toll-free 877-360-3500. http://www.flypacificairways.com.
Promech Air


In August and September, this operator features a bear-watch trip to Neets Bay Wilderness. 1515 Tongass Ave., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-3845. Toll-free 800-860-3845. http://www.promechair.com.
SeaWind Aviation


1809 Tongass Ave., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-1203. http://www.seawindaviation.com.
Southeast Aviation


Flights range US$99-$475. 1249 Tongass Ave., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-2900. Toll-free 888-359-6478. http://www.southeastaviation.com.
Tacquan Air


Expect to pay US$109-$425. 4085 Tongass Ave., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-8800. Toll-free 800-770-8800. http://www.taquanair.com.
In addition to flightseeing tours, bush runs are also available. Tours include just you and the pilot taking supplies and mail to outlying towns on the border with Canada or Prince of Wales Island. Available through Tacquan Air (phone 907-225-8800) or Pacific Airways (phone 877-360-3500).
A variety of reputable tour operators offer excursions in Ketchikan. Be aware that because Ketchikan is so small, the cruise lines may monopolize some operators. Most tour operators have sales booths and courtesy phones in the visitors center, which also has lists of operators who offer guided fishing, wildlife and other tours. Alaska Amphibious Tours
This company offers sightseeing tours of the city and harbor in "duck" vehicles that can drive on land and float in the water. Tours last 90 minutes. US$38 adults. 5191 Borch St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-9899. Toll-free 866-341-3825. http://www.akduck.com.

Alaska Hummer Adventures
This company offers tours of Ketchikan's scenery via unusual modes of transportation. US$149 per hour. 5191 Borch St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-9899. Toll-free 866-253-8257. http://www.akhummer.com.

Alaska Travel Adventures
Take a mountainous back-roads tour, canoe on a lake in the rain forest or take a nature hike. Snacks included. May-September. US$89-$149 adults, US$59-$99 children age 12 and younger. Ward Cove, Ketchikan. Phone 907-247-5295. Toll-free 800-323-5757. http://www.bestofalaskatravel.com.

Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's Tour
Board the M/V Aleutian Ballad, featured in season two of TV's The Deadliest Catch, and watch as the crew demonstrates the use of commercial fishing gear to catch crabs, octopus, sharks and prawns. The three-and-a-half-hour tour is Ketchikan's No. 1 attraction. Wheelchair accessible. Berth Three at the Main Cruise Ship Dock, Ketchikan. Phone 360-642-4935. Toll-free 888-239-3816. http://56degreesnorth.com.

Experience Alaska Tours
Take the Wilderness Exploration & Crab Feed tour and travel by boat to the crabbing grounds. Learn about Alaska's crabbing industry and help haul pots filled with Dungeness crabs. Enjoy a crab feast back on land at George Inlet Lodge. A Mountain Top Flightseeing and Crab Feast tour is also available. These tours are sold on cruise ships. US$159-$237. Tours leave from Tongass Narrows, 11728 S. Tongass Highway, Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-6077. http://www.catchcrabs.com.

Ketchikan Outdoors
For the adventurer, there's a two-and-a-half-hour, self-piloted Zodiac tour of Ketchikan's waterfront and Tongass Narrows. Gear and a guide provided. Other options include a four-hour excursion and overnight camping. 714 Water St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-617-2716 or 907-617-1820. http://www.ketchikanoutdoors.com.

Lighthouse Totems and Eagles Excursion
This water-related tour features sightseeing in Tongass Narrows, Loggerville (a floating logging camp), Ward Cove and the historic Guard Island Lighthouse at the north end of Tongass Narrows. The three-hour tour also features water views of some of the mansions on the Ketchikan rural waterfront. 11380 Alderwood St. N., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-6919. http://www.lighthouseexcursion.com.

Panhandle Motorcycle Adventures
Tour the area with a guide on a Harley Davidson. US$249 driver, US$149 passenger for a three-hour tour. Rentals are US$90 per hour, two-hour minimum, with insurance. Phone 907-617-6251. http://www.panhandlemoto.com.

Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary
This tour and sighteeing location features a narrated city tour and a nature walk at Herring Cove (8 mi/13 km south of downtown) along a salmon-filled estuary where bears and eagles feed on returning salmon in August and September. It also features a tour of a historic lumber mill and Native carving demonstrations. Prices start at US$80 adults, US$50 children. Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, 116 Wood Road (8 mi/13 km south of downtown), Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-5503. http://www.alaskarainforest.com.

Seahorse Ventures
Tour Ketchikan for 45 minutes in a horse-drawn trolley during summer. 2878 S. Tongass (tours leave from the cruise ship dock downtown), Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-3672. http://www.horsetrolleytours.com.


Day Plans
To help you make the most of your time in Ketchikan, we've designed the following itineraries.
PLAN A
Go Fish
Follow Ketchikan Creek up to City Park to the Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center. Take the tour. Afterward, try the amphibious-vehicle ride for a land-and-sea tour of Ketchikan. Grab lunch and walk down to the docks where the charter boats come in and unload the catch. Spend the afternoon fishing off Stedman Street Bridge. (Don't forget to purchase a license.) Then take the tram to Cape Fox Lodge for a spectacular view of Ketchikan and Tongass Narrows with dinner at Heen Kahidi.
PLAN B
Misty Fjords Majesty
Take a leisurely boat ride to Misty Fjords National Monument (about five hours). The captain will show you sea lions, harbor seals, orca whales and eagle nests. The tour includes a lecture by a naturalist and a gourmet lunch. Spend your afternoon exploring the park. On your return, catch a sunset at The Narrows Inn and Marina with an amber brew and fresh crab legs.
PLAN C
Native History and Natural Scenery
Spend the morning at the Totem Heritage Center, which houses 19th-century totem poles from remote Alaska Native villages. Afterward, hit the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center with its award-winning film and exhibits on native culture and natural resources. Grab lunch at Annabelle's Famous Keg and Chowder House. Rent a car for the drive to Totem Bight Park and Settler's Cove on the northern end of Ketchikan. Spend the afternoon hiking up Perseverance Trail at Ward Cove. Finish your day with an outstanding meal at the Salmon Falls Resort.
Dining
Dining Overview
As would be expected, king crab, salmon and halibut are Ketchikan's seafood specialties, and they're always fresh. You can also find home-style chowders, cannery bread, wraps and great cheeseburgers. Most of the popular restaurants are within walking distance of downtown.
Coffee is big in Ketchikan. Kiosks along Tongass Avenue offer drive-through services. Favorite companies include Refiner's Roast (http://www.refinersroast.com) and Raven's Brew (http://www.ravensbrew.com).
Expect to pay within these general guidelines for a dinner for one, not including drinks, tax or tip: $ = less than US$10; $$ = US$10-$25; $$$ = US$26-$40; and $$$$ = more than US$40.
Local & Regional
Annabelle's Restaurant
This 1920s-style roadhouse cafe is a favorite with locals. Wall-sized murals of Ketchikan's red-light district decorate the place, along with a 24-ft/8-m mahogany bar. It serves a hearty seafood chowder as well as fresh king crab and steaks. Try the sourdough pancakes or the steamer (seafood) basket, if it's later in the day. Both are house specialties, as is the home-style cannery bread. Open for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended for lunch in the summer. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 326 Front St. (in the Gilmore Hotel), Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-6009. http://www.gilmorehotel.com/annabelles.htm.

Bar Harbor Restaurant
This small, converted house is known for its grilled-steak salad, steaks and fresh seafood. The halibut tacos are consistently top-notch. Dine on the deck if you can. Open for lunch and dinner. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 2813 Tongass Ave. (on the west end of town next to the Bar Harbor Marina), Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-2813.

Jeremiah's Pub & The Landing Restaurant
The Best Western Landing Hotel houses two restaurants that are both popular with locals. Jeremiah's Pub serves everything from pastas to pub sandwiches. It features a pleasant fireplace, circular bar and a deck overlooking Tongass Narrows. Try the halibut BLT and beer-batter or sweet-potato fries. Downstairs is the Landing Restaurant, a family spot famous for its halibut-and-chips. Jeremiah's Pub open daily for lunch and dinner; The Landing open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 3434 Tongass Ave. (across the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry Terminal), Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-5166. Toll-free 800-428-8304. http://www.landinghotel.com/restaurant.aspx.

Pioneer Cafe
This cafe offers down-home cooking and is a local hangout. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $-$$. 617 Mission St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-3337.

Salmon Falls Resort
This sportfishing lodge serves excellent food in a beautiful setting. Views include a waterfall, Clover Passage islands and Behm Canal. Specialties include fresh halibut, salmon, filet mignon and the best cheesecake in town. Nightly for dinner May to mid-September. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. 16707 N. Tongass Highway (18 mi/29 km north of downtown), Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-2752. Toll-free 800-225-2752. http://www.salmonfallslodge.com.

The Narrows Inn Restaurant
Located on the water about 4 mi/6 km north of downtown, the Narrows has become Ketchikan's consistently best restaurant, particularly for lunch and dinner. The menu is similar to most Ketchikan restaurants (seafood and steaks), but the preparation is always excellent. The restaurant is smoke-free. Smokers are invited to eat in Thornlow's Waterfront Bar, which also has a great waterfront view. $$-$$$. 4871 N. Tongass Highway, Ketchikan. Phone 907-247-2600. Toll-free 888-686-2600. http://www.narrowsinn.com.


Cuisines
American
Polar Treats
This place serves stuffed wraps that will feed two people and grilled panini. It also makes its own ice cream. Open daily year-round for breakfast, lunch and early dinner; closed Sunday in winter. $. Most major credit cards. 500 Mission St. (south end of the docks), Ketchikan. Phone 907-247-6527.

The Burger Queen
This small building right through the tunnel by the docks has cozy outdoor tables and seating for eight inside. The halibut is fresh, and the cheeseburgers are the best in town. It also serves chicken, chili and salads. Open year-round Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner; Sunday and Monday for lunch only in summer. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 518 Water St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-6060.


Fusion
Diaz Cafe
Ketchikan's oldest restaurant has a nondescript-looking exterior but serves excellent Filipino and Western food. Try the hearty servings of spicy chicken adobo, a local favorite. Open daily except Monday for lunch and dinner. $. 335 Stedman St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-2257.


Coffeehouses
Ketchikan Coffee Co.
This charming coffee shop located in the historic New York Hotel has reasonable prices, live music, local art for sale and Internet access. Be sure to sample the local Raven's Brew coffee. It serves salads and tapas such as bacon-wrapped scallops, brie and eggplant parmigiana. Look for the Ray Troll Absolutely Creek Street mural and other local art. Open daily in summer; hours vary. Winter hours are 7 am-3 pm. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 207 Stedman St. (across the Thomas Basin Boat Harbor), Ketchikan. Phone 907-247-2326. http://www.ketchikancoffee.com.

The Edge-Espresso Shop
You'll find assorted coffees, espresso, breakfast sandwiches, Danish pastries, muffins and juices. It has a cozy seating area with large windows to watch ships and tour boats. May-September daily 7 am-4 pm; October-April 9 am-3 pm. $. 5 Salmon Landing Market, Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-1465.


Seafood
Alaska Fish House
Next to the Lumberjack Show is a distinctive little white house known for fresh fish. The Alaska Fish House serves alder-grilled salmon, halibut tacos, two-salmon chowder and coffee from Ketchikan's Green Coffee Bean Company (phone 907-247-5621; http://www.tgcbc.com). Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner mid-April to early October. 3 Salmon Landing, Ketchikan. Phone 907-247-4055. Toll-free 877-732-9453. http://www.alaskafishhouse.com.

Crab Cracker Seafood Bar
This unpretentious place features seating at the counter and is a good spot for people-watching. It offers the best market price for king crab, which is served with melted butter and a delicious salad. There's also a serve-yourself all-beef hot-dog counter there. Open May-September Monday-Saturday for lunch. $-$$. 5 Salmon Landing, Ketchikan. Phone 907-247-2866. http://www.ketchikanfishmarket.com/crab-cracker-seafood-bar.html.

Heen Kahidi
For fresh seafood and great views of Tongass Narrows, be sure to take a ride on the funicular from Creek Street up to this upscale restaurant. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 800 Venetia Way (inside the Cape Fox Lodge), Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-8001. Toll-free 866-225-8001. http://www.capefoxlodge.com/heen_kahidi.html.


Other Options
Orca Corn
This is the place to go for a popcorn snack. Look for the smiling orca whale on top of the building. Free samples available. $. 303 Mission St., Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-4435.


Security
Personal Safety
Crime is minimal in Alaska, and that includes Ketchikan. But use common sense—be aware of your surroundings. The police department often has foot and bicycle patrols in town.
Health
Mosquitoes and other nibblers can be a nuisance—be sure to carry a good insect repellent on hikes (preferably one containing deet as an active ingredient). Don't drink untreated water from lakes or streams. No matter how pristine the area seems, people and animals may have fouled the water.
Always be aware of the possibility of encountering a bear. If you do, don't approach it, and try to avoid quick actions that may alarm it. Inquire locally for details on recent bear activity and more advice on how to behave around wild animals.
Ketchikan General Hospital is north of downtown at 3100 Tongass Ave. Phone 907-225-5171. http://www.peacehealth.org/southeastalaska. In an emergency, dial 911.
Disabled Advisory
Ketchikan has specially equipped local buses to accommodate riders with disabilities. Elevators are available to the second-floor shopping at Salmon Landing. Cape Fox Lodge has a tram for the ride up to the resort. Watercraft, floatplanes and tour buses may pose a problem—check with individual companies.
Mobility carts and electric cars are available for rent from Rain Barrel (400 Spruce Mill Way; phone 907-225-2277) and Alaska Mobility Adventures (Mill Street; phone 907-247-2472). There's also a Walk and Roll Tour of downtown Ketchikan. http://www.scootersketchikan.com.
Dos & Don'ts
Do call your credit-card company to let them know you will be traveling in Alaska. If you don't, a message may appear for the store to call the company for verification.
Don't cross streets except at crosswalks, especially along Tongass Avenue near the docks. Vehicle traffic can be heavy along the main streets.
Do dress in layers and take rain gear. Ketchikan gets a lot of rain.
Do be sensitive to the distinctions between local tribes. Do not refer to the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshians as clans.
Do make noise when hiking trails to give bears a chance to hide, and never feed wild animals.
Do visit galleries and studios to see artists at work. Ketchikan has more master carvers than any other Alaska location.
Don't try to pronounce the name of the island where Ketchikan is located: Revillagigedo (ruh-vil-uh-gi-GAY-doh). Locals shorten the name to Revilla (ruh-VIL-la).
Hotels
Hotel Overview
Ketchikan offers resorts, hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, apartment and room rentals, and campgrounds. If staying for any length of time, it's best to book well in advance. Waterway travelers should reserve space at the marinas, and RV travelers (via ferry) should do the same at Ketchikan's campgrounds.
Hotel Listings


Phone: (1) 907-225-5166
Fax: (1) 907-225-5526
Toll Free: (1) 800-428-8304

Best Western Plus Landing Hotel
3434 Tongass Ave 99901
bwlanding@kpunet.net  http://www.landinghotel.com
107 Guest Rooms • 4 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s] • Pets Allowed
Location: 1/4 mile from Airport; across street from Marine Highway Terminal
Nearby Points of Interest: Totem Bight (State Park) - 8 mi • Saxman (Totem Park) - 4 mi • Ted Ferry Civic Center (Convention Center) - 2 mi






Phone: (1) 907-225-8001
Fax: (1) 907-225-8286
Toll Free: (1) 866-225-8001

Cape Fox Lodge
800 Venetia Way 99901
info@capefoxlodge.com  http://www.capefoxlodge.com
72 Guest Rooms • 3 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: Overlooking the Tongass Narrows
Nearby Points of Interest: Saxman Indian Village • Totem Heritage Park • Deer Mountain






Phone: (1) 907-225-9423
Fax: (1) 907-225-7442
Toll Free: (1) 800-275-9423

The Gilmore Hotel
326 Front St 99901
info@gilmorehotel.com  http://www.gilmorehotel.com
38 Guest Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Nearby Points of Interest:






Phone: (1) 907-225-0246
Fax: (1) 907-225-1803
Toll Free: (1) 866-225-0246

New York Hotel
207 Stedman St 99901
newyorkhotel@att.net  http://www.thenewyorkhotel.com
14 Guest Rooms • 1 Meeting Room • Restaurant[s]
Location: Located at Thomas Basin Boat Harber
Nearby Points of Interest:






Phone: (1) 907-225-7906
Fax: (1) 907-247-3816
Toll Free: (1) 800-999-0784

Yes Bay Lodge
1515 Tongass Ave 99901
info@yesbay.com  http://www.yesbay.com
12 Guest Rooms • 1 Meeting Room • Restaurant[s]
Location: Remote-in Tongass National Forest
Nearby Points of Interest:




Facts
Geostats
Passport/Visa Requirements: All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico. Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S.
Passports are required for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders with the U.S. and for cruise passengers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda. Reconfirm travel-document requirements with your carrier prior to departure.

Population: 7,503.
Languages: English.
Predominant Religions: Christian.
Time Zone: 9 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-9 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is observed from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
Voltage Requirements: 110 volts.
Telephone Codes: 907, area code for all of Alaska;
Money
Currency Exchange
There are several banks in the downtown area: Alaska Pacific (410 Mission St.), First Bank (331 Dock St. and 2530 Tongass Ave.) and Wells Fargo Bank Alaska (306 Main St., 4966 N. Tongass Highway and 2415 Tongass Ave.). All have ATMs. The visitors center also has an ATM (131 Front St.). Some stores will accept Canadian currency at a fair exchange rate.
Banks are generally open Monday-Friday 10 am-5 pm.
Taxes
Although there is no state tax, the local tax rate is 6%. The hotel occupancy rate is 7% for the city. The borough hotel rate is 4%.
Tipping
Tip restaurant waitstaff and taxi drivers 15% unless good service warrants more.
Weather
Summer is the best time to visit. The days are usually less overcast and rainy than the rest of the year. June and July average 7 in/17 cm precipitation compared with 20 in/52 cm in October, but be prepared for rain any time. Temperatures range 51-65 F/11-18 C. Fall and winter are much cooler, with temperatures often dropping below freezing, and there is less daylight for sightseeing activities.
What to Wear
The weather in Ketchikan can be cold and rainy or hot and sunny. It is best to pack casural clothing to cover both extremes, from shorts and a T-shirt to long pants, a sweater or fleece garment and water-resistant jacket with a hood. Layering is the rule. If you're traveling on the water, you might also want to take a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and carry a bottle of water. Make sure to pack comfortable waterproof walking shoes and extra pairs of socks.
Communication
Telephone
Public phones are located in and around the visitors center at the cruise-ship pier at Berth Three, at the Tongass Trading Co. and throughout Ketchikan.
Most cell phones have good coverage in and around town. Check with your provider before you travel.
Internet Access
There are several places in Ketchikan where Internet service is available, including most hotels and lodges. Wi-Fi access is available at the Cape Fox Lodge and at coffee shops. The Ketchikan Public Library at 29 Dock St. also offers Internet access. Other hot spot locations are at the cruise-ship docks, 5 Salmon Landing, Crab Cracker Seafood Bar, Thomas Basin and the Alaska Marine Highway ferry terminal. Seaport Cyber
Internet access for US$5 per hour. Salmon Landing Building, Second Floor (south end of the docks), Ketchikan. Phone 907-247-4615. Toll-free 888-295-0965. http://www.seaportel.com/Ketchikan.htm.


Mail & Package Services
The main post office is at 3609 Tongass Ave. There is a post office substation in the Barnaby's Building on Mission Street.
Newspapers & Magazines
Ketchikan has two main papers. The Ketchikan Daily News is published daily except Sunday (http://www.ketchikandailynews.com). The Local Paper is published every Wednesday and is distributed at points throughout town (http://www.thelocalpaper.com). Both papers list local events.
The best places to get up-to-date local information are at the visitors centers (131 Front St. and Berth Three on the dock).
Transportation
The downtown area is so small you can see almost everything on foot. But a good way to get an overview of Ketchikan is to catch one of the public buses that circle through town daily.
Air
The Ketchikan International Airport (KTN) is across Tongass Narrows on Gravina Island. There's no bridge to the island, but a ferry runs every 30 minutes year-round between the airport and a dock north of the state ferry pier (US$5 round-trip). There are floatplane docks north of the cruise-ship pier. Phone 907-225-6800. http://www.borough.ketchikan.ak.us/airport/airport.htm.
Car
Because Ketchikan is on an island, you can't get very far in a car. But if you want to sightsee on your own, rental cars are available for US$57-$96 per day. Reserve cars in advance during the summer. Contact Budget Rent-A-Car at 907-225-6003, First City Car Rental at 907-225-7368 or Alaska Car Rental at 800-662-0007. Courtesy shuttles to the rental offices are offered from the cruise dock.
Ferry
Alaska Marine Highway
Ferries plying the Inside Passage stop at Ketchikan's ferry terminal, which is 2 mi/3 km northwest of downtown. Rates vary depending on the size of your vehicle or if you're on foot. Toll-free 800-642-0066. http://www.ferryalaska.com.

Inter-Island Ferry Authority
This company provides year-round passenger and vehicle service between Ketchikan and Hollis on Prince of Wales Island. US$37 adults, US$86 for a standard-size vehicle. Toll-free 866-308-4848. http://www.interislandferry.com.


Public Transportation
Ketchikan Gateway Borough operates The Bus, which consists of three bus lines that travel throughout Ketchikan. The Blue Line runs from Saxman Native Village to the north end of Tongass Avenue, a half-hour trip either way. The fare is US$1 one way, cash only. The Green Line makes an hour-long circle into the hills and is the more scenic route. A day pass for US$2 offers unlimited rides on either line, and you can transfer from one to the other at the airport ferry. The buses make frequent stops along their routes. The Red Line covers the southern part of the island. Bus schedules are available at the visitors centers and other locations around town.
The transit association has also instituted a shuttle service that connects Berth Four with Creek Street, the Totem Heritage Center, Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and the Tongass Historical Museum every 20 minutes May-September. The shuttle is free. For information, phone 907-225-8726 or 907-247-5541. http://www.borough.ketchikan.ak.us/publicworks/bus/businfo.htm.
Taxi
Several taxi companies offer transportation around town, as well as individualized tours. Expect to spend US$35 for a half-hour tour of the area, US$70 for for up to six people in the cab. Call Alaska Cab at 907-225-2133, Yellow Cab at 907-225-5555 or Sourdough Cab at 907-225-5544.

For More Information
Tourist Offices
Ketchikan Visitors Bureau
The office offers walking-tour maps, brochures and tour-reservation booths. Cultural events and festivals are also available there or on the Web site. Public phones and restrooms are available. Open daily in summer 8 am-5 pm and whenever ships are in port. Winter hours are Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm. 131 Front St. on the docks (a second location at Berth Three), Ketchikan. Phone 907-225-6166. Toll-free 800-770-3300. http://www.visit-ketchikan.com.


Events
Calendar
Ketchikan's annual event calendar begins with the Wearable Art Show each February. The Rainy Day Quilters Guild celebrates Ketchikan's wetness with a Quilting in the Rain show, also in February.
In April is the Alaska Hummingbird Festival, a month-long celebration of the annual return of the Rufous hummingbird. Southeast Alaska Discovery Center sponsors an art show and bird walks, along with educational and recreational activities. Phone 907-228-6220. http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/districts/discoverycenter.
Not surprisingly, several of Ketchikan's annual events relate to fish and water. The Celebration of the Sea (May) honors the city's maritime heritage, and the Ketchikan King Salmon Derby (June) is one of the region's largest fishing events.
Fourth of July is a fun time throughout southeast Alaska. Ketchikan sponsors an annual timber carnival and rubber duck race along with the usual parades and firework displays.
Other events, such as the Blueberry Arts Festival in August and the Winter Arts Faire in November, attract local artisans to the area.
For more information about upcoming events in Ketchikan, contact the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau. Phone 907-225-6166, or toll-free 800-770-3300. http://www.visit-ketchikan.com.
Alternatively, contact the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council at 907-225-2211. http://www.ketchikanarts.org.


Denali National Park, Alaska

Overview
Introduction

For many people, the vast Denali National Park, covering 9,375 sq mi/24,280 sq km between Anchorage and Fairbanks, is the highlight of a trip to Alaska. It's a truly spectacular area, featuring the majestic 20,320-ft/6,299-m Mount McKinley (many Alaskans prefer the Tanaina name, Denali), the tallest mountain in North America. More than 155 species of birds and 37 species of mammals, including Dall sheep, caribou, grizzly bears, moose and wolves, inhabit the park. The landscape is at its most verdant during July and August. There are beautiful fall colors (and fewer travelers) in early September.
The park is best seen as a three-night stop, especially if you are taking the train between Fairbanks and Anchorage. Mid-May to mid-September, the park offers interpretive talks and walks with guides, and all-day bus tours take visitors deep into the park. Be aware that the park road is restricted to tour- and shuttle-bus traffic for most of its 90-mi/145-km length. Book bus tours in advance: They fill up fast. Other park activities and facilities include fishing, river rafting, horseback riding and dogsledding demonstrations. Backcountry permits are available.
Reservations need to be made months in advance to stay at the park's single lodge. Other lodging is available just outside the park's entrance, where you will also find restaurants and private parks for recreational vehicles.


Hotels
Hotel Listings


Phone: (1) 907-683-2282
Fax: (1) 907-683-2545
Toll Free: (1) 800-426-0500

Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge
Mile 238.5 Parks Hwy 99755
ptmarketing@princesstours.com  http://www.princesslodges.com
651 Guest Rooms • 2 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: Near the entrance to Denali Natl Park
Nearby Points of Interest:


Phone: (1) 907-683-8200
Fax: (1) 907-683-8211
Toll Free: (1) 800-276-7234

McKinley Chalet Resort
Mile Post 239 George Parks Hwy 99755
http://www.denalinationalpark.com
345 Guest Rooms • 2 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: 2 miles from Park entrance
Nearby Points of Interest:


Phone: (1) 907-683-8900
Fax: (1) 907-683-8918
Toll Free: (1)

McKinley Village Lodge
Mile Post 231 99755
http://www.denalinationalpark.com
150 Guest Rooms • 1 Meeting Room • Restaurant[s]
Location: 6 miles from Park entrance
Nearby Points of Interest:


Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Overview
Introduction

At the northern end of the Inside Passage, 550 mi/880 km southeast of Anchorage, the Glacier Bay National Park waterway stretches for 65 mi/105 km and contains 16 tidewater glaciers. In 1980, Glacier Bay became a U.S. national park and preserve. It encompasses 3.2 million acres/1.3 million hectares and can be visited only by sea or air.
Small boats and planes generally leave from the nearby town of Gustavus. Facilities and services at the park include naturalist talks and walks, sea-kayak rentals and rustic backcountry lodges. Gustavus also has several lodges and bed-and-breakfasts. A number of companies operate whale-watching tours and fishing tours in the bay.
The park has a variety of wildlife, including marine mammals, wolves, moose, black and grizzly bears, Sitka black-tailed deer and bald eagles. This area also has a unique subspecies of black bears. Named glacial bears because of their silver-tinged fur, they are identical in size and features to the common black bear but are found only in glacial areas.



Katmai National Park, Alaska

Overview
Introduction

Katmai National Park is a nature lover's paradise—4.2 million acres/1.7 million hectares of fishing, camping, hiking, boating and sightseeing. It includes volcanoes, waterfalls and diverse wildlife. It's an especially good place to see magnificent brown bears—but follow park rangers' instructions to the letter if you encounter one of these powerful and dangerous animals.
The world-famous Brooks River is known for views of bears catching salmon in midair as the fish attempt to clear the falls. Most viewing is done from elevated platforms, although it's possible to see bears on the trail or from the main lodge. The best time to see bears is during the sockeye run in July and August; there's also a run in June.
Also visit the Valley of the 10,000 Smokes—you can walk along the pumice-and-ash floor of what was once the Novarupta Volcano. Be aware that Katmai is for the hardy and adventurous—only the scenery is deluxe there. Brooks Camp lies at the center of the park (space must be booked months in advance).
Other facilities and activities include interpretive programs, lodging, food service, rental canoes and tours. Katmai can be reached by flying to the town of King Salmon 287 mi/462 km southwest of Anchorage, then continuing by smaller aircraft.
Also accessible from King Salmon is Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve, a volcanic caldera (it last erupted in 1911) from which the white-water Aniakchak River cascades. This is one of Alaska's most formidable natural wonders—starkly beautiful but also difficult to reach and, because of high winds in the caldera, a difficult place to camp. It's best reserved for the true adventurer.


Kodiak, Alaska

Overview
Introduction

The island of Kodiak, 250 mi/400 km southwest of Anchorage, is known for its large population of Kodiak brown bears, and the largest town on the island, also named Kodiak, is known for its big fishing fleet. Kodiak is the second-largest U.S. island (the Big Island of Hawaii is No. 1). It is sometimes called Alaska's Emerald Isle because of the lush environment created by its relatively warm weather (July and August highs average around 60 F/16 C) and steady rain and fog. Much of the island is preserved in the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, where you'll find the Kodiak brown bear and hundreds of bird species, otter, deer, foxes and marine mammals.
As you stroll around town, you may notice several plaques that describe the devastation from the Good Friday Earthquake of 1964. The quake, which lasted five minutes, was followed by a tsunami that destroyed much of the town.
Kodiak has several excellent museums, which are wonderful places to learn a bit about the area's Alaska Native, Russian and natural history (and a welcome respite if the weather's wet). The Baranov Museum has an impressive display of prehistoric artifacts, Russian icons and household items from the 1800s, as well as an exhibit about the 1964 earthquake. The Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository was established to preserve the heritage of the people native to the island.
If you have time, try to see the famous Kodiak brown bears, the largest members of the brown bear family. It's an experience you won't soon forget. The best way to see them is to sign up for a tour. Nearly every air charter service offers bear-viewing trips. Some operators run strictly flightseeing trips, but others will land when they find a good viewing spot. For more information about the bears, contact the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge.

Gates Of The Arctic National Park And Preserve, Alaska

Overview
Introduction

The Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, a huge 8.2-million-acre/3.3-million-hectare preserve 200 mi/322 km northwest of Fairbanks, is one of the most stunning expanses of wilderness anywhere in the world. It preserves a good portion of the majestic Brooks Range.
The park isn't easy to reach. Most visitors take charter flights from Fairbanks into the park and camp for extended periods. There are no facilities inside the park—it's truly wilderness. If you have outdoors experience and plenty of time, don't miss this overwhelming display of natural wonders.


Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

Overview
Introduction

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the largest national park in the U.S., located 314 mi/505 km east of Anchorage, and it includes towering mountain ranges, enormous glaciers and churning wild rivers. Backcountry hikers may see Dall sheep, grizzly and black bears, wolves, moose and caribou.
In the heart of the park is Kennicott, a historic copper-mining ghost town that is being preserved by the National Park Service. Enormous glaciers reach down from the mountains, passing within a few feet of the old buildings. Sparse lodging and minimal other facilities are located in nearby McCarthy, itself almost a ghost town. Access is by air or over a long and rough dirt road.
The park adjoins Kluane National Park in the Yukon and Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge (near Tok), a marshy and forested area teeming with fish and waterfowl.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Overview
Introduction

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 600 mi/966 km northeast of Anchorage, is the largest in the U.S., covering more than 18 million acres/7.2 million hectares. It's often called America's Serengeti because of the variety of animals within its boundaries: lynx, caribou, grizzly and polar bears, arctic fox, wolves, Dall sheep, musk oxen and many species of birds.
Controversy continues about opening the reserve to oil drilling, but those favoring preservation have thus far carried the day. Many Alaska residents—including some of the Alaska Natives on the North Slope—are in favor of allowing oil exploration in the area. On the other hand, the Gwich'in people, who subsist on caribou that bear their calves in the refuge, oppose drilling.
Located in far-northeastern Alaska, bordering Canada and the Arctic Ocean, the reserve offers spectacular scenery, including the tallest peaks of the Brooks Range. Camping and hiking are unrestricted, but mosquitoes and black flies can be almost unbearable in midsummer. (Be sure to take along a head net.)
The area is normally reached by air. The largest village within the reserve is Kaktovik, on Barter Island in the Arctic Ocean. The brief summer ranges from cool to warm, but dry. Winters are relatively dry, but severely cold.

Fairbanks, Alaska

Overview
Introduction

Fairbanks, Alaska—named for 1902 Indiana Sen. Charles Fairbanks—is truly a frontier. The gateway to the Arctic is spread out on a seemingly endless plain in the Tanana Valley, with only a few downtown high-rises and plenty of log cabins dotting the residential districts.
Fairbanks, 125 mi/200 km south of the Arctic Circle and the northernmost U.S. city (as well as Alaska's second largest), is a hub for interior Alaska's commerce, education, arts, and, more recently, tourism, even in winter. It makes up for the dark winter months, though, by almost constant daylight in summer.

One of Fairbanks' main draws in winter is the northern lights, the colloquial name for the aurora borealis, which means northern dawn. The multicolored displays illuminate the night sky for hours, in colors ranging from yellow to blue to green and even red. Most visitors do not see the northern lights because it is rarely seen from late May to early August.
Residents cheerfully joke about their weather and field their visitors' endless questions about daylight, or lack of it. The Fairbanks nickname of Golden Heart City, because of its gold-rush history, could just as easily apply to its residents. In fact, visitors can be matched for free to a "Golden Heart Greeter," local residents who will meet with you for an hour or two in an agreed-upon location.

Map
Must See or Do
Sights—Golden Heart Park; the Trans-Alaska Pipeline; Denali National Park (just around the corner in Alaska terms, although it's 226 mi/364 km southwest of Fairbanks, at Mile 132.2 of George Parks Highway/Alaska Highway 3).
Museums—Collections of ethnographic artifacts at the University of Alaska's Museum of the North; a perspective on the gold rush at the Pioneer Hall Museum; the Alaska Native Village Museum.
Memorable Meals—Cedar-planked wild salmon at The Pump House; steak and seafood at Pike's Landing; outstanding Italian food at Gambardella's.
Late Night—Comedy and live concerts at the Blue Loon; hip-hop at Barracuda's; live folk and blues at McCafferty's.
Walks—The Boreal Forest Trail at Creamer's Field; a stroll along Pioneer Park's riverside trail; the many trails on the campus of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.
Especially for Kids—Alaskan Tails of the Trail with Mary Shields; panning for gold at El Dorado Gold Mine; Riverboat Discovery tour; Pioneer Park's Crooked Creek & Whiskey Island Railroad and sternwheeler Nenana; crawling through a maze made of ice in the Ice Park.
Geography
Spread out along the forested floor of Tanana Valley along the banks of the Chena River, Fairbanks is fairly easy to navigate. However, do watch out for a number of one-way streets in the downtown area.
The city's most obvious geographical feature is the Chena River (pronounced CHEE-nah), which winds through the city mostly in an east-west direction. Airport Way lines the southern edge of the city, and College Road forms the northern border. Cushman and Barnette streets are the city's main north-south arteries. The heart of downtown sits squarely on the waterfront.
More industrial areas lie north of the river, with the University of Alaska at Fairbanks to the northwest on College Road. Highway 3, the George Parks Highway (Alaskans tend to use road names rather than speaking in numbers), crosses the south side of town, eventually leading to Denali National Park to the southwest and to Anchorage, 358 mi/576 km away.
History
The Fairbanks area was originally a fishing zone for native Athabascans. When the gold rush arrived in the Klondike, prospectors flocked to the region in hopes of striking it rich. In 1901, E.T. Barnette was dumped off his sternwheeler at the present location of First Avenue and Cushman Street when the river became too shallow for the ship to continue up the Chena River. He had planned to start up a general store farther north, where miners were finding gold. Right after Barnette got off the boat (the landing marked by a small monument and plaque in the yard of the downtown visitors center), Felix Pedro ran into him. Pedro, the Italian responsible for the Fairbanks gold rush, was looking for supplies, and his chance appearance helped push Barnette into building his store where he was rather than move north. Within a year, the gold rush—led by Pedro's discovery—sprang up around Barnette and his trading post, the first non-Native building in the area.
In the early years, Fairbanks turned out more than US$200 million in gold (as much as US$9 million in one year). Many of the men who went there to work their claims built homes and took their families to stay with them. Within five years of its founding, Fairbanks was a town of 12,000 people, with two hospitals, a library, post office, schools, newspapers and various other businesses.
Though the city's economy began to decline, it received a boost in 1911 with the arrival of the Tanana Valley Railroad. The Alaska Agricultural College and School of Science was established in 1922 (it became the University of Alaska at Fairbanks in 1935) and also provided a slight boon for the city. However, it wasn't until 1968, with the construction of an oil pipeline, that Fairbanks saw considerable growth. In the two years it took to build the 800-mi/1,300-km Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the city's metropolitan population nearly doubled to 65,000. Today, Fairbanks is a gem for visitors and offers many opportunities to peek into the history of this former gold-rush town.
Potpourri
Home to the original Babe the Blue Ox, the Museum of the North on the campus of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks has mummified remains of a 36,000-year-old, blue-hued Alaskan steppe bison.
The aurora borealis—or northern lights—can be seen an average of 243 days a year, although the endless hours of daylight in the summer create less-dramatic views. In 2006-07, Japan Air Lines scheduled 10 winter nonstop flights to Fairbanks so 3,500 Japanese tourists could experience the phenomenon. Supposedly, children conceived under the aurora are more intelligent.
Summer daylight hours are frequently referred to as the "midnight sun," but that really means only that the sun is visible at midnight in midsummer. There are 21 hours of daylight at summer solstice, but it's never completely dark then, so technically there is daylight for 24 hours. Conversely, there are only four hours of daylight at winter solstice in December.
For nearly a century, Alaskans have bet on break-up—the exact time that ice in the Tanana River breaks up at the end of winter. Winners have netted more than US$300,000 in the Nenana Ice Classic, named for a town 65 mi/105 km southwest of Fairbanks.
In the period 1928-59, Gold Dredge No. 8, now a visitor attraction, scooped up 7 million ounces in gold.
You'll hear the terms muskeg and ulu (pronounced OO-loo). Muskeg is a squishy, mossy, swampy bog. Trees growing in muskeg are often stunted. An ulu is a handy, almost semicircular, broad knife used by Alaska Native Inuit peoples.
In the town called Central, which is north of Fairbanks, you can pay for your drinks with gold dust.
The Yukon river is the third-largest in the U.S. and the longest river in Alaska.
More than 1,500 tons of ice is cut from a frozen pond for the Fairbanks winter ice-sculpting competitions.
There are no fireworks on Independence Day in Fairbanks because of nearly 24 hours of sunlight.




See & Do
Sightseeing
Although Denali National Park is a top sightseeing draw for visitors to Fairbanks, the town itself and the immediate surrounding area also have much to offer, especially if you're keen on frontier towns. Visitors can relive the gold-rush days at the El Dorado Gold Mine or witness firsthand how pioneers made their way north on the sternwheeler Nenana. Pioneer Park offers museums and historic mementos to create the aura of days long past, and the Alaska Native Village Museum harks back to a time before the first European settlers paddled upriver.
Fairbanks also has its share of fine museums, including the renowned University of Alaska Museum of the North, with more than 1.4 million artifacts. Nature lovers will also be pleased by the area's parks and gardens. The Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station offers a peek at Arctic wildlife—including muskoxen, caribou and reindeer—and the Georgeson Botanical Garden will astonish you with the diversity of plant species found in interior Alaska.
Historic Sites
El Dorado Gold Mine
The perfect antidote for gold fever, this fun attraction allows families a chance to pan for gold in heated water, ride a replica Tanana Valley Railroad car on a two-hour tour through a permafrost tunnel, stroll through a mining camp, see a sluice box demonstration by miners and learn something about the gold rush. It is one of the original gold-rush sites, and visitors can explore the historic structures and facilities. Mid-May to mid-September with tour departures at 9:45 am and 3 pm. US$35 adults, US$23 children. Fee includes train transportation. Mile 1.3 Elliott Highway (Highway 2), Fairbanks. Phone 907-479-6673. Toll-free 866-479-6673. http://www.eldoradogoldmine.com.

Sternwheeler Nenana
Originally a vital mode of transportation for early pioneers, this riverboat has been renovated to its early glory days. Visitors can walk through it and enjoy a little hands-on history. Its cargo hold is filled with dioramas of early pioneer life. The Nenana has recently been listed as a National Historic Landmark. Mid-May to September daily noon-8 pm. Donations accepted. In Pioneer Park at 2300 Airport Way, Fairbanks. Phone 907-459-1087. http://co.fairbanks.ak.us/ParksandRecreation/PioneerPark/attractions/museums/riverboat_nenanna.htm.

Trans-Alaska Pipeline
A viewpoint for the pipeline is just a short trip north of the city. It offers a chance to see this 800-mi/1,300-km structure and a visitors center sponsored by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. Information about the workings of the pipeline, how it was built and how it is maintained are available at the center. Free. Milepost 4.8 on the Steese Highway (Highway 3), Fairbanks. Phone 907-450-5873. http://www.alyeska-pipe.com.

Veterans Memorial at Bicentennial Park
Just north of City Hall and the police station, this park has a slate memorial honoring the memory of Fairbanks residents who served in the U.S. military. Free. 700 Cushman St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-459-1070.


Museums
Alaska Native Village Museum
This village and museum in Pioneer Park displays artifacts, such as tools and clothing, from the Athabaskan culture. Memorial Day-Labor Day daily noon-8 pm. Pioneer Park, Fairbanks. Phone 907-459-1087. http://www.co.fairbanks.ak.us/ParksandRecreation/PioneerPark.

Fairbanks Community Museum
Housed in the historic City Hall, this museum features exhibits on the history of the city, the flood of 1967, gold-rush artifacts and the Yukon Quest dogsled race. The exhibit Fun at 40 Below presents photos of local life, collectibles, history and more regarding the extreme climate. Mid-May to mid-September Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm; mid-September to mid-May Monday-Friday 11 am-3 pm. Donations requested. 410 Cushman St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-457-3669. http://www.fairbankscommunitymuseum.com.

Fairbanks Ice Museum
Built in 1936, this Lacey Street historic building used to be a major picture theater, but now the billboard stays the same year-round. In addition to some fantastic ice-sculpture displays, the museum shows a film so visitors can see ice carving even in the heat of summer. Mid-May to late September daily 10 am-8 pm for hourly showings. US$12 adults, US$6 children ages 6-12. 500 Second Ave., Fairbanks. Phone 907-451-8222. http://www.icemuseum.com.

Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum
This museum features a world-class collection of more than 70 historically significant American automobiles that showcase the heritage of the automobile during Alaska's post-gold-rush era. The museum has everything from horseless carriages and brass-era buggies to midget racers and the classic luxury cars of the 1930s. Most of the cars are maintained in running condition, and visitors can view repair projects taking place in the museum's shop. Open in summer Sunday-Thursday 11 am-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-6 pm; winter hours starting 20 September, open Sunday noon-6 pm. US$8 adults, US$5 children ages 6-12, free for children age 5 and younger. 212 Wedgewood Drive (on the grounds of Wedgewood Resort), Fairbanks. http://www.fountainheadhotels.com.

Pioneer Air Museum
Within this large building with a gilded dome, you'll find a photographic history of early flight in Alaska. The structure also houses 14 complete airplanes with explanations on how they were used and who their pilots were. Memorial Day-Labor Day noon-8 pm. US$2. Children under 12 free. 2300 Airport Way, Fairbanks. Phone 907-451-0037. http://www.akpub.com/akttt/aviat.html.

Pioneer Hall Museum
This museum focuses on the pioneer days with antique dogsleds, old-fashioned printing presses from three newspapers started in the early 1900s, gold-prospecting equipment, spinning wheels and other pioneer memorabilia. Memorial Day-Labor Day noon-8 pm. Donations are accepted. Gold Rush Town at Pioneer Park, 2300 Airport Way, Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-8579. http://www.akpub.com/akttt/pione.html.

University of Alaska Museum of the North
Voted best museum in Alaska, this facility offers a window into the cultural history of Fairbanks and the surrounding interior region of the state. The museum is renowned for its dramatic architecture and its collection of more than 1 million artifacts, including a well-preserved, 36,000-year-old bison named Blue Babe. Exhibits are accompanied by audio guides and videos. It offers a 125-seat auditorium, museum store, and aurora (northern lights) show. Mid-May to mid-September daily 9 am-7 pm; mid-September to mid-May Monday-Saturday 9 am-5 pm. US$10 adults, US$5 children 7-17. 907 Yukon Drive (on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks), Fairbanks. Phone 907-474-7505. http://www.uaf.edu/museum.


Nature
Denali National Park
For many people, this vast national park (covering 9,419 sq mi/24,395 sq km) is the highlight of a trip to Alaska. A two-hour, 125-mi/201-km drive south of Fairbanks on Alaska Route 3, the Parks Highway, it's a truly spectacular area. It features the majestic 20,320-ft/6,299-m Mount McKinley (many Alaskans prefer the native Tanana name of Denali, "the great one"), the tallest mountain in North America. More than 167 species of birds and 39 species of mammals—including Dall's sheep, caribou, grizzly bears, moose and wolves—inhabit this park.
The landscape is at its most verdant during June, July and August. Beautiful fall colors (and fewer travelers) can be found in early September. The park is open for skiing and dog-sledding year-round. The Denali Visitor Center: Open mid-May to mid-September daily 8 am-6 pm. Eielson Visitor Center: Open 8 June-15 September daily 9 am-7 pm. Private vehicles can access 15 mi/24 km of the park for US$20 per car, US$10 per individual on bike or on foot, good for seven days. Fees are included for purchased park-sponsored bus shuttle rides. Shuttle prices range US$22-$43.75. Tour bus prices start at US$55 for a natural history tour. 50 Denali Park Road, Fairbanks. Phone 907-683-2294. http://www.nps.gov/dena.


Parks & Gardens
Georgeson Botanical Garden
A beautiful compilation of the plants, vegetables and flowers that grow in Fairbanks' climate. You will be amazed by what flourishes in the extreme temperatures. A gift store is on the premises. Mid-May to October daily 9 am-8 pm. Guided tours are led at 2 pm on Fridays June-August. US$2. 117 W. Tanana Drive, Fairbanks. Phone 907-474-1944. http://www.uaf.edu/salrm/gbg.

Golden Heart Park
This pleasant park by the Chena River has an 18-ft/6-m bronze statue commemorating the unknown first family of Alaska and a monument to the spot where pioneer investor E.T. Barnette landed. There's also a mile marker revealing the distances to many cities around the world. 550 First Ave., Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-5774.


Amusement Parks
Pioneer Park
This 44-acre/18-hectare park teems with Alaskan history. In addition to the Pioneer Air Museum (US$2 admission), Tanana Valley Railroad Museum and a Native village, it features the Alaska Salmon Bake outdoor restaurant, the Big Stampede show (five times daily) in Pioneer Hall's Theater, another show in the Palace Theatre, a sample-sized Gold Rush Town with 35 cabins, and the Crooked Creek & Whiskey Island Railroad that circles the park.
The Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts includes an art gallery and a center for performing arts. The park also offers miniature golf, an antique carousel and several playgrounds along with the Riverboat Nenana (US$2 admission) and the railroad car used by U.S. President Warren G. Harding. Pioneer Park is open year-round and is free. Gold Rush Town and the museums are open Memorial Day-Labor Day daily noon-9 pm. 2300 Airport Way, Fairbanks. Phone 907-459-1087. http://co.fairbanks.ak.us/ParksandRecreation/PioneerPark.


Zoos & Wildlife
Alaska Bird Observatory
Bird lovers will flock to this research and education facility. The observatory offers information about migration patterns, feeding habits, unusual sightings and current issues threatening different species. Open Monday-Friday 9 am-9 pm year-round. Donations accepted. 418 Wedgewood Drive, Fairbanks. Phone 907-451-7159. http://www.alaskabird.org.

Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station
An offshoot of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, this research facility is home to caribou, reindeer and musk oxen. It offers short guided tours and viewing opportunities for the public. A gift shop features qiviut (wool from the undercoat of the musk ox), along with other items. Hour-long tours offered late May-early September 10 am-4 pm; 30-minute minitours are held throughout the day. Call ahead for other months. Gift shop open 10 am-5 pm. US$10 adults, US$6 students. Children 6 and under are free. 2220 Yankovich Road, Fairbanks. Phone 907-474-7207. http://www.uaf.edu/lars.


Other Options
Chena Hot Springs
This is a full day's worth of fun. Spend time in the natural mineral springs and take a trail ride on an ATV, a dog cart or a horse. Then tour the Aurora Ice Museum, which comes complete with ice-sculpted seating, beds, an outhouse and an ice bar with caribou-covered ice stools. The signature alcoholic drink is an appletini, served in an ice-carved martini glass. Heat from a geothermal power plant keeps the ice a cool 20 F/-7 C year-round. Dog-sled rides are available in the winter. Approximately 60 mi/100 km northeast of Fairbanks at Milepost 56.5 on Chena Hot Springs Road. Lodging is available. Open year-round. Prices for room rentals vary. Hot springs are free with room rental or US$10 adults, US$7 children ages 6-12. Phone 907-451-8104. http://www.chenahotsprings.com.


Recreation
The great outdoors is the focus of recreational activities in Fairbanks. Bird-watching has been gaining popularity since the community of Fairbanks purchased Creamer's Field in 1966. Canoeing and kayaking on the Chena River on a nice summer day is a treat not to be missed. Boats can be rented with or without guides at Pioneer Park.
Bicycle rentals are available at the park, too, which features an easy trail that parallels the Chena River. Bike trails are also found all over the University of Alaska at Fairbanks campus and adjacent to the Tanana Valley State Fairgrounds off College Road. For an exciting water adventure, make the trip to Denali Park and raft the Nenana River's Class V rapids.
In winter, ski Moose Mountain (10 mi/16 km northwest of Fairbanks; 42 downhill runs) or Skiland (21 mi/34 km north of Fairbanks; 26 downhill runs). Cross-country ski at Birch Hill Recreation Area or University of Alaska at Fairbanks Skarland Trail System. You can also fish at several ponds that are stocked with rainbow trout, but don't forget to get a fishing license.
Bicycling
Alaska Outdoor Rentals and Guides
Rent a bike from these outfitters and pedal your way along the banks of the Chena River or elsewhere on the extensive path systems that line the city. A bike-trail map, a helmet and a bike lock come with your rental. This company also offers canoes, kayaks, and guided excursions. Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day 11 am-7 pm daily. US$19 for half-day; US$27 for full day. 2300 Airport Way (Pioneer Park), Fairbanks. Phone 907-457-2453. http://www.akbike.com.


Bird Watching
Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge
This 1,800-acre/730-hectare historic site was once the most successful and largest dairy farm in interior Alaska. When it was sold, its fields were preserved, allowing it to serve as a resting place each spring and fall for migrating birds such as swans, ducks, geese and other species, including more than 2,000 sandhill cranes. Guided nature walks are available weekdays at 10 am and 7 pm. June-August, the Saturday morning with an artist program begins at 10 am and ends at 2 pm. Farmhouse Visitors Center and gift shop open daily 10 am-5 pm. Free. 1300 College Road, Fairbanks. Phone 907-459-7307. http://www.creamersfield.org.


Boating & Sailing
Canoe Alaska
Specializing in white-water canoe instruction, raft outings, and expeditions. Phone 907-883-2628. http://www.canoealaska.net.

Paddler's Cove Outfitters
Specializing in canoe and kayak rentals, either guided or unguided, this outfitter will get you set up for your next water excursion, including downstream pickup if you wish. Life jackets are included, but stay in the boat—remember, you're in Fairbanks, and the water is not at all warm. Early May to mid-September daily 11 am-7 pm. Prices start at US$24 for a half-day single-kayak rental, US$33 for a half-day canoe rental. 2300 Airport Way (Pioneer Park), Fairbanks. Phone 907-457-2453. http://www.2paddle1.com.


Golf
North Star Golf Club
This 18-hole USGA course has a visitor's package that includes a golf cart, club rentals and a certificate that states you have played at America's Northernmost Golf Course. This is also a unique opportunity to see things you may not expect on a golf course: moose, muskrats, eagles, sandhill cranes, foxes and other wildlife. There's an animal checklist on the scorecard. May-early September daily 7 am-10 pm or later. US$30 for 18 holes. 330 Golf Club Drive, Fairbanks. Phone 907-457-4653. http://www.northstargolf.com.


Hiking & Walking
Alaska Public Lands Information Center
Has information about the Birch Hill trail system, Creamer's Nature Path, Skarland and other trails in and around Fairbanks. Open daily in summer 9 am-6 pm. Winter hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm. Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center, 101 Dunkel St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-0527. Toll-free 866-869-6887. http://www.nps.gov/aplic.

Chena Hot Springs State Recreation Area
Just outside of Fairbanks, experience a range of hikes from Angel Rocks Trail (about a 4-mi/6-km loop) to Granite Tors Trail (about a 15-mi/24-km loop) to Chena Dome Trail (about a 29-mi/46.7-km loop).

Eric Lindskoog Skijor Trails
A premier hiking spot is close to town on the University of Alaska at Fairbanks campus. Multiple trails wind through the campus with varying slopes and vistas. Free. 117 W. Tanana Drive, Fairbanks. Phone 907-474-6921.


Horseback Riding
Gray Line of Alaska
Apart from offering a range of package tours and day trips, Gray Line offers a four-hour horseback ride that takes riders across a variety of terrain from tundra to alpine in Denali National Park, a two-hour drive south of Fairbanks. It's not the typical nose-to-tail-style trail ride: This is a great opportunity to see wildlife without them seeing you, as well as have a narrated tour of the park. Minimum age for riders is 7. US$125. 829 Noble St., in the Westmark Hotel, or 1521 S. Cushman St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-451-6835. Toll-free 800-544-2206. http://www.graylinealaska.com.

Heavy Horse Farm
Ride with experienced guides on summer trail rides and pack trips, or go for sleigh rides and dog sledding in winter. Trail rides begin at 11 am. It's US$55 for a one-hour ride or US$175 with lunch all day. 1285 Sattley Drive, Fairbanks. Phone 907-457-3601. http://www.heavyhorsefarm.com.


Other Options
Denali Outdoor Center
This experienced rafting company has traveled the Nenana River thousands of times, and its guides know the treacherous water as well as anyone. This exciting river with Class V rapids and freezing water can be taken in different doses, depending on your preference: Choose from a half-day rapids float or a two-hour (or longer) canyon run. Fees vary based on trip. Milepost 238.5 on Parks Highway, Fairbanks. Phone 907-683-1925. Toll-free 888-303-1925. http://www.denalioutdoorcenter.com.

Midnight Sun Balloon Tours
Take to the sky in these brightly colored hot-air balloons. With a pilot and a staff who have several decades of experience among them, you can sit back and enjoy the amazing experience of flying without the sound of an engine. The physical location of the ride depends on winds. June-September, daily departures at 6 am and 8 pm to take advantage of the winds. US$210 adult and US$160 children 12 and under. Phone 907-456-3028. http://www.alaskaballoontours.com.

Sun Dog Express Dog Sled Tours
Go dogsledding with this year-round kennel. Learn how to mush and take a team out for a ride—these dogs love to run. If you're a dog lover, it doesn't get much more fun than this. Daily May-October. US$30 for a demo and short ride. Longer rides and tours may be given if reserved ahead. 1540 Hayes St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-479-6983. http://www.mosquitonet.com/~sleddog.


Nightlife
Fairbanks is clearly not Seattle, L.A. or New York when it comes to nightlife, but it does offer some nice options for cooling your heels at the end of a busy day. The most versatile of clubs is the Blue Loon, a local hot spot for dancing, live music, comedy acts and occasional movie showings. Barracuda's and the Marlin are also fun options for great nights out.
There is no central clubbing zone, although you will find many hole-in-the-wall bars downtown. Stick to bars in the nicer hotels if you're looking for wine. McCafferty's Coffee House is a nice downtown option for laid-back live music and a pleasant atmosphere, but it serves only coffee-shop items. For most quality nightlife, you'll have to drive beyond the downtown area.
Call 907-456-4636 or look in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner or http://www.downtownfairbanks.com/calendar.html for a listing of events. Look up which restaurants participate in "Live After 5."
Dance & Nightclubs
Barracuda's
A unique Alaskan dance spot, Barracuda's plays random mixes of mostly Top 40, rock, rap and hip-hop Thursday-Saturday DJ nights. Wednesday is karaoke night. Always lively and interesting, Barracuda's tends to attract a younger crowd. Cover charge varies. 1351 Cushman St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-452-7977.

The Blue Loon
Voted the No. 1 favorite by locals, the Blue Loon is both a nightclub and a movie theater. Go for self-declared (and confirmed by locals) "wild parties," outdoor festivals, great food, concerts and occasional movies. This is a great place for rock and pop dance music provided by DJs, comedy nights and live concerts. Wednesday-Saturday from 5 pm. Cover charge varies. 2999 Parks Highway, Fairbanks. Phone 907-457-5666. http://www.theblueloon.com.


Live Music
Howling Dog Saloon
Known by locals as "The Dog," this is the place to be in the summer. It has live music Wednesday-Saturday. There's a cafe and volleyball in the back. 2160 Old Steese Hwy., Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-4695. http://www.howlingdogsaloon.com.

McCafferty's
If you're looking for something a little quieter than a raucous dance band, this downtown spot is a bohemian coffeehouse, with live blues and folk music on Friday and Saturday nights. Cool sculptures hanging on the walls give the place an artsy feel. 408 Cushman St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-6853.

The Marlin
A live-music venue that often has Alaskan bands playing for appreciative locals. A decent sound stage and reliably fun entertainers make up for low ceilings and poor lighting. It's open mike on Wednesday. Artists range from bluegrass to metal Thursday-Saturday. Cover charge varies; usually US$5 on Friday and Saturday nights. 3412 College Road, Fairbanks. Phone 907-479-4646.


Performing Arts
Although it is a small city, Fairbanks serves a large area with its performing-arts scene, and it offers a remarkable range of artistic events throughout the year. Several annual events draw artists from around the world to teach and share their talents. The Fairbanks Arts Association and Fairbanks Concert Association do much to organize arts events for the public. One of the primary providers of entertainment is the Fairbanks Symphony, whose season schedule runs September-April each year. Other groups include community choirs, chamber orchestras, a Shakespeare theater, the North Star Ballet Company, a children's theater and more.
Alaska Native cultural events are unique opportunities in Fairbanks. Often held at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks in correlation with the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, these gatherings typically include singing, dancing, storytelling and demonstrations of cultural life. You won't see anything like this anywhere else.
The Hering Auditorium, along Airport Way, serves as the venue for the largest concerts in the city. Another commonly used site is the University of Alaska at Fairbanks' Charles Davis Concert Hall. It hosts the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival each year. The Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts at Pioneer Park is also a popular spot, with its free outdoor performances.
Dance
North Star Ballet Company
Since 1987, this troupe has performed The Nutcracker each year. With 180 dancers, it also holds an annual Spring Gala. Ballet training lasts 30 weeks each year and coincides with the school year. Admission prices vary. 1800 College Road, Fairbanks. Phone 907-451-8800.


Music
Fairbanks Symphony Association
The music of Beethoven and Puccini fills the Charles Davis Concert Hall at the University of Alaska Fine Arts Complex throughout the winter. The holiday program includes the Northland Children's Choir, the Choir of the North, University Chorus and others. 234 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fine Arts Complex, 312 Tanana Drive, Fairbanks. Phone 907-474-5733. http://www.fairbankssymphony.org.


Opera
Opera Fairbanks
Founded in 1995, the nonprofit Opera Fairbanks is the only professional company in interior Alaska devoted to opera. Phone 907-457-2780. http://www.operafairbanks.org.


Theater
Fairbanks Drama Association & Fairbanks Children's Theatre
For nearly half a century, this groups has presented six plays each year, using and showcasing local talent. Titles range from Madeline's Christmas to Murdered to Death. Performances are at various venues around town. September-May. 1852 Second Ave., Fairbanks. Phone 907-451-4378.

Fairbanks Light Opera Theatre
This may be about as far Off-Broadway as you can get. For nearly 40 years, this group has been performing musical theater, including such productions as Bye-Bye Birdie, The Gondoliers and Man of La Mancha. Venues include Hering Auditorium and Pioneer Park Theater. November-March. Individual ticket prices range from US$20 adults to US$10 for children younger than 12. Reserved tickets US$36 adults. Phone 907-456-3568. http://www.flot.org.

Fairbanks Shakespeare Theater
It's Shakespeare and more for theater lovers. During winter months, productions range from a children's mystery rabbit tale to plays by Tennessee Williams and even a play by the beloved bard himself. Performances are at the Empress Theatre in the downtown Co-op Plaza building (entrance on Third Avenue).
In January, when nights are long, the Bard-a-thon features 24-hour open readings of Shakespeare's entire works. In July, a Shakespearean play is performed at the Jack Townshend Point outdoor stage at University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Performances are at 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, with matinees on Sunday at 2 pm. Phone 907-457-7638. http://www.fairbanks-shakespeare.org.


Ticket Brokers
Hoitt's Music
Music, dance, local lectures, folk-music concerts and festival tickets can all typically be found at Hoitt's. Sporting event tickets are available there also. 1616 S. Cushman St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-452-7991.


Venues
Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts
From blues to storytelling, rock to reggae, the summer series at the Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts in Pioneer Park is well attended. Performances are held twice a week in summer. Limited seating is available, so consider taking a blanket and a picnic dinner. Tuesday and Thursday at 7 pm in summer. Free. 2300 Airport Way (Pioneer Park), Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-6485. http://www.co.fairbanks.ak.us/ParksandRecreation/PioneerPark.

Charles Davis Concert Hall
This venue hosts large performing-arts events as well as many community art shows. Many of the final performances from the Fairbanks Summer Festival are scheduled there. Admission prices vary. 800 Tanana Loop (University of Alaska campus), Fairbanks. Phone 907-474-7555.

Hering Auditorium
This venue functions primarily as a concert hall (and has hosted such performers as Emmy Lou Harris and John Prine), as well as a lecture and general-entertainment location. Hours depend on the performance. 907 Airport Way, Fairbanks. Phone 907-452-3177 or box office at 907-451-0112.


Spectator Sports
Fairbanks doesn't have any professional sports teams, but it does have serious athletes—and quite a few of them have four legs. Clearly, Fairbanks is crazy about dog racing. By far, the most popular sporting event in Fairbanks is the 1,000-mi/1,610-km Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. In addition to this well-attended race, there are also many smaller dogsledding contests, including the 250-mi/400-km Quest qualifying race, the 120-mi/190-km Junior Yukon Quest Race, the Junior North American Championship Sled Dog Race and many others.
But there are other sporting events in Fairbanks, too, such as the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics and the World Championship Ice Carving Competition. The city is also known for great cross-country skiing: The Equinox Ultra Ski is a 62-mi/100-km race. The GCI Arctic Man Ski & Sno-Go Classic is fun to watch as skiers are pulled along behind speeding snowmobiles in an exceedingly fast 3.4-mi/5.5-km race.
The Goldpanners are a minor-league baseball team that claims to have won more national championships than any other team in their league. They enjoy inviting teams from the lower 48 states to come north for the Midnight Sun Invitational, which is played outdoors on summer solstice through midnight (no lights needed).
The University of Alaska at Fairbanks teams, all referred to as the Nanooks, participate in the Division II league and are perhaps best known for their cross-country skiing athletes.
Baseball
Alaska Goldpanners
This local minor-league team has an avid following, and their most popular game each year is the Midnight Sun Invitational, on June 21. The team, and their fans, celebrate the summer solstice by playing a game without artificial lights from 10:30 pm until after "high noon at midnight." More celebration of the longest day of the year at the Midnight Sun Festival includes 40-plus bands, a midnight sun run, Yukon boat race, craft fair, car show, and lots of food. Season runs June-August. US$6 for general-admission tickets. 2010 Second Ave., Fairbanks. Phone 907-451-0095. http://www.goldpanners.com.


Dog Racing
February is race month in Fairbanks. You can choose among the annual Yukon Quest race between Fairbanks and Yukon Territory, Canada; the Tesoro Iron Dog snowmobile race from Wasilla to Nome to Fairbanks; Gold Run skijoring (sleddogs pull skiers); and the annual Serum Run from Nenana to Nome.


Yukon Quest
This 1,000-mi/1,610-km endurance dogsled race stretches from Fairbanks to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The trail follows historic routes, though the starting point varies from year to year. The 10-day race is run in February with up to 14 dogs battling frozen rivers, four mountain ranges, subfreezing temperatures, and 100-mph/160-kph winds. Fairbanks musher Lance Mackey is a legend for winning both the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest in the same year. Souvenirs can be purchased at the Fairbanks Community Museum, 410 Cushman St. Yukon Quest Office open Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm. Free. 600 Third St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-452-7954. http://www.yukonquest.com.


Other Options
World Ice Art Championship
Go to see what competitors from around the world can do when they take huge chunks of ice and over a span of 10 days turn them into amazing creations. Past entries have presented dragons, Cinderella and her carriage with horses, and many other extraordinary scenes; ice slides and play equipment are also created for children. There are about 180 sculptures created. Winter (late February-late March). US$10 adults for a day pass, US$5 children 6-12. 1925 Chena Landing Loop Road, Fairbanks. Phone 907-451-8250. http://www.icealaska.com.


Shopping
Fairbanks is widely known as a gold-rush town, and to prove it, there are numerous jewelry stores touting "gold-nugget" jewelry. Though it would be wonderful if you could find your own nugget on a local gold-mine tour, chances are that if you want to take a nugget home you're going to have to buy one.
Another distinctly Alaskan item is baleen, the thin, hard and black substance made of densely packed hairs that come from a whale's mouth. These pieces sometimes have scrimshawed or etched pictures of Alaskan scenes on them, particularly of dogsledding or Eskimo life. Baleen is very difficult to obtain, and the larger the piece (sometimes longer than 18 ft/6 m) the more expensive it is. Only Alaska Natives are allowed to own baleen that is not scrimshawed or made into an art and craft.
Jade and ivory are also valuable Alaskan items—the ivory is particularly precious because of hunting and ownership regulations. You'll also be likely to come across items in your shopping excursions such as mementos of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, smoked salmon, dried wild berries and items made of qiviut (musk-ox hair).
Downtown Fairbanks is a good place to start your shopping. Most stores offer shipping out of the state and country.
Shopping Hours: Generally daily 9 or 10 am-8 or 9 pm in summer; winter hours are generally Monday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm.
Antique Stores
Elegant Memories Antiques
Antiques and collectibles from Alaska and beyond. Open Tuesday-Saturday noon-6 pm. 212 Lacey St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-374-9939.


Bookstores
Alaska Natural History Association Bookstore
This is part of the Alaska Public Lands Center, which provides various programs about Alaska and trip planning, as well as information about such things as public lands and bear safety. The Alaska Natural History Association Bookstore offers a nice selection of mostly nonfiction Alaskan literature, beautiful landscape posters, educational materials and more. You may also order books online at http://www.alaskanha.org. Open daily 9 am-6 pm Memorial Day-Labor Day. Winter hours are 10 am-5 pm Tuesday-Saturday. Free. Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center, 101 Dunkel St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-0527. Toll-free 866-869-6887. http://www.nps.gov/aplic/about_us/faplic.html.

Gulliver's Books
The farthest north independent bookstore in Alaska says it has it all: "food for the mind and food for the body." In addition to the bookstore, there's a second-story cafe with breakfast, an espresso bar, wraps, sandwiches and soups. A new store opened across the parking lot called Gulliver's Annex where bargain books and remainders are sold. Open Monday-Friday 9 am-9 pm, Saturday 9 am-8 pm, Sunday 11 am-6 pm. 3525 College Road, Fairbanks. Phone 907-474-9574. Toll-free 800-390-8999. http://www.gullivers-books.com.


Galleries
New Horizons Gallery
With prints, glassware, sculptures, paintings, books and pottery for sale, this gallery offers a way to take a piece of the Alaskan landscape home with you. It also sells ivory and jade pieces. Custom framing is also available. Open June-August Monday-Friday 10 am-7 pm, Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday noon-5 pm. Winter hours are Monday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday noon-5 pm. 519 First Ave., Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-2063. Toll-free 866-456-2063. http://www.newhorizonsgallery.com.

The Alaska House Art Gallery
A charming gallery housed in a hand-built and now restored log cabin. Inside are Alaskan art paintings, ivory pieces, metal sculptures, custom jewelry, Native masks, woven baleen baskets and more from the best-known Alaskan artists. A special exhibit features Alaska Inupiat and Yupik dolls. The Web site features an online store. Whether you're window-shopping or buying, it's a memorable stop. Open mid-May to mid-September Monday-Saturday 11 am-7 pm. Winter hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11 am-6 pm. 1003 Cushman St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-6449. http://www.thealaskahouse.com.


Specialty Stores
Alaskan Gold Rush Fine Jewelry
For more than 25 years, this jeweler has offered jewelry, including engagement and wedding rings, featuring Alaskan gold nuggets. Sells diamonds and colored stones from around the world, and does jewelry cleaning and repair. Visitors can watch as artisans in the store's workshop create original pieces of jewelry. "If you can imagine it," they say, "we can make it." Open year-round Monday-Saturday 9 am-6 pm. 531 Second Ave., Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-4991. http://www.goldrushfinejewelry.com.

Arctic Traveler's Gift Shop
"The most complete gift shop in the interior," according to its manager, sells exquisite Alaska Native artwork (baskets, beaded slippers, mammoth ivory, jewelry, carvings) incongruously alongside belt-buckle mementos made from pieces of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (Alaska-made products). In business since 1955, this is your stop for ancient ivory or a US$10 T-shirt. With 24-hour notice, the staff will provide an educational hands-on explanation of Alaska Native products. Summer hours mid-May to mid-September Monday-Saturday 9 am-9 pm, Sunday 10 am-6 pm. Winter hours mid-September to mid-May Monday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday 10 am-5 pm. 201 Cushman St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-7080. http://www.arctictravelersgiftshop.com.

Beaver Sports
This store was started by a local cross-country ski coach and features skis, paddlesport equipment, bikes and sportswear. Monday-Saturday 10 am-7 pm, Sunday 11 am-5 pm. 3480 College Road, Fairbanks. Phone 907-479-2494. http://www.beaversports.com.

Expressions in Glass
Enjoy beautiful hand-blown pieces by one of Alaska's own artists. Demonstrations are available daily, and resident artists can create custom items. Visitors can join daily one-hour classes. This shop also carries some artwork from international artists, including window art, jewelry, vases, bowls and more. Monday-Friday 10 am-6 pm, Saturday 10 am-5 pm, Sunday noon-4 pm. 1922 Peger Road, Fairbanks. Phone 907-474-3923. http://www.expressionsinglass.net.

If Only ... a fine store
Items in this store have an Alaskan theme or were at least made in the state. You'll find journals, frames, jewelry, Alaskan toys, soaps and much more. Surprisingly, the place isn't kitschy. It's a great place to browse for quality gifts at decent prices. 215 Cushman St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-457-6659.

Inua Wool Shoppe
Specialty knitting, crochet and spinning shop with natural-fiber yarns, including qiviut (musk-ox wool). There's a Knit Night and classes. Open Monday-Saturday 11 am-6 pm. 3180 Peger Road, Suite 160, Fairbanks. Phone 907-479-5830. http://www.inuawool.com.

Raven Mad
Touting a sign that suggests you "leave the dog team out back," Raven Mad carries a mixture of gifts and edibles. Choose from Alaska Wild Berry products, such as chocolates, jams, reindeer and salmon jerky, or find Eskimo ulu knives, lotions, handcrafted mugs and serving items, T-shirts and glassware. 535 Second Ave., Co-op Plaza, Fairbanks. Phone 907-455-7623.

Steamboat Landing
Nestled along the Chena River in a turn-of-the-century building, this gift shop has something for everyone. Hunt through the Christmas ornaments, salmon-painted butter-knife sets, Alaskan switch plates, mailboxes and more. It also offers distinctive, high-quality clothing, soap and lotion products, and an assortment of quirky bear and moose items. There's also a Susan Butcher Dog Mushing Gallery (in honor of the Iditarod winner). Mid-May to mid-September daily 8 am-6 pm. You can also shop online. 1975 Discovery Drive, Fairbanks. Phone 907-479-6673. Toll-free 866-479-6673. http://www.riverboatdiscovery.com.

Taylor's Gold-N-Stones
Carries Alaska gemstones, including some mined in the Brooks Range, as well as colored stones from around the world. Offers repair and cleaning services as well. Teddy Bear Plaza, Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-8369. http://www.taylorsgold.com.

The Craft Market Gift Shop
Offers reasonably priced options for those looking to find a local cultural treasure. The store is housed in one of Fairbanks' earliest homes, built in 1910. Watch the artists work and browse the selection of Native baskets, ulu knives, soapstone carvings, and beadwork and ivory items. It also has a free museum-style room filled with ancient Alaskan artifacts not for sale. 401 Fifth Ave., Fairbanks. Phone 907-452-5495.


Itinerary
Day Trips
To North Pole. Head to North Pole, Alaska, just 12 mi/19 km southeast of Fairbanks on the Richardson Highway, and enjoy some Christmas spirit. The Santa Claus House has been sending kids reply letters from Santa Claus for decades. This fun stop offers several great photo opportunities and serves as a gift shop filled to the brim with Christmas goodies. Santa's sleigh is parked out front, and the reindeer graze just beyond. Be sure to get your postcard stamped, "North Pole, Alaska."
To Barrow. Referred to locally as "The Top of the World," Barrow is on the northern tip of Alaska (approximately 90 minutes' flight time from Fairbanks) and abuts the Arctic Ocean. One-day trips are offered via several operators. Tours generally include a trip to the city's lovely museum, possible glimpses of polar bears (not unusual in the city, particularly in winter) and Inupiat Eskimo performers sharing their culture.
Local Tours
Arctic ATV Tours
On trips ranging from four hours to three days, you can drive your own ATV along trails northeast of Fairbanks or to the remote Circle Mining District. US$185-$1,200. 1500 McGrath Road, Fairbanks. Phone 907-479-0027. http://www.arcticatvtours.com.

Greatland River Tours
Offers a river cruise with dinner and a different view of the beautiful Chena River aboard a replica of the sternwheeler Tanana Chief. The trip is also an excellent opportunity to learn some of the historic aspects of the city and the surrounding area. Boarding for the dinner cruise, a white-tablecloth buffet, begins nightly at 6:30 in summer. US$24.95-$49.95 with dinner. 1020 Hoselton Road, Fairbanks. Phone 907-452-8687. Toll-free 866-452-8687. http://www.greatlandrivertours.com/glrtsscruise.html.

Hummer Tours
Visit the Alaska Pipeline and Creamer's Migratory Bird Refuge on an unmaintained road. US$129 adults, US $69 children under 12. Toll-free 888-386-4648. http://www.alaskanhummertours.com.

Northern Alaska Tour Company
This company offers Arctic Circle fly/drive adventures. A one-day guided tour of Barrow combines round-trip flight in a nine-passenger aircraft with a van tour of North America's northernmost community for US$699. The flight through the Gates of the Arctic National Park and tour of Anaktuvuk Pass village is US$459. An Arctic Circle driving tour is US$169. Guided ground tour, flight, and overnight accommodations in the Brooks Range is US$399. These and other tours available mid-May to mid-September. Also, you can enjoy a prime rib or steak meal before floating down the Chena river for US$159. 3820 S. University Ave., Fairbanks. Phone 907-474-8600. Toll-free 800-474-1986. http://www.northernalaska.com.

Riverboat Discovery
The tour aboard a sternwheeler includes stops to watch a bush plane take off and land, a visit to the home and kennels of an Iditarod winner, a stop at an authentic Alaska Native village (with live, costumed guides and demonstrations) and much more. This cruise tour can be combined with the El Dorado Gold Mine Tour, which is offered by the same company. Tours depart daily at 8:45 am and 2 pm. Early reservations are a must. US$49.95 adults, US$34.95 children ages 3-12. 1975 Discovery Drive, Fairbanks. Phone 907-479-6673. Toll-free 866-479-6673. http://www.riverboatdiscovery.com.

River's Edge Resort Historical City Tour
The Fairbanks Historical City Tour takes you by bus to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the University of Alaska, the Fairbanks Museum, the Alaska Public Lands Information Center, historic points in the downtown area and more. Tours offered daily 8:30 am-noon 1 June-1 September. The fee includes admission to all stops along the way. US$26.95 adults, US$10 children under 12. 4200 Boat St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-474-0286. http://www.riversedge.net.

Walking Tour of Historic Fairbanks
This walking tour uses MP3 players and a walking-tour booklet. The tour begins in front of the Fairbanks Log Cabin Visitors Center. Tour topics include tales of gold-rush prospectors, bush pilots and other colorful early residents. Phone 907-457-7834. http://www.explorefairbanks.com.


Dining
Dining Overview
Just a 50-minute flight from the port city of Anchorage, Fairbanks is a great place to get fresh seafood. Still, restaurants offer plenty of red meat and a number of fine options. Asian cuisine is popular in Fairbanks, which can be a nice way to have a lighter meal or find some vegetarian options.
Although there are quite a few restaurants in the downtown area, some of the best choices are farther from the city center. Each of these is worth the cab fare or driving time, so go explore and enjoy the Golden Heart City with a full stomach.
Expect to pay within these general guidelines, based on the cost of a dinner for one, not including drinks, tax or tip: $ = less than US$10; $$ = US$10-$20; $$$ = US$21-$50; and $$$$ = more than US$50.
Local & Regional
Felix's Cookhouse
Popular with local businesspeople for lunch meetings, Felix's serves large portions of hearty foods. Have steak and eggs for breakfast, roast-beef sandwiches for lunch or an old-fashioned prime-rib roast for dinner. Daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations not accepted. $$. Visa and MasterCard. 1521 S. Cushman St. (inside the Best Western Fairbanks Inn), Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-6602. http://www.bestwesternalaska.com/fairbanks-hotels.

Hot Licks Homemade Ice Cream
This locally made ice cream, a first-place winner at the Los Angeles County Fair, features Alaska blueberries, cranberries and birch syrup. Try the Aurora Borealis or Boreal Bliss. Open year-round inside the Best Western Fairbanks Inn. 1521 S. Cushman St. (in summer also at 3453 College Road), Fairbanks. Phone 907-479-7813. http:www.hotlicks.net.

The Pump House
This location, a National Historic Site, has wowed its guests since 1933. It's received the DiRoNa Award, putting it in an elite class of specially noted North American restaurants. Start with seviche or the oyster bar and move on to prime rib, crab, crab-stuffed shrimp or several unique musk-oxen and reindeer entrees. If possible, try the Sunday brunch. Daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. 796 Chena Pump Road, Fairbanks. Phone 907-479-8452. http://www.pumphouse.com.

The Turtle Club
If you want to see a local smile, just mention this restaurant. Its simple, rustic interior houses one of Fairbanks' favorite salad bars, and it serves delicious prime rib and seafood. Located 10 mi/16 km north of Fairbanks on New Steese Expressway, it's not easy to get to, but it's always busy. Choose from escargot, lobster tail, barbecued ribs, king crab, prawns and more. Full bar on-site. Daily for dinner. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. Milepost 10 on Old Steese Highway, Fairbanks. Phone 907-457-3883. http://www.alaskanturtle.com.

Wolf Run Restaurant
This rustic house has been converted to a restaurant with a central fireplace and small dining rooms. A patio is available in summer. Lunch delights range from croissant sandwiches with snappy wasabi-dressed coleslaw to homemade soups. Dinner choices include halibut or surf-and-turf entrees, as well as beef Wellington and stuffed ravioli. Desserts are scrumptious: Don't miss the four-layer chocolate torte or key-lime tart. Monday for lunch, Tuesday-Sunday for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 3360 Wolf Run, Fairbanks. Phone 907-458-0636.


Cuisines
American
Big Daddy's Bar-B-Q
The northernmost southern barbecue, Big Daddy's offers sandwiches, seafood, award-winning barbecue and a Sunday buffet, plus live blues and rock 'n' roll music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. $$-$$$. Accepts Visa and MasterCard. 107 Wickersham St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-452-2501.

Players Grill
It may not be Texas style, but it's mighty fine barbecue. Breakfast staples include steak and eggs. For lunch, you can choose from a pull-apart pork sandwich, Kansas City pork ribs, spicy Cajun rub chicken, homemade soups and traditional Mexican dishes. Dinner options also include Alaskan Ale House halibut hunks and Alaskan wild-salmon fillets. Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner. Reservations not accepted. $$. Visa and MasterCard. 126 N. Turner St. (downtown), Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-7427.


Asian
Asiana Restaurant
Inside this two-story green structure you'll find teriyaki, Korean, Vietnamese and Filipino cuisine. Local Asian food lovers flock to this place for its deep-fried pork dong katsu, kimchi soups, octopus stir-fry and a great assortment of dumplings, seafood and teriyaki skewers. Daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations not accepted. $$. Visa and MasterCard. 2001 Airport Way, Fairbanks. Phone 907-457-3333.

Bahn Thai
With offerings such as pad thai (stir-fry) and moo yang (grilled marinated pork), this restaurant in the heart of downtown Fairbanks is popular with Thai-food lovers and vegetarians. Daily specials. Monday-Saturday 11 am-9:30 pm. $$. Accepts Visa and MasterCard. 541 Third Ave., Fairbanks. Phone 907-452-8424.

IchiBan Noodle
This bright-purple restaurant north of the Chena River is a blessing for noodle lovers. Its vegetarian specials include stir-fried veggies with tofu. Combination plates include spicy squid and pork bul go gi in Ichiban sauce. Sample the jjang bbong spicy soup or the special rice-cake soup with dumplings. Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner. Reservations not accepted. $$. Visa and MasterCard. 400 College Road, Fairbanks. Phone 907-455-9116.


Italian
Gambardella's Pasta Bella
A popular date spot, this Italian eatery has a cozy interior and a reserved ambience, with soft Italian ballads sometimes playing in the background, plus river views. Dinner options include a blue-cheese pear salad, a hearty filet mignon and such vegetarian specials as eggplant Parmesan and spinach lasagna. A nice wine menu includes Italian, Australian, Californian and Washington selections. Gourmet pizzas are also available. Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner only. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. 706 Second Ave., Fairbanks. Phone 907-457-4992. http://www.gambardellas.com.

Lavelle's Bistro
This restaurant in the Springhill Suites Hotel has an outstanding wine selection: You can choose from a list of 3,000 vintages. Inventive menu offerings are paired with wine suggestions. Its mango creme brulee is a perennial favorite. The softly lit tables fill quickly, so make reservations early. Every Wednesday, three wines are chosen for a tasting that is paired with appetizers. Daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 575 First Ave., Fairbanks. Phone 907-450-0555. http://www.lavellesbistro.com.

Vallata
The comfortable setting is complemented by views of Goldstream Valley, and there's usually soft acoustic guitar playing Italian melodies in the background. Vallata specializes in steaks, but you'll also find gourmet pizzas and Mediterranean-style seafood dishes. Tuesday-Sunday for dinner. Reservations recommended. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 2190 Goldstream Road, Fairbanks. Phone 907-455-6600.


Breakfast & Brunch
The Cookie Jar
Since 1986, this "breakfast served all day" location has specialized in hearty Alaskan-style breakfasts, which means biscuits and gravy, reindeer sausages and oversized servings. There's lighter fare in the fresh cinnamon rolls and espresso bar. For the rest of the day, you'll find prime-rib sandwiches—a local favorite—halibut fish-and-chips and seafood pastas. Fairbanks residents have voted this the best breakfast and family restaurant. Be sure to leave room for the cookies. Daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations not accepted. $. Most major credit cards. 1006 Cadillac Court, Fairbanks. Phone 907-479-8319. http://www.cookiejarfairbanks.com.


Cafes & Tearooms
The Fudge Pot
This eatery is popular for its lighter fare, including homemade soups and sandwiches, but it's the right place for dessert, too. Thirty flavors of fudge should satisfy your cravings, and its gourmet coffee concoctions will get you on the go again. Shop while you eat and pick up a gift of fudge or a Fairbanks T-shirt. Daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations not accepted. $. Most major credit cards. 515 First Ave., Fairbanks. Phone 907-456-3834. http://www.ptialaska.net/~fudgepot.


Seafood
Alaska Salmon Bake
This all-you-can-eat buffet includes deep-fried halibut, king salmon, cod and prime rib, along with salad, sides and dessert. Food is served outdoors in Pioneer Park's Mining Valley. That's near the historic Palace Theater & Saloon in Pioneer Park's Gold Rush Town, so after dinner you can stay for the show, nightly at 8:15. Memorial Day-Labor Day daily for dinner. Reservations required. $$$. The children's menu prices range US$6.50-$15. Most major credit cards. 2300 Airport Way, Fairbanks. Phone 907-452-7274. http://www.akvisit.com.

Pikes Landing
Adjacent to the Chena River, this restaurant offers lovely views of the water from its elegant dining room. Choices include smoked-salmon Caesar salad, king-crab legs, prime rib and cedar-planked salmon. It also has a good wine list. In the summer, there's outdoor dining available on a patio along the Chena River. Daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 4438 Airport Way, Fairbanks. Phone 907-479-6500.


Steak Houses
Red Lantern Steak & Spirits
In the Westmark Hotel on Eighth and Noble, the Red Lantern specializes in finely aged steaks and prime rib, with specials such as a Jack Daniel's marinated filet mignon. Starters include onion soup and smoked-salmon artichoke dip. In addition to beef, it also offers roasted pork-loin, halibut and prawn entrees. Daily for lunch and dinner. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 813 Noble St., Fairbanks. Phone 907-459-7725. http://www.westmarkhotels.com.


Security
Personal Safety
Fairbanks is a safe destination, and tourists are rarely targets of crime. Still, use commonsense precautions, such as locking your car and keeping valuables out of sight. There is no particular crime district in Fairbanks. Daytime hours are safe in any area, but it is always advisable to walk with others particularly downtown in the early morning hours and at night—despite the late hours of sunlight. There are some local pesty panhandlers, but they haven't caused any problems.
Health
Servicing interior Alaska as well as 86,000 local-area residents, Fairbanks' medical facilities differ slightly from others in that they care for population areas hundreds of miles/kilometers distant and accessible only by air. Emergency transport includes the typical city ambulances as well as fixed-wing aircraft that aid in the emergency retrieval of patients from outlying villages. The Fairbanks Memorial Hospital at 1650 Cowles St. is open daily with 24-hour service. Phone 907-452-8181.
Outpatient needs are served by the walk-in Fairbanks Urgent Care Center at 1867 Airport Way (phone 907-452-2178) and the appointment-needed Fairbanks Regional Public Health Center at 1025 W. Barnette. Phone 907-452-1776.
Pharmacies include the three Fred Meyer/Kroger grocery-chain locations, the Prescription Center Pharmacy at 1919 Lathrop St., the Fairbanks Professional Pharmacy at 1001 Noble St. and the Medical Center Pharmacy at 1867 Airport Way. Pharmacies tend to be open Monday-Saturday 10 am-7 pm at the grocery stores and 10 am-6 pm at other locations.
Disabled Advisory
Summer is definitely the friendliest time for people with disabilities to enjoy Fairbanks. Despite the city's best efforts, winter sidewalks are nearly always under snow. However, the MACS bus system offers special vans to transport travelers with disabilities through the VanTran program (phone 907-459-1010 or go to http://co.fairbanks.ak.us/Transportation).
Public buildings throughout the city have been brought up to ADA codes, as have most sightseeing and recreation venues. To be certain, call ahead before you go, but in most locations, there will be ramps and railings.
Dos & Don'ts
Do remember that polar bears live in the Arctic, not in Fairbanks. Grizzly bears, interior brown bears and black bears live around Fairbanks. Penguins are in Antarctica.
Don't ask "When do the caribou turn into moose?" or "What time do the northern lights turn on?"
Alaskans have heard the jokes before.
Do make an effort to understand the differences among the native peoples. Northern Eskimos are Inuit or Inupiat; southern Eskimos are Yupik. Both live near oceans. Athabaskans are Alaska Native Indians and live in the Interior, including Fairbanks. Also, remember to use the term Alaska Natives for the indigenous people and native Alaskans for non-Natives.
Don't call it Mount McKinley, even though that's the official name. Denali, "the great one," is the Athabaskan and the preferred Alaska name for the mountain, which lends its name to the national park.
Do get out of Fairbanks and visit Denali National Park or Nenana or the North Pole.
Do drive the Steese Highway, which ends at the tiny Athabascan village of Circle.
Don't miss seeing the largest public display of gold in Alaska at the University of Alaska Museum of the North.
Don't stand out as a tourist by mispronouncing Chena (pronounced CHEE-nah) River and Tanana (Tan-naw-naw) River.
Do soak in the Chena natural hot springs.
Do collect certificates at the Visitor Information Center for seeing the northern lights, traveling on the historic Alaska highway, and crossing the Arctic Circle.




Hotels
Hotel Overview
The majority of hotels are located downtown, with several options near the airport and on the banks of the Chena River. The typical range of facilities is available, including most large chains as well as some small boutique-style hotels, lodges and bed-and-breakfasts. Summer season is the busiest time for hotel occupancy, so you should book ahead for rooms needed mid-May to early September. Visitations also increase in February for the Yukon Quest and in March for the World Ice Art Championship.
Hotel Listings


Phone: (1) 907-328-6300
Fax: (1) 907-328-0914
Toll Free: (1) 800-455-8851

Alpine Lodge
4920 Dale Rd 99709
ytemple@akalpinelodge.com  http://www.akalpinelodge.com
115 Guest Rooms • 2 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: Alpine Lodge located 1/4 mile from Fairbanks Intl Airport
Nearby Points of Interest: Univeristy of Alaska, Fairbanks (Museum) - 8 mi • Carlson Conference Center (Conference Center) - 10 mi • State of Alaska, Offices (State of Alaska) - 10 km






Phone: (1) 907-488-7855
Fax: (1) 907-488-3772
Toll Free: (1)

A Taste of Alaska Lodge
551 Eberhardt Rd 99712
tasteak@mosquitonet.com  http://www.atasteofalaska.com
10 Guest Rooms • 3 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Nearby Points of Interest:






Phone: (1) 907-452-1888
Fax: (1) 907-452-7674
Toll Free: (1) 800-544-7528

The Captain Bartlett Inn
1411 Airport Way 99701
cbi@ptialaska.net  http://www.captainbartlettinn.com
197 Guest Rooms • 4 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: 1 mi west of downtown & 4 mi from airport
Nearby Points of Interest: Alaskaland (Theme Park) - 1 mi • Riverboat Discovery • Ester Gold Camp






Phone: (1) 907-451-8104
Fax: (1) 907-451-8151
Toll Free: (1) 800-478-4681

Chena Hot Springs Resort
56.5 mile Chena Hot Springs Rd 99725
chenahs@polarnet.com  http://www.chenahotsprings.com
94 Guest Rooms • 3 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s] • Pets Allowed
Location: 65 mi from airport
Nearby Points of Interest: Angel Rocks Trail (Hiking trail) - 6 mi • Chena River State Recreational Park (State Park) - 3 mi






Phone: (1) 907-455-4477
Fax: (1) 907-455-4476
Toll Free: (1) 800-426-0500

Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge
4477 Pikes Landing Rd 99709
aklodges@princesstours.com  http://www.princesslodges.com
325 Guest Rooms • 6 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: Riverside, 1 mi from airport
Nearby Points of Interest: The Riverboat Discovery Cruise • University of Alaska Museum • Trans-Alaska Pipeline






Phone: (1) 907-456-4500
Fax: (1) 907-456-4515
Toll Free: (1) 877-774-2400

Pikes Waterfront Lodge
1850 Hoselton Rd 99709
info@pikeslodge.com  http://www.pikeslodge.com
208 Guest Rooms • 3 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s] • Pets Allowed
Nearby Points of Interest:






Phone: (1) 907-452-3200
Fax: (1) 907-452-6505
Toll Free: (1) 800-348-1340

Regency Fairbanks Hotel
95 Tenth Ave 99701
info@regencyfairbankshotel.com  http://www.regencyfairbankshotel.com
130 Guest Rooms • 3 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s] • Pets Allowed
Location: In downtown area
Nearby Points of Interest: Trans Alaska Pipe Line - 8 mi






Phone: (1) 907-451-6552
Fax: (1) 907-451-6553
Toll Free: (1) 888-287-9400

SpringHill Suites by Marriott
575 1st Ave 99701-4724
http://www.springhillsuites.com
140 Guest Rooms • 2 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Nearby Points of Interest:






Phone: (1) 907-456-7722
Fax: (1) 907-451-7478
Toll Free: (1) 800-544-0970

Westmark Fairbanks Hotel & Conf Cntr
813 Noble St 99701
http://www.westmarkhotels.com
400 Guest Rooms • 5 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Nearby Points of Interest: Fairbanks Ice Museum (Ice Art Museum) - .5 mi • University of AK Museum (Museum) - 5 mi • Riverboat Discovery (Attraction) - 5 mi




Facts
Geostats
Passport/Visa Requirements: All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico. Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S.
Beginning 1 June 2009, passports are required for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders with the U.S. and for cruise passengers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda. Reconfirm travel-document requirements with your carrier prior to departure.

Population: 34,540.
Languages: English.
Predominant Religions: Christian (Protestant, Roman Catholic), though other religions are represented.
Voltage Requirements: 110 volts.
Telephone Codes: 907,
Money
Currency Exchange
ATMs are widely available, and banking hours tend to be Monday-Friday 10 am-5 pm. Some Saturday hours are available and are typically 10 am-3 pm. All transactions are made in U.S. dollars, and currency exchanges can be made at any bank.
Taxes
There is no sales tax in Fairbanks. The town of North Pole does charge a tax of 4% with a cap of US$8 in tax on any one purchase. There is a bed tax of 8%.
Tipping
Waitstaff are typically given 15% of the total bill (more for excellent service). Some restaurants include gratuities in the bill. Other individuals who provide personal services, such as tour guides, flightseeing pilots and taxi drivers, are also commonly tipped US$1 per piece of luggage and up to 10% of a tour price if you really enjoyed yourself. These guidelines are not set in stone; tip what you feel is appropriate.
Weather
This is clearly a land of extremes, with dramatic highs and lows, a semi-arid climate and (usually) almost no wind. Fairbanks can get up to 100 F/38 C in summer and dip below -50 F/-46 C in winter.
There is approximately 21 hours of daylight in late June and 21 hours of darkness in late December.
With the heat comes a slight humidity and thunderstorms. Annual precipitation is 11.3 in/28.7 cm, and average snowfall is 65.5 in/166 cm. The coldest winter days will be crystal clear with air so still your boots will squeak on the snow. It's up to you which climate you prefer.
What to Wear
Fairbanks residents are a laid-back bunch, and you will not be turned away for being underdressed. There is rarely an event held in Fairbanks that has a dress code—unless you count the Golden Days Celebration parade (when you might be required to dress as a gold miner, trapper or good-time girl).
In summer, take along several long-sleeved items, as well as a sweatshirt and a lightweight coat that can double as a slicker. Long sleeves are also good for protection from mosquitoes, although they're typica