A popular cruise ship port and top destination for adventure travelers, Juneau, Alaska, boasts over 250 miles of hiking trails along with beaches, glaciers, and streams full of salmon. Visitors can enjoy gourmet coffee, some of the freshest seafood in the country, and local craft beer followed by a free pipe organ concert or historic walking tour. Only two hours non-stop from Seattle, getting to Juneau, AK, is easy and affordable. Best things to do in Juneau include seeing the spectacular Nugget Falls, Mount Roberts Tramway and the Sealaska Heritage Institute.
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The Nugget Falls trail begins half way down Photo Point Trail and is 0.8 miles long in Tongass National Forest. It ends at Nugget Falls, a 377-foot waterfall that drops in two tiers onto Mendenhall Lake. The falls are fed by Nugget Creek which in turn is fed by Nugget Glacier.
Venturing to the falls offers the chance to see the beautiful blue ice terminus of Mendenhall Glacier and majestic black bears fishing for sockeye salmon. The trail was recently regraded to create a flat, easy hike that is heavily used by all ability levels and takes about 45 minutes round trip.
6000 Glacier Spur Rd, Juneau, AK 99801
2.Mount Roberts Tramway
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The only aerial tramway in southeast Alaska, Mount Roberts Tramway has been open since 1996 and operates May through September. Beginning from the cruise ship dock in downtown Juneau, cars rise 1,800 feet through the rain forest to the Mountain House. After taking in the expansive views of Juneau and Gastineau Channel riders can visit Mount Roberts, the Nature Center, and Chilkat Theater.
Atop Mount Roberts is Timberline Bar and Grill with the Raven Eagle gift shop and gallery. Tramway tickets are sold as all-day passes at the Tramway Station or on all major cruise ships. Kids 5 and younger ride free.
490 S Franklin Street, Juneau, AK 99801, 888-461-8726
Next read: Mendenhall Ice Caves
3.Juneau-Douglas City Museum
© Juneau-Douglas City Museum
The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is open all year and has free admission, courtesy of local sponsors, during the off season. The museum aims to preserve the rich and diverse history of the city of Juneau with exhibits that showcase mining, fishing and the culture of Juneau.
There is a downtown walking tour where you can see the transformation of Juneau from a small town into a large city fueled by the fishing industry. You can also see Juneau’s oldest church and finish the tour by exploring a historic home.
155 South Seward Street, Juneau, AK 99801, 907-586-3572
4.Era Flightseeing, Juneau, Alaska
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Era Flightseeing provides personalized helicopter tours based on the customers desires, pilot knowledge, and current conditions.
The Juneau Pinnacle Experience flies along the spine of the Canadian border and features panoramic views of the mountainous waterfalls, glacier lakes, and the Juneau Ice Field.
This trip includes up to 60 minutes of flight time with two unique landing spots and a champagne toast. Other tours are available and operate from May 1st to September 26th.
6910 N Douglas Hwy, Juneau, AK 99801, 800-843-1947
5.Harv and Marv's Outback Alaska
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Harv and Marv’s Outback Alaska offers personal and memorable whale watching experiences on small boats ranging from 6 to 18 passengers. A typical tour offers photo opportunities of Humpback Whales, bald eagles, and sea lions. Tours depart at various times throughout the day, take just over 4 hours round trip and include 3 full hours of whale watching.
Guests are provided with bottled water, soft drinks, snacks, and binoculars. Group or private options are available and all tours include a complimentary stop at the Brotherhood Bridge for a view of Mendenhall Glacier. Every tour is unique and can be customized for weather, guest preferences, and wildlife activity.
PO Box 32825, Juneau, AK 99803, 907-209-7288
6.Things to Do in Juneau: Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure
© Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure
Originally intended to be a stream restoration project, Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure has grown into a unique garden within the confines of the Tongass National Forest. Because of the unusual climate found in Southeast Alaska, Glacier Gardens has become the home of some very uncommon displays and exhibits.
The company offers tours of the forest featuring guides and shuttles where you can learn about the plant life and surrounding area. Guests can take part in unguided tours which leave you free to explore their recently completed walking paths. The company is located only 7 miles from the Port of Juneau and partners with major cruise lines.
7600 Glacier Highway, Juneau Alaska, 99801, 907-790-3377
7.Alaskan Brewery Company
© Alaskan Brewery Company
As the first brewery in Juneau following Prohibition the Alaskan Brewing Company set out to put a little bit of Alaskan history in every bottle. They are known for beers that reflect Juneau’s local history and resources like their Alaskan Amber, a Gold Rush-era brew reincarnated. Unique ingredients including pure glacial water, Sitka spruce tips, and alder-smoked malts are used to brew various year-round, seasonal, and limited-edition beers.
Visitors can start at the company’s depot located in downtown Juneau and shop a complete selection of Alaskan lifestyle clothing, outerwear, barware and gifts before catching a shuttle to the brewery and tasting room.
5429 Shaune Drive, Juneau, AK 99801, 907-780-5866
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8.Gastineau Guiding Company, Juneau, Alaska
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Guests have been stepping into Alaska with Gastineau Guiding Company since 1994. Dedicated and knowledgeable local guides lead five different types of small group excursions. Tours include whale watching by sea or land, rainforest hikes, glacier photo safaris, downtown tours, tram rides, and timberline treks. Gastineau Guiding also offers custom private tours and charters with picnic lunch or catered meal options.
All guides are trained under the principals of the National Association of Interpretation and all whale watching excursions adhere to the Alaska Humpback Whale Approach Regulations. The Juneau Empire has named Gastineau ‘Best Local Guiding Company’ while cruise ship guests have repeatedly voted it ‘Shore Excursion of the Season’.
1330 Eastaugh Way, Suite 2, Juneau, AK 99801, 907-586-8231
9.Alaska points of interest: DIPAC Macaulay Salmon Hatchery
© DIPAC Macaulay Salmon Hatchery
The stated of goal of DIPAC is to promote the salmon resources of Alaska and to engage in public outreach through tourism and education. The hatchery has numerous exhibits and programs open to the public year-round. Some of the highlights include a touch-tank, where you can get up close and personal with selected sea creatures, and the aquariums which are home to over 150 different species.
Besides tourism, the hatchery is also a destination for school field trips. Every fall and spring, they host programs to teach local students about marine biology.
2697 Channel Drive, Juneau, AK, 99801, 1-877-463-CHUM (2486)
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Coastal Helicopters offers dog sled rides and helicopter glacier tours on Herbert Glacier in Tongass National Forest. The Icefield Tour soars over Alaska’s natural wilderness before touching down for a once in a lifetime glacier walkabout. The Dog Sled Tour includes a helicopter flight to Blue Kennels dog sled camp where guests are greeted by 80 Alaskan Huskies and experience an authentic mushing adventure.
Custom helicopter tours as well as a dog sled and Glacier walkabout combo trip option are also available. Finally, the Taku Glacier Adventure combines air, water, and ice by pairing a helicopter flight and glacial walkabout with an airboat excursion up the Taku River.
8995 Yandukin Drive, Juneau, AK 99801, 900-789-5610
11.Sealaska Heritage Institute, Juneau, Alaska
© Sealaska Heritage Institute
The Sealaska Heritage Institute is a non-profit group whose mission is to promote and share Southeast Alaskan
Native culture. The organization provides exhibits, educational opportunities and programs for locals and visitors.
The Sealaska Heritage Institute Collections include art objects, books, manuscript papers, photographs, recordings. Archives are open by appointment only.
105 S. Seward St., Suite 201, Juneau, AK 99801, 907-463-4844
12.Adventure Bound Alaska
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Adventure Bound Alaska offers unforgettable full-day cruises up Tracy Arm, a classic fjord located just 45 miles south of Juneau. A “must see” for any Alaska vacation, Tracy Arm has it all including tidewater and elevated glaciers, mile high sheer rock walls, waterfalls and Alaska’s largest icebergs.
Guests can watch for whales, bears, mountain goats, seals and more from the full walk around decks and heated cabins of Adventure Bounds two Coast Guard inspected vessels. Sandwiches, coffee, cold drinks, and snacks are available for purchase on board and guests are welcome to bring their own food.
76 Egan Drive #110, Juneau, AK 99801, 907-463-2509
13.Above & Beyond Alaska
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Above and Beyond Alaska is a guiding company operating in the Tongass National Forest and wilderness surround Juneau. Through cooperation with the United States Forest Service, Above and Beyond has access to areas of the National Forest that are the most beautiful and well preserved. All of their guides are well trained in wilderness survival and CPR. Most trips are available May through September.
They have a range of packages that can take you on a 6-hour hike, or a multi-day excursion that includes a helicopter ride. Besides guided tours, they also have a water taxi service and an equipment rental service for those interested in adventuring alone.
PO Box 211202 Auke Bay, AK 99821, 907-364-2333
14.Eagle Beach State Recreation Area
© Eagle Beach State Recreation Area
Eagle Beach State Recreation Area is just north of Juneau and has views of the Lynn Canal, the Juneau Mountains, and the Chilkat Mountains. There is excellent fishing to be had in the area. It is home to exotic wildlife such as whales, seals, and sea lions.
The Eagle Beach campground has 26 campsites fully equipped with potable water and restrooms. There is a well-developed trail system that will be able to accommodate hikers of all levels. In the winter, the Recreation Area has excellent cross-country skiing trails.
Mile 29, Glacier Highway, Juneau, AK, 907-465-4563
15.Alaska State Museum, Juneau, Alaska
© Alaska State Museum
The mission statement of the Alaska State Museums is to collect and preserve natural elements of Alaska’s history and make them available for public viewing and consumption. They also participate in the development of other museums through Alaska.
The museum has both permanent and temporary exhibits which seek to educate patrons about native cultures of Alaska as well as contemporary Alaska culture such as art and music. In the spring of 2016 the museum will be relocating to 118,000 square foot facility which will feature libraries, an auditorium, a cafeteria, as well as many galleries.
395 Whittier Street, Juneau, AK 99801, 907-465-2901
More top ideas in Juneau: Tracy Arm Fjord and Mendenhall Glacier
16.Wings Airways & the Taku Glacier Lodge
© Wings Airways & the Taku Glacier Lodge
Wings Airways is a company that offers sightseeing tours of the glaciers of the Juneau area. They use floatplanes to take guests on aerial tours of the natural beauty of the Tongass National Forest. They define floatplanes as planes that take off and land on water, using pontoons instead of wheels.
They are based out of the Taku Glacier Lodge which was originally built in 1923 and over the course of its life has served many different purposes. Guests are hosted at the Taku Lodge and are treated to meals featuring King Salmon fresh from the Taku River.
2 Marine Way, Suite 175, Juneau, AK 99801, 907-586-6275
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17.Alaska points of interest: Shrine of St. Therese
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The Shrine of St. Therese is a ministry of the Diocese of Juneau that welcomes people of all faiths and walks of life to its beautiful and serene retreat 22 miles north of downtown Juneau.
The shrine is dedicated to St. Therese of Lisieux, the patron saint of Alaska, who is known for The Story of a Soul in which she wrote that what really matters in life is not our great deeds, but our great love. Mass is celebrated on Sundays at 1:30 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The facilities can also be rented for small or large group retreats, weddings, and funerals.
21425 Glacier Hwy, Juneau, AK 99801, 907-586-2227 ex. 24
18.Eaglecrest Ski Area, Juneau, Alaska
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The Eaglecrest Ski Area boasts over 640 acres of skiable land and has an elevation change of over 1500 feet. It is only 12 miles from downtown Juneau, which makes it extremely convenient for those visiting the city in the winter. They offer a wide range of trails for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. If you’re in town but don’t have any of your gear, they will rent you everything you need.
They also specialize in introducing beginners to skiing snowboarding. They offer classes that will teach people who have never been to a ski mountain as well as classes for those who want to transition from skiing to snowboarding.
No Address Provided, 907-790-2000
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19.Alaska Zipline Adventures
© Alaska Zipline Adventures
Alaska Zipline Adventures is a locally owned company offering ziplining tours in Southeast Alaska. They were voted “Best Thrill” in Alaska by National Geographic. They also offer a combo tour which includes a driving tour of the local area in addition to a ziplining adventure.
Their tour contains 7 ziplines, 10 platforms, and a suspension bridge. They operate seasonally from until the end of September. They also cooperate with cruise lines that port at Juneau. Through participating cruise lines, you can book your excursion directly through your ship.
110 N. Franklin Street, Juneau, AK 99801, 907-321-0947
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20.Wickersham State Historic Site
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The House of Wickhersham was built in 1898 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. James Wickhersham was a federal judge, member of congress, and explorer. He is credited with the development of the Alaska Railroad as well as the University of Alaska. He had a massive influence on the development of Alaska which is why his former home is a tourist attraction.
They are open seasonally, beginning in May. The story of his life and the Gold Rush Era can be experienced through pictures and artifacts that have been preserved for this purpose by the State of Alaska.
213 7th Street, Juneau, AK 99801, 907-586-9001
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21.The Rookery Cafe, Juneau, Alaska
© The Rookery Cafe
The Rookery Café is a coffee shop and restaurant offering lunch, dinner, and a Saturday brunch which strives to make the majority of its offerings from scratch. Being the only location in Alaska that serves Stumptown Coffee allows The Rookery to claim the best cup of coffee in downtown Juneau.
The lunch menu features small plates like a Pickle Board and Crispy Gustavus Potatoes, as well as salads, sandwiches, and large plates such as The Rookery Ramen. The dinner menu constantly rotates to utilize fresh, local ingredients.
111 Seward St, Juneau, AK 99801, 907-463-3013
22.Things to Do in Juneau: AJ Mine Gastineau Mill Tour
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The AJ Mine Gastineau Mill Tour is a way to experience the mining history of the city of Juneau by exploring what used to be the most productive gold mine on the planet. The tour is about two hours long.
Along the way you will hear the history of the mine as well as witness professional miners demonstrate the methods that were formerly used. At the conclusion of the tour, you will be able to try mining by panning for gold. It is the only authentic underground mine tour in the state of Alaska and also features the first steam engine to operate in Alaska.
P.O. Box 34105, Juneau, AK 99803, 907-463-5017
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23.The State Capitol Building
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The State Capitol Building of Alaska is notable for its lack of notoriety. Unlike many state capitol buildings, it occupies a small parcel of land and is of simple, utilitarian construction. The reason for this is because the state was unable to raise funding for a capitol building when the state was founded. However, upon achieving statehood, Alaska inherited this building from the federal government.
The building is home to both the legislative and executive branches. Tours are free, 30 minutes long, and available from May to September, 7 days per week.
4th Ave and Main Street, Juneau, AK 99801, 907-277-4321
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24.Last Chance Mining Museum
© Last Chance Mining Museum
The Last Chance Mining Museum is located in the Compressor Building which was used by the Alaska Juneau Gold Mining Company in the early to mid 1900s. The focus of the museum is to showcase the tools and hardware that were required to mine gold in during the Gold Rush Era.
Some of the highlights of the museum include one of the world’s largest air compressors, tools and other artifacts, trains, and rail cars. As a bonus, the museum is accessed on foot which takes you scenic hike. The museum is open every day from May to September.
PO Box 21264, Juneau, AK 99802, 907-586-5338
More ideas: Best Things to Do in Anchorage
25 Best Things to Do in Juneau, Alaska
- Nugget Falls, Photo: Courtesy of chiyacat - Fotolia.com
- Mount Roberts Tramway, Photo: Courtesy of cec72 - Fotolia.com
- Juneau-Douglas City Museum, Photo: Juneau-Douglas City Museum
- Era Flightseeing, Juneau, Alaska, Photo: Courtesy of Rocky Grimes - Fotolia.com
- Harv and Marv's Outback Alaska, Photo: Courtesy of adfoto - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Juneau: Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure, Photo: Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure
- Alaskan Brewery Company, Photo: Alaskan Brewery Company
- Gastineau Guiding Company, Juneau, Alaska, Photo: Courtesy of sorincolac - Fotolia.com
- Alaska points of interest: DIPAC Macaulay Salmon Hatchery, Photo: DIPAC Macaulay Salmon Hatchery
- Coastal Helicopters, Photo: Courtesy of Rocky Grimes - Fotolia.com
- Sealaska Heritage Institute, Juneau, Alaska, Photo: Sealaska Heritage Institute
- Adventure Bound Alaska, Photo: Courtesy of Solrac - Fotolia.com
- Above & Beyond Alaska, Photo: Courtesy of fmcginn - Fotolia.com
- Eagle Beach State Recreation Area, Photo: Eagle Beach State Recreation Area
- Alaska State Museum, Juneau, Alaska, Photo: Alaska State Museum
- Wings Airways & the Taku Glacier Lodge, Photo: Wings Airways & the Taku Glacier Lodge
- Alaska points of interest: Shrine of St. Therese, Photo: Courtesy of Tony Campbell - Fotolia.com
- Eaglecrest Ski Area, Juneau, Alaska, Photo: Courtesy of Denis Ponkratov - Fotolia.com
- Alaska Zipline Adventures, Photo: Alaska Zipline Adventures
- Wickersham State Historic Site, Photo: Courtesy of bullsiphoto - Fotolia.com
- The Rookery Cafe, Juneau, Alaska, Photo: The Rookery Cafe
- Things to Do in Juneau: AJ Mine Gastineau Mill Tour, Photo: Courtesy of Marek - Fotolia.com
- The State Capitol Building, Photo: Courtesy of spiritofamerica - Fotolia.com
- Last Chance Mining Museum, Photo: Last Chance Mining Museum
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Second Story Images - Fotolia.com