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Things to do in Juneau

Things to do in  Juneau

Welcome to Juneau

The Alaskan state capital of Juneau is the second-largest city behind Anchorage, but it’s second to none when it comes to spectacular scenery, adventurous outdoor activities, and world-class whale watching. A coastal city on Alaska’s Inside Passage, Juneau sits at the foot of Mount Roberts, and is surrounded by the rugged wilderness of the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Outdoor enthusiasts can book a glacier tour, and hike the Mendenhall or Taku glaciers. Other options include a Juneau shore excursion for kayaking or canoeing Mendenhall Lake, dogsledding the Juneau icefield, or ziplining Douglas Island. Also known for its abundance of wildlife, the area offers whale-watching cruises to spot the humpback whales that populate Auke Bay. Book early to secure a limited number of spots to see Pack Creek’s brown bears as they frolic and catch salmon. Other thrilling trips include a float-plane ride or a helicopter tour, which each offer a bird’s-eye view of the snow-capped peaks. Not all of Juneau’s attractions are in nature, however. This frontier city’s history and culture get the spotlight at the Last Chance Mining Museum and the Juneau-Douglas City Museum; and the collection of Alaska Native art and archaeology at the Alaska State Library, Archives, and Museum (SLAM) gives insight into the area’s Native heritage. And lest you think you were leaving thirsty, no visit to Juneau is complete without a brewery tour at the local Alaskan Brewing Co.

Top 10 attractions in Juneau

#1

Mendenhall Glacier

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Alaska's famous drive-in glacier, Mendenhall Glacier, is Juneau's most popular attraction, flowing 12 miles (19 kilometers) from its source, the Juneau Ice Field. On a sunny day it's beautiful, with blue skies and snow-capped mountains in the background. On a cloudy and drizzly afternoon, it can be even more impressive, as the ice turns shades of deep blue. Near the face of the glacier is the visitors center, which houses various glaciology exhibits, a large relief map of the ice field, an observatory with telescopes and a theater that shows the film, Magnificent Mendenhall. Outside you'll find a salmon-viewing platform overlooking Steep Creek, as well as 6 hiking trails, including a short photo-overlook trail to a longer trek up the glacier's west side. Another trail, the East Glacier Loop trail leads through the forest for views of a waterfall near the glacier’s face. Though a little steep, it’s perfect for school-age children.More
#2

Mt. Roberts Tramway

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Arcing upwards from the waterfront at Juneau’s cruise terminal to the crest of Mt. Roberts, a ride aboard the Mt. Roberts Tramway is one of Juneau’s signature experiences. The enclosed gondolas swing away from the dock to glide over downtown Juneau and up through the rainforest to the 1,800-foot (540m) summit of Mt. Roberts. Panoramic views take in stunning vistas of sea and mountains, over to the Chilkat Mountains to the north, the Gastineau Channel, Douglas Island and Silver Bow Basin. Peering down, you might be lucky enough to spot marmots, deer and even a bear. The ride ends on the top of the mountain at the Mountain House cultural center, picturesquely surrounded by Sitka pines and wildflowers. Visit the nature center to learn more about this beautiful part of the world, or follow one of the hiking trails winding away from the terminal. There’s a wheelchair-accessible trail, and a short mile-loop trail with interpretative signage.More
#3

Juneau Cruise Port

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Juneau’s cruise port is right by the historic downtown area of the city, perfectly located for shore excursions, dinner, shopping and entertainment while you’re cruising Alaskan waters. Founded during the gold-rush days, Juneau is a terrific port to get a sense of the pioneer days and frontier history. Wild West-themed restaurants and pubs are rustic and fun, and menus highlight the region’s snapping-fresh king crab and other seafood. Shore excursions take you to Mendenhall Glacier for alpine hiking, rafting trips and Alaskan wildlife. Flying there by helicopter is surely the way to go! Don’t miss the chance to ride the Mt. Roberts Tramway for iconic alpine and Juneau views, theater and museum exhibits, and terrific dining at the terrace grill. The tramway departs right from the cruise port. While you’re in port, take the opportunity to shop for Alaskan souvenirs, handicrafts and gold nugget jewelry.More
#4

Pack Creek

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Want to see bears while you're in Alaska? Then head to Pack Creek in Juneau where you're practically guaranteed to see brown bears roaming in their natural habitat. Pack Creek is located on Admiralty Island and is home to the Pack Creek Bear Sanctuary. Most people visit Pack Creek on a guided excursion for an opportunity to see the brown bears who make their home in the area. Pack Creek is located about 30 miles south of Juneau and you'll likely be flown to Pack Creek on a seaplane. When visiting with an excursion company, you will be accompanied by a guide who will give you a background on the nature surrounding you and who will take you to the best spots to see brown bears in a safe manner. You might even see a bear trying to catch a fish in the water.More
#5

Juneau Icefield

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One not to miss experience when traveling to Juneau is visiting the Juneau Icefield. The fifth-largest icefield in the Western Hemisphere at 3,900 square kilometers (1,500 square miles), it’s home to over 140 interconnected glaciers. This is where you’ll find Juneau’s most popular tourist attraction, Mendenhall Glacier, a 12-mile (19-kilometer) long drive-in glacier. There are many ways to explore the Juneau Icefield and Mendenhall Glacier, some of which include a whale watching cruise, kayaking, a rafting tour, and trekking on and/or around the glacier. Another popular glacier to visit in the Juneau Icefield is Taku Glacier, touted as the world’s deepest and thickest glacier at 4,845 feet (1,477 meters) thick, which is also possible to hike on.More
#6

Herbert Glacier

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A white-blue shock tumbling between mountains into the river valley that bears the same name, Herbert Glacier is a popular but still secluded stop for tours to the Juneau Icefield north of Alaska’s state capitol. Though Herbert doesn’t have the wow factor of tumbling into an impressive reflecting pool of its own meltwater like neighboring massive Mendenhall Glacier, Herbert Glacier is deeper inland, boasts a dramatic backdrop of snowcapped peaks and frequently visited by heli-flight. Often combined with fly-overs to Mendenhall and thick Taku Glacier, Herbert Glacier’s flow has several flat landing spots that offer the chance to set foot on its chilly, slow moving mass. Its surface also affords one of the most unique ways to experience a glacier in the region: by dog sled. After landing on the glacier, a team of huskies guided by an experienced musher navigates the glacier’s eternal winter wilds.More
#7

Alaska State Capitol Building

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Alaska’s red-brick state capitol in Juneau is atypically austere, lacking a dome or sprawling grounds. Yet the building does feature porticos of marble from Prince Wales Island, and inside, two murals depict the harvest from both land and sea, while carvings highlight the industries Alaska relies on for its livelihood.More
#8

Juneau-Douglas City Museum

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The city of Juneau shines a spotlight on its rich cultural heritage and history at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. Gold-mining history is particularly highlighted, providing plenty of inspiration to take one of the museum’s guided walking tours of the mines and historic old town.More
#9

Chichagof Island

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Visitors flock to Chichagof Island in Juneau for a peek inside of raw, rugged and untouched Alaska. Measuring in at 75 miles long and 50 miles wide, this island is the fifth largest in the United States. Chichagof, also know as Shee Kaax, acts as a port for cruise ships, boasting panoramic views and fresh mountain air. Most are drawn to the island for the untouched landscape and wildlife; Chichagof has the highest population of bears per square mile of anywhere in the world! While the population of the island is quite small — less than 2,000 inhabitants, the activities offered are numerous, including sightseeing, fishing and guided hunting.More
#10

Glacier Gardens

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Saunter through the temperate rainforest amid colorful blooms at Juneau’s Glacier Gardens. This natural attraction showcases lively botanical gardens and diverse plant life, secluded inside the dense greenery of Tongass National Forest. The interesting Upside-Down Flower Towers charm visitors, while the towering lookouts offer unobstructed views of wild Alaska.More

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Recent reviews from experiences in Juneau

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Juneaur Wildlife Whale Wartching & Mendenhall Glacier
CalHipHopHead, Aug 2019
Juneau Wildlife Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier
We were able to see Orcas and humpback whales.
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Absolutely Awesome Adventure!
altamercer, Jul 2019
Juneau Whale Watching Tour
Captain Brenden knew exactly where to take us to see beautiful humpback whales!
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Excellent tour!
Departure00183524753, Jun 2019
Mendenhall Glacier Lake Canoe Tour
Breathtaking views of the glacier and Nugget Falls!
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When you are ready for contemplative...
jon0959, Sep 2017
Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure in Juneau
A young garden just entering its adolescent phase, I can't wait to see what the fully mature adult garden, with such an inspired designer/artist, becomes.
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7 Whale Surprise!
Expedition253542, Aug 2019
Juneau Whale Watching Tour
They just popped up everywhere, it was truly great to see all of them spouting and diving at different times throughout.
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Whale Watching Guaranteed!
alexisclaireT, Sep 2018
Juneau Wildlife Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier
You have the option to view either or both the falls or the glacier.
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We arrived at Juneau on a cruise ship...
Rob and Ellie's travels, Sep 2016
Round-Trip Mendenhall Glacier Shuttle Service
We arrived at Juneau on a cruise ship and found this was a better option than the cruise line's shore excursion to see the glacier.
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My husband and I took a cruise to...
Linda C, Jul 2018
Round-Trip Mendenhall Glacier Shuttle Service
I would definitely recommend using the service if you want to visit Mendenhall.
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It rains all the time in Juneau, it...
Adrian M, Aug 2017
Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure in Juneau
Note that the cart ride described in my review is the only way to visit you may not walk on your own.
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Coastal Helicopters was very well...
cgorman2, Aug 2017
Juneau Helicopter Tour and Guided Icefield Walk
On the glacier, you have 20 minutes to walk around but they will keep an eye on you to make sure you don't wander far and heaven forbid fall into a crevasse.
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We didn't know there were only 4...
Scott O, Aug 2017
Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip
You may be disappointed if your expecting a full on whitewater rafting experience, but it is a very beautiful, interesting, and enjoyable way to see part of Juneau.
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Amazing food! The people were very...
Michelle N, Jul 2017
Juneau Gold Creek Salmon Bake
There is a beautiful creek with a waterfall, short easy walk.

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