Depending on which expedition you choose to explore Alaska’s Inside Passage with us, you will begin your cruise in buzzing Juneau. This is arguably one of the most beautiful cities not just in the state, but the entire nation as well.
So what should you know about Juneau before you visit?
A brief glance at Juneau
The common misconception is that Anchorage is the state capital of Alaska, but in fact that title can be claimed by Juneau. However, at over 300,000 people versus just over 30,000, Juneau has a much smaller population. This leads to it having the relaxed pace of a smaller town amid a wild wonderland, but with the amenities of a major city.
One of its major charms is its remote location, which you might not normally associate with a settlement as important as a capital. Juneau sits hidden in vast, winding fjords and beneath towering mountain peaks, and is only accessible by air or ship — furthering its rugged, natural appeal.
What to do in Juneau
You can explore Juneau in the downtime before your cruise of the Inside Passage. As the CBD and downtown areas are so compact, you won’t even need a rental car to see it all. Consider these two options, either for animals or history.
Although bald eagles are a sight to behold and highly populous in the state’s southeast, bears are what Juneau is famous for. Just next door is Admiralty Island, also known as the ‘Fortress of the Bears’. Jump on our pre-organised Pack Creek Bear excursion and you’ll be flown by seaplane to an estuary where brown bears like to fish for salmon. This is an excellent opportunity to witness this mighty animal for yourself, and a great way to start your holiday in Alaska.
Walking tour of the city
If you’d prefer to remain in the city before departing on your Alaskan voyage, we recommend meandering through the South Franklin Street Historic District. You’ll find this is the main tourism hub of the city, featuring a bounty of gift stores, galleries and 19th century architecture.
Consider also a self-guided walking tour through here and the wider CBD, maps of which can be found online at the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website or at the Marine Park kiosk. These will take you through the history of the city and its major sights, such as the State Capitol Building, Juneau-Douglas City Museum and heritage Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church. Also, if you get the chance, take a trip up the tramway for breathtaking views over the city.