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8 Hours in Juneau, Alaska - A Local's Guide

I've compiled my absolute top places, shops, hikes, and experiences into one guide! Please indulge and enjoy! Downtown Juneau is incredibly accessible to outdoor activities, almost everything in the downtown...

I've compiled my absolute top places, shops, hikes, and experiences into one guide! Please indulge and enjoy!

Downtown Juneau is incredibly accessible to outdoor activities, almost everything in the downtown area is walkable, which makes it convenient to get in a good hike during the day, hit the shops in the afternoon, and then transition smoothly into a night out.  Whether you're a local or just passing through, here's how to get a little crazy in downtown Juneau.  

Read about Juneau History here!

 

Explore Downtown Juneau

  • Red Dog Saloon - Juneau's most famous saloon. This place makes history time and time again with it's swanky, yet rough style. Browse the walls for old time photos, you can easily spend hours taking it all in, then order a Duck Fart!
  • The Narrows - Next move up to the corner of Front and Franklin for an eclectic vibe and killer specialty cocktails! This street corner bar has been pouring alcohol for over 100 years, and it'll no doubt put a grin on your face.
  • Amalga Distillery - Continue up Franklin to the corner of Second Street and enjoy some locally brewed gin and soon to be whiskey! This is a fun environment and one of Juneau's newest scenes, they use traditional techniques and combine art with taste.
  • House of Wickersham - One of Juneau's oldest homes, this house was once occupied by a federally appointed judge in the early 1900's.  This house is worth visiting for those who love a little nostalgia and views of the Gastineau Channel.  Take your time in the entertainment room, it's full of early century furniture and memorabilia. 
  • Juneau City Museum - I love this little museum for its in-depth overview of Juneau's early mining history, so after you grab a cocktail from the lowlands, head up main street and hit the museum!
  • Explore City Streets - It's hard to go wrong when exploring downtown Juneau, the streets twist and turn, climb and descend, and wind their way until they run into the mountainside.  

Hiking

Continue up Franklin Street and work your way up the hill, skip over one block to the right onto Gold Street, and follow that up to Basin Road.  Basin Road was the first road ever built in the entire state of Alaska, definitely an oldie but a goodie! Follow the dirt road up Gold Creek which leads to multiple trails you can then access depending on skill level and mood. 

  • Mt. Roberts - Access the trailhead on Basin Road. You'll spend 45min-1hr   Either take the Tram down the mountain to town, or continue up to the Summit. This hike is moderate to advanced at times.
  • Perseverance Trails - This trail system offers plenty of routes and destinations to keep you coming back for more. Access the trails at the top of Basin Road. Perseverance Trail marks Alaska's first road, built to access the Alaska-Juneau Gold Mine. From the trail you can see old mine ruins at an easy to moderate pace.
  • Mt. Juneau - Access from the Perseverance trail, you'll vere left up the mountain. With 2-3 hours to the top, it is advanced hiking but the view at the top is breathtaking and well worth it.  You can see the entire length of the Gastineau Channel and Douglas Island.
  • Flume Trail - One of the prettiest, scenic downtown walks you can take! Great for a lunch hour, or a relatively flat trail on a boardwalk that follows Gold Creek. If taken from Basin Road, the trail pops out in a downtown neighborhood on the other side of Gold Creek.
  • Dupont Beach - Take a taxi, Uber, or Lyft to the very end of Thane Road, a couple miles south of Downtown.  The trail itself is 1.7 miles with small amounts of incline here and there. It ends at the old DuPont Dock where they use to off load dynamite for the mines in the early 1900's. There is also a pebbly beach that faces to the south down Gastineau Channel.

Eats

After your hike, wind your way back through the streets and down to Seward, Front, and Franklin Streets where all the best shopping and eating is.  Weather depending, eat inside at the Rookery, then shop Shoefly, and hit the bookstore.  All three shops are neighbors so it's easy to avoid the outdoors if you stick to one block!  For a gorgeous day, eat out at either Crepe Escape or Deckhand Dave's, then wander over to Boheme on Franklin.  You'll pass the Alaska Fudge Co on your way so it'd be a good idea to swing in there for some chocolate covered oreos or ice cream! 

  • Rookery - Great spot for coffee, lunch and dinner!  Alaskan dishes, homemade soups (always vegetarian or vegan), and fantastic baked goods.  Lunch special comes with soup of the day and panini of the day for $10.  Dinner is upwards of $30-$80 for two.
  • Crepe Escape - Open seasonally, this shack makes crepes and smoothies with everything from smoked salmon to nutella!  This is a great place for lunch on the docks, and some quality people-watching.
  • Deckhand Dave's - Voted best in Alaska for their fish tacos and man do they live up to it! Dave never disappoints.
  • Alaska Fudge Company - As if you needed anymore information.
  • Salt - Upscale restaurant with great food, and a fantastic wine selection.
  • Pel'Mini - Your late night snack and best drunk food around!  Russian dumplings for $7 and only two items on the menu make it easy!

Shopping

With diamond stores and souvenir shops lining Franklin Street, I invite you to the local district! Locally owned shops are always where its at! You'll generally see the owner around, find locally made goods, and get a good feel for authentic Alaskan businesses!

  • Cordova's - Duh! Stop in to say hello or come shop in person, located at 224 Front Street, definitely the cutest shop in town for clothing, jewelry, gifts and more.
  • Boheme - Women's boutique, amazing accessories and dresses for any occasion.
  • Kindred Post - A gem of a post office, this place has knick knacks and amazing jewelry! 
  • Juneau Artists Gallery - Locally handmade jewelry and photographs from around Southeast, Alaska.  Find unique earings for roughly $40.
  • Shoefly - Best shoe store in Southeast!  Find cute boots, sandals, heels and handbags!  Shoe prices range from $30- $500 depending on your taste and impusle needs.  You will not be disapointed!
  • Aurora Projekt - Essential Southeast gear.  Get your locally designed stickers, shirts, hats, and jewelry at this little hole in the wall.  Completely unique to Southeast, Alaska, Aurora Projekt brings its own style mixed with Tlingit designs and Southeast lifestyle.  Prices range from $20 - $60 for a tank or sweatshirt.
  • Willow & Luna - handmade artisan bags from Italian leather and pendleton wool.
  • Bustin' Out Boutique - Bras and panties!

Experiences

  • Taku Lodge & Wings Airways - Take flight and head up river to the Taku Lodge, unparalled flightseeing and fantastic food! 
  • Mendenhall Glacier - Requires some sort of transportation, taxi, shuttle bus, rental car, or city bus will all get you there. Expect a 30min drive each way. Once there hike out a mile to Nugget Falls!
  • Whale Watching - Plenty of tour operators taking you out to Auke Bay where you're almost garaunteed to see whales! *You can book this excursion on the docks, you'll see sales reps in little booths.
  • Helicopter Tour - Anytime there's an opportunity to get up into the sky you should take it! Southeast Alaska is best seen from a birds-eye-view!  *You can book this excursion on the docks, you'll see sales reps in little booths.
  • Dog Sledding - You can do this two ways, one on land with wheeled carts at a more affordable rate, and the other on the icefields above the glaciers! Both are so fun and wild experiences, it's entirely possible to play with puppies too!  *You can book this excursion on the docks, you'll see sales reps in little booths.
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