A fun little day trip is an essential part of my summer, always making it a point to travel to Sitka at least once or twice to enjoy my favorite shopping spots, eats, local hangouts, and just strolling city streets! This time around was especially fun because I met up with Sydney, my favorite photographer, and Rachel, from The Northern Current Blog! Starting at Rachel's house (which was recently featured on Apartment Therapy!) we set out for some photo shenanigans and girl boss time ;)
Also, I'm actually 6 months pregnant for this trip, to view a style blog about maternity wear read; I Hate Maternity Clothes
Sitka is the largest city on Baranof island, and is also the largest city (area wise) in the United States - so there is plenty of room to stretch out! If arriving to Sitka via the Alaska Marine Hwy, you'll want to take a taxi, or shuttle into town. If you're flying into Sitka, it's a little over a mile of walking distance from the airport to the downtown area. You'll cross a bridge that overlooks islands and fishing boats, a classic Southeast scene. Sitka is a very walkable town, you can easily access trails and beaches on foot.
Explore City Streets
Probably the most quaint little seaside town you've ever visited, this little city is colorfully inviting. The Downtown area provides all sorts of fun shops amongst the rose bushes, several harbors to wander, and once you leave there you're walking peacefully along side the shore. You MUST walk and check out:
- Lincoln Street - hard to miss with St. Nicholas Orthodox Church! One of the oldest in the State. This main drag takes you through the heart of Sitka.
- Sheldon Jackson College - Continue along Lincoln Street to pass by this old Dutch Styled Campus. On the waterside is an aquarium and hatchery worth a visit too!
- Totem Park - A great walk through the Tongass, this National Park is filled with Historical stories, battles, and totems that have all been taken over by the forest. Several trails lead you to beaches and creeks.
- Herring Cove Trail - An easy to moderate trail that winds through beautiful trees and waterfalls, approximately 1.6 miles and located at the end of Sawmill Road.
- Harbor Mountain Road & Gavan Hill Trail - THE BEST HIKE! There are two entrances to this trail. If you have a car, follow Harbor Mountain Road which meandors uphill climbing 2,000ft, from there get of of the car and hike! No car? No problem! Head to the end of Baranof Street to make the ascent. Gavan Hill Trail is a 6 mile loop, advanced hiking but if you're into history you'll be pleased to discover old WWII Radar and Fort ruins!
What to wear on your hike
These trails can get muddy depending on how much its rained that week so ask a local on your way up. I like to hike these trails in Teva Sandals, jean shorts, and a tee that way I can transition my outfit and shop afterwards. Xtratufs or any athletic shoe, hiking boot works great too. If you're headed to the mountain tops then definitely pack a lunch, water, flannel or extra layer, sun screen, shades, a beer or a joint, bear spray as an extra precaution, and/or a dog.
PLEASE remember to always hike with a buddy and let someone know what time to expect you back, always send a text to someone to let them know which trail. Hikers go missing every summer, only the Kooshdakhaa and old gold miner ghosts know what happens to them.
- The Cellar - BEST SHOPPING IN SOUTHEAST, ALASKA! You can spend hours at this cute boutique. Find unique items that fit Sitka's savy style. Items are reasonably priced, you can spend anywhere from $30-$100 on a single item. There is also local handmade jewelry that is to die for. This shop is an absolute must. I have literally come to Sitka just to shop here.
- Old Harbor Books - A great little book store with fantastic Alaskan selection. Plus the back has a hidden coffee shop!
Eats & Drinks
- Back Door Coffee Shop - Great for baked goods and a quick lunch!
- Baranof Island Brewing Company - An up and coming brewery who uses glacial fed water to make mouth-watering beer. There are several places to drink up this high quality, local beer, but if you'd like to visit the brewery and tasting room you'll have to head to the brewery itself. Located off Sawmill Creek road about 1.5 miles from town (keep the ocean on your right).
- Bayview Restaurant - Great place to grab fish tacos and beer! Plus the view is fantastic! Sports Bar atmosphere.
- Larkspur Cafe - A great place to go for lunch! Serving homemade goodness, and happens to share the building with Raven Radio.
- Ludvig's - The best place in town for dinner! Reservations are a must!
- Nugget Restaraunt - Best homemade pies around! Located in the airport, grab a slice before your flight or plan on going there for dessert. Ask any Southeastener what's special about Sitka, and they'll reply with "PIES!"
- North Sister Crepes and Juice Co. - Looking for an Alaskan spin on crepes? This is it! Located downtown, menu items include crepes stuffed with Sitka harvested kelp, and fresh caught salmon and even beach asparagus. Ingredients are homemade, homegrown, organic, and tasty as hell!
What to Pack & Wear
The weather in Sitka is a hit or miss. For Summer days, plan for anything between 50 degrees (Farenheight) with rain, to 75 degrees and gorgeously unreal. For Fall and Spring, expect cooler temperatures, so layers are key. For Winter you'll need a pair of water-resistant boots!
Easy Day Outfit
- Light top
- Cardigan/flannel or light outer jacket
- Comfortable shoes for walking/light hiking, I like Teva Sandals
- Day dress if you're sticking around town
LOCALS: What are you favorite things to do around town?
VISITORS: What was your highlight?
All photos were taken by SYDNEY AKAGI PHOTOGRAPHY, located in Juneau, Alaska.
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