Ketchikan, AK

  • Ketchikan, Alaska
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Explore Ketchikan, AK

For more than 100 years, Ketchikan, Alaska, has been the gateway to the North. Ketchikan cruises dock along the famed historic waterfront with the flourishing art scene and spectacular totem poles that have made this former frontier town a popular southern Alaskan port of call. Experience the sights, atmosphere, and excitement of the Last Frontier as soon as you cross the Alaska border on Carnival cruises to Ketchikan.

  • See the most impressive ancient and modern totem poles in Alaska.
  • Catch a demonstration of lumberjacking skills by adroit woodsmen—and women.
  • Visit quaint shops on a historic street that’s actually a dock.

Things To Do

Local Attractions

A Ketchikan cruise takes you to an Alaskan rough-and-tumble frontier town turned into an artistic hub. Along the streets are totem poles considered among the finest ever carved, and numerous shops selling works by Alaska’s best-known painters and craftsmen. Adventurous tours lead into the rainforest, along the beaches, and onto the ocean waters teeming with marine life.

  • Explore Creek Street, a waterfront where sailors once came ashore to find some fun.
  • Visit the Totem Heritage Center, where ancient totem poles, rescued from decay, are preserved.
  • Take in contemporary Native culture in the nearby Indian village of Saxman.
  • Cheer on competing log-rollers at the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show.
  • Shop for work by Alaska’s best-known artists who make Ketchikan their home.

Fun Facts

  • Dolly’s House, on Creek Street, is said to have been the last legal bordello in Alaska, closed down when World War II broke out.
  • Ketchikan can get a foot of rain in a month in winter. Annette Island, the rainiest spot in North America, is just south of town.
  • The diving eagle sculpture near the docks is by Tlingit master carver Nathan Jackson. Residents have dubbed it “Old Tailfeathers.”

Within Walking Distance

Your Alaska cruise arriving at Ketchikan will pull into the berths that run parallel to Waterfront Promenade along the main business district. The Tongass Museum displays artifacts from the city’s colorful past, when fishing, logging, and looting were the mainstays of the rowdy local economy. The Great Alaska Lumberjack Show, where burly men dressed in plaid compete in log rolling and chopping, unfolds daily near the fascinating small boat harbor in the Stedman-Thomas National Historic District. Some of the oldest and oddest buildings in town line Creek Street, a long board dock that was once Alaska’s most notorious red light district. Set out for the Park District along Ketchikan Creek, to visit the Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center and meet America’s national symbol close up.

Beyond the Port Area

You can go back onto the water with the Knudson Cove Sportfishing excursion or the Tatoosh Island Sea Kayaking Garden excursion, or fly over in a float plane to enjoy the scenic mystery of Misty Fjords National Park on the Misty Fjords Seaplane Adventure excursion. See Ketchikan from land and sea on a tour in a yellow amphibious craft called The Duck while on the ‘Duck’ A Historic City & Harbor Tour excursion. The back roads and trail system around Ketchikan can be explored by motorcycle, Jeep, Hummer, and trolley while on the Back Country Jeep & Canoe Safari excursion. The Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary, Eagles & Totems excursion takes you to the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, south of town. This is a great shore excursion for viewing bears, eagles, and other Alaskan animals. Excursions from Ketchikan cruises, such as the Canopy Adventure & Wildlife Expedition excursion and Bear Creek Zipline & Challenge Course excursion, take you to the award-winning ziplines of Alaska Canopy Adventures can send you coasting through southeast Alaska’s canopy of giant old growth trees.

The highlight of your trip will be the Misty Fjords & Wilderness Explorer excursion. Explore Misty Fjords, while cruising in luxury aboard the M/V St. Aquilina - one of the fastest sightseeing vessels in Alaska. Begin your adventure as soon as you leave Ketchikan's picturesque harbor, passing by colorful fishing boats and float planes, en route to a wilderness experience you will never forget. Keep a sharp eye out for whales, porpoise and sea lions as the water jet-powered catamaran "flies" at sea level past rugged coastlines. Cruise into Behm Canal surrounded by the pristine beauty of Misty Fjords, stop to view an active bald eagle's nest and a Tlingit pictograph. Admire New Eddystone Rock, an immense volcanic spire rising from the emerald sea. Delight in the unhurried exploration of Rudyerd Bay, an ice-carved masterpiece deep within the monument. Learn the natural history of the fjords while gliding quietly beneath 3,000-foot vertical cliffs. Feel the mist of glistening waterfalls and listen to the call of seabirds nesting on a rock face sculpted by glacial forces. Cruise south from Rudyerd Bay to view a gathering of harbor seals. While en route to Ketchikan, have the opportunity to experience native culture and history presented by a Tlingit storyteller, watch a native artist at work, or enjoy a tour-related video presentation.

Totem Pole Heartland in Ketchikan

Totem Pole Heartland in Ketchikan

Ketchikan, Alaska, has more fine, authentic totem poles than any other place in Alaska. The Totem Heritage Center, in the Park District, is an awesome repository where precious century-old poles have been preserved after being rescued from the elements. Contemporary Native artists often work in the carving shed next to the museum. Just south of town is the village of Saxman, where the promenade to the Tribal House is lined with some of the most famous designs ever carved, such as the Sun-Raven pole and the Three Frogs “ridicule” pole. North of Ketchikan are more outstanding examples at Totem Bight State Park. North of Ketchikan you can visit more outstanding examples at Totem Bight State Park while taking the Totem Bight & City Tour excursion.

Shopping in Ketchikan

Shopping in Ketchikan

Your Ketchikan cruise is walking distance of art galleries showcasing the paintings, carvings, and wearable art of contemporary and traditional Alaskan artists. Stop into Soho Coho, the outpost of celebrated pop-artist Ray Troll, and browse the fine works on display in the Alaska Eagle Arts gallery.

Travel Tips


  • Most Ketchikan businesses take major credit cards.
  • Summer temperatures in Ketchikan stay between 50°F - 60°F. Jackets suffice for most visitors.
  • Pack a water-resistant hat and coat, as this tiny outpost is in a rainforest on the ocean. Remember to also bring sunscreen, especially for excursions on the water.