A cruise to Alaska visiting Juneau takes you to the seat of state government—the Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion, and numerous historic buildings. Visit gold rush mines, fish for silver salmon, or take a day cruise to a glacial fjord. Though wildlife abounds beyond the backdoor of Alaska’s third largest city, Juneau is also a hub of local art and culture.
Take the tram up Mt. Roberts for food, Native art, and sensational views.
Explore the historical dioramas and art displays at the Alaska State Museum.
Visit beautiful Mendenhall Glacier and lake, then raft back down the river.
See the remains of what was long the biggest gold mine in America.
Sip an award-winning beer brewed with Juneau’s pristine water.
A waterfront statue near the cruise terminal honors Patsy Ann, the beloved terrier that once greeted every arriving ship.
Alaska’s 1945 Anti-Discrimination Act, passed in Juneau, pre-dates America’s Civil Rights Act by 19 years.
Forty miles north of town, the road ends. Juneau is the only capital city on the North American mainland with no road to it.
Within Walking Distance
Juneau Alaska cruises dock near the main business district, surrounded by park space and monuments. The Mt. Roberts Tramway is a breathtaking ride up the side of a mountain overlooking the channel. At the top are hiking trails and scenic lookout points. Back at sea level, the Centennial Convention and Visitors Center near the docks is a good stop for information and maps before walking around historic downtown. As you explore by foot from Juneau cruises, you’ll see the Capitol Building, Governor’s Mansion, state and city museums, and stairways that connect neighborhoods built on slopes too steep for cars.
Beyond the Port Area
Just outside of town is the Last Chance Mining Museum and Historic Park. Gold was first discovered in Juneau at this site, which developed into the center of the largest hard rock mine in the world.
A road trip out of Juneau, Alaska, on the limited road system is a must. Air and hiking tours such as the Mendenhall Glacier via Helicopter & Guided Walk excursion can put you on Mendenhall Glacier, though special footgear is advised. Raft trips down the Mendenhall River are fun, scenic, and safe on the Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip excursion. You can ride on daily guided shuttle tours through Glacier Gardens, a botanical wonderland nestled in the Tongass Rainforest east of Juneau while on the Mendenhall Glacier & Gardens Tour excursion. To the north, the quaint stone chapel at the Shrine of St. Thérèse is tucked beneath the natural cathedral of giant evergreens. Across the bridge from Juneau is the sister city of Douglas and the wide-open scenery of Eaglecrest Ski Area. Fishing charters and water tours can take you fishing, whale watching on the Whale Watching & Wildlife Quest excursion, or to nearby glacial fjords. The Four Glacier Adventure via Helicopter excursion can put you right on the permanent Juneau Icefield high above town.
For a real chance to see two of Alaska’s natural wonders, the Mendenhall Glacier and its abundance of wildlife, enjoy the Mendenhall Glacier & Wildlife Quest excursion. Stroll the glacier-view path or take a short walk to watch salmon spawning in a nearby stream.
Monuments & Museums in Juneau
The oldest “big” city in Alaska, Juneau is filled with monuments, memorials, and public art. Sculptures and tributes celebrate fishermen, miners, bears, war heroes, and the USS Juneau—a navy cruiser that sank in battle in World War II, claiming the lives of the five Sullivan brothers. Notable totem poles, old and new, are found outside the Juneau Douglas Museum, State Office Building, Governor’s Mansion, high school, and elsewhere. Stop into the Alaska State Museum on a Juneau cruise for a comprehensive overview of Alaska’s Native cultures and arts.
Dining & Drinking in Juneau
The town center has several period saloons dating from gold rush days, such as the Louvre, the Germania, and the Red Dog. The Silverbow Bakery, the oldest in Alaska, is still making bread with a 100-year-old sourdough starter. As a capital city, Juneau has no shortage of good Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, and other restaurants where lobbyists can wine and dine government officials. The legislature may not be in session when your cruise to Juneau departs, but you may still spot the Governor at a downtown coffee shop.
- Most Juneau businesses take major credit cards.
- Summer temperatures average in the 40-to-60 degree range. Jackets suffice for most visitors. Water-resistant hats and coats are a good idea as the city is in a rainforest on the ocean.
- Downtown traffic can be heavy. Take care crossing intersections.