Planning Your Stay in Juneau? See These Tips to Enjoy Your Time

05 March, 2024

Planning Your Stay in Juneau? This destination is unlike any other. It is a mountain town, with a coastal community flourishing with natural wonder and unique wildlife. As you step into the city, you’ll experience why it is a cultural jewel with rich history, lively music, Native heritage and stunning art. 

Outdoor enthusiasts find the city awe-inspiring, but you don’t have to be outdoorsy to enjoy travel here. It also offers something unique to shoppers, foodies and historians. 

So as you prepare for your travels, here are some tips for making the most of your experience and ensuring you witness these various aspects of what make Juneau special. 

Where to Shop

Where you shop is dependent on the types of goods you enjoy perusing. But here’s a look at some of the leading options.

  • Spruce Street Antiques and Gifts: you’ll find everything from home décor to special items to take back from your travels and gift your loved ones. 
  • Regal Boutique: find one-of-a-kind apparel and accessories. This vintage store brings in styles from around the world and places them alongside unique designs from locals. 
  • Raven Eagle Gifts & Gallery: this is one of the most unique shopping experiences because it is 1,800 feet above Juneau. Ride the Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway up and take in stunning views of the city. Shop for unique gifts and artwork before you ride back down. You can even have your items shipped directly home so you don’t have to worry about fitting them in your luggage.
  • Caribou Crossings: this locally owned and operated store offers artwork, craft items and more. You’ll find everything from children’s books to fossilized ivory bracelets. All items are from Alaskans, meaning you won’t find anything like it elsewhere.
  • Old Harbor Books: tell the staff the types of books you’re interested in and then marvel at what they find for you. The bookshop sits within The Backdoor Café making it a great place to enjoy a pick-me-up, fresh-baked pastries and a good read. Many of the books have ties to the area, meaning you’ll also learn more about Juneau.

What Trails to Hike

While there are plenty of Juneau tours that help you explore via boat, car or other means of transportation, there’s nothing like seeing it all on foot. Head out into the wilderness and hike these trails to experience the outdoor wonders Juneau offers.

Planning Your Stay in Juneau
  • Perseverance Trail: don’t feel intimidated by this trail’s name. It is a moderate hike that encompasses three miles. You’ll go from the city life in downtown Juneau to a spectacular canyon. You’ll hike a former rail line that takes you above Gold Creek Valley. As you hike, you’ll see old mine shafts and an area with steep drops into Gold Creek.
  • East Glacier Loop: another 3-mile hike that will take you to Juneau’s unique wonders is the East Glacier Trail. This is near Mendenhall Glacier but will take you to see more than just the visitors center. The hike is considered moderate, which means it is ideal for many travelers.
  • Mount Roberts Alpine Loop Trail: ride the tram up the 1,800 feet and step onto the trails there. Be ready to take on some stairs though as you’ll climb 60. Then enjoy stunning vistas as you take in the mountain valleys, rocky ridges, Glacier Bay and snow gullies. The hike is easy and well worth the views.
  • Treadwell Ditch/Eaglecrest Trail: if you want to spend a day hiking and can take on many miles, this is a great trail for you. The terrain is considered easy but it is a 16-mile long trail. In the winter, you might find people skiing the trail. It has good footing and will take you along mine remains as you mingle with porcupine and deer. 
  • Heinzleman Ridge Trail: if you’re a frequent hiker looking for something more challenging, this trail is for you. It has difficult terrain and is nine miles long. As a more rugged trail, it is unmarked. Enjoy mountain goats and the fun of crossing Jordan Creek. Then begin a steep climb, which makes this a more challenging excursion.


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Can’t-miss Landmarks

Juneau has a rich history that you can take in by visiting major landmarks along the way. Here are some can’t-miss places to visit.

  • Mendenhall Glacier: whether you spend a day hiking or simply relax and take it all in, you won’t find these vistas anywhere else. Glaciers are found in few areas of the U.S., making this a unique experience.
  • Alaska State Museum: learn about Juneau’s rich history at the Alaska State Museum. You’ll see gold mining artifacts, learn about the various native tribes that inhabited the area and more. It’s a great place to learn about the history and heritage of the city. 
  • Goldbelt Tram: this lookout is incredible and offers views of Juneau you won’t find elsewhere. Once you get to the top, you can enjoy Goldbelt Tram Gifts as well as Timberline Bar and Grill. Chilkat Theater shows Watch Seeing Daylight, an 18-minute film about Tlingit history and culture. The film runs every half hour. Or take one of the incredible trails to experience the outdoor wonders of Juneau.
  • National Shrine of St. Therese: the serene setting can help you relax and meditate after a busy day of adventure. The shrine is in a beautiful area. You can rent cabins nearby to rest and relax in the peaceful area while exploring the gardens. The chapel was built in 1938 from beach stone. 
  • Last Chance Mining Museum: experience real gold mine buildings and equipment at the museum. The building is an original turn-of-the-century building. While it has no heat, you’ll be taken back in time to one of the most influential times for the area.

Eye-opening Excursions

There’s nothing quite like exploring Juneau’s wilderness and experiencing it with no timelines or agendas. But an excursion can help you see unique parts of Juneau in a safe, guided environment while offering insights from knowledgeable locals. Consider one of these leading excursions or tours during your stay.

  • Whale watching: you’ll find a host of tour companies offering whale-watching experiences. Some take you in big boats while others get you closer to the action in kayaks. It all depends on your comfort level and what you prefer. Most tour companies guarantee you’ll see whales.
  • Sled dog: see how mushers do what they do. Tours also allow you the chance to ride a sled with these incredible animals or to enjoy a summer experience when there is no snow. 
  • Helicopter tours: see Juneau from above during a helicopter tour. Many of these also include an Icefield walk. 
  • Kayaking: there are many incredible locations to kayak in Juneau. Whether you go to Mendenhall Glacier or one of the other waterways in the area, you’ll see incredible sights and enjoy a unique experience.
  • Guided hikes: less experienced hikers find that guided hikes are better because they ensure you don’t get lost or hurt. Take on challenging trails as you experience incredible wilderness.
  • Salmon bakes: often these are part of other excursions so see what you can pair them with. You’ll taste local, fresh cuisine as you enjoy this unique experience.

Mouthwatering Restaurants

If you’ve come to Juneau for the food, you won’t be disappointed. Here’s a look at a few restaurants you’ll want to visit but there are plenty more you should try during your stay.

  • Deckhand Dave’s: it isn’t much to look at, but the restaurant features incredible tacos. It’s worth the visit.
  • Tracy’s King Crab Shack: enjoy waterfront views at this delicious restaurant where you’ll find king crab. Being on the water, it is a main tourist location so try to go during off hours or when the cruise ships have left the dock for the day.
  • Sandpiper Café: with breakfast and lunch options, this delicious café can help fuel your adventures. The menu is diverse to help provide something for everyone.
  • The Hangar on the Wharf: this restaurant has many vegetarian and vegan options and is an affordable stop in downtown Juneau.
  • Donna’s Restaurant: when you’re headed out of Juneau or when you first arrive, Donna’s Restaurant is a good stop. It’s close to the airport and has delicious American dishes.

Hotels that Feel Like Home

Few hotels in the area provide a homelike setting. Frontier Suites offers a full kitchen in every suite to help you cook meals and enjoy your stay in a relaxing setting. The free shuttle to and from the airport also makes travel simple. Book your stay now.

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