Visiting Juneau, Alaska from a Cruise ship. the ultimate one day guide

Alexander Sotropa

Front Street in downtown Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, USA

Welcome to Juneau, Alaska! This guide will help you make the most of your one-day visit from a cruise ship, including top attractions, dining options, and a brief history of this fascinating city.

Interesting Facts and History

  • Founding: Juneau was founded on October 18, 1880, by prospectors Richard Harris and Joseph Juneau after discovering gold in the area. It was initially named Harrisburg, then Rockwell, before finally being named Juneau in 1881.
  • Capital: Juneau became the capital of Alaska in 1906, replacing Sitka. The city was chosen due to its growing population and economic potential.
  • Geography: Juneau is unique as it is not accessible by road; it can only be reached by sea or air. This remote location adds to its charm and appeal.
  • Economy: The city’s economy is driven by government employment, tourism, commercial fishing, and mining. Tourism is the largest private employer, with over a million visitors each summer.

Tips for a Great Visit

  • Weather: Juneau’s weather can be unpredictable, so bring a raincoat and dress in layers.
  • Transportation: Utilize local transportation options like taxis, shuttles, or guided tours to make the most of your time.
  • Reservations: Some popular restaurants and tours may require reservations, so plan ahead.

Morning: Arrival and Exploration

1. Mendenhall Glacier

  • Time: 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
  • Description: Start your day with a visit to the Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau’s most popular attraction. Located just 12 miles northwest of downtown, this half-mile-wide glacier offers stunning views and beautiful hiking trails. Don’t miss the Nugget Falls hike for a rewarding experience.

2. Historic Downtown Juneau

  • Time: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Description: Head back to downtown Juneau and explore its historic district. Wander the streets to see unique sites like the Alaska State Capitol, Russian Orthodox Church, and various museums. Pick up a Downtown Walking Tour Map from a visitor information site to guide your exploration.

Lunch: Local Flavors

3. Deckhand Dave’s

  • Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
  • Description: Enjoy a delicious lunch at Deckhand Dave’s, known for its fish tacos and salmon tots. This popular spot offers a taste of local seafood in a casual setting.

Afternoon: Adventure and Culture

4. Whale Watching Tour

  • Time: 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM
  • Description: Embark on a whale-watching tour to see humpbacks and orcas in their natural habitat. Many operators guarantee sightings, and you might even witness the breathtaking bubble net feeding technique used by humpback whales.

5. Alaska State Museum

  • Time: 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
  • Description: Visit the Alaska State Museum to learn about Alaska’s multicultural heritage, including Gold Rush memorabilia and native artifacts. This museum offers a comprehensive look at the state’s history and culture.

Dinner: Fine Dining

6. Bocca Al Lupo

  • Time: 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Description: End your day with a fine dining experience at Bocca Al Lupo. This restaurant is known for its great food and often requires a reservation. Enjoy a sophisticated meal with local ingredients and flavors.

Evening: Scenic Views

Front Street in downtown Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, USA

7. Goldbelt Tram

  • Time: 9:30 PM – 10:30 PM
  • Description: Take a ride on the Goldbelt Tram for stunning views of Juneau from the top of Mount Roberts. The tram ride is quick, and the views are absolutely breathtaking. There are also trails, a nature center, and a gift shop at the top.

Enjoy your day in Juneau, Alaska!

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