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  • whales-Juneau-Alaska - Whale sighting near Juneau, Alaska, including humpback whales "bubble feeding" off a school of herring.
  • Mt-Roberts-Tram-Juneau-Alaska - The view from the top of the Mt. Roberts Tram near Juneau, Alaska.
  • kayak-Juneau-Alaska - A kayak tour near Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau, Alaska.
  • dogsled-Juneau-Alaska - Colleen Hilker: "That's me and my mom on our first sled dog excursion. We started out with a helicopter ride to see the sights around Juneau."
  • zipline-Juneau-Alaska - Ziplining over hills and trees near Juneau, Alaska.
  • Norwegian-Jewel-Aerial-Juneau - Norwegian Jewel during a port visit to Juneau, Alaska.
  • Celebrity-Infinity-Juneau - Celebrity Infinity docked in Juneau, Alaska.
  • Kayaking-near-Juneau - Kayaking near Juneau, Alaska.
  • Ocean-kayaking-near-Juneau - Ocean kayaking in the calm waters near Juneau.
  • Glacier-Bay-ice - Glacier Bay National Park covers 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers and wild coastlines in southern Alaska.
  • Chichagof-Island.jpg -  See bears in their natural habitat on Chichagof Island, Alaska.
  • Juneau-Ice-Field.jpg -  Prepare for awe-inspiring views at the Juneau Ice Field, the source of many glaciers.
  • Mendenhall-Glacier-scene.jpg - Mendenhall Glacier is surrounded by several hiking trails, including Nugget Falls Trail.
  • Mount-Juneau-hiker.jpg - A hiker at Mount Juneau, which offers views of downtown Juneau.
  • Taku-Glacier.jpg - Head to Taku Glacier Lodge by seaplane for magnificent views of the surrounding wilderness, including five massive glaciers.
  • Tracy-Arm-Fjord-waterfall.jpg - Tracy Arm Fjord, 45 miles south of Juneau, features glaciers, rock walls that reach up over a mile high and waterfalls that tumble into emerald green water.
  • whale-bubble-net.jpg - During the summer, you can spot humpback whales engaging in bubble net feeding. 
  • orca-in-juneau.jpg - An orca caught in mid-jump in Juneau, Alaska.
  • Lindblad-Expeditions-Alaska-Bald-Eagle.jpg - See a majestic bald eagle during a Lindblad Expedition visit of Baranof Island, Alaska.
  • Lindblad-Expeditions-Alaska-Brown-Bear.jpg - A large brown bear wades into a stream in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.
  • Lindblad-Expeditions-Alaska-Kayaking.jpg - Kayak the beautiful waters of Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska, on a Lindblad expedition.
  • Lindblad-Expeditions-Alaska-humpback-whale.jpg -   A humpback whale surfaces to greet visitors on a Lindblad Expeditions excursion.
  • bear-Kelp-Bay-Alaska.jpg - A brown bear pays little heed to visitors during a Lindblad Expeditions visit to Kelp Bay, Alaska.
  • Alaska-killer-whales.jpg - A family of killer whales surfaces in the Johnstone Strait in Vancouver during a Lindblad Expeditions tour.
  • Alaska-Williams Cove-Dawes-Glacier.jpg - A waterfall streams down Dawes Glacier at William's Cove in Alaska.
  • Alaska-Brown-Bear-Salmon.jpg - While on a hike of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, see a brown bear as it hunts for salmon.
  • Alaska-humpback-whale.jpg - The tail of a humpback whale emerges from the water in Alaska during a Lindblad Expeditions voyage.
  • Alaska-brown-bears-fishing.jpg - Three brown bears fish for pink salmon in a stream in Alaska during a Lindblad Expeditions tour.
  • Alaska-killer-whale.jpg - A large killer whale surfaces in Chatham Strait, Alaska, during a Lindblad Expeditions tour.
  • National-Geographic-Seabird-in-Alaska.jpg - Sail to Le Conte Bay in Stikine Flats, Alaska, aboard National Geographic Sea Bird during a Lindblad Expeditions trip.
  • Alaska-humpback-whale-breaching.jpg - An adult humpback whale breaches after disaffiliating from a group along the west side of Chatham Strait in Southeast Alaska during a Lindblad expedition.
  • alaska-sea-lions.jpg - Travelers taking a Lindblad Expeditions tour observe a sea lion colony in Inian Pass near Cross Sound, southeastern Alaska.
  • Juneau-Wildlife-Refuge-moose.jpg - See the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge in Juneau, Alaska, during an excursion on Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
  • Juneau-woodlands.jpg - See the wild expanses of Juneau, Alaska, on your Regent Seven Seas cruise.
  • fish-and-sea-urchins.jpg - A great sculpin, or double ugly, along with a Pacific wire crab (top right) and two dozen colorful sea urchins captured and documented before they were returned to Auke Bay in Alaska.
  • sea-urchin.jpg - A sea urchin caught, before it was returned to the water during a Gastineau Guiding expedition.
  • double-ugly.jpg - Tour guide Katy Bear holds up a great sculpin for passengers in Auke Bay.
  • Sasha-humpback-whale-alaska.jpg - A humpback whale in Auke Bay, Alaska, identified as Sasha, seen during an excursion out of Juneau.
  • hubbard-glacier.jpg - A look at Hubbard Glacier, 200 miles northwest of Juneau, Alaska, from ms Oosterdam.
  • hubbard-glacier-ice-sheet.jpg - A sheet of ice along the edge of Hubbard Glacier, 200 miles northwest of Juneau, Alaska.
  • hubbard-glacier-tour-boat.jpg - A small tour boat passes along the edge of Hubbard Glacier in Alaska.
  • hubbard-glacier-greenery.jpg - Greenery interspersed with snow on Hubbard Glacier in Alaska.
  • juneau-waterfall.jpg -  A waterfall seen from near the cruise dock in Juneau, Alaska.
  • juneau-totem-pole.jpg - A totem pole in Juneau, Alaska.
  • juneau-totem-raven.jpg - Closeup of a raven totem in Juneau, Alaska. Native Peoples believed the raven released the power of the sun, moon and stars for man.
  • juneau-totem-pole2.jpg - A totem pole in Juneau, Alaska.
  • alaska-state-capitol.jpg - The State Capitol building in Juneau, Alaska.
  • wildflowers-in-juneau.jpg - Wildflowers in Juneau, Alaska.
  • float-plane-in-Auke-Bay-Harbor.jpg - A float plane touches down in Auke Bay Harbor, Juneau, Alaska.
  • juneau-waterfront.jpg - The waterfront of Juneau's cruise ship harbor.
  • red-dog-saloon-in-juneau.jpg - The landmark tourism spot Red Dog Saloon is within walking distance of the cruise dock in Juneau, Alaska.
  • shops-in-juneau.jpg - A stretch of shops along North Franklin Street in downtown Juneau, Alaska.
  • stretch-of-shops-in-juneau.jpg - A stretch of shops along North Franklin Street in downtown Juneau, Alaska.
  • tours-at-juneau-dock.jpg - Visitors can sign up for tours or meet a prearranged tour at Juneau's cruise pier.
  • Tracy's-King-Crab-Shack.jpg - The landmark tourism spot Tracy's King Crab Shack is within walking distance of the cruise pier in Juneau, Alaska.
  • Holland-America-Volendam-Juneau - Holland America's Volendam in Juneau, Alaska.
  • Above-Juneau - A view from high above Juneau. See? It's not all snow.
  • Bear From Boardwalk Mendenhall Glacier - A bear seen from the boardwalk on Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska.
  • Juneau-Glacier-Gardens - Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventures, a botanical garden in Juneau, Alaska.
  • Juneau-view - A mountaintop view looking down into Juneau, Alaska.
  • Kayak-near-Juneau - A kayak near Juneau, Alaska.

Juneau port guide: Rugged beauty & small-town heart

our guide

The vibe

Tucked into a narrow stretch of shoreline along the Inside Passage in southeast Alaska, Juneau is a relatively small city (population 32,000) where nature looms spectacularly large.

Descendants of the Tlingit people still call Juneau home, giving Alaska's somewhat quaint capital multicultural appeal. Narrow streets, totems, art galleries, interesting shops and colorful bars bars provide plenty of charm.

Juneau is surrounded by the Tongass National Forest, and two glaciers — Mendenhall and Lemon Creek — are accessible from local roads. Several museums offer insight into the city’s culture and history. Nature lovers can hike miles of scenic trails in the rainforest, on tidal beaches or up mountains that slope nearly to Juneau's streets.

If you spend time in the city, you'll notice that Juneau seems less ruggedly Alaska than other ports, and it's partly because nearly a third of its residents are civil servants, many of them originally outsiders.

Cruise ships that call on Juneau

Top reasons to go

  • The sight of massive Mendenhall Glacier creeping and calving into a pristine lake, just 13 miles north of downtown, is impressive.
  • To take in glorious panoramas on the Mount Roberts Tramway as it rises from the docks in downtown Juneau to its namesake peak overlooking the city.
  • Alaska State Museum's compelling exhibits cover the breadth of the State's history, native cultures, wildlife, industry and art, all just a ten-minute walk from the Cruise ship Terminal.
A humpback whale in Auke Bay, Alaska, identified as Sasha, seen during an excursion out of Juneau.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableA humpback whale in Auke Bay, Alaska, identified as Sasha, seen during an excursion out of Juneau.

Top things to do & see in Juneau

Alaska's capital city offers outdoor adventure, wildlife, culture and excellent shopping. 

Exploring nature

One of the best ways to see Juneau is from the water, where aquatic wildlife often appears up close. Visitors can take advantage of the expertise of local outfitters and tour operators who offer kayaking, rafting and fishing just off the city's shores. You don't have to paddle far to feel away from it all. 

Whether on water or land, Juneau is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. It's a gateway to such impressive natural areas as Glacier Bay National Park, Tracy Arm Fjord, Taku River, Admiralty Island and Pack Creek Bear Preserve. With nature so close to the city limits, it's no surprise that wildlife is never far away. In fact, bears are sometimes seen just a few miles down the road at Mendenhall Glacier, one of Alaska's top attractions. The Steep Creek Boardwalk lets visitors stroll above an area where bears sometimes practice the art of salmon fishing their way. Mendenhall Glacier Interpretive Visitor Center is a don't-miss facility offering insight into the life and times of a glacier. 

A kayak tour near Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau, Alaska.
BrianAdams / Courtesy of State of AlaskaA kayak tour near Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau, Alaska.

For a more adventurous look at nature, visitors can hop on a helicopter for a ride to the Juneau Icefield, or take a floatplane to Admiralty Island or other fishing grounds to test their skills against Alaska's native salmon and other sport fish.

To get to Mendenhall Glacier on your own, take a bus or taxi from the ship docks to the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area. You can pay the driver in cash or buy two tickets at one of the many kiosks on the dock. A taxi ride is about the same cost as a bus if you have five or more passengers. 

Shopping

But it's not just about the great outdoors. Juneau has the widest variety of shops of most cruise ports in Alaska. Head to South Franklin Street, along the waterfront and just steps from the ship. Some showcase the work of local artists and artisans, from small collectibles to jewelry to clothing. Galleries offer pieces from inexpensive to fine-art quality, many specializing in artwork by Native Alaskans. After shopping, there's always a bakery or cafe to tuck into for a bite to eat.

Fun facts

  • In terms of area, the City and Borough of Juneau is larger than the state of Delaware, and the largest state capital spanning 3,200 square miles.
  • Due to its northern position, Juneau enjoys very long days in the summer. The longest day of the year is June 21, with more than 19 hours of daylight.
  • Juneau has 280 species of birds, all five species of salmon, brown and black bears and three species of whales.
  • Juneau is the only U.S. state capital with no road access. It can only be reached by air or sea.
  • Named after gold prospector Joe Juneau, this southeast city has been the capital of Alaska since 1906. 
A stretch of shops along North Franklin Street in downtown Juneau, Alaska.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableA stretch of shops along North Franklin Street in downtown Juneau, Alaska.

When you arrive

Docking information

Cruise ships typically dock in any one of three locations, all within walking distance of  downtown:

  • South Franklin Street – where most large cruise ships dock
  • Seadrome Dock – where smaller ships dock
  • AJ Dock – at the south end of town. Walking possible, but typically shuttles are made available to cruise guests docking here.

Getting around

There are typically taxis available at Marine Park, which is located right off the main street in the downtown area, a five- to 10-minute walk from where most ships dock.

Free wi-fi

  • Heritage Coffee, 174 South Franklin Street, Juneau
  • Juneau Public Library, 292 Marine Way, Juneau
  • Silverbow Bagels, 120 2nd Street, Juneau

Need to know

Store hours: Stores are open from about 9 am to 6 pm, Monday to Sunday. Some stores may stay open later when cruise ships are in town.

Tipping: A 10% to 15% tip on a restaurant or taxi bill is  customary. Sometimes a tip is automatically added to bills, so check your credit card slip before adding additional tip.

Dress: Weather in Juneau can fluctuate over the course of a day, so it's wise to wear layers and carry an umbrella.

Safety: Juneau is considered a safe and peaceful town. As always, be aware of your surroundings and lock up your valuables.

ShoreFox contributed to this guide.

Your take

Have you been to Juneau? We'd love to hear about your experience or see your photos!

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The Cruiseable editorial team consists of award-winning travel writers, cruise bloggers and journalists.

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Overheard

“You're gonna love the swinging Western doors, sawdust floors, and party atmosphere at Red Dog Saloon, a local legend and gathering place. Have a beer and a hand-dipped reindeer sausage corndog.”

Porthole Cruise magazine

“When in Alaska, eat king crab. And no one does it better than Tracy’s King Crab Shack. Order the Crab Shack Combo, which includes a giant crab leg, crab cakes, and their exceptional crab bisque. And then take pictures and make your Instagram and Facebook friends jealous.”

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