Five essential activities for first-time visitors to Juneau

America’s last frontier is home to some truly spectacular natural destinations like Denali National Park and the Katmai Peninsula, but when it comes to city life, Juneau is hard to beat. Established as the capital of Alaska in 1906, the city is home to a vibrant food scene and plenty of opportunities for hiking, boating, and countless other opportunities for outdoor adventure.

If you’re planning on heading to Alaska anytime soon, be sure to leave room in your itinerary for a few days in the Alaska Panhandle lest you miss out on one of the coolest cities the 49th state has to offer. .

Get acquainted with Alaskan cuisine on a food tour

Don’t let its small population and geographic isolation fool you – Juneau is home to a truly impressive food scene that’s sure to impress even the pickiest visitor. For a deep dive into the kaleidoscope of flavors in Alaska’s capital, Juneau Food Tours has designed a host of excursions tailored to first-time visitors. A particularly intriguing program is the Prohibition Progressive Party – this booze-centric journey allows guests to enjoy refreshing cocktails while learning about Alaska’s role during the Prohibition era, while the Tour With a Taste features some of Juneau’s most iconic food and drink spots, including a staple seafood restaurant known as Tracy’s King Crab Shack.

Spot the gentle giants of Juneau on a whale watch

Alaska is renowned the world over for its high concentration of iconic creatures – polar bears, bald eagles and caribou, to name a few – but for Juneau in particular, it’s the whales that make up the main attraction for nature lovers. If you’re hoping to get a close-up view of these titanic flesh-and-blood creatures, local tour operator Moore Charters offers private excursions from May through September, ferrying guests along the preferred canal in search of cetaceans, pinnipeds and whales. rare seabirds. . Guests are certain to spot huge throngs of sea lions basking along Lincoln Island’s shoreline as well as pods of humpback whales, while the lucky ones might spot a killer whale or two.

Explore Juneau’s thriving beer and spirits scene

Winter brings short days and freezing weather to Juneau, but luckily locals have a pretty spectacular beer scene to hold them over until spring arrives. One of the city’s most impressive breweries can be found in the western part of town – Forbidden Peak Brewery, to be precise. Equipped with a beautiful bayside patio, mouth-watering beers like Low-Viz Hazy IPA and Red Spruce Ale loaded with spruce tips, and a mouth-watering street food-themed restaurant. Southeast Asia located inside the brewery, it’s hard to find a more idyllic place to hang on the Alaskan Panhandle. If you need a beer break back downtown, pop into Amalga Distillery for a glass of Juneauper Gin infused with a treasure trove of native Alaskan herbs.

Ride the famous Juneau Cable Car

Installed in 1996, Juneau’s iconic Goldbelt Tram offers visitors a truly spectacular view of the city, taking them 1,800 feet above sea level to the highest peaks of Mount Roberts. After spending a few minutes marveling at Douglas Island, Gastineau Channel and the surrounding countryside, there are plenty of activities to do before heading back down to town. Families can stop at the Nature Center to get a glimpse of the wide range of creatures that inhabit Southeast Alaska, then head out on the two-mile Mount Roberts Trail to search for them in the wild.

Enjoy a gourmet evening downtown

After a long day of whale watching and beer tasting, an upscale night out on the town is certainly in order. For lovers of fresh artisanal Italian cuisine, the elegant In Bocca Al Lupo is a must visit. While there are a host of incredible traditional dishes to enjoy here, like spaghetti pomodoro and wood-fired funghi pizza, it’s the seamless infusion of Alaskan ingredients and flavors that really makes this restaurant shine. place. From fresh native scallops to herbs sourced from the local Juneau Greens hydroponic farm, In Bocca Al Lupo is committed to providing a dining experience that is as Alaskan-centric as it is delicious.

Michelle J. Kelley