As Alaska’s State Capital and a top destination for Alaska cruises, it probably comes as no surprise that there are plenty of great things to do in Juneau. Though these busy crowds of tourists often see one side of Juneau, we see something entirely different.
Juneau is an electric, engaging, and diverse town. Accordingly, there are many things to do in Juneau – including things that are a bit more off the beaten path. Whether you’re here to enjoy the wide-open wilderness of Alaska or would rather stick to exploring the interesting shops, museums, restaurants, and more in downtown Juneau – or hopefully some combination of the two – we’d love to serve as your home base for the duration of your time in southeast Alaska.
There’s no lodging in town that comes close to offering the same amenities or experience as our downtown Juneau Hotel. The Silverbow Inn Hotel & Suites provides a range of accommodations to fit every traveler, from multi-generational families traveling together to solo business travelers. We’re anything but your boring and typical hotel, and we’re situated right in the heart of downtown Juneau so you can explore and enjoy all of the top-rated things to do in Juneau and beyond.
There’s never been a better time to visit Alaska. Book your room at our downtown Juneau hotel today!
The Best Things to do in Juneau For Your First Visit
Juneau is a popular stop for cruise boats, but there is so much more to Juneau than you’ll see on a cruise. There’s genuinely no limit to things to do in Juneau. Like much of Alaska, Juneau is a destination for those seeking once-in-a-lifetime Alaska adventures. The only way to get to Juneau is by sea or by plane – there are no roads connecting us to the rest of the state – but that is what makes this place so unique.
There certainly is no shortage of things to do in Juneau, from hiking, biking, and kayaking to scenic flights over glaciers and getting up close to Alaska’s wildlife. While the natural surroundings of Juneau are indeed spectacular, don’t miss out on your chance to explore our vibrant downtown, too. Though Alaska’s third-largest city, Juneau still enjoys a small-town vibe and plenty of local character and history. If it’s your first visit to the area, here are the top things to do in Juneau:
- Of all the things to do in Juneau, there’s nothing more popular than a visit to the famous Mendenhall Glacier, the only glacier in southeast Alaska accessible by road.
- Take the short 2-mile (roundtrip) hike to Nugget Falls. It’s an easy walk and offers different but spectacular views of Mendenhall Glacier.
- Taking a ride up to the top of Mt. Robers via the Mt. Roberts Tram is another of the most popular things to do in Juneau. The view of Juneau and the Gastineau Chanel from up there is breathtaking.
- Take a scenic drive along the 42-mile stretch of Glacier Highway (Route 7), making a stop at Eagle Beach as you go.
- Get out in the wilderness, and head to Admiralty Island National Monument. There’s approximately one brown bear per square mile here, so it’s your best chance at seeing some of Alaska’s most famous wildlife.
- Take a small boat tour through the Tracy Arm Fjord, which offers an unparalleled opportunity to view the area’s scenery and wildlife up close and personal.
- Take a helicopter or flightseeing (small plane) tour over the glaciers and vast wilderness of Juneau. Floatplanes leave from downtown Juneau’s harbor, which is walkable from our Inn.
- There are plenty of great hikes in the area, and it’s one of the most popular things to do in Juneau. Some of our favorites include the Perseverance Trail, Granite Creek Trail, Mount Juneau Trail, and the Mt. Roberts Trail. The Dan Moller Trail on Douglas Island is also great and offers excellent views and beautiful wildflowers, as does the Mendenhall River Trail (Kaxdigoowu Heen Dei).
- There are plenty of fantastic kayaking opportunities in Juneau, including heading out on the tranquil waters of Mendenhall Lake and getting up-close views of the mighty Mendenhall Glacier.
- Take a walking tour of downtown Juneau, and get to know this rugged yet charming town as you explore the area’s history and culture. Top attractions include the docks, old saloons such as the Red Dog Saloon, several historic buildings and churches, the Alaska Capitol, and the Governor’s House.
Top Things to do in Juneau According to Locals
As wonderful as the above list of things to do in Juneau is, there’s so much more to this incredible city if you know where to look. We love living in and working in Juneau and sharing our version of the city with everyone who stays with us. So if you want to know all of the best things to do in Juneau, according to locals, keep reading!
Off the beaten path hiking trails
- Visit the Last Chance Mining Museum to learn about silverbow mine history, and then see this history in person as you hike the Perseverance Trail System.
- Walk the Treadwell Ditch Trail and learn about Juneau’s mining history.
- Skip the crowds at Mendenhall Glacier and take the Herbert Glacier Trail to Herbert Glacier – a local’s only spot worth visiting!
- Visit and enjoy a picnic at Jenson-Olsen Arboretum, where you’ll find some international award-winning primroses.
- Juneau’s a great place to visit in the winter, which also happens to be the only time you can check out the Mendenhall Glacier Ice Caves via the West Glacier Trail.
- Instead of taking the tram to the top, hike the Mt. Roberts Trail, enjoy a beer while soaking in the views at the top, and take the tram down.
The Best Places to Pick Berries
Foraging for local edibles is one of our favorite things to do in Juneau. Join us for a bit of berry picking this summer at one of these local secrets:
- As wonderful as Eaglecrest Ski Area is during the winter, the Nordic Trail Loop is also a great place to pick berries in the summer!
- The Auke Rec Picnic Area and Campground on Auke Bay is a beautiful place to spend a day, and there’s excellent berry picking there, too.
- Forage for some elusive Salmonberries, which have a very short season, at Sandy Beach (Savikko Park).
Get to Know the Locals
Buying, creating, and supporting local is an important way of life in Juneau – and there are quite a few local food producers here, not to mention plenty of other unique local shops and businesses worth visiting while you’re in town. We’re happy to give you recommendations, as supporting local businesses is one of our favorite things to do in Juneau.
- Barnacle foods are in kelp production and offer a range of exciting products.
- Alaska Wild Things makes pet treats made from local Salmon waste.
- Chef Stef makes delicious candy, cookies, and granola – which is served right here at our downtown Juneau hotel.
- If you’re looking for a great meal in town, you can’t beat dining next door at In Bocca al Lupo with renowned chef Beau Schooler.
- Our friends at Amalga Distillery continue to produce exceptional spirits and canned cocktails.
- There are some great craft brews made in Juneau using our unique local ingredients.
The Best Place to Stay in Juneau
It’ll take you a few days to enjoy all of these amazing things to do in Juneau, not to mention everything else waiting to be discovered in southeast Alaska. You’ll need several days even to make a dent, but that’s where the unbeatable accommodations at our downtown Juneau hotel come in. Some of our suites have kitchens and are perfect for those more extended stays, too. What are you waiting for? Book a room at our downtown Juneau hotel today.