15 Best Things to Do in Juneau

15 Best Things to Do in Juneau

Juneau is the sprawling capital city of Alaska.

However, this modern metropolis has plenty more to offer its visitors.

It has a rich history and ample natural expanses to provide a complete holiday experience to tourists.

The abundant variety of wildlife that inhabits its vast surroundings is also a major attraction for tourists to visit the oldest city of Alaska.

We will list here the 15 awesome things you must do when you travel to Juneau in Alaska on your next big holiday getaway.

Nugget Falls

Nugget Falls
aarbois / Shutterstock.com

This majestic waterfall lying next to a glacier is a sight to behold.

You will be awed by the sheer magnificence of this place amid the thunder of the falling waters.

You can enjoy an easy two-mile-long hike around these falls to breathe in the freshness.

There is a large beach lying ahead of the falls. The equally magnificent glacier lies in the backdrop.

This makes it a perfect scene to capture some high-quality surreal photographs.

You can reach this spot by following along the trail starting at the photo point, meandering all the way to the falls past Mendenhall Lake along the way.

Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier
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The Mendenhall Glacier is the star attraction in Juneau, drawing many tourists to this place.

You can enjoy sumptuous scenes of stunning natural beauty here.

It is just the perfect site for you to snap some exquisite photos.

The hike over the glacier is tough but worth the try.

You will enjoy the freshness of the new snow while having a serious physical workout.

The ice on this glacier is constantly shifting throughout the year.

This makes the Mendenhall Glacier unique. You get to enjoy a different view every time you visit it.

There is a nice visitor center constructed in the vicinity. You can watch an interesting 15-minute short documentary about the Mendenhall Glacier here.

The center also displays exciting exhibits that shed light on the history and the geology of this ice-covered place.

The wildlife around the area has a rich variety of animals.

You would find some rare and exotic species that have their natural abode in these icy peaks.

Be careful, though, not to take food with you.

This can be harmful to the animals and the ecosystem and is prohibited by the authorities.

You can also enjoy the journey to this place. Choose to travel by road, ferry or cruise ship as per your mood at the time and enjoy amazing views of the surroundings along the way.

Alaskan Brewery

Alaskan Brewery
U.S. Department of Agriculture, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can take a tour around this brewery where you will get to know about this fascinating brewery itself as well as the large variety of beers that they manufacture.

This brewery has the quintessential entrepreneurial story behind it and you will be regaled with legendary tales from the lives of the founders on this tour.

After this, head out to the tasting sessions and treat yourself to delicious local craft beer.

For beer lovers, this place is perfect to quench all lager thirsts.

Adventures at the Zipline

You can have plenty of thrill by hanging perilously from the long zip lines here.

You start with an enjoyable boat ride that takes you out to the shelter.

Here you will be kitted up and tied up with all kinds of harnesses and safety devices.

From there on, you are on your own as you roam the vast expanses of the thick forests.

Enjoy the views of the tall trees and the lush green flora of the landscapes.

You return to ground zero by adventuring through the ten zip lines crisscrossing the area.

Use the two delicate suspension bridges and the tall abseil to chart out your own course to the ground.

Mount Roberts Tramway

Mount Roberts Tramway
ackats / Shutterstock.com

Enjoy more surreal aerial views of the beautiful nature around Juneau by journeying through the Mount Roberts trail and tramway.

The thrilling six-minute-long ride in the tram car would let you enjoy breathtaking visuals of the Gastineau Channel, Juneau city, and the beautiful Douglas Island from your high vantage point.

The trail is a pleasure to traverse. You end up at the interesting visitor center at the end of your journey.

You can feast your eyes upon the many exhibits there that also enlighten you about nature and wildlife in this region in an interactive and engaging way.

Next, attempt the hike along the trail to the majestic Gastineau Peak.

The views along the hike are beautiful but when you look at the vast surroundings from the summit, you will be absolutely spellbound by the panoramic visuals.

Tracy Arm Fjord

Tracy Arm Fjord
Bryan Busovicki / Shutterstock.com

The Tracy Arm Fjord is one of the landmark attractions of Juneau.

This famous fjord lies in the heart of the unending wilderness that expands over a huge 2640 square kilometer area.

The fjord takes its name after the well-known Secretary of the Navy, Benjamin Franklin Tracy.

You can cruise down this fjord and enjoy stunning scenes of the grand waterfall, splendid natural beauty, and the pristine icy glacier.

You would be better off booking your tour in one of the smaller ships as these can easily navigate a lot closer.

You’ll have a much better experience by doing so.

The Last Chance Mining Museum

The Last Chance Mining Museum
Gillfoto from Juneau, Alaska, United States, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This small museum is dedicated to mining, and the artifacts here retell the saga of the famous Alaskan Gold Rush.

The exhibits are a feast for history buffs (and gold diggers, of course). You can catch interesting trivia with the many informative labels and placards placed by their sides.

You can take a look at the vintage mining machines to bring out the latent Steampunk in you.

The artifacts from the mines are equally exciting and narrate the story of the brave miners who risked their lives all those years ago.

You can then take a shot at panning for gold in the nearby river.

Dip around your pans and if you get lucky, you might return from Juneau with your little haul of glittering El Dorado!

Museums in the downtown

Juneau – Douglas City Museum
Gillfoto, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Juneau – Douglas City Museum is an amazing museum located in downtown Juneau.

You can see the local history, art, and culture come alive in the many interesting artifacts showcased here.

Another museum for history buffs to whet their appetite is the nearby Walter Soboleff Building.

This place has the largest collection of exquisite Native Alaskan art.

Juneau itself is a huge museum of sorts.

Roaming around this historical city, you will come across several buildings, memorials, and churches that go back a long way and tell something about the rich history of this place.

You can even visit saloons that date back to 1914!

Admiralty Island

Pack creek tour in Admiralty Island
DreamArt123 / Shutterstock.com

You can roam about in the wilderness to your heart's content by visiting Admiralty Island.

You get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see majestic brown grizzlies go about their lives in their natural abode, all from a safe distance.

This is reason enough to take a trip to this lonely island.

You can book a ticket at the Pack Creek viewing area to view these brown bears having fun and just living a merry life in their natural dwelling place.

Additionally, you have a very real chance of spotting a bear just roaming around on the island.

You can also visit historic canneries, whaling stations and mining log cabins on this island.

The scenery is stunning and you can spend hours lost in the sheer beauty of this island.

River Rafting

Getting your spirits dulled by the freezing cold in Alaska?

Well, it’s time to get those much-needed adrenaline boosts by going on an adventurous river rafting journey on the rivers and water bodies in this area.

You can choose to either raft in white waters or go for a scenic floating tour.

If you are fit and all pumped up, enjoy the full adventure with a wild white water  trip.

Otherwise, enjoy a peaceful easy float and admire the beautiful surroundings.

Eagle Beach

Eagle Beach
aarbois / Shutterstock.com

You can enjoy watching eagles flying care-free in the high skies at Eagle Beach located on Glacier Highway.

This is a huge beach and you will find yourself in your own company many times when strolling on it.

The view of the eagles from up close is really mesmerizing.

You should visit this beautiful beach in low tide as that is when you will spot plenty of eagles here.

This is because the bald eagles come down to the beach when the water has receded to catch fish for food.

Glacier Garden Rainforests

Glacier Garden Rainforests
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The Rainforest Gardens in Juneau are a sight to watch with their lush green undergrowth and tall majestic trees.

The place has been beautifully decorated by the owners who planted ample varieties of exquisite flowers here.

Other lovely green plants are also found in abundance to give you a holistic, organic visual feast.

There is some amazing tree art that will fill you with awe and warmth at the same time.

Beautifully crafted towers from colorful flowers stand tall, resplendent in their floral beauty.

Not to mention their sweet fragrances that fill the air with delectable aromas.

You can take a comprehensive guided tour around this place.

Your guide will fill you with interesting information about the large variety of plants and flowers.

You can also enjoy picturesque views of Juneau city from here.

You also have an eagle nest here. You can take a sneak peek at amazing bald eagles here.

Saint Therese Shrine

Saint Therese Shrine
Jef Wodniack / Shutterstock.com

Catch some much-needed solitude and peace by taking a breather at the pristine shrine of Saint Therese, located 22 miles to the north of Juneau.

This 80-year-old shrine opens its holy precincts to all. It welcomes people from all faiths to come and say their prayers.

Saint Therese is the patron saint of Alaska and is renowned for her many quotes and writings of wisdom.

She is also the patron saint of the Diocese of Juneau, and her guiding philosophy in life was based on love.

She preached the message of universal love and persuaded people to judge each not by their deeds but by the depth of their love.

You can pray and pay homage at this church. Additionally, you can participate in mystic spiritual experiences here.

Finally, the surrounding gardens are beautifully maintained and filled with lovely plants.

You can enjoy a mesmerizing walk in these gardens once you have made your communion with the Powers inside the church.

Alaska State Museum

Alaska State Museum
Dcornwall, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This museum is the best place to know about the colorful history of Alaska.

You can also get to learn about Juneau in particular.

They organize their exhibits in different sections for different themes.

You have sections displaying fine art, mining artifacts, displays depicting the fishing and forestry practices in the area, as well as tourism-focussed divisions.

There are also two significant sections devoted to the Russian-American period and World War Two, respectively.

You can bring out the explorer-discoverer in you by going aboard a replica of an ancient sailing ship and enjoy playful sea-voyage-related activities.

There is also a well-stocked state library and national archives within these premises.

Read to your heart’s content and return from Juneau as an expert in Alaskan history!

Dolphin Watching and Whale Spotting

Whales in Juneau
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You can get a rare chance to watch beautiful dolphins and graceful whales in full swing in their natural abode by visiting Juneau sometime between April and September.

The humpback whales and the orca whales are the most popular whales that tourists love to lay their eyes on.

The Humpback is a migratory species, while the orcas are native to these waters.

It is not uncommon to see huge packs of over 500 humpbacks travel to these waters during the summer months.

These creatures use the unique bubble technique to catch fish for food.

They will blow umpteen bubbles in the water. The light and small fish rise to the water surface along with the bubbles where the whales and dolphins would gobble them up for sumptuous feasts.

With that, we come to the end of our mega list of the 15 amazing things to enjoy on your holiday to Juneau in Alaska.

We wish you plenty of happiness for your travels to this amazing place!