You’re Here, Now What? A Guide to Juneau, Alaska

There are few places in the world that can offer the beauty, culture, and activities that Juneau, Alaska is known for. The capital city of Alaska is located on the Southeast panhandle and has a modest population of 30,711, which makes it one of the smallest capital cities. The city has a small population but sprawls across a wide space of land larger than Rhode Island or Delaware. With an abundance of natural beauty including spectacular glaciers and wildlife second to nowhere else in the world, living in Juneau never gets dull or boring. Residents of Juneau love to keep busy with winter sports, picking up new hobbies, dining out, and of course heading out for adventures in the wilderness.

Winter Sports

  • Snowboarding/Skiing: Hit the slopes on the world famous Eaglecrest Ski Area that has some of the most challenging runs in Alaska. Or if you want to go big and brag to all your friends back home, try your hand at heli-skiing—being dropped into areas where nobody has ever been before with pure, untouched natural scenery.
  • Ice Skating: There are plenty of opportunities where you can learn to ice skate or brush up on your skills. One unique difference is that there are several places where you can ice skate right on top of a frozen lake; not something many people can say they have done.
  • Ice Hockey: Kids love to play and if you don’t have ambitions of making it pro someday there are plenty of adult leagues to join. It is a great sport to help you stay in shape and also helps you meet new people.
  • Snowshoeing: One of the most peaceful winter sports that can heal your mind, body, and soul is snowshoeing. If you have never tried it before, be ready for an intense workout. But, you will be working out in the midst of the world’s most scenic landscapes, which makes the burning in your thighs all the more worth it.

Hobbies

  • Photography: With the abundance of unbelievably beautiful nature all you have to do is point a camera and shoot to take some amazing photographs. It is hard not to pick up photography as a hobby when you move to Juneau.
  • Fishing: Salmon migration is a way of life not just for the salmon but also for the people of Juneau. If you have never been salmon fishing, ask around for some advice and be ready for an experience of a lifetime when you pull your first one onboard. You will know when it is salmon season; the entire town will be out on a boat with a pole in the water.
  • Home-brewing: Sometimes you will want to spend time indoors, and a popular hobby that is picking up all over the world is to make some of your own beer. Pick up a starter brew kit and you will have your first batch before you know it. You never know, you friends may love your homebrew and convince you to start selling it to local bars.
  • Music: The Alaska Folk Festival in spring, Juneau Jazz & Classics, and the Biennial Celebration are just a few of the big festivals that attract all of the locals and people from out of town. If festivals aren’t your thing, you will have plenty of opportunities to catch live music shows at local pubs on weekly basis.

Dining

  • Seafood: One of the biggest industries in Alaska is fishing which means the locals of Juneau get practically unlimited access to fresh seafood. There are a large group of restaurants known for their amazing seafood dishes and as a new resident you will quickly learn to appreciate the fresh salmon, halibut, and crab; especially if you caught it yourself.
  • Historic Dining: There are several historic places where you can dine out. The Gold Room restaurant has been serving the locals since the 1930s and Silverbow is the state’s oldest bakery. You can taste the international award-winning Heritage Coffee in the morning and head to the critically acclaimed Alaskan Brewing Company who produces some of the best craft beer in all of the United States.

Nature

  • Glaciers: The Mendenhall Glacier is one of the most spectacular sites for both visitors and locals alike. There are 38 large glaciers in the Juneau Icefield with the Mendenhall Glacier being top attraction with areas that reach more than a half mile wide and ice 300 to 1,800 feet deep. Pull out your new camera and practice those photography skills; it’s hard to mess up these photos.
  • Wildlife: Most other places in the world only pale in comparison to the abundance of wildlife living in Juneau. You will likely witness your first bear, bald eagle, and humpback whale while living in Juneau.
  • Activities: Sea kayaking, hiking, rafting, and camping are all fun activities you can do outdoors during the warmer months, and if you are brave, even in the winter time. Sea kayaking with some massive glaciers in the background will be one of the highlights of your stay in Juneau.