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Juneau is Alaska’s State Capital and a very cosmopolitan city. With a population of over 30,000 residents, Juneau offers a wealth of shopping opportunities and wonderful sightseeing choices, which makes it a very popular cruise port with visitors. Juneau is located on an island in the Inside passage and is located in a rain forest. With over 220 days of rain per year and over 50 inches of rain, you should be prepared for wet weather by bringing rain gear (if you don’t it is sold in many Juneau stores if needed) The city of Juneau is located at the base of mountains that soar straight up almost 4,000 feet. Early in the season visitors are presented with snow capped peaks and fabulous waterfalls. As summer progresses the snow recedes and the waterfalls become trickles. Founded during the gold rush days, Juneau has many historical buildings and lots of color.
 
Where You're Docked
Juneau is Alaska's busiest cruise port and ships dock at multiple berths near the city center. Some ships may need to anchor and tender due to berths being occupied. If you are lucky, you will dock either beside the Mount Roberts tramway or next to the public library. AJ Dock is the furthest south and a shuttle is usually provided to the Mt Roberts tramway station for $3 all day (2013). Cruise schedule for all Alaskan ports here http://claalaska.com/
The touristy part of town by the cruise ships is very easy to get around by walking. You can take a local bus to get to other parts of town. The main bus stop is on Main St. Capital transit website http://www.juneau.org/capitaltransit/
 
Getting Around
On Foot: Juneau is an easily walkable town. It's a good idea to carry an umbrella if it looks at all cloudy.
By Car: Taxis gather at Marine Park. For car rentals, the usual major companies -- Avis, Hertz, Budget -- offer locations at the airport. They may offer pickup service at the dock.
By Shuttle Bus: It's fairly easy to get to key attractions beyond downtown, such as Mendenhall Glacier, without renting a car. Numerous shuttle services offer roundtrip rides for around $20. Inquire at the tourist kiosks lined up along the cruise piers.
By Public Bus: Juneau offers a publics bus system, but it doesn't go right to the main attractions outside of town, so a shuttle would be a better option. Public buses stop at the airport and shopping center.
Everything -- information kiosks, cafes, shops, museums, tour operators, public library -- is a short walk from the cruise ships. Tour guides meet passengers right at the docks (motor coaches line up for cruise excursions in an organized fashion), and several tourism information kiosks are available to help with additional arrangements. Visitors center (Dec 2011). http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/districts/mendenhall/
 
Attractions
 
Mendenhall Glacier
There is a truly scenic panorama just 12 miles from downtown Juneau. The wide outlet of Nugget Falls churns into a lake dotted with icebergs and the tongue of the Mendenhall Glacier dips down to the water's edge. The glacier is fed by the Juneau Icefield and it measures about 12 miles long and 1.5 miles wide.There is a visitors' center on the lakeshore, where you can capture a 180-degree view over the glacier. Some of the best views are from the walking trails in the area, with routes running up either side of the glacier and also to Nugget Falls. Kayaking and rafting tours also venture out on the very cold lake.
Hours: Daily 8am-7:30pm (May-Sept), Fri-Sun 10am-4pm (Oct-April) -- Location: 12 miles northwest of Juneau -- Official site: http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/districts/mendenhall
 
Many private companies offer shuttle services to the visitor center or you can take a bus but you will need to walk a bit more. Entry fee $3 for. The U.S. Forest Service maintains a visitor center and walking trails at the glacier and Nugget Falls. Bears patrol the creek for salmon and are often seen quite close. Not to worry -- rangers are on patrol, as well. Ships offer tours to the area, or do-it-yourselfers can take a shuttle from town. Visitors can also raft to the glacier on a guided tour with Alaska Travel Adventures (800-323-5757).
 
The most exciting way to see the glacier is by helicopter. Temsco Helicopters (877-789-9501) offers a basic tour with about 30 minutes in the air and 20 to 25 minutes on the glacier; upgrade to the "pilot's choice" tour for two different glacier landings. Advance reservations are advised, and don't forget to factor in transportation costs to the airport if they're not included.

Tracy Arm Fjord
Located just southeast of Juneau, this ice-cloaked glacial fjord cuts through some spectacular scenery with waterfalls tumbling down vertical rock walls and glaciers calving off chunks of ice to create small bergs. The impressive twin Sawyer Glaciers are at the head of the fjord; their easily-visible blue ice is considered especially enchanting. You can learn about the natural history of Tracy Arm, its glaciers, and wildlife by taking a guided cruise.
 
The huge walls of Tracy Arm Fjord rise almost vertically out of the water, with trees jutting out at quirky and unusual angles. The fjord is quite long, stretching back into the mainland through the Tongass National Forest. Along this stretch common wildlife sightings include black bears, brown bears, deer, and moose. Over the ocean, there is a good chance of spotting bald eagles, arctic terns, and pigeon guillemots, while in the blue waters below, whales and seals make frequent appearances.
 
Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure
You may think tropical when you read the word "rainforest", but the Pacific Northwest is home to the lush Tongass National Rainforest. An open-sided shuttle takes tourists through this 50-acre property on Thunder Mountain. This is not a garden, but an area of forest left largely in its natural state. Tour guides discuss the various species and workings of the gardens to give a better understanding of the attractions. The tour stops at various locations, boardwalks, and viewpoints overlooking the Mendenhall Valley, Chilkat Mountains, Gastineau Channel, and Juneau.Hours: Open daily 9am-6pm (May-Sept) -- Admission: Adult $24.95, Child (6-12) $15.95 -- Address: 7600 Glacier Hwy, Juneau -- Official site: http://www.glaciergardens.com/
 
Have you seen an upside-down tree? You will at Glacier Gardens, where the owners turned massive trees on their tops and used the roots as giant flower baskets. The gardens flourish in a rain forest setting. Guided tours are by golf cart. (7600 Glacier Highway; 907-790-3377; open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; adults $24.95, kids $15.95)
 
Glacier Bay National Park
Covering more than 3 million acres, Glacier Bay National Park started as a huge glacier in the mid 1800s. Ice was everywhere, and in some areas it was thousands of feet thick. As the climate has evolved so has the glacier, and today, you can see the effects on the surrounding environment. The inlet sits between two promontories, and 16 glaciers reach down to the tidewaters.
 
Glacier Bay is a major feeding ground for humpback, minke, and orca whales. The region attracts many tourists wanting to catch a glimpse of these underwater mammals. Other wildlife-watching opportunities include sighting moose, bears, wolves, and mountain goats, as well as sea birds. There are day trip and longer cruises to the bay, as well as flightseeing excursions. Location: West of Juneau Official site: http://www.nps.gov/glba/

Mount Roberts Tramway
From a base camp near the cruise ship docks, the Mount Roberts Tramway takes you to an elevation of 2,000 feet. At the mountaintop observatory, you find a nature center, restaurant, theater, and gift shop. You can walk the nature trails to take in the views over the Gastineau Channel, or linger for a bald eagle display. Address: 490 S Franklin St, Juneau Official site: http://www.goldbelttours.com/mount-roberts-tramway/

Macaulay Salmon Hatchery
Located northwest of town en-route to the Mendenhall Glacier, the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery provides a look underwater with saltwater aquariums and tide-pool touch tanks. The hatchery raises chum, pink coho, and king salmon. And as it is a working operation, you could catch a variety of stages in the lifecycle of Pacific salmon during a guided tour through the facility. Hours: Open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat and Sun 10am-5pm (May-Sept), Oct-April by appointment Admission: Adult $3.25, Child (12 and under) $1.75
Address: 2697 Channel Drive, Juneau Official site: http://dipac.net/New%20VC%20Website/visit.html

Last Chance Mining Museum
The Alaska Juneau Gold Mining Company operated on this site from 1912 until 1944, and the location truly looks like an old mine with uneven ground, rusting buildings, and old equipment decaying quietly in the trees. The Gastineau Channel Historical Society operates the museum, maintaining the displays of mining equipment and rail cars.Of particular interest at Last Chance Mining Museum are one of the world's largest air compressors, built in 1912, and an electric locomotive. The attraction is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Wear sturdy footwear, and note that the museum is closed during the winter months. Hours: Open daily 9:30am-12:30pm and 3pm-6:30pm (mid-May to Sept) Admission: $4 Address: 1001 Basin Rd, Juneau -- Official site: http://gastineauchannel.blogspot.ca/2008/09/last-chance-mining-museum.html

State Capitol Building
When Alaska became a state in 1959, this territorial and federal building became the state capitol building. There are historical photographs, art works, and rooms to discover throughout. Free, guided tours lasting 30 minutes are the best way to explore. After taking the tour, head along Fourth Street and then Calhoun Avenue to see the exterior of the Governor's Mansion. Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm, Sat and Sun 9:30am-4pm (mid-May to mid-Sept) Admission: Free Location: Fourth and Main Streets, Juneau Official site: http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/misc/capitol.php

Juneau-Douglas City Museum
The Juneau-Douglas City Museum, which neighbors the State Capitol building, offers exhibits on the Tlingit culture, the early gold mining days, and the history of the Juneau-Douglas area. For more sightseeing, the small, steep streets surrounding the museum are lined with old wooden heritage homes and lush gardens, as well as the pretty blue-and-white St. Nicholas Orthodox Church - which dates to 1894. Admission: $6, free admission in winter Address: 114 W 4th St, Juneau Official site: http://www.juneau.org/parksrec/museum/
 
Mt Roberts Tramway - Take the tram up Mt Roberts for views of the city but you can also hike up (trail starts at the top of 6th St) and take the tram down. There may still be snow up here early in the season. Admission $32 (Oct 2014). http://mountrobertstramway.com/
The tram whisks travelers up to a 1,800-foot-high station on Mount Roberts. Visitors will find hiking trails, a cafe, a gift shop and a captive, injured bald eagle from the Juneau Raptor Center. (490 S. Franklin Street; 888-461–8726; open noon to 9 p.m. Monday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday May to September; $33 for an all-day pass)
 
Red Dog Saloon: This kitschy wild-western-nostalgia bar comes complete with sawdust floors, mounted wildlife and swinging doors. A piano player typically can be found tickling the keys on afternoons when cruise ships are in port. (278 S. Franklin Street; 907-463-3658; open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
 
The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council has a community calendar on its website that is jam packed with events, so you easily can find out what's happening while you're in port.
 
Macaulay Salmon Hatchery: Learn all about the life of a salmon. In addition to raising and harvesting salmon, the hatchery is an aquarium that displays marine life. Kids will love the touch tank. (2697 Channel Drive, 2.5 miles north of the dock; 907-463-5114; open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $3.25 for adults, $1.75 for children)
 
Hiking: Juneau got its start as a mining town, and several leisurely (and fairly short) hikes are available from the city center that wind past old mining equipment. The Flume Trail follows a wooden bridge past numerous small waterfalls. Across the channel (in Douglas), the easy Treadwell Trail runs through the once vibrant mining community adjacent to a beach. The Perseverance Trail is the most challenging of the three but is very popular because of the stunning views.
 
Dining Out
Fish, especially salmon and halibut, is the dish of choice in Juneau. Despite being the state capital, Juneau's standard dress code is casual everywhere at lunch.
Twisted Fish Company: This place prepares fresh Alaskan fish and shellfish every way you can imagine. Try the fish tacos. The restaurant is near the tram and features water views. (550 S. Franklin Street; 907-463-5033; open from 11 a.m.)
 
The Hangar on the Wharf: As its name suggests, The Hangar on the Wharf is located in a historic airplane hangar right on the waterfront. It boasts Southeast Alaska's largest selection of microbrews, and the lengthy menu includes seafood specialties, burgers and other American fare. Indoor/outdoor seating is available on the wharf. (2 Marine Way; 907-586-5018; open from 11 a.m.)
Tracy's King Crab Shack: This don't-miss gem serves up king crab legs and crab cakes outdoors at no-frills tables. It is, after all, called a shack. (406 Franklin Street next to the ships; 907-723-1811; open at 10:30 a.m.)
Paradise Cafe: There you'll find quiche, sandwiches, salads and other light lunch fare. It's also a good spot for a quick coffee and pastry if you need a break from walking around town. (9351 Glacier Highway, Suite 10; 907-586-2253; open 8 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. for breakfast and noon to 3 p.m. for lunch)
Randy's Rib Shack: Located next to the library, past the Alaskan Crepe Escape stand, this barbecue joint serves up pulled pork with coleslaw and baked beans as well as beef brisket and baby back ribs. (360 S. Franklin Street; 907-957-1294; open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
The Rookery Cafe: Serving up excellent coffees, this place earns rave reviews for its new American dishes. (111 Seward Street; 907-463-3013; pastries from 7 a.m., breakfast/lunch 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday and lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday)
 
Shopping
Juneau offers excellent shopping directly adjacent to the ships. South Franklin Street parallels the ships and offers abundant shops, restaurants and bars. By following S. Franklin Street into the downtown area several streets offering more shopping become available. Many of the International shops found in the Caribbean are also located in Juneau. There are quite a few stores offering goods particular to Alaska (gold jewelry, furs, clothing, carved ivory and so on) as well as the more standard fare.
 
You will find shops, pubs and restaurants along Franklin St. Shuttles Cruise lInes may  provide to take you to Walmart, Fred Meyer and Costco. There is an A&P supermarket downtown on West Willough by Avenue. Pizzeria Roma at Hangar on the Wharf has excellent pizza.
You'll find typical souvenir shops but also a few standouts. Check out the Jade Shop (321 S. Franklin Street; 907-463-5551) for all manner of jade animals and jewelry. The jade is mined in Alaska, about 120 miles east of Juneau.
Caribou Crossings (497 S. Franklin Street; 907-586-5008) sells quality, made-in-Alaska arts and crafts. Alaska Fur Gallery (359 S. Franklin Street; 907-463-5588) wins the "tacky" award with its fur-covered jockstraps. If you need a colorful, flower-decked umbrella, pick one up at Glacier Gardens, and for anything else you may have forgotten to pack, head to Ben Franklin (233 Front Street; 907-586-6762), one of the city's most historic shops.

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