Whether you’re spending a few days in Juneau before your cruise begins or if you’re traveling around Alaska and want to hit this capital city, there’s plenty to do here. Don’t be surprised if you end of staying even longer than you intended.
Dog Sledding and Helicopter Tour: Coastal Helicopters offers one of the best excursions in Alaska. It’s three incredible experiences in one—a dog sledding adventure, a helicopter tour and a ride over a glacier. The 90-minute adventure includes 25-30 minutes of being in a helicopter flying over amazing glaciers before spending 60-70 minutes at the Herbert Glacier Dog Sled Camp. Travelers not only have the experience of being pulled by a team of 10-12 huskies, all led by expert mushers, but they also spend time at the end getting to know each dog, as well as the puppies. The helicopter ride itself is pretty amazing—flying over the Tongass National Forest and the Juneau Icefield, where there’s a chance to spot bear, moose, goats and other animals.
Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway: We weren’t sure what to expect with this tram ride, but it went beyond even our highest expectations. Once at the top, there are miles upon miles of beautiful hiking trails that offer some of the best views in all of Juneau. Hike among 200-foot-high trees and brightly colored flowers in the sub-alpine meadow. There is a chance to see wildlife—think bears, mountain goats and moose—from the viewing platforms that can found throughout the hiking trails. The Nature Center is a great place to get advice on which hiking trail to take as well as learn more about the history, environment and wildlife of the area. A gift shop and restaurant can also be found at the top of Mount Roberts. not sure if it’s something to note, but technically the “top” of Mount Roberts is another 2000 feet above the tramway building. 😊
Mendenhall Glacier: Located in Tongass National Forest, visitors can reach the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, which overlooks the Mendenhall Valley. The best way to get there is taking the Glacier Shuttle which runs every 30 minutes. You can stay as long (or short) since the shuttles runs so often. The shuttle picks up right at the cruise terminal dock and drops off at the visitor center. Over 400,000 visitors come each year to the only glacier accessible by road in Southeast Alaska. Be sure to take the Nugget Falls trail that ends at a five-story-high waterfall neighboring the glacier.
Roma Bistro:One of the newest places to open in Juneau is Roma Bistro, serving up tasty pizza, sandwiches, salads and calzones and tapas. In fact, the tapas are part of the big draw—sample everything from butternut ravioli, tiger prawns, beef carpaccio and lamb osso buco. For lunch and dinner, try the pizzas—try the signature “Roma” pizza with beet pesto, goat cheese and taleggio—or go for one of the many yummy sandwiches (a good one to try is the Italian sub made with Genoa, capicola, ham and provolone with red wine vinaigrette). Be sure to leave room for the innovative Rhubarb Tiramisu, made with ladyfinger biscuits, coulis and toasted pistachios. The restaurant is located on the wharf, near the hotels, shopping and cruise ships.
The Hangar on the Wharf: For some of the best views in Juneau be sure to hit up The Hangar on the Wharf, where you can sit outside and take in the views of the mountains, seaplanes and cruise ships. The hangar, so named because it used to be the aircraft hangar for the float planes has a great Alaskan feel and serves up some of the best seafood around—be sure to sample their freshly-cut salmon and their famous King Crab. Not a fish eater? There are plenty of other options including hand-cut steaks, burgers, pasta, salads and over 125 beers (now that’s a selection). The restaurant has been a local and visitor favorite for over 20 years.