For the casual adventurer en route to the city of Juneau, the city may seem like a stepping-stone to bigger sights and grander excursions: the pit-stop between you and a helicopter ride over a national park, a dogsled ride on a glacier, or a charter ship out amongst whales. While exploring all of these adventures is certainly possible, focusing solely on these grand excursions robs you of the chance to experience all that Juneau has to offer. For some of Juneau’s lesser-known (but equally incredible) breath-taking sights, check out a few favorite hidden jewels below.
Everyone heading to Juneau knows of the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier: the icy monolith sits just across the waters of Mendenhall Lake. While the massive 12-mile long glacier makes for quite a sight, the Mendenhall Ice Caves underneath are simply out of this world. Cool blue corridors twist and stretch into impressive caverns and underground rivers inside of the frozen mass like an alien fortress. With the glacier constantly receding due to climate change, and the threat of cave-ins lingering, your best bet is to hire a guide to help you safely explore.
While the Alaskan waters are home to a great many fish—and subsequently, thrills and sights—there’s a limit to how much of both can be pulled from the waters. To get a thorough look into the likes of Alaskan sea life, you’ll want to head to the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery. Here, you’ll witness the miracle of the salmon’s lifespan within the hatchery operation, rearing facility and fish ladder. Additionally, you can discover plenty of other saltwater denizens within the specialty aquariums and tide pool touch tank. And of course, no visit to the hatchery would be complete without sampling some savory smoked salmon.
While wilderness abounds in all directions of Alaska, the bright explosions of colors amongst the botanical gardens of Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure are well worth the visit. Nestled at the foot of the Tongass National Forest, Glacier Gardens grew from a stream rehabilitation project into the lush oasis that it is today. Amongst the two miles of trails, you’ll wander by plenty of a curious staple: upside-down trees, with the bowl of roots blooming a full flowerbed of magnificent hues. Beyond them, the other Juneau sites you’ll certainly want to discover while here are the live-cam of the neighboring eagle’s nest and the soaring panoramic views of atop Thunder’ Mountain’s rock face cliff.
When it comes time to quell the appetite you’ve worked up exploring the town, no place shines quite like Tracy’s King Crab Shack. A relative newcomer to Juneau’s culinary scene, Tracy’s has since established itself as royalty amongst eateries thanks to the delectable selection of locally-sourced seafood. While it can be tricky to decide on just one thing as it’s all delicious, Tracy’s Famous King Crab Bisque is a local favorite for a reason.
Ready to set sail and discover the best sites in Juneau for yourself? Talk with one of our specialized cruise advisors. Their expertise allows you to travel to Alaska’s capital, and other thrilling ports of adventure, onboard industry-leading cruise lines like Regent Seven Seas Cruises.