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Known for its magnificent scenery and frontier history, Juneau is an outdoor lover's dream city. With a multicultural population and cosmopolitan culture, there's also plenty to see in the city itself. Juneau offers magnificent vistas as well as quaint shopping streets.
Despite its status as a state capital, Juneau is located right next to some fantastic natural sites, including the Mendenhall Glacier. In few other places can you stand on a glacier by day and visit microbreweries by night. Many visitors use the city as a launching point for Alaskan road trips and adventures of all kinds.
Juneau offers something for every type of traveler. What side of the city will you explore?
Many travelers come to Juneau because of its location. The city of about 30,000 people is spread out over an area bigger than Delaware, with plenty of forested land to explore.
Visitors enjoy Juneau for its textile scene, which includes both native and cosmopolitan folk traditions. Juneau is home to a funky culture and proud of it.
As a state capital and former frontier outpost, Juneau is home to some interesting sites, including the oldest continuously operating church in southeast Alaska. The Alaska State Capitol is also worth a visit.
This huge 1.5-mile wide glacier is located just 13 miles north of the city's downtown. It offers plenty of striking photo opportunities as it calves into a lake.
Much of America's fish comes from or through Alaska at some point, so if you're in Juneau, you're at the source. From crab legs to sushi, there's nothing quite like it. Restaurants throughout town sell a wide variety of seafood dishes, and a number of seafood shops cater to locals and guests alike.
Unless your a fan of the cold, summer is the best time to visit. In July, the average high is 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so nights can be chilly. Additionally, Juneau is located in a temperate rainforest, so you should expect rain all year round. Good outdoor gear, at the very least a waterproof jacket, is essential if you are to enjoy your visit.
Many travelers fly to Juneau International Airport (JNU), which is located eight miles northwest of town. Domestic flights from Anchorage and Seattle, as well as international flights from Russian destinations bring in visitors from all over. Once at the airport, travelers are advised to either take one of the many airport buses into town for $2, or to rent a car for further sightseeing opportunities.
Juneau is also the only state capital that cannot be arrived at by car. However, if you do choose to drive on the beautiful Alaska Highway, you can get close enough to the city to take a ferry into town. Alaska Marine Highway System Ferry prices vary significantly based on the departure point, but average around $500 for a 15-foot vehicle, one way. Once in town, Juneau is easy to drive in, as the small population makes for little traffic.
Juneau has a wide variety of hotels, ranging from the Juneau International Hostel to the Beachside Villa Luxury Inn. Most of the hotels are located in the downtown area. Guests also have the option of camping near town at the Mendenhall Campground if they wish.
Downtown - Juneau is extremely spread out, but downtown is highly walkable. This area is packed with great restaurants and unique shops, as well as the state capitol building.
The Valley - The Valley is home to the Mendenhall Glacier, a mall, and a skate park. This more residential area is where most of the locals live.
North Douglas - North Douglas is a bit remote, but well worth the trek. The neighborhood comprises the northern half of Douglas Island, with stunning views of the bay and the coastline as a result.
Juneau has a well-run public bus system known as Capital Transit. The system covers both downtown and the Mendenhall Valley. Fares are $2.00 for a one-way ticket.
Juneau does have taxis, despite its small size. Rates are set by the City of Juneau and include a $3.40 pick-up fee and then run $2.20 per mile. If you are traveling with a large group, this will often be more economical than taking a bus around town.
Car rentals are highly recommended for visitors hoping to get out of town and explore the surrounding area. Car rentals run about $90 per day for an economy option, and Avis and Europcar can be found in town.
Juneau's shopping area is concentrated in the downtown region. There, expect to find stores with local handicrafts and quirky gifts. Additionally, the Mendenhall Mall is located in the Valley. Necessities can be purchased at one of several department stores, which carry outdoor clothing for under-prepared visitors.
Rainbow Foods is a natural food store popular with locals, although it is expensive. Juneau also has a Costco, a Walmart, and a Safeway, along with some local markets. A pound of apples can be purchased for about $2.50, and a loaf of bread runs just under $5 at most Juneau grocers.
Juneau has its share of local restaurants, with flavors from around the world making their way into the scene. Coppa is known for homemade ice cream, the Silverbow Bakery for its bagels, and the Island Pub for its channel views. Also popular is Thai food at the Suwanna Cafe. Locals also love Pel'meni, which serves authentic Russian dumplings into the late night hours. A three-course meal for two in town will run you $75.