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Juneau - Alaska

Juneau - a capital place to visit

Hotels | Camping

Juneau is built on a thin strip of land flanked by mountains on one side and Gastineau Channel on the other. Originally a gold camp, the city became the state capital in 1906. Many hold that Juneau is the most beautiful capital city in the U.S. It's hard to argue when you're in this world of rugged beauty, visited each year by more than 200,000 tourists, most of them arriving on cruise ships. The city was named for Joe Juneau, a prospector who arrived here in October 1880.

Glacier Bay National Park is a short flight from Juneau. Admiralty Island National Monument is nearby. The Mendenhall Glacier is Juneau's drive-up glacier, located 15 miles (24 km) northwest of town on the Glacier Highway. The glacier is 1.5 miles wide at its base and has been receding for the past 250 years. It is now several miles shorter than it was when Russian explorers came to the area.

The Alaska State Museum is valuable to first-time visitors, (907) 465-2901. Open daily, it has an excellent collection of Native artifacts, including fascinating exhibits of Yupik Eskimo masks and Siberian and Alaskan kayaks. A large upstairs area is devoted to the early Russian period. There is also an art gallery in the museum, featuring the works of contemporary Alaskan artists. Other places to visit include the House of Wickersham, a state historical site (907-586-9001), St. Nicholas Orthodox Church at 5th and Gold streets, and the State Office Building on Willoughby Ave. Go to the eighth floor, which has a panoramic view of the area, a 19th century totem pole, and a restored 1926 Kimball pipe organ. There's a walking tour map available from hotels and from the info kiosk at Marine Park. The tour leads you around downtown Juneau to all of the principal buildings and sights.

Oh, and don't expect to see Governor Sarah Palin in Juneau too often, She lives most of the time in her Wasilla home and commutes to a second office in Anchorage.

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Practical Information

Log cabins seem to be the de rigeur structure for visitor centers in Alaska, and Juneau is no exception. The Davis Log Cabin is found at 134 3rd Street, down town. This is your best source for walking tour maps, and other information on the area. To contact the cabin, call (907) 586-2284. A visitor kiosk is open sometimes, when cruise ships are in town, at Marine Park next to the cruise ship dock. Voicemail is a wonderful thing. There's also a local events hot line with hot tips on upcoming and current activity, at (907) 586-5800. The Juneau-area Weather Line is at 907) 586-3997, and the local Fishing Line is at (907) 465-4116.

The U.S. Forest Service is located at 101 Egan Drive, with exhibits and audio-visual programs on Southeast Alaska forests and wildlife. Reservations for forest cabins are made here. Information is available by telephone, at (907) 586-8751.

The Alaska Marine Highway's Auke Bay Terminal is on Glacier Highway, with ferry service to Prince Rupert, Bellingham, Ketchikan, Sitka, and other Southeast Alaska towns. For schedule information, call (907) 465-3941 or 800-642-0066.

The new M/V Fairweather, the fastest ferry in the Alaskan ferry fleet, has a 73-meter catamaran-style hull. The vessel holds about 250 passengers and 35 vehicles, and serves the cities of Haines, Skagway, Juneau and Sitka. The vessel, the first high speed passenger and vehicle ferry in the Marine Highway's fleet, is cutting current travel times between these ports by almost half. For more information about the M/V Fairweather and the Alaska Marine Highway, visit the web: www.FerryAlaska.com or call 907-465-3941/800-642-0066 toll free.

Capital Transit, (907) 789-6901, services Juneau, Douglas, and Auke Bay. For busses to the airport and ferry terminal phone Mendenhall Glacier Transport at (907) 780-8687.

Night Life

Several Alaskan cities, including Fairbanks, Skagway, and Juneau, offer atmospheric entertainment places, where you may behave just as what you might imagine a prospector from the 1800s would. This is all good fun and adds greatly to a visit to the more remote areas of North America. The Red Dog Saloon, on South Franklin Street, is an authentic Alaskan saloon, with sawdust on the floor and Chinook (an Alaskan micro brew) on draft. The joint jumps when cruise ships are in town. Music is featured nightly, (907) 463-3777.

The Lady Lou Revue is performed in the Elks Hall, on Franklin Street (907) 586-3686. This is a lusty musical revival of the early gold rush days in Juneau. For something different, take in Marine Park Music, heard on Friday evenings at Marine Park, near the cruise ship terminal. This series of free music concerts is presented every week during the summer months.

Juneau Camping

Juneau R/V Park
(907) 586-1254
This park has 44 sites, with partial & full hookups. It's centrally-located, close to the to ferry. Facilities include showers, laundry, and dump station.

Spruce Meadow R.V. Park
(907) 789-1990
64 full service sites nestled on 12.5 acres of beautiful Alaska wetlands. All spaces have full hookups. The campground is equipped with restrooms, showers and a new laundry.

Where to Stay

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Westmark Baranoff Juneau
The Baranoff Hotel is a historic lodging place, with 196 rooms and suites. the nine-story hotel has art deco public areas and the nine-story "Jewel of Juneau" offers guests elegant, art-deco public areas and fine dining in the Gold Room Restaurant. You can relax in the Bubble Room lounge. It's owned by Holland America Lines.

Driftwood Lodge
435 Willoughby Avenue
Juneau, Alaska 99801
Located in the downtown area, this is a fairly modern two-story motel, with a restaurant, deli and liquor store next door. Rental bicycles are available, and the lodge arranges tour and fishing packages, and free transportation from the airport and ferry terminal.

Frontier Suites Airport Hotel
9400 Glacier Hwy. Juneau, AK 99801
One of the newest hotels in the area, Frontier Suites is 15 miles from downtown Juneau, in the Mendenhall Valley. All suites have baths and full kitchens, fitness facility, hiking trails, and a playground. Standard rooms are also available. The hotel dining room and lounge are decorated in a high-class rusticity, with a moosehead over the bar. Wine is available by the glass and bottle, and the bar has a good supply of draught microbrews.

Other hotels are listed in our reservation service.

 

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