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How to Get Around Juneau

by ATJ Posted in The Alaska Experience Blog |

Bike symbol on pavement, lower half of bike

Wondering if you can work a season in Juneau and leave your car at home? Yes, you can—here’s how. If you’re into human-powered transportation or willing to take advantage of rental options, you’ll have no problem getting the best of one of Alaska’s most popular ports of call as a resident, not a visitor.

Enjoy Juneau’s walkability. Partly due to its geography—it’s surrounded by mountains and water—Juneau is a compact city. So it’s more walkable than most. Cruise ships dock right downtown, and nearly everything worth visiting is within walking distance from the docks. Just pack a good jacket.

Take your bike—or buy one there. For a city of 30,000, Juneau boasts an impressive number of bike routes: 88 miles of bike lanes and 19 miles of shared-use paths. If you want to get somewhere faster than you can walk, a bike might be your best bet. If you don’t want to pack your own bike to take on the plane, check out Craigslist ads when you get to town. You might be able to snag an inexpensive commuter bike, perfect for coasting around town, that you can sell or give away at the end of the season.

Call a cab. The public bus system in Juneau might work for a few errands around town, but it stops short of some important landmarks, like the ferry terminal. So if you have a place you need to go, especially if it’s a one-way trip, calling a taxi is always a good option.

Rent a car. If you’re dreaming up a day trip off the beaten path, it’s worth renting a car. A bevy of trails and landmarks are accessible via tourist buses, but if you want to go somewhere specific, reserve a car from someplace like Juneau Car Rental, which offers specials and provides pickups. That way you don’t even have to get yourself to the car rental place.

Take advantage of the tourist infrastructure. There are lots of the bus routes that target tourists. But if you want to see the sights or enjoy some of Juneau’s special attractions, they’ll be handy for you, too. For example, the Mendenhall Glacier is a fantastic day trip from Juneau, and a $20 bus ride on the Blue Glacier Express will take you there. Even if you don’t want to hang out with the tourists that came fresh from the cruise ships, you can use the bus ride as a jumping off point for all sorts of hiking adventures.

Catch the tram. The Mount Roberts Tramway runs from Juneau’s docks to the top of Mount Roberts, offering a sweet view of town and access to all the hiking trails that start at the top of the mountain. It’s a fun way to skip all the vertical feet you’d otherwise have to hike to get out of the city.

Juneau is popular with tourists for a reason—it’s scenic and historic. But it’s also a great place to live. The bike- and pedestrian-friendly city is easy to get around, and plenty of tourist infrastructure means you can spend a season working there and enjoying all the amazing sights without worrying about not having your car.

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