You’ll be busy at work during your summer job in Alaska, but you chose to work here for a reason – you want to experience this beautiful state and enjoy some outdoor activities, too. We came up with nine fun things to do in Juneau when you’re off the clock to help you get to know Alaska’s state capitol.
Mount Roberts Tramway
First, get an overview of Juneau. There’s no better way to check out the lay of the land than with a bird’s-eye view on the Mount Roberts Tramway. Also, it’s fun – the tram is one of the world’s steepest. You’ll ride 1,800 feet through Juneau’s rainforest, catching views of the city, the mountains and Gastineau Channel. At the top, you can get a bite to eat in the restaurant in the Mountain House and visit with live bald eagles in the raptor center.
Head to the beach
Yes, you can spend the day at the beach in Alaska. In fact, Juneau has lots of local beaches, many with picnic tables and fire pits, so you can pack a lunch and make a day of it with new friends. Explore Alaska’s tide pools, rocky coastlines, or simply sun it up. Savikko Park, often called Sandy Beach, has covered shelters and facilities for volleyball, soccer and softball.
Catch a free concert or art show
You can always wander by the State Office Building at noon on Fridays and catch a free pipe organ concerts. In May, Juneau Jazz and Classics puts on noon concerts during its festival. On the first Friday each month, Juneau galleries open up in the evening. The Federal Building and Sealaska Plaza have Alaska Native art exhibits. If you’re just passing through Juneau and you arrive at the airport on a Sunday evening in summer, you can catch a free Music on the Fly concert in the baggage claim area.
A free and fun way to enjoy the outdoors in and around Juneau is to visit its world-class trail system, many of them maintained by Trail Mix Inc., a nonprofit that is always looking for volunteers to help out. Try the historic Perseverance National Recreational Trail, which features waterfalls more than 100 feet high.
Downtown Juneau Historic Walking Tour
The Juneau-Douglas Museum offers a guided tour for $25 that teaches on Juneau’s early settlers and its mining history. Or snag a map of historic sites and structures and take a walk around town. Check out the oldest Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska – St. Nicholas Church, built in 1894 – and get a sense of Juneau history.
Passersby in the waters around Juneau include orcas and even humpback whales. Catch one of many whale watching boat excursions from Juneau to cruise the areas frequented by these marine monoliths.
See sled dogs
You really can’t leave Alaska without visiting with these famous racers. Even if there’s no snow on the ground, you can check out these agile canines in action. Meet Alaskan malamutes, Siberian huskies and Alaskan huskies ready to run the 1,100-mile Iditarod across rough terrain. Lots of Juneau-area sled dog owners partner with tour companies to let the public visit these precocious four-legged athletes.
Mendenhall Glacier and Ice Cave
Mendenhall Glacier is accessible by car, shuttle bus or cab, just 12 miles outside Juneau. It has a visitor’s center with exhibits, a bookstore and a movie about the glacier. You can hike the trails around Mendenhall Glacier. The glacier features several gorgeous ice caves, but the beautiful blue western ice cave is the one that people most often want to see. It’s also the most difficult to get to. It can be an eight-hour hike, and you’ll need the proper preparation and equipment. Also, watch out for bears.
Tracy Arm Fjord
Fjords aren’t just for Norway – the Juneau area has some of the most beautiful fjords around. You shouldn’t leave Alaska without seeing Tracy Arm Fjord – you can hop a tour boat from Juneau and have a chance to explore this picturesque glacier-carved beauty.
There’s lots to see and do in Juneau – plenty of fun things to do to tell your friends and family about back home while you’re having your adventure in Alaska.