Ketchikan is the first city you reach as you cruise north and is the gateway to southeast Alaska. This coastal town is also famous as "The Salmon Capital of the world." It is known for idyllic scenery, feisty salmon, and a vibrant Alaska native culture. Tourists can explore the wilderness, ancient places, rich culture, jaw-dropping landscapes, and local history.
There is never a dull moment in Ketchikan, Alaska, the "Salmon Capital of the World." Famous for its salmon fishing, Ketchikan is a top vacation destination. Alaska's indigenous Tlingit and Haida culture can be explored, as well as historical sites and good restaurants. The place has some other highlights besides these.
"Alaska's First City," Ketchikan was established in 1900 and is located at the southern edge of the Inside Passage in Alaska, making it convenient for residents of Washington State to visit. It was, however, used for several thousand years by the Tlingit native population as a fishing camp during the summer. With the Haida and Tsimshian tribes, Ketchikan was a favorite fishing spot for them as well. The city has over 8,000 year-round residents, making it Alaska's 5th most populated. Even a single-day trip to Ketchikan is exciting and comfortable due to its small-town atmosphere.
Ketchikan offers plenty of places to purchase souvenirs, but Creek Street isn't the only place to shop. In this small town, you will find dozens of charming shops filled with gifts for everyone on your list. Some excellent options are a bit further away from the cruise ship docks, but most are within easy walking distance. In Ketchikan, you will find anything you need, from sweaters to salmon to jewelry to Alaskan art to candy.
Ketchikan's restaurants offer a wide range of Alaskan food, including salmon, which is king. If you want to take some home, you can quickly ship it. You can experience salmon in many ways like smoked, grilled over wood, as a chowder or baked in cornbread . There are also local favorites such as halibut and crabs that have just been caught. Two local establishments are worth checking: Alaskan Fish House and Annabelle's Famous Keg and Chowder House.
There are many unique Alaskan attractions and things to do in Ketchikan, whether you have one day in port or more.
Misty Fjord National Monument has mountains topped with snow, steep fjords, glacial lakes, seacliffs, rock walls, and towering waterfalls. This wilderness is the second largest in the United States and the largest in Alaska's national forests. You have to trek through dense rainforests and misty slopes to see the natural mosaic, which is breathtaking. You will find outstanding canals and other waterways while exploring the granite monument, which occupies approximately 2.3 million acres. Rudyerd Bay, Punchbowl Cove, and Walker Cove are some of the preserve's most picturesque areas.
An example of a totem pole is a carving made into a pole or post made of wood. A pole does not represent a religious belief but a character with a story or a historical event, such as a legend or affirmation of a cultural belief. If you're hoping to explore Ketchikan on your own, checking out these fantastic sculptures makes a great activity if you're walking or riding a taxi from one of the six cruise berths. Downtown and nearby Saxman Totem Village both have these hand-carved treasures. Since moving to the village in the 1930s, 29 poles carved by Tlingit and Haida native tribes can be found there.
There's nothing like strolling the historic boardwalk over the bubbling waters of Ketchikan Creek on a sunny day in Ketchikan. The red light district was in this area during the 1920s when the salmon canning business was at its peak. More than 100 shops and galleries are on Creek Street, with colorful wooden buildings containing arty, locally owned businesses. Discover tales of Ketchikan's frontier life at Dolly's House Museum, devoted to frontier life and life in the red light district before it was shut down in 1953. Look down into the creek as you walk along the boardwalk, and you may see otters and seals.
The best thing to do in Ketchikan is to wander through the charming streets downtown. Ketchikan Historical Society provides a free self-guided walking tour of the area, one of the best ways to explore the area. Besides historical buildings, Ketchikan boasts shops, galleries, restaurants, totem poles, parks, and more. Numerous sites are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the district was designated a National Historic District. The downtown area has over 64 historical sites, wildlife spots, natural areas, and more. Check out the map to see where those spots are.
Ketchikan's Eagle Island Sea Kayak Tour is great for getting rid of those cruise-induced pounds if you're up for a bit more activity. After departing early in the morning, you paddle across the inlet to Eagle Island and another nearby island for a stroll on the beach. As part of the tour, all equipment, protective clothing, and a safety briefing are provided by the tour company. It is a popular tour, so it is best to book in advance.
It is best to visit Ketchikan in spring or summer when the weather is mild, and there is less rain in spring. It is mild in Ketchikan during the summer, with temperatures averaging in the 50s. However, they can occasionally soar to 80 degrees.