Choose from 9 Fun Things to Do in Juneau
The venue for this evocative gold-mining museum is the former compressor building of the Alaska Juneau Gold Mining Company, which operated here from 1916 to 1944.
On display are the locomotives and rail cars that transported the goldminers to the mine. Industrial artifacts include one of the world’s largest air compressors, used in the mining of gold to bring air to the miners.
Old mining shafts surround the site, and you can get an idea of the mine’s original extent by studying the museum’s model.
Photo courtesy of CityProfile.com
There’s a short uphill hike along an uneven trail to reach the museum’s entrance.
- Most Juneau shore excursions include round-trip transportation from the Juneau port.
- Guided tours from the Juneau port typically last anywhere from three to eight hours, depending on the activities chosen.
- Book a private, customizable tour to make sure you don’t miss any of the sights on your list.
- Don’t forget to bring sun protection and bug repellent ashore with you.
- Tickets can be purchased in person at the tramway or through a shore excursion tour if you’re arriving in Juneau by cruise ship.
- A ticket lasts all day, so you may spend as much time as you like at the top.
- The tramway is ADA-compliant and can accommodate visitors with accessibility needs.
- Hiking trails are suitable for all skill levels and include a handicap-accessible trail.
- Juneau Icefield is a must-visit for adventure travelers and outdoor enthusiasts.
- Dress in warm layers; it’s much colder out on the ice than it is in Juneau.
- Opt for a basic glacier landing, or upgrade to a dog sledding experience.
- Most helicopter tours include round-trip transportation from Juneau.
- Some helicopter tours are wheelchair accessible.
- The Alaska State Capitol is a must-see for architecture buffs and those interested in civics.
- Give yourself about 30 to 40 minutes for the self-guided capitol tour.
- The capitol is accessible to wheelchair users.
The brewery’s free tours offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the brewing processes, including the company’s original 10-barrel and 100-barrel brewing systems.
You’ll come across artifacts from the state’s brewing history, admire an international collection of beer bottles and cans, and meet the people behind the beer.
The company produces five regular beers, including Alaskan Amber Ale, Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout and Alaskan IPA. They also produce limited-release seasonal winter or summer ales and specialty beers like smoked porter, so see what’s on tap when you visit.
Tours include complimentary tastings of a limited edition or rough draft brew. After wetting your whistle, drop into the Gear Store to browse collectibles, clothing, glassware, barkeep essentials and novelty items.
No visit to Juneau is complete without a close-up look at the Mendenhall Glacier — one of Alaska’s most popular attractions. The 13-mile-long (19 km) glacier ends at Mendenhall Lake and is easily viewed from the historic Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. On a sunny day the glacier is beautiful, with blue skies and snow-capped mountains in the background. On a cloudy and drizzly afternoon, the glacier is even more impressive, as the ice turns shades of deep blue.
Near the face of the glacier is the visitor center, which houses various exhibits including a large map of the Juneau Ice Field, an observatory with telescopes, and a theater that shows a film about the glacier every 20 minutes.
- If you plan on walking, dress accordingly and be prepared for changing weather conditions.
- Those visiting by cruise ship can take a tour of Mendenhall Glacier as a shore excursion.
- No food or drink other than water is allowed from May through September, due to bear activity.
- Look for Nugget Falls, a salmon-viewing platform overlooking Steep Creek, and for six hiking trails of varying difficulty.
How to Get to Mendenhall Glacier
Mendenhall Glacier is located about 12 miles (19 km) outside of downtown Juneau, at the head of Glacier Spur Road. You can reach the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center by taxi, car, or bus.
Note that the city bus drops visitors a mile and a half from the visitor center so plan accordingly.
When to Get There
From May through September, the visitor center is open daily between 8am and 7:30pm. October through April, it’s open Friday through Sunday from 10am to 4pm. The trails and outdoor areas are open all year.
Mendenhall for Adventurers
If you’re visiting Alaska, chances are high you’ve already got a bit of the adventurous spirit. There are many glacier tours catering to adrenaline junkies and nature lovers. Opt for a combo that includes a whale watching tour, a hike along the glacier, and a salmon bake; paddle down the river to the glacier from Juneau by raft, kayak, or canoe; or embark on a guided adventure tour that includes hiking or ice exploration.