Juneau, Alaska

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Juneau is Alaska’s capital and third-largest city. It is the only U.S. state capital to border another country sharing its eastern border with British Columbia, Canada.

Tlinglit Indians were the original settlers of the area. The Tlingit name of the town is Dzántik'i Héeni "river where the flounders gather." The regions abundant resources supported the development of a sophisticated lifestyle, rich with artistic traditions. Without a written language, Southeast Alaska Natives used various art forms, such as totem poles, to pass on cultural and historical information. Native cultural heritage is readily evident throughout the community and the surrounding area.

In 1880, gold spurred the birth of the town. A Tlingit chief named Kowee led two Alaskan pioneers, Joe Juneau and Richard Harris, to rich gold reserves at the mouth of Gold Creek. Their find resulted in a modest rush of miners and formation of a mining camp starting Alaska’s development. The town was the first to be settled after Alaska’s purchase from Russia.

Successful gold-mining operations are responsible for much of the communities early history. The area was home to three of the world’s largest gold mines; The Alaska-Juneau, The Alaska Gastineau and The Treadwell. Together, they produced $158 million in gold. Before a cave-in and flood in 1917 closed the mine, The Treadwell produced $66 million in gold. In 1944, our government decided it needed the manpower for the World War II effort and mining was declared a non-essential wartime activity. Before ceasing operations, The Alaska-Juneau Mine had produced more than $80 million in gold. Something to keep in mind, gold was priced between $20-$35 dollars an ounce. Mining was replaced by government expansion and after the war failed to start up again. There’s still gold in them there hills but efforts to begin mining again have faced the challenges of environmental constraints and finances.

Dramatically located on the sides of Mount Juneau and Mount Roberts along the Gastineau Channel, the town is accessible only via sea and air. There is no road to the outside world. Even though the city limits are almost as large as the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, there is little room for further development. The terrain forms a natural barrier. The 1,500 square-mile Juneau Icefield, located just north of the city, and avalanche danger in the mountains make expansion impractical.

Local sightseeing highlights include Alaska’s most accessible glacier, the Mendenhall, the Mt. Roberts Tramway, visits to the fish hatchery, the brewery and an abandoned mine. Outdoor adventure is never far away. Hiking, sea-kayaking, whale-watching and beach-walking are all nearby.

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Many of the town’s original buildings built in the late 1800’s still stand today. Much of the historic city can be seen on foot. Download a guide to Juneau’s historic sites, buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, totem poles and public art, Right-click to download this PDF file here. – courtesy of the Juneau-Douglas City Museum.

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Juneau has a mild, maritime climate. Average summer temperatures typically range from 60 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit. On average, the warmest month is July, at 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature variations between night and day tend to be fairly limited during summer with a difference that can reach 15 degrees Fahrenheit. The annual average precipitation is 86.98 inches. The wettest month of the year is October with an average rainfall of 13.52 inches.

Getting Ashore

Ships dock in the downtown area, along Marine Way. The piers are all within walking distance of downtown, but shuttle service is also available.

If there are multiple ships in port, you may be tendered to town.

What time is it?

Juneau is located in the Alaska Time Zone.

  • Standard Time difference compared to UTC/GMT is -9 hours.
  • Daylight Saving Time difference compared to UTC/GMT is -8 hours.
  • Daylight Saving Time begins on the first Sunday in April and ends on the last Sunday in October.


As part of the continental United States, English is universally spoken.

How To Pay

U.S. currency is used and accepted, as are all major credit cards. Sales tax is 5%.

Where's The Money

An ATM is available at the Wells Fargo Bank located at 123 Seward St.

Staying In Touch

The Post Office is located at 145 South Franklin St. - handy to the cruise ship dock.

Internet Access is available through Seaport Cyber located at 175 South Franklin St. (Senate Mall Building), a short walk from the pier.

Just in case

Hospital - Bartlett Regional Hospital is located at 3260 Hospital Dr. (approximately 3 miles out the Glacier Highway from downtown. The hospital can be reached at (907) 796-8900.

Police - For nonemergency business, call (907) 586-0600.

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