Arriving via ferry, and staying downtown at The Sitka Hotel.
Sitka is one of my all-time favorite towns in all of Alaska. It’s the Sayulita, Mexico of Alaska. Walkable, friendly, beautiful, and easy to explore, there’s no doubt Sitka is the perfect weekend get-away. To get here we took the Alaska Marine Highway from Juneau. One of the best four and half hour ferry rides you’ll ever take, twisting through Peril Straight with views to die for, plus the relaxing environment and dedicated down time the ferry provides. It’s a $20 cab fare to catch a cab into town, and there is usually a taxi waiting at the top of the gangway.
We stayed at The Sitka Hotel. I’ve been coming here for years as it’s conveniently located to all of my go-to places, a decent rate and nice, new rooms (currently being remodeled/updated at time of wrirting).
Pack light, maybe even bring an extra bag folded up.
Always pack light when travelling to Sitka. Most of your outfits will come from The Cellar anyway. However, you should still bring an outer layer jacket that is water resistant. My go-to jacket is my Marmott or Outdoor Research Ventria because they keep you dry and stuff easily into your backpack. Jeans, light weight hiking clothes, and an extra pair of socks should do the trick. For footwear, bring one pair of walkable flats that you can cruise around downtown with, and a pair of water resistant shoes/boots for hiking.
Hands down the best boutique shopping in all of Southeast Alaska - right here in downtown Sitka! The Cellar is your diamond in the rough, go-to, save up your money and drop-some-cash kind of boutique. You’ll find everything from cozy sweaters, to jeans, summer time sweet things, and outfits for the office. Plan to spend the afternoon browsing, and several rounds of trying things on. The Cellar never disappoints and has new inventory regularly. Price ranges from $30 items all the way up to $120 so it’s hard to leave without a few new found treasures.
My favorite lunch spot is the Larkspur Cafe, located right on the edge of downtown next to the only bridge in town that connects the city to the adjacent island where the airport is located. The Larkspur Cafe shares the same building as Raven Radio, one of Alaska’s premier radio stations so be sure to listen in during your stay! The Larkspur Cafe always has delicious homemade meals with portions fit for a fisherman.
The Backdoor Cafe is another one of my favorite hide-a-ways. Located through the backdoor of Old Harbor Books you’ll be pleased to find a little nook with coffee and delicious, homemade treats. Take your time browsing the bookstore, they have an amazing selection of Alaskana.
Depending on your mood; take a walk through Totem Park. To get there follow Lincoln Street to it’s end passing the old Sheldon Jackson College Campus and The Sitka Sound Science Center (a fun place to explore your inner-child's curiosities or your kids!). Totem Park has interconnecting trails leading out to viewpoints, and if you’re feeling up for it, you can walk through to Sawmill Creek Road over to Baranof Brewery. Have a flight and test out their selection!
Gear up for a killer hike up Gavin Hill Trail. Follow Baranof Street to its end from downtown and you’ll find a clearly marked trail head pointing the way. Hopefully you’ve been practicing the stair master because you’re about to get mastered! It’s a quick ascent up to the top but once there the views never fail to take your breath away. Bring layers, snacks, water, and your music. The way up tends to get warm since you’re in the trees, but once you’re on top it’s easy to get chilly from the breeze.
Headed home so soon?
Take a 25 minute flight on Alaska Airlines back to Juneau, or hop on a small aircraft for a hassle free, and beautiful flight. We fly with Harris Air and Alaska Seaplanes. There are regular scheduled flights throughout the day during the summer.
Lil’ Historical Side Notes
Sitka was the Russian American Capital until 1906 when it was moved to Juneau. Sitka is the largest city (area-wise) in the United States. Population 8,800 people.
Until next time,