Sitka is considered Alaska's most beautiful seaside town, with views of island-studded waters and stately spruce forests reaching to the water's edge. Sitka offers a combination of Native culture, Russian history, and Alaskan wilderness which provides a diverse and unequaled Alaskan experience. The mild climate and dense forests make Sitka one of the best places to view wildlife in Alaska.
What to do in Sitka, AlaskaYou’ll find that the most popular things to do in Sitka cater to its amazing landscapes and interesting history as a Russian territory. We recommend getting out into nature or getting into some museums or tours highlighting the city’s unusual development.
Get ActiveEnjoy the fabulous scenery while also getting that heart rate up. You’ll have many excursion options to get active while experiencing Sitka’s sights. Whether hiking, kayaking, rock-climbing, zip-lining or biking, you’ll earn that cruise ship buffet once you return.
Historic AttractionsSitka has a surprisingly rich history. From its Native American roots to its status as a Russian territory, Sitka has seen some stuff. It was once even the capital of Alaska. You can learn more about this journey from a number of museums nearby your cruise port. We’re surprised they haven’t made a major motion picture on this place yet.
Downtown SitkaWhile Sitka is the largest city in the U.S. in terms of area, the Downtown Sitka area is small enough to explore in an afternoon. Your tender will drop you off in the heart of the action. The city’s main commercial activity areas are all accessible by foot. You’ll find shops, historic landmarks, and museums to explore.
Shopping in Sitka, AlaskaDowntown Sitka has a couple great options to pick up an Alaskan souvenir. Here are our recommendations for shopping by Sitka Cruise Port.
Island Artists GallerySitka's local artist co-op including 25 different artists offering a wide selection of locally produced art. Ref: <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="//wikitravel.org/en/Sitka#Get_around">Wikitravel - Sitka, Alaska</a>
Russian-American Company-Random HouseMuseum-quality Russian lacquer boxes and matryoshka nesting dolls are two highlights of our shops. As direct importers, we also offer a large and affordable selection of unique Russian folk art and handcrafts, such as amber jewelry and Zhostovo floral painted trays, brooches, boxes, porcelain and hair clips. Hand painted nesting dolls are priced from under $10 up to $3,000. Authentic Russian lacquer boxes, handcrafted from papier mache and hand painted by the specially trained artists of Fedoskino, Palekh, Mstera, and Kholui, are available from $69 to over $10,000. The Russian American Company is an authorized dealer of contemporary Faberge jewelry.Also offer large selection of Alaskan Native Art - Ivory, whalebone, baleen baskets, scrimshaw, totemic plaques and masks.
Attractions in Sitka, AlaskaNearby Sitka Cruise Port, you’ll find interesting museums, shops, restaurants and similar things to do. We recommend exploring the downtown area at some point during your day. But, the bulk of your day in port should be spent enjoying nature. Here are some options for both!
Castle HillIn 1867 when Alaska was transferred from Russia to the U.S., the Russian flag was lowered and the American flag officially raised here. In 1959 when Alaska became the 49th State, the first 49-star American flag was officially raised here. Once the site of a two-story log mansion known as Baranof's Castle, which overlooked Sitka Sound during the Russian fur trading era. A fully accessible walkway leads visitors to the top of the hill and provides outstanding views of downtown Sitka and waterfront. Interpretive panels provide opportunities to learn more about the history of this site.
Saint Lazaria National Wildlife Refuge (by boat)St. Lazaria is a rugged island with limited and difficult access -- ideal for birds to inhabit and to nest. On the island, one can find Fork-tailed Storm-petrels , Leach's Storm-petrels, Thick-billed Murres, Tufted Puffins, Rhinoceros Auklets , Pigeon Guillemots, Glaucous-winged Gulls, Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, and Black Oystercatchers.
Alaska Raptor CenterBald eagles and other raptors from all over the Western United States are treated at this 17 acre facility bordering the Tongass National Forest. See the eagles, hawks, falcons and owls up close.
Sitka National Historical ParkThe Visitor Center is open year round. The Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center, totem poles, and museum exhibits are located in the building. Exhibits depict traditional Tlingit life. A short video reviews Sitka's history. You’ll also find the Russian Bishop's House. A ranger-led tours are offered every 30 minutes. This original log structure built in 1843 is one of the last remaining buildings from the Russian colonial period. While at the park, explore the many park trails. Walk in a temperate rain forest under towering trees, observe migrating salmon, explore the intertidal zone, and study wildlife. A pleasant walk through the Alaska woods with interesting totem poles interspersed. The Village Watchman, the Raven in Human Form, the Raven and a Bear are some of the figures displayed.
Fortress of the Bear (Brown Bear Education and Viewing Center)Fortress of the Bear is a non-profit education and rescue center with a three-quarter acre habitat for orphaned Brown Bear cubs complete with covered viewing areas. Also home to the Sawmill Farm. The Fortress has two resident brown bears and may have additional cubs or other bears as rescues occur. Bear cubs are usually housed temporarily at the Fortress until permanent homes are found.
Sheldon Jackson MuseumOffering a superb exhibit and collection of Alaskan Native cultural and historical artifacts. The Rev. Dr. Sheldon Jackson was the moving force behind the construction of the Sheldon Jackson Museum and the collector of many of its artifacts. If there were a museum for museums, the Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka would be part of the collection. It is the oldest museum in Alaska and is in the first concrete building in the state. Construction began in 1895 and it has been occupied since 1897. The building was placed on the National Historical Register in 1972. While the building may be as old as some of the items in its collection, its exhibits reflect recent renovation and a dedication to professional museum standards. The Museum's collection has been called a jewel in the crown of Alaska ethnographic collections.
St. Michael's Russian Orthodox CathedralConstructed 1844-1848, the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel was the principal representative of Russian cultural influence in the 19th century in North America, as the Seat of the Russian Orthodox Diocese of North America, and then as the Seat of the Diocese of Alaska. Although the original was burned down in 1966 and reconstructed, the artifacts inside including the icons were largely preserved from the fire.
Best cruise excursions in Sitka, AlaskaWe've analyzed tens of thousands of cruise tours to find your ideal attraction while in port. Based on these reviews, here are the Best Cruise Excursions in Sitka, Alaska
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