Ketchikan Things to Do

  • Totem Bight
    Totem Bight
    by cfuentesm
  • The Aleutian Ballad, ready to go
    The Aleutian Ballad, ready to go
    by Bunsch
  • A crab pot with plenty of good eating!
    A crab pot with plenty of good eating!
    by Bunsch

Most Recent Things to Do in Ketchikan

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    Eagles, crabs, and whales via Deadliest Catch boat

    by Bunsch Written Aug 11, 2013

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    The Aleutian Ballad, ready to go
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    Absolutely the best expedition I had in Alaska was the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's Tour, which uses the re-fitted Aleutian Ballad (star of the second season of "Deadliest Catch," when it was hit by a rogue wave and nearly destroyed) to give visitors a taste of the longline fishery as well as the variety of crabs, prawns, and other sea life -- like whales -- which is so plentiful in Alaska's Inside Passage. The captain and crew were veterans of many years' fishing in these waters, and had wonderful and inspiring stories to tell. We all got to handle the catch, plenty of photo opportunities. But to me, the highlight was the show put on by the nearly 400 pairs of nesting bald eagles at Annette Island. The Tour has made arrangements with the local tribes to enter their territorial waters, and by dint of throwing fish as a lure, the eagles swoop down and snatch the fish from the air, turning to bank away as soon as the prey is in their talons. Dozens of photographs don't begin to capture the excitement of that close encounter with the eagles. It was worth the price of my entire cruise to get so close to so many magnificent birds, both juveniles and adults.

    The tour runs 3.5 hours. Complimentary coffee, tea and hot chocolate are available. Wheelchair accessible. Adult tickets are $159.00; children are $99.00. (This is a discount over what the cruise line charges.)

    Related to:
    • Fishing
    • Whale Watching
    • Family Travel

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    "Living History & Cultural Tour

    by starship Updated Jul 10, 2013

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    Oh those horses!
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    I would take this tour just because of the beautiful, and well taken care of draft horses and the Alaskan Huskey which are a significant part of this horse-drawn, guided trolly tour! This leasurely, up-close and personal tour takes you to the most historic areas of Ketchikan such as Whale Pakr, Creek Street, the "Klondike Gold Rush" era city park, the "fish ladder" where salmon are "helped" upstream to spawn, the Ketchikan Museum, and of course, totem poles in abundance. Your guide makes some short stops are made for viewing and photography opportunities. Since this tour lasts about 45 minutes and is meant as more of an overview rather than an in-depth tour, you should have the rest of the day for shopping or more in depth exploration.

    You can find more information about the tours at the info. booth right on the pier and purchase tickets. Tickets can also be purchased on your cruise ship. Their website does not list ticket prices.

    (NOTE: Around the world I have seen horses, mules and donkeys used to make significant profits for their owners, but the animals have not been taken care of and in many cases the animals' conditions were dire. The horses of this Alaskan trolley tour are well taken care of as you can readily see. In addition, thick rubber mats have been provided on the pier for the horses to stand on which acts as a cushion for feet & legs, traction & perhaps gives a certain amount of protection from the weather in certain cases--see photo below.)

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    The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show

    by starship Updated Mar 9, 2013

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    Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show's Gift Shop

    One of the most popular attractions in downtown Ketchikan is The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. It's really popular with families especially because children seem to love it. Along with goldpanning, mining, and fishing, Alaska has a tradition and history of logging. It took a lot of skill to bring down those enormous trees and ready them for other purposes. This show features some of those most important lumberjack skills and it's a lot of fun watching it: log rolling is always fun to watch to see who falls off first; climbing to the top of the log poles in a split second is pretty nifty too; wood chopping contests and sawing are real men's work I say! It's all about fun and good sportsmanship.

    The stadium seating is covered and heated when necessary. Scheduled shows pretty much revolve around arrival of cruise ships so be sure to check their web site but they have up to 4 shows daily!! Shows last approximately 1 hour or so.

    They have a huge gift shop which is ALWAYS packed, and sells anything and everything that looks woodsy, has to do with moose, the outdoors, and plenty of all things cute. I particularly liked the big moose at the front door!!!

    Admission to the show will set you back $34 for adults - $17 for children 3-12 yrs. old (2008 prices); admission for 2 yrs. & younger is free (how thoughtful). This is still alot less expensive than some ship excursions! Tickets can be pre-purchased online or through your ship's excursion desk. NOTE: a recent check of dates and prices revealed the 2013 season to begins at the end of April and runs through September. Ticket prices have increased only slightly since 2008!! Adults: $35; children 3-12 - $17.50.

    Be sure to visit the gift shop which really has some nice items, toys and cuddly animals, snacks, souvenirs, jewelry, home decor, etc. Pricey but pretty cute stuff!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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    Creek Street ~ Famous or Infamous

    by starship Updated Mar 9, 2013

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    Creek Street - Ketchikan
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    One of the more scenic places in Ketchikan is Creek Street. Perched on the side of Deer Mountain and running along a rivulet of fast running water, the colorful, wooden buildings along Creek Street once housed the "Red Light 'District" at the turn of the 20th century. These bawdy bordellos attracted men who came to work in the fishing, mining and logging industries of this rugged territory called Alaska. The relative isolation of the early Alaskan settlements meant that the women who came to Alaska for this purpose stood to make a lot of money. Some women became wealthy. It's amazing that the infamous Creek Street establishments didn't close permanently until 1954 when the practice of prostitution even in Alaska fell under federal pressure.

    The boardwalk brothels have now been transformed into quaint little shops of all kinds, selling Native artwork, jewelry, clothing, Alaskan Salmon, souvenirs, etc. You can spend an hour wondering through these many little places searching for that unique souvenir or gift. If the fish are running in the rivulet next to Creek Street, you might see fisherman using various means attempting to catch a prized fish like we saw when we first visited Ketchikan in 2002.

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    Ziplining in Ketchikan - amazing!

    by aheakali Written Apr 28, 2012
    At the final ladder
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    We went on the Eagle Creek Zipline in Ketchikan Alaska and it was spectacular! First we boarded a bus and were driven out to the South End of Ketchikan. Our bus driver talked about Ketchikan during the drive. When we arrived at the Zipline, we boarded another bus, this one a 4x4 Unimog which climbed through the rainforest to our first stop.

    We got geared up & our first zip had me shaking in my boots - but it was SO MUCH FUN!!! We zipped through the course, walked on suspension bridges, & it was amazing. The view is gorgeous and we even saw eagles in the trees.

    My husband is afraid of heights but with all the gear and the guides encouragement, he made it through and loved it. What an incredible experience - you must go!

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Cruise

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    Amphibious Tours

    by Agraichen Written Jul 22, 2011

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    A ride on a Duck Boat is always a kick. I saw my first in Boston over 50 years ago and it seems they have multiplied all over the country. Any place there is water and land you'll probably find a Duck Boat tourist ride.

    They are normally a pretty good way to see a location from different perspectives that you don't get from hop-on/hop-off buses.

    2011 prices are Adults - $38.00; Kids 12 and under - $24.00

    Tour lasts 90 minutes and gives a pretty good overview of Ketchikan downtown and the harbor.

    Related to:
    • Cruise
    • Family Travel
    • Road Trip

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    Whale Park

    by grandmaR Written Jul 1, 2011

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    Whale park with me on the scooter entering it
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    Since we did not go to the Totem Center, we walked out to the Whale Park and took some pictures of Chief Johnson Totem Pole there. This is a lineage pole. There are three figures - the Crane, at the top, the Thunderbird and the Bear at the bottom is Chief Kyan's family crest.

    This is the 2nd replica of the original pole raised in the late 1800's for the Tlingit chief who sold 160 acres to Mike Martin. It was carbed by the Tlingit master carver Israel Shotridge during the summer of 1992. The 1st replica from 1964 is located inside the Totem Heritage Center.

    They had whale shaped benches and some nice flowers

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Cruise

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    Walking Tour

    by grandmaR Written Jul 1, 2011

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    Welcome Arch
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    When we got off the ship we were given a free map and it had a walking tour on it. I would have liked to do that, but didn't quite have the energy. Some of the things we saw on the Duck tour, so this is a short list of what we would have seen while walking.

    The Downtown Ketchikan Walking Tour begins at the Visitors Bureau (We went to the Visitor's Bureau) and heads out under the Ketchikan Welcome Arch on Mission Street (photo 3). We did get to Whale Park. Then take a left onto Bawden Street to follow the Ketchikan Creek (photo 4). We saw the salmon ladder and waterfalls in the creek. After that, Bawden Street crosses a bridge and turns into Park Avenue.

    Follow Park Avenue until it turns into Salmon Street. This leads directly to the Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center.

    After the hatchery, follow the walking path across another bridge to the Totem Heritage Center (photo 2). I have a picture also of the Discovery Center (photo 5)

    There is another part of the walking tour, but since it includes steep grades and steps I would not have had any possibility of doing it.

    Related to:
    • Cruise
    • Budget Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Don't Duck the Duck

    by grandmaR Updated Jun 27, 2011

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    Stairs to get into the Duck
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    Our only tour today was the Duck Tour. I thought that looked like fun. But maybe because it was the only time slot open I had signed up for the 8:30 am tour

    We found our duck on the dock, and climbed in. There was a plastic overlay with round portholes in it that we could open or close. But it was still very hard to take pictures as the holes were up above head level so I either had to hold the camera over my head, or stand up. It was a bright sunny day and was soon quite warm in the Duck. We could take off our coats that we had put on in anticipation of it being cold. We only had 11 passengers so we were able to spread out and even change seats. Later Ducks looked quite crowded.

    Our guide was Lily and she was really amusing. First we had a tour through town, looked at the salmon ladder, went by Dolly's House (whorehouse),

    Then we went into the water, and motored out of the marina. We saw some bald eagles on the breakwater, but I didn't get a photo. When we got back to land, they had to clean the Duck off and they got some bull kelp out from the wheels and showed it to us.

    Tour Duration: 90 minutes

    Adults: $38.00
    Kids (ages 3-12): $24.00
    (ages 2 and under: no charge )

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Historical Travel
    • Sailing and Boating

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    Try the local "produce."

    by K.Knight Updated Apr 22, 2011

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    The Grizzly Grill - Ketchikan.

    Just about everywhere along the waterfront you will find kiosks, cafes and restaurants selling all sorts of local food.

    From "buffalo dog's," and elk burgers, crab, salmon burgers, chowder, shrimp and the standard fish and chips, you will find it all here at reasonable prices.

    I tried the elk burger and I must say it was very tasty indeed!

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    • Budget Travel
    • Cruise
    • Family Travel

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    Spawning Salmon - Bears go nuts for it!

    by K.Knight Updated Apr 22, 2011

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    Stream are full in August and September.
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    One of the many things that Anne and I wished to see while we visited Alaska was the Salmon travelling up stream to spawn.

    It is a natural occurrence that has been happening since the dawn of time, attracting bears, eagles, fisherman and now tourists.

    It is amazing to think that this process has been the life support system for all manner of wildlife and humans alike, not to mention the tourist trade and fishing industries!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Eco-Tourism
    • National/State Park

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    Good old fashioned Kettle Corn!

    by K.Knight Written Apr 22, 2011

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    Anne, get away from my kettle corn!!!!!

    I must confess, I love this stuff.

    Anne and I had spent the morning on a float plane and walking around Prince of Wales Island watching the wildlife. We then headed back to downtown Ketchikan and walked around town looking at the totem poles, Creek Street, Whale Park and shopping.

    It only seemed natural to me to grab a couple of bags of kettle corn and head back to the ship for a couple of beers and a feast.....

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    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

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    Ketchikan - Salmon Market

    by K.Knight Updated Apr 22, 2011

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    The Salmon Market - Ketchikan.

    No visit to Ketchikan woulod be complete without purchasing some salmon from the Salmon Market.

    Located in the main street od downtown, the Salmon Market will offer you some of the best salmon you willl ever eat! Whether you fancy smoked Salmon, fresh Salmon, canned/tinned Salmon, Salmon jerky, filleted Salmon, whole Salmon or caviar, you will find it here...and it is FRESH!

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    • Family Travel
    • Cruise

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    Horse drawn cart tour.

    by K.Knight Written Apr 22, 2011

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    Horse drawn cart.
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    For those that hate to walk, a horse-drawn cart can be the perfect way to see Ketchikan’s sights.

    A guide narrates during the entire ride, while pointing out all of the historic buildings, parks, totem poles, places of interest and shops.

    The tour departs from the waterfront and takes in Whale Park, Creek Street, a fish ladder and Salmon spawning grounds.

    Related to:
    • Horse Riding
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

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    Tongass National Forest - Bears - 3.

    by K.Knight Updated Apr 22, 2011

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    I see you.
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    After having his fill of salmon the bear continued to walk up stream and would occasionally stop and peer into the water to see what other tasty morsel he could help himself to. (Natures buffet.)

    After he appeared to have his fill he departed the water and shook himself off, much like a dog that had just had a bath!

    It was this stage that the bear looked up and saw us standing there for the first time! I stood there motionless as our eyes met and I can honestly say that I was praying that he enjoyed salmon a hell of a lot more than a salty old human ļ

    After our eyes met, and we both thought about our next move, he simply turned and walked down the path and into my memory¡Kthank goodness.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism

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Ketchikan Things to Do

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