Old Harbor is my favorite bookstore in southeast Alaska. The Alaskan and native section is very complete. They also have very nice travel journals. This bookstore has a strong connection to the comunnity. If it is happening in town, there will be a notice for it in the bookstore. The people at the store make it a point to get involved in community issues. The restaurant and coffee shop in the back is equally as popular. It is almost Sitka's living room.
This store on the waterfront of downtown Sitka is a family-run business selling home-made preserves - jams, pickles, honey, and more. One can find their products in other towns in this part of Alaska, but this is the actual place itself.
What to buy: It has a great selection of honey, pickles, and preserves, such as pickled kelp, mixed jams, and more.
The Russian American Company was excactly the kind of place I'd hoped to find when souvenir shopping in Sitka. This particular shop has so much to offer. The couple who own the store frequently travel to Russia to supply their store with handcrafted Russian fine arts & crafts that many people now recognize as not just your run-of-the-mill souvenir. The first time we visited this store, we were overwhelmed with the beauty of the lanquerware, chess sets, jewelry and more. The prices were very reasonable and so we selected several pieces to give as gifts and we needed to have some of our purchases mailed to us. The store owners were happy to package our purchases for shipping and everything arrived in perfect condition.
What to buy: Wonderful pieces of Faberge jewelry, Russian fine porcelain, amber jewelry, and most important to me, Russian fine lacquerware. Exquisite minature, handpainted lacquerware boxes ($35 - $20,000), one of a kind Matryoshka nesting dolls, painted bowls, Christmas ornaments and on and on. Some prices are very reasonable, but of course, the most exquisitely detailed pieces cost the most. We bought a large, handcarved chess set and several other smaller pieces for gifts. It was a great place to purchase gifts and the store will ship your purchases to anywhere you indicate for a reasonable fee.
What to pay: Expect to pay about $15 and up for handpainted bowls, covered dishes, wooden goblets, etc. Christmas items are probably at least $25 & up. Chess sets $25 or more up to several hundred dollars.
Shop Sitka's galleries and stores and find unique items to fit a variety of budgets. Traditional Tlingit designs in silver work, totem poles, carvings, masks and woven baskets; Russian lacquer boxes, nesting dolls, icons, and paintings; contemporary Alaskan artwork, sculpture, and wearable art; and gold nugget jewelry can be found in stores throughout the community.
Additionally, Sitka offers Alaskan delicacies such as canned or smoked salmon and wild berry products. The quality and variety of items found in Sitka is unsurpassed in other communities throughout the Inside Passage.
What to buy: "Made in Alaska" it is on a tag or sticker with two bears on it and these items are made in Alaska
What to pay: This is up to you
It's not a chain, so right away it scores points with me. For its size, it has a huge variety of books and will get anything you want if they don't have it...Also, what might interest the traveler is that often times people want a map of the Southeast/Inside Passage of Alaska and they have a wonderful one for sale here. It's funny...when people are on ships, they become so disoriented and have no idea where they are in relation to the rest of the state...no idea where they came from or where they are sailing to next other than the name of the port. They also have good local books...a local mystery writer is John Straley who has written such books as: The Woman Who Married a Bear, The Curious Eat Themselves and a few more. In the back of the bookstore, as mentioned in another tip is the Backdoor Cafe.
Keep in mind that Sitka is an island, therefore, everything needs to be shipped in. Anything liquid is guaranteed to be more expensive. There are also days to buy certain things like produce and meat because it gets delivered sometime in the middle of the week. Fruit tends to sell out within a couple days and it's already well ripened when it arrives.
As far as the liquid items go: shampoo, soda, milk, cans of soup...things like that are all very expensive compared to what you might be used to.
Gasoline is more expensive in Alaska than in every state BUT Hawaii.
Other random things have a special pricetag on them...they will say $1.00 on the box but then $2.50 in Alaska on the sticker.
At McDonalds, value meals ARE NOT values. Some of them are around $6.00
Subway sandwiches are also not cheap at all. Better off eating at a local place.
What to pay: I would say at least 25% more than other states in the US, but that's really just a rough estimate. It's a lot like NYC prices...
This extraordinary shop specializes in fine art and rich, handmade crafts from Russia and Alaska. Russian Arts & Crafts: porcelain, dolls, lacquer boxes, Russian Christmas ornamnents, Faberge jewelry, antique samovars. High quality and large selection.
What to buy: lacquer boxes, nesting dolls, christmas ornamnent, icons ect
They have the full gambit! Gifts, Framed Art, Native Art, Local Products, and the nicest clerks in town.
What to buy: Barbara Lavallee, Ernest Robertson, Terry Pyle, Rie Munoz, and many other artists from the state. They also have that scrumptiuous chocolate made in Sitka, Theobroma's. They also have a very impressive select from they're wall of socks, t-shirts, and fleece
What to pay: From $1.00 and up, depending on what you're looking for
This is a great little book store right in downtown Sitka. There is a great coffee house in back, too (see my tip on that).
What to buy: Books.