Sitka Travel Guide

  • Sitka from the Bridge
    Sitka from the Bridge
    by Colewade
  • Mt. Edgecumbe
    Mt. Edgecumbe
    by Colewade
  • Mt Verstovia on a windy day
    Mt Verstovia on a windy day
    by MTrav

Sitka Highlights

  • Pro
    PA2AKgirl profile photo

    PA2AKgirl says…

     Beautiful, Clean, amazing wildlife, Decent nightlife, friendly people 

  • Con
    Colewade profile photo

    Colewade says…

     It requires a little effort to get to Sitka, and your likely to have rain when you arrive. 

  • In a nutshell
    PA2AKgirl profile photo

    PA2AKgirl says…

     GO! You will fall in love with this place and be surprised how it's unlike your stereotype of Alaska 

Sitka Things to Do

  • Pioneers' Home

    One of the sights that I saw for the first time during our July, 2006, stop in Sitka was the Pioneers Home.. I really didn't know what the building was when I first saw it. I was just attracted to the architecture which I thought seemed a little out of place for Alaska, especially the expansive lawn in front, the beautiful flower gardens and a...

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  • Russian Bishop's House

    The first resident of the house was Bishop Innocent, Ivan Veniaminov.It is an example of Russian colonial architecture and is one of the last exisitng in North America.It is only open regularly in the Summer. By appointment it can be visited in the winter.

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  • Sitka National Historical Park Visitor...

    Most tourists arrive in Sitka via cruise ship. The "downtown" area is just to the left off the dock where the tender drop people. If you follow the streets along the coast in about 15 minutes you'll get to the Sitka National Historical Park entrance and the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is a small building but contains lots of information...

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Sitka Hotels

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Sitka Restaurants

  • Mexican Food-Yum

    They recently opened up in the Franklin Building in Downtown Sitka. I like the setting and location. Right across the street (well it's a round-about) is St. Michael's Cathedral. The food is the best. They have the best pizza and burgers. The Franklin Building or mall some people will call it is home not only to Hermano's, but Moutain Miss (a...

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  • Great Coffeehouse

    This is a great coffeehouse right behind Old Harbor Books. It has a funky, characterful feel, great coffee, great food, and low prices.

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  • Best Restaurant in Alaska!

    Ludvig's Bistro is proud to offer fresh local seafood, house made bread and desserts, organic ingredients from Full Circle Farm and Sitka Sound's own Alaska Pure Finishing Salt. This place is an amazing destination for Sitka or any local. Go eat there. Colette Nelson spent three seasons salmon fishing in the Gulf of Alaska. Realizing the enormity...

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Sitka Nightlife

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  • Night life in Sitka

    Very casual place to hang out, have a few drinks and shoot some pool. Nothing fancy but the locals are nice. Very surprise that you are allowed to smoke in the bar. Could use a few more TVs but overall a decent place to go for a few drinks. Come as you are.

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  • drink with the locals

    The Pioneer Bar or P Bar is the local hang out. This is where the captains and their deckhands go to hang out after a hard day on the water. This is definitly not a hip or stylish bar. A 16 ounce beer and some p-nuts make you blend in. There is also a pool table and a couple of TV's with sports on. DO NOT dress up there unless you want to be...

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  • The must see bar in Sitka

    The Pioneer Bar is an institution in Sitka that I highly recommend. Local fishermen come here after a hard day's work as do many of the locals. Nothing special as far as decorations. Lights are bright. Floors just linoleum. Walls are covered with framed photos of all the local fishing boats. It is the people that make the place. Friendly, outgoing...

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Sitka Transportation

  • Alaska Marine Highway

    Rather than flying, which is very expensive to Sitka from Anchorage or Seattle (I paid $400 one way last year) and rather than spending a few thousand per person for a cruise, consider the ferry system. You have your choice of the inside passage which starts as far south as Bellingham, Washington or Prince Rupert, British Columbia, the Southwest...

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  • Water Transport

    If you're planning on staying in sitka for a few days and want to get to some of the destinations that require a boat, you can either take a kayak (available to rent) or hire a sea taxi. Such destinations would include the hot springs, Kruzof Island, Sea Lion Cove, and the many many other islands in the area. In order to see these places and most...

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  • From the Airport

    If you are flying to Sitka and don't want to rent a car to get around, you still need to find a way to get from the airport to your hotel. Well, fortunately, in the summer, this isn't a problem. There is a shuttle called "The Airporter" which is right out in the front of the airport waiting to take you into town. It shows up for all the flights and...

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Sitka Shopping

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  • Old Harbor Book Store

    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...

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  • Great Jam, pickles, honey, and more

    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. It has a great selection of honey, pickles, and preserves, such as pickled kelp, mixed jams, and more.

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  • Great Book Store

    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). Books.

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Sitka Local Customs

  • Saturday mornings

    The yard sale scene is HUGE is Sitka. If you are staying there for a few days and one of those days is Saturday, you should check this out. It's serious business here. The Friday newspaper has "Sunshine Corner" (kind of ironic in the rainforest) which lists all the yard sales for the weekend. Locals get up at 6, show up at 7:30 for the sales that...

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  • Beyond Casual

    Sitka is largely a fishing community, so the dress code has taken that road as well. I was really surprised, coming from the east coast when I first went out to a bar and people were wearing rubber boots. They are called X-tra tuffs and people wear them everywhere--to weddings, out to restaurants, for daily walks and rides, for a night on the town....

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  • Sitka Hotels

    4 Hotels in Sitka

    71 Reviews and Opinions

Sitka Warnings and Dangers

  • Fishing Photos

    When fishing in Alaska shop around and stay with the locals they know how to fish the waters not the summer Sitkens

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  • You get what you pay for...

    If you're planning on taking a cruise to Alaska, you'll notice the cut rates in September...while it may look like a great deal, you should know, in Sitka, the weather gets very stormy at this time...Last year, halfway into the month we had a cruise ship scheduled to arrive at 7am and was supposed to spend the whole day in town. However, it arrived...

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  • Smart Hiking

    In the late summer, bears are more common on the trails than they are in the early summer, but they are present any time. The Indian River Trail follows right along the bank of the river and in the late summer, the salmon are dying, making a wonderfully easy meal for the bears...but all trails have been known to have bears. They much rather avoid...

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Sitka Tourist Traps

  • Cruise ship to Sitka- not unless you're...

    ok- so I hate to knock on the cruise ships because they are very important and I would give tours to cruise ship passengers BUT- no ships spend the night here. Spend at least 3 or 4 days here. Take the ferry or fly in. Even if you aren't very mobile- Sitka is such a sweet town. If you are looking on this website for vacation ideas, you probably...

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  • Fur shops only here for $$$ not for...

    The fur shops in Sitka are here only in the summer and gone when the last ships of the season leaves. Sitka was founded on the fur trade by the Russians many years ago but now these fur shops come in for the summer make their money and leave. Sitka has a lot of local and well known Alaskan Native and non native artists in town and their goods are...

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  • local merchants

    People often go into the gift shops wanting to bring something authentic from Alaska home with them. That's understandable, it might just be a once in a lifetime trip. We had one guy come in to the National Park and request a totem pole. Masks, jewelry and other art are available, but they come with a hefty price tag. Still, that's the way to buy...

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Sitka What to Pack

  • pack light

    if possible and only going to sitka for a short period to fish--pack light. Try to go with just 2 carry ons as you will probably going home with 2 boxes of fish--which is your max alowed for a check in. Other wise you will have to pay up to $75 for extra luggage. rubber boots like extra toughs are worn by everyone in town. If you are in town it...

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  • It will rain

    waterproof luggage Raincoats, parkas, layers, rainpants, waterproof shoes Waterproof or resistant photo equip Waterproof gear Umbrella if you so desire. Chances are, it won't be a torrential downpour, but a lot of people are used to things being cancelled or delayed because of rain. The show goes on in Sitka or it would never happen.

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  • Pack Light and Casual

    Maximum of two per person both of which will pass the carry-on test. Pack for half the trip. Do laundry if you need to, or better don't take anything you wouldn't wear twice and could combine to make a new outfit. Alaska is most definitely not a fashion show. Layers Layers LayersGood hiking boots or very comfortable walking shoes with good soles...

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Sitka Off The Beaten Path

  • St. Lazaria Island

    You have to be on a boat to get to this island and you can't get off the boat once you reach it, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. This island is only one tiny part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge which is the largest NWR is the US. It extends from the Aleutian chain down the whole coast of Alaska, and that's a huge, huge...

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  • Floatplane to Baranof Warm Springs

    Here's what we did:Harris Air can take you to Baranof Warm Springs. You will land on a lake. Reserve the Forest Service cabin on the FS website. The cabin is equipped with a dinghy and oars. Row across the lake to the warm springs (about 3 miles)- avoid the middle of the day there. Sometimes chartered yachts stop there and unload 20 people. Late...

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  • Starragavan Wildlife Estuary trail

    At the far end of Sitka is Starragavan park. Literally at the far end, the road ends here. They have a nice campground with gorgeous large spots (no hookups) and only $10, I think? There is a new platformed pathway around the perimeter of the estuary that is really nice. We saw eagles, cranes, a blue heron, etc. When we went in late summer, you...

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Sitka Sports & Outdoors

  • Island Fever & Adventures

    SCUBA shop with great people, good gear, fun day trips and adventures. Dry suits, but they rent them there.

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  • To the summit

    After kayaking along Baranof island for about 10 miles, we landed on a beach, unloaded our kayaks, carried them to Green lake, an artificial reservoir, paddled acroos the lake and started a strenuous hike to our basecamp. At that point, assuming cooperation from the weather, we had a couple of days for summit attempts. The peaks aren't high ("5398"...

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  • Volcanic activity

    Opposite of Baranof island lay Krusof island, with Mt. Edgecombe, an inactive volcano that rises from the ocean floor to about 3200 feet.The hike to the crater is quite challenging, but worth the sweat.

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Sitka Favorites

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  • Where to Get Information about Sitka

    Maps and information are available inside the entrance of Harrigan Centennial Hall. Volunteers manning the information booth are helpful, pleasant and will also sell you tickets to the New Archangel Dancers' performance right there in Centennial Hall. Be sure to pick up a copy of "All About Sitka" which includes facts about Sitka, a calendar of...

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  • Cross Mountain

    I was probably in Sitka for a few months before someone pointed out "Cross Mountain" to me. Maybe it's because I can never tell what things are supposed to look like on mountains--like when someone says "do you see how that mountain looks like a soaring hawk?" Never. I never see these things. It looks like a mountain. But this is obvious and for...

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  • Swan Lake

    If you arrive in Sitka off a cruise ship, the town is gonna be crowded. If you want to take a short walk to get to a more peaceful and scenic place, go to Swan Lake. It's about a 5 minute walk from the docks, right out of downtown. There's nothing to do there, really other than sit down and relax, maybe drink some coffee and take in the scenery....

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