Enjoy the old building and boardwalks because 90% of the stores sell items NOT made in Alaska. The buildings are fun though. Check the windows for signs that say Alaska owned. There is one jewelry store whose items are made in Alaska, and most of the Ulu knives are also, but be careful if you are trying to buy locally.
What to buy: The Ulu Knife is an Alaska item. See the link for a picture. I gave mine as a present before I took a picture LOL
What to pay: Genuine Alaska Ulus start around $18. US
Shop changed owners to Janet--the most beautiful red hair you've ever seen--still the same great selection. A great atmosphere of local art work ranging from prints, original flat work, jewelry, carvings and one of a kind pieces. Nothing "made in China" or mass produced. My friend works here and sells her glass work "donnabadonna"--very cool stuff.
What to buy: Anything!! Especially Donnabadonna stuff.
What to pay: a few dollars will buy a great card or hundreds will buy you a treasure.
Predictably, Skagway's main industry is tourism. Here's just one of many souvenir shops, this one called Camp Skagway. The entire front of the building is faced with pieces of driftwood.
At all our stops we found friendly shopkeepers selling a wide selection of wares at fair prices. Although tourism clearly drives the area's economy, we didn't feel "tourist trapped" at any turn, nor did the souvenir shops detract in any way from the beauty of Alaska.
I knew that I had arrived in cruise ship central when I saw the sign for Little Switzerland. Did you know that most of the shops in town are owned by the cruise lines? Many of them sell basically the same thing. Save Little Switzerland for St. Thomas, USVI. The prices will be much better in the Caribbean. Corrington's appeared to be more unique than most shops in Skagway, but even it claims "The largest selection of duty free Lladro figurines." (Past cruise passengers will understand.) They were closed for the season when we arrived on 9/16/03.
Corrington’s Alaskan Ivory store and free museum are a 30-year operation. This combination museum/gift shop contains scrimshaw walrus tusks, and detailed accounts of Alaskan history. The store features a large selection of ivory, soapstone, bone and totem pole carvings. Huge display of moose horn sculptures by Alaskan artist, Bob Merry. Open 9am to 7pm daily in the summer.
What to buy: Small carved statues made of stone and bone.
This is a tidy little book store located on Broadway that has a very nice collection of Alaskan and Yukon titles. They also sold post cards. We bought a reasonably priced photo album and another Jack London book during our visit. It is definitely worth a stop. Note: "Skaguay" is not a spelling error.
The original accepted spelling of our city was "Skagua," a Tlingit word meaning "windy place." When the stampeders landed here in 1897, they anglicized it by adding a "y." However, by the fall of 1898 some local businesses, including the DAILY ALASKAN, had replaced the "u" with a "w." The issue came to a head when the U.S. Post Office put a "w" in the city's new postmark. The rival SKAGUAY NEWS lambasted the change in the editorial on October 14, 1898.
What to buy: books, photo albums, greeting cards, amd postcards.
What to pay: Regular retail, but everything goes on sale in september.