PUBLISHED: 1:50 PM on Wednesday, January 10, 2007
While you're in town...

Photo by Amanda Gragert
  Mendenhall Glacier features a visitor center with interpretive displays, films and educational material.
Things to do

Have a cook out: Juneau has a number of public picnic shelters available from Douglas, to Auke Bay. Find out how to reserve one at or use one of the first come, first serve ones.

Play at the park: Juneau's many local parks have playground equipment for the kids. Rotary Park, Cope Park, Sandy Beach, Chicken Ridge Park. Take a drive and try them all.

Go for a bike ride: Rent a bike at the Driftwood Motel downtown (586-2280) or go for an organized bike tours.

Visit an art gallery: Juneau is home to a number world-renowned artists. Strolling downtown will give you rich opportunities to see awesome art, but don't miss the galleries outside of town - such as the Rie Muñoz Gallery at 2101 Jordan Avenue in the Valley.

Shop: Downtown provides a variety of gift shops, from souvenirs to clothing to jewelry. In the Valley, you'll find the two malls - the Mendenhall and the Nugget - to provide an array of additional shopping opportunities.

Bird watch: Juneau is home to nearly 300 species of birds, Bald Eagles, loons, Grebe's, Petrels, Cormorants, Herons and Egrets, Geese, Swans, Hawks, Falcons, Ptarmigans, Sandpipers, Woodpeckers, Owls and many more. You can check on the Juneau Audubon Society's website for a Juneau bird checklist now available in PDF format.

Ski: Visit Eaglecrest in the winter for skiing, or in the summer for the trails. You can also try your hand at heli-skiing with North Star Trekking.

Eat a good dinner: Juneau has a restaurant for almost every taste - from Russian to Thai to Japanese to Vietnamese to Mexican to many different places that serve fresh Alaskan seafood in price ranges tailored to different size wallets.

Have a latte: Juneau is full of coffee shops - including drive-through service. Try out the local Heritage coffee, roasted in Juneau.

Dance: Check the dance listings in the Capital City Weekly - there are folk dances, barn dances, and salsa dances almost weekly in Juneau.

Places to go

Mendenhall Glacier: View it from the visitor center, which also has interpretive displays, films and educational material, or take a short hike up closer and be showered by a glacial waterfall! Wheelchair accessible.

Alaska State Museum: Visit the Alaska State Museum and learn about the history and culture of the Natives, as well as the history of later arrivals in the area. Wheelchair accessible.

Juneau-Douglas City Museum: Learn about Juneau's mining history by visiting the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. Wheelchair accessible

House of Wickersham: Have tea and cookies with the caretaker after taking a tour of this old historic home that once belonged to Judge Wickersham, a key player in Alaska's becoming a state and many other aspects of Alaska's becoming what it is today. Located at 213 Seventh Street. Call 586-9001 for hours. Wheelchair accessible.

Stations of the Cross: The Shrine of St. Therese a special local favorite. Overlooking over Lynn Canal, you will find a stone chapel, the Stations of the Cross. Although this is located on an island, you can walk to the island by a short manmade walk. Look for locals fishing for king and silver salmon off the rocks of the island, divers wanting to find crabs, and picnickers in search of sunshine. Seals and sea lions can often be heard barking and seen basking on the outer beach of the island.

Centennial Hall: This venue is the home of the Juneau Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Stop here and pick up some brochures or ask advice about hiking trails, shopping ideas, or fishing spots.

Merchant's Wharf: The big, blue building on the channel has restaurants, gift shops, and ice cream on the entry level - and seating overlooking the cruise ship docks and the takeoff and landing strip that Gastineau Channel is to float planes.

Downtown Library: Take the elevator from the ground floor of the Marine Park Parking Garage up to the downtown Juneau library, and admire the view from up there, take a break with a newspaper, or read a book about Juneau!

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church: A living reminder of the Russian presence in 19th century Alaska, this church was actually built in Siberia in 1894 and shipped to Alaska in pieces. The church, restored about 30 years ago, is today a national historic landmark. Services are held (check with the church for times), and should you choose to respectfully attend one, be forewarned that Russian Orthodox services are attended by a congregation that remains standing.

Old Log Cabin: Presbyterian Chapel By the Lake is right next door to UAS, and their old log cabin church, still in use for the 8 a.m. services on Sunday mornings, has a view that will make a believer out of you.

Attend a show: See a performance at Perseverance Theatre in downtown Douglas. Go online to for performance schedules.

Go skating: Treadwell Ice Arena is currently keeping the ice up only in the winter - but during the summer season, you can play tennis or basketball there.

Special events

Alaska Folk Festival: The week-long festival showcases folk music from across Alaska and other states in the Northwest, with visitors from outside as well as Canada. Performers have 15 minutes on the main stage at Centennial Hall, which makes it possible to hear an incredible variety of music even if you're only in town for a day. Hour-long dance sets Thursday - Saturday nights gives you an opportunity to swing a leg. Performances range from school groups to professionals. Admittance is free. You can contribute to the non-profit organization that works hard year round to make the Folk Festival Happen. The event takes place each April.

Juneau Jazz and Classics: This annual event takes place each May and features nine days of soul-lifting, blues-chasing, live music by way of concerts, workshops, cruises and free events.