What to See and Do
Shore Excursion: The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show celebrates Ketchikan's logging heyday. Watching pros compete at log rolling, axe throwing, and pole climbing makes even a rainy day entertaining. The bleachers, thankfully, are covered. The sometimes corny show lasts 1-1/4 hours, leaving plenty of time for shopping--the port's shore activity of choice.
Ketchikan museum hopping. The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center (2050 Main Street) has an interactive rain-forest gallery and a terrific gift shop for informational buys, from maps to guidebooks. Also check out the Totem Heritage Center (601 Deermount Street) and the Tongass Historical Museum (629 Dock Street).
Outside of Ketchikan, two must-sees are Totem Bight State Park (10 miles north), and Saxman Native Village (two miles south), where you can watch Native carvers at work.
Where to Eat and Drink
Casual, in-town joints: New York Cafe (207 Stedman, all day). The pub at Annabelle's Keg and Chowder House (326 Front Street, all day).
Gourmet Dining: Annabelle's Keg and Chowder House (in the Gilmore Hotel, 326 Front Street, 11:30am to 2:30 p.m.), which celebrates the 1920s, has two sections--a somewhat formal linen tablecloth dining room and, across, a boisterous, atmospheric pub.
The most interesting area--both for historic value and good shopping--is Creek Street. Not a street at all, this boardwalk winds along Ketchikan Creek and was once the locale for all the area's brothels. Now it's home to artsy galleries like Soho Coho (205 Creek Street), which sells a variety of higher-end crafts, from gorgeous velvet scarves to watercolors to soaps; adjacent is the Alaska Eagle Art Gallery where Pendleton blankets with Indian themes are a standout, as are silver pendants and bronze sculptures. Upstairs is Parnassus, an interesting bookstore with a great selection of Alaska-oriented tomes. Try Sam McGee's A Taste of Alaska (18 Creek Street) for regionally made foodstuffs, from honey to barbecue sauce to soaps, lotions, and ulu knives.
Another interesting "shopping" area is a line of galleries along Stedman Street such as Blue Heron (123 Stedman Street), which has Alaskan crafts, including locally carved totem poles, and Golden Eagle Gifts (123 Stedman Street) for state-made coffees and teas.
Right in the heart of downtown, the Eagle Spirit Gallery (310 Mission Street) and Scanlon Gallery (318 Mission Street) have interesting native Indian arts, from ivory carvings to cedar bark baskets and masks.
Staying in Touch
Seaport Cyber (on the pier, upstairs at #216 Salmon Landing) offers Internet access. You can buy a card that works in three ports--Ketchikan, Skagway, and Juneau.
Ketchikan is located on Revillagigedo Island. The airport, on Gravina Island, is a five-minute ferry ride away.
Right at the dock there's a low-slung green building where numerous excursion operators have set up booths offering kayaking, floatplane rides, bicycling tours, or simply transportation to just-out-of-town attractions.
Where You're Docked
Ships dock in the center of town. On crowded days, some ships may be required to anchor--and tender passengers into Ketchikan. Small ships sometimes dock a mile south of town.
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