Living in Juneau
Living in Juneau Reviews
Juneau Apr 10, 2008
I spent three months this summer working in Juneau and float planing/helicoptering/ferrying to other places. I have to say that Juneau is a great place to visit but I would not want to live there. First of all during the summer downtown is VERY touristy, a max of 5 cruise ships dock right downtown at any given time, beleive me that is quite a lot of people for a town of less than 30,000 (it's only saving grace is that the town is built in two different sections; downtown and Glacier Valley, the cruise ships like to keep the tourists downtown to spend money in their shops).
There ae some great things to do downtown if you time it right. Go downtown on a Saturday morning before all the cruise ships start coming in, which is around noon. Go up the tram to the shops, if you don't want to take the tram (about 80$ for three of us) you can hike the trail, and as long as you buy something at the shop you can ride down for free. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, have lunch at the restaurant, way too expensive and the food is horrible. Around 11:00 go to the big blue building on the North side of town (the name eludes me) and have lunch at The Hangar (if you can't find it just ask a local), it's a really cool bar and grill. Sit at the bar, have a beer with lunch (great food), watch the float planes and cruiuse ships come in and out literally feet from the restaurant bay windows. Warning, The Hangar is not a place to go during a weekday lunch hour, the locals love it, if you do don't be in a hurry.
After you have lunch take the drive or one of the many taxi's to the Mendenhall Glacier. If you are in the mood for a short hike take the trail to the waterfall for some great picture opportunities, only takes about a half hour to get out there and is worth the creek fording and short climb around the rock slide.
If you're in to hiking there are MANY trails in and around Juneau to find. You can pick up a trails map at the local Forest Service Ranger District and I think they sell them at the Mendenhall Glacier visitors center, but don't quote me on that. The map costs 10 dollars and shows all the trails around Juneau and Douglas Island, I found it to not be as acurate as I had hoped but it will certainly give you an idea of where to go. The trails vary from very safe and mostly paved(Brotherhood Trail) to good day hikes(Herbert Glacier Trail). You can almost count on seeing other people on most of the trails you go on as the town is very secluded and if you don't have a boat you just go hiking, also going off the beaten trail can prove to be quite "grizzly"-if you know what I mean. Make sure to get some bear spray and learn how to use it. I'm not kidding when I say I need to warn you, bear spray is not bear repellant, DO NOT spray it on yourself to keep the bears away(something that should not need to be said but apparently it has happened).
Fishing is an every day part of life in Juneau, if you have the money to spend you can get on a charter boat any day of the week and can almost guarantee to catch your fill within hours. I heard of a place on Douglas Island where you can almost do better off of the shore with Salmon, but I didn't see it so ask a local. If you are a fly-fisherman, there are a lot of places to find salmon and trout. Just pick a river in town or out and drop a line you'll probably catch something.
During the week go to the Alaska Brewery, it isn't much compared to other breweries you've been to as far as tours(they bring you into a room and give you a 15 minute speech, that's about it). However, while you are there you get to try their beers for free(mmmmmmmm smoked porter)and you can pick up some memorobilia.
Night life in Juneau is all but non-existent. Find some locals and find out what they do. There are some real dives. For a great burger/beer/live music we went to Hole in the Wall at Squires Rest in Auke bay. It is kind of a drive but get a taxi and it's worth it.
Make sure to bring a camera and your waterproof hiking boots and you are almost guaranteed to have a good time in Juneau. You can always write back and let me know things I've missed and how much fun you had.
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