Things to do in Sitka Alaska
Come check out one of the oldest towns in Alaska! From the historic buildings to the fresh seafood, there are so many things to do in Sitka. This landmark town is nestled between the sea and the mountains of Baranof Island and part of Chicagof Island. Be sure to take mental pictures because part of the movie The Proposal, featuring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, was filmed right here in downtown Sitka, Alaska! The towns’ captivating history can be found all around! Go and check out the Cathedral of Saint Michaels or the location of the Alaksa Purchase from 1867. You can paddle around the sound with local guides and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for all sorts of native wildlife! Our team has had the pleasure of perusing this scenic town from Sitka’s National Park to the Alaskan waters. With the help of our expert tour guides you won’t want to miss out any adventures charming Sitka has to offer!
Getting Around Sitka
There are plenty of things to do in Sitka, Alaska, so here are some tips on how to get around. One of the great things about Sitka, is that almost everything downtown is easily walkable. For those who are coming in via boat, there is a free shuttle that takes you to Harrigan Centennial Hall from the Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal. This runs about every 10-15 minutes and is around a 15 minutes ride. If the boat doesn’t dock at the Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal, then you will most likely get tendered into the port. For any destinations not located in downtown Sitka, I would recommend taking a local taxi, ferry, or going by bicycle (if weather permits). If you want to take to the waters, we offer tours that charter you out on 30-foot heated vessels or kayaks! For more tips on how to get around Sitka, check out our Sitka Alaska Map & Guide!
Downtown Sitka Attractions
There are so many things to do in Sitka, where to begin! First off, you can learn the history of exploring the museums and historical sites found in downtown Sitka, Alaska. Some museums include the Russian Bishop’s House, the Sheldon Jackson Museum, and the Sitka History Museum. There are also some churches that relate to the towns history with the Russians, such as the St. Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church and the Sitka Luther Church. For those wildlife lovers, the Alaskan Raptor Center is in downtown Sitka, Alaska. The Fortress of the Bears is located roughly 5 miles outside of town, but well worth the short trek. The Sitka Sea Walk takes you along the coastline and into the Sitka National Historical Park & Totem Park Trails. For more information on the wildlife opportunities & preserves in Sitka, check out our Sitka Wildlife Guide. Sitka Sound Science Center is a great thing to do in Sitka with the whole family! Their vision is to “ be the leading scientific and educational institution in coastal Alaska through innovative, inspiring, and community-centered programming.” You won’t be disappointed with the aquarium as you can interact with creatures in “touch tanks” that mimic local tide pools. The hatchery takes you through the life-cycle of a salmon and educates you on salmon rearing, spawning, and then the release.
What Else is Sitka Known For
Most people don’t know much about Sitka, Alaska, but we pride ourselves on providing you with the best and most relevent knowledge we can. This ranges from its’ past with the Russians and Tlingit people to the present. Sitka was the site of the Alaska Purchse which is when The United States bought Alaska from Russia. There is a memorial marking this event that folks can check out. You may also be shocked to know that Sitka was Alaska’s first capital! On a clear day, one can look to the West and see Mount Edgecumbe which the Tlingit people named L’ux. This means “to flash” or “blinking” because when the natives first discovered the mountain it was erupting! Those who dare, can ascend the mountain on the 6.8 mile trail. It is considered “moderate” and can get quite steep in the last 3 miles. Sitka is embedded in Tongass National Forest! This temperate rainforest expands over fjords, glaciers, and coastal mountain which makes it one of the largest temperate rainforest left on earth. It is home to rare flora and fauna, terrestrial animals, and migratory birds. You will see mainly western red cedar, western hemlock, and sitka spruce sprinkled throughout the rainforest!
If you happen to stubble upon downtown Sitka, Alaska in the month of November, you maybe able to partake in Sitka WhaleFest! This event brings people together to learn more about the unique marine wildlife that surrounds this community. This varies from scientific presentations to a marine artisan-themed market to a fun walk/run. What a great way to dive deep into the authentic Alaskan culture! Don’t forget about finding some time to see the Northern Lights! On a clear night, you can venture to some epic spots such as Back Beach, Gavan Hill, and Mount Edgecumbe to see the aurora borealis! Still not sure what to do in Sitka? Check out our guide to the Best Sitka Excursions in 2023.
Where to Eat in Sitka Alaska
Sitka is know for it’s local and fresh seafood! To start your trip off right, I would recommend popping into the Beak Restaurant for some Alaskan favorites. If you are feeling bar games and tv’s for those sports fans out there, head to the Bayview Pub for a taste of some NW/Alaskan beer, liquor, wine, and homemade food specials. Downtown Sitka, Alaska also offers thin crust pizza at Mean Queen and coffees along with yummy quick snacks from The Backdoor Cafe. For more details, check out our blog post on the Best Restaurants in Sitka.
Don’t forget to stop by Sitka’s local brewery, Harbor Mtn. Brewing Co., for delicious small batch beers and great company! ska! The towns’ captivating history can be found all around! Go and check out the Cathedral of Saint Michaels or the location of the Alaksa Purchase from 1867. You can paddle around the sound with local guides and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for all sorts of native wildlife! Our team has had the pleasure of perusing this scenic town from Sitka’s National Park to the Alaskan waters. With the help of our expert tour guides you won’t want to miss out any adventures charming Sitka has to offer!
Best Things to do in Sitka
See below to explore our top rated Sitka shore excursions!
More Tips for Visiting Sitka
Excursion guides and helpful resources for your Alaska adventures