Juneau, Alaska Downtown Street Tour
Is exploring downtown Juneau landmarks and historical sites how you want to spend your day? Grab a downtown Juneau map at any of the four welcome centers located around town. Watch for the blue three-sided historic signposts throughout the downtown area that describe the highlights of the immediate area and add a little more interest to your walking tour.
On the Docks
Juneau's waterfront is a beehive of activity during the summer.
- Start your Juneau Voices walking tour. Juneau Voices is a series of location-specific sound installations featuring stories and memories told by Juneau residents who lived them. Each sound installation is linked to a sign downtown, with several of the Downtown Juneau maps on the docks serving as the 'Introduction.' Experienced as a sequential journey, they add up to a walk through the past and a spotlight on untold histories. To experience Juneau Voices, visit here.
- Look for a sidewalk sundial and a memorial dedicated to fishermen lost at sea near the tram terminal.
- On the dock adjacent to Marine Park Plaza are pictures of Southeast's lighthouses, a Juneau distance map made of nails hammered into the decking, and a tidewater gauge is near the floating dock.
- Use the spotting scopes to find mountain goats on Mt. Juneau.
South Franklin Street
Downtown Juneau's most famous thoroughfare.
- Find the Red Dog Saloon at 278 South Franklin. Inside you'll find Wyatt Earp's gun from Nome, lots of stuffed critters, and interesting Alaska memorabilia. Try the duck-fart drink special!
- The Filipino Hall at 251 South Franklin was built in 1891, then the site of Anna Goldstein's Merchandise Store.
- The restored Senate Building at 175 South Franklin retains much of its former elegance and houses a variety of shops.
- The Alaskan Hotel & Bar, 167 South Franklin, is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and is filled with ornate Victorian-era furnishings. The bar is a favorite with locals on "open mic" night.
- The Alaska Steam Laundry, now the Emporium Mall at 174 South Franklin, was the center of Juneau's business district. Built in 1901 (the business dated from 1895), the building has a wood-shingled turret and ornate slanted and shingled front parapet. Historical photos are inside.
- The historic Elks Hall at 109 South Franklin was the first Territorial Capitol in Alaska. Right next to it, where the city's Pocket Park used to be, you can find food trucks serving fish tacos, crepes, ice cream, and beer!
Front Street was the water's edge at high tide before the Alaska-Juneau mine tailings became the foundations of the streets closer to today's waterfront.
- Juneau's first bar, The Missouri (built in 1891 and later renamed the Louvre), is now the Imperial Bar at 241 Front. The pressed tin ceiling and walls behind the bar date from 1906.
- Also on Front Street were Jorgenson's Hardware and the 1896 Lewis Building at 130 Front Street. Now Heritage Coffee Roasting Co., the building housed a bank until 1925.
- Located in the heart of downtown Juneau at Front and Seward Streets, Heritage Square is the home to Sealaska Heritage Institute. Sealaska Heritage is a nonprofit dedicated to perpetuating and enhancing Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures.
- Admire the monumental art of the Walter Soboleff Building. Opened in 2015, the Walter Soboleff Building is the largest installation of Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian art in Alaska. Inside, you can walk through a hand-adzed cedar clan house and pick up authentic Native art pieces.
- Across Seward Street from the Walter Soboleff Building, you can see the next stage of Sealaska Heritage's Arts Campus. The 6,000 square foot campus will house indoor and outdoor space for artists to make Northwest Coast art pieces, such as totem poles and canoes, classrooms for art programming and instruction, and spaces for performances and Native art markets.
Head uphill on Seward to see some of Juneau's prominent historic sites.
- In 1913, jeweler and businessman Emery Valentine built the Valentine Building, which now houses the Juneau Drug Company, at 119 Seward. He organized the Volunteer Fire Department and served six terms as mayor.
- In 1914 the Goldstein Building, 130 Seward, featured a department store. It also served as Alaska's Capitol three times. Keybank at 234 Seward is across the street from the original 1896 bank.
- At the corner of Seward and Third, turn left on Third and walk uphill on Main Street to see local artist Skip Wallen's "Windfall Fisherman," a life-sized bronze brown bear.
Capitol and Fourth
The Alaska Capitol, on Fourth between Main and Seward, was completed in 1931. Alaska's political powers pass laws here from January through May, but it has free self-guided tours during the summer.
- Although it has no dome, this working Capitol has marble columns, a reproduction of the Liberty Bell, and historical photographs and paintings.
- Across Main is the State Office Building (locals call it the SOB). Check out the 8th floor for a spectacular view of Juneau and free pipe organ concerts on Fridays.
Follow Fourth Street, which becomes historic Calhoun Avenue, about two blocks to the Governor's House, a "liberal interpretation of New England colonial" architecture built in 1912 for $40,000.
- Gov. Mike Dunleavy and his wife, Rose Newlin, are the 12th to live in the house since statehood in 1959. Prior to that, nine territorial governors and one secretary of Alaska resided in the house.
- Over the years, Charles Lindbergh, Warren Harding, Herbert Hoover, and Gerald Ford entered its halls. George Eastman of Kodak and Sir Thomas Lipton of yachting and tea fame have been guests.
- The 14,400-square-foot building has 35 rooms, not including the garage or closets, 10 bathrooms, and six bedrooms. The house boasts eight fireplaces. The second floor serves as the family's personal quarters.
- The totem pole outside, commissioned in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, tells the story of the mosquito's origin.
Backtrack on Calhoun, take the overhead walkway and trek down Fifth Street a little more than two blocks to the next stop.
- St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church at 326 Fifth Street, with its gold onion dome, is a reminder of the Russian presence in 19th-century Alaska. Built in 1894 by newly baptized Orthodox Natives and Siberian gold miners, the church has been refurbished and is a national historic landmark. The octagon-shaped structure houses 18th-century Russian icons and religious relics. It is included in "A Guidebook to the 500 Most Notable Buildings in the United States." Visitors stand during services. The church has a small bookstore and gift shop with postcards.
- Across Gold Street on Fifth Street is the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, home to the Catholic Diocese of Juneau.
House of Wickersham
High up in Juneau's hills at 213 Seventh Street is the House of Wickersham.
- The home remains much as it was when Alaska pioneer Judge James Wickersham purchased it in 1928.
- It was the first large Victorian home built on "Chicken Ridge," the "Nob Hill" of Juneau.
Hike through History
If you're up for a hike, head back to the Governor's House, wind down Calhoun across Gold Creek at Cope Park. Veer left (Calhoun becomes Irwin toward the right).
- Take the entrance to Evergreen Cemetery, where Juneau founders Joe Juneau, Richard Harris, and Tlingit Chief Kowee are buried.
- Proceed through Evergreen Cemetery to Glacier Avenue. Turn left on Glacier Avenue to the Federal Building, which houses the post office, Native art and history exhibits, and the Juneau time capsule. Glacier becomes Willoughby Avenue.
- Cross Gold Creek and continue until Whittier. Turn right at the Alaska State Museum then continue to Centennial Hall.
Nearby Centennial Hall Convention Center hosts conventions, meetings, exhibits, and community events.