Deciding what to do in each port is part of the fun of any cruise. You will not be bored while in Ketchikan. With dozens of attractions designed to entertain everyone from the history buff, and the outdoor enthusiast or the Native art lover; there is certainly something for everyone. To enjoy Ketchikan fully, you should…
Eat Seafood…Explore Creek Street…Look for Wildlife…Enjoy the Scenic Beauty…Check out the local Artwork…See Totem Poles and Tour with the Locals.
Take a Tour With a Local Company
Ketchikan is home to many small tour companies owned and operated locally by dedicated members of our community. One of the best ways to shop local and support Alaskans is to book your tours directly with the local operators. We appreciate it when you support the community!
Sport fishing is one of the top attractions due to our variety of fish. We have all five pacific salmon species spawn in the Ketchikan Creek in the heart of our downtown and other species like halibut, ling cod, and rockfish inhabit the deep. There are many excellent charter boat companies in town. Our recommendations would be Alaska Strike Zone. Tell them, Ketchikan Expeditions sent you.
Fly in a Seaplane
Southeast Alaska’s landscape is primarily mountainous islands chained together, carved out thousands of years ago by glaciers. Whether by water, by land, or by air, this landscape is stunning, and one of the best ways to see it is by float plane. If you’re just looking to fly, we recommend you go with the locals. We offer Misty Fjords flightseeing and flightseeing Bear Tours. You’ll love where we take you!
Take a Walk on Creek Street
Creek Street was built up on pilings, wooden stilts, and boardwalk to allow for the ocean tides to naturally rise and fall below. In the early days of Ketchikan, this was also the Red Light District and, during Prohibition, a great spot for bootleggers to sneak their booze in through the trap doors under the buildings. The famous madam, Dolly Arthur, occupied a residence near the mouth of the creek, which now serves as a museum, named Dolly’s House.
If you continue up the creek on the Married Man’s Trail, you may have a chance to see the fish making their way up the Salmon Ladder. Especially towards the end of summer, this creek is packed-full of salmon as they swim upstream. With such an easy feasting available, you may see a harbor seal or two.
See the Totem Poles
Ketchikan is home to the largest collection of standing totem poles in the world! The Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures are an important part of our community. There are many carvers living and working in Ketchikan today.
There are many totem poles in downtown Ketchikan. The Chief Johnson totem pole, located next to Creek Street tells the story of Fog Woman and the salmon runs. The Raven Steals the Sun pole next to the Museum tells the traditional story of raven bringing light to the world. The Totem Heritage Center in downtown Ketchikan houses an extensive collection of 19th century totem poles, in addition to a collection of contemporary Northwest Coast art. Totem Bight State Historical Park , Potlatch Park and Saxman Totem Park provide visitors with opportunities to see a significant number of large totem poles and to learn more about the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures. Look for a local tour company to take to see these sight. We have several tours running daily.
Enjoy Local Seafood
Ketchikan is the Salmon Capital of the World, but we also have halibut, variety of rockfish, crab, shrimp, mussels, oysters, and clams to the list of seafood options. You definitely need to try some. Our recommendations are:
The Alaska Fish House. The Alaska Fish House is a great place for seafood. Try the Fish ‘n’ Chips with a side of spiced-up fries. (They also have a full bar, so you can enjoy your meal with a pint of Alaskan ale.)
The New York Cafe. Near historic Creek Street, the New York Cafe has a vintage early 1930’s feel with its original historic wood bar. The menu is a mixture of American, and Mediterranean cuisine, and includes some vegetarian options. Try the Grilled Halibut Burger, or the Spinach Salad with Salmon.
Annabelle’s Famous Keg & Chowder House. Located on Front Street across from Berth 3 in the historic Gilmore Hotel. Best known for its chowders – smoked salmon, clam, or seafood served with piping hot cannery bread – it’s an easy walking distance from any of the cruise ships. We love the seafood chowder. They have a full bar service of spirits and beer.
Check out the Public Artwork
Ketchikan is home to a large and diverse population of artists who find inspiration in the scenic beauty, flora and fauna and the historic and cultural attributes of our town. More than 350 of our local residents are registered artists and their work can be seen throughout town.
Nathan Jackson is one Alaska’s native artists, best known for his beautifully carved Tlingit totem poles which are displayed all over the world. Check out his “Flying Eagle” sculpture, prominently displayed between Berth 2 and Berth 3, next to the tunnel on Front Street.
Arrtist Dave Rubin paints primary in oil , but he’s also an incredible sculptor. His bronze sculpture entitled “The Rock” represents figures of the people from the early days of Ketchikan. The sculpture is prominently placed outside the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau (Berth 2), and is one of the most recognizable landmarks on the dock.
When you are walking along the cruise ship docks, take notice of the beautiful mosiac sculptures perched atop the pilings. Terry Pyles is the artist responsible for them along with the mosaic salmon sculpture near the top of Ketchikan Creek. Terry is best known for his beautiful, realistic Alaskan scenes and wildlife painted in watercolor. Several art galleries in town carry his work.
Thank you for visiting our charming town. We hope you enjoyed your stay!
Ketchikan Expeditions. We Live It. You’ll Love It. Your Adventure Awaits.