top of page
  • SMB Vacations

What To Do On Your Port Day In Ketchikan

Updated: Feb 27

Hey, fellow adventurer! Ready to immerse yourself in the allure of Ketchikan, Alaska? Let's delve into the charm of this Alaskan gem.

Picture this – the southern tip of Alaska's Inside Passage welcomes you to Ketchikan, aptly dubbed Alaska's First City. Thinking that you need to pre-plan an excursion? Well, think again! This historic town is brimming with treasures waiting to be uncovered. Let's delve into the top things to do in Ketchikan, Alaska!

As you disembark, resist the urge to rush into the next big tour. Take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk, where a myriad of shops beckons you with Alaska souvenirs, trendy t-shirts, and hats. It's retail therapy right there in Ketchikan, Alaska – shop till you drop!

Further along the boardwalk, a monumental Bald Eagle sculpture captures your gaze – "Upon Thundering Wings" by Nathan Jackson. This 15-foot cedar monument represents the Tlingit Native origin of Ketchikan's name. At the visitor’s center you can grab a city map, use the restrooms, and perhaps indulge in a little selfie with this majestic creation.

Venture beyond the dock, and you'll stumble upon Ketchikan's treasure trove – the world's largest collection of totem poles. Over 80 of these historic artifacts are scattered around the area, with some dating back to ancient times. Immerse yourself in Alaskan history at the Totem Heritage Center, a 15-20 minute walk from the docks. Bonus: Hop on the FREE Downtown Shuttle (summer only) to reach the Totem Heritage Center and the Tongass Historical Museum.

Just two miles south of Ketchikan you’ll find Saxman Totem Park, a haven for 25 authentic replicas of totems left behind by Native Alaskans. Take a guided tour or wander the open-air exhibit for a $5 fee. To get there, simply hop on the free downtown shuttle or city bus.

Don't forget to pause at the intersection of Dock Street and Mill Street to marvel at the Chief John Totem Pole. This 55-foot historic masterpiece, carved from a single western red cedar log, was the first authentic totem pole raised in downtown Ketchikan in over 50 years.

Creek Street, once Ketchikan's famed red light district, is not just a wooden boardwalk along the waterfront. It's a captivating stroll through history, with brightly painted buildings, artisan shops, and restaurants. Prohibition-era tales come to life as you learn about bootleggers rowing their boats into Ketchikan Creek during high tide to smuggle booze through trap doors.

Follow the boardwalk through Creek Street, and you'll encounter Married Man's Trail. Once a muddy path for men visiting the working houses along the creek, it's now a wooden boardwalk leading to a shady path along Ketchikan Creek.

Speaking of the creek, witness the salmon migration spectacle from mid-July to mid-September. Ketchikan Creek plays a vital role in the life cycle of thousands of salmon each year. At the end of Married Man's Trail, the Salmon Ladder, built by the town of Ketchikan, assists the salmon in migrating up the rapids.

As you explore Creek Street, keep an eye out for the Cape Fox Lodge Funicular – a unique ride offering stunning views from the boardwalk to Cape Fox Lodge on top of the hill. It will set you back $2, but the experience of walking back down through the woods? Priceless.

For a dose of high-energy entertainment, consider the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. Just a block from where the cruise ships dock, this show is fun for all ages. Tickets often sell out through the cruise line, but fear not – you can purchase them directly from the show and walk from the ship!

While Ketchikan offers some fantastic cruise excursions like visiting Tongass National Forest, Misty Fjords National Monument, or Totem Bight State Park, you can't go wrong with a leisurely walk around the town. Experience the beauty, soak in the history, and revel in the sheer magic of Ketchikan, Alaska! 🏔️✨ #KetchikanAdventures #AlaskaMagic

Looking for the most phone-closing, memory-making, adventure-finding Alaskan cruise? I've got you, friend! My ebook, "Sailing Through Alaska's Splendors: An In-Depth Cruise Adventure Guide", covers 7 amazing Alaskan ports of call, how to choose a cruise line, foods you’ve GOT to try, exciting excursions, unparalleled experiences, souvenirs to treasure, and choosing when to go. Snag your complimentary copy here!

Is it time to plan YOUR Alaska cruise? Let’s talk! Click here to schedule a quick hello call with me.

74 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page