Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan, Alaska

The first cruise ship appeared in Ketchikan 114 years ago, and it has been a favorite port ever since. You can tour the area by boat, bus, horse-drawn trolley, or even a restored 1955 Chevy. The most famous part of town is Creek Street. The homes once comprising the red light district are now filled with arts, crafts and gift shops. Totem poles are everywhere, with 24 at Saxman Native Totem Park.

Ketchikan is the south-eastern most city in Alaska, in the United States of America.

The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show celebrates Ketchikan’s logging heyday.

The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center on Main Street has an interactive rainforest gallery and gift shop.

Ketchikan is home to the world’s largest collection of totem poles, on view at the nearby Saxman Native Village, Totem Bight State Park and the Totem Heritage Centre.

See black bears catch and eat salmon at Neets Bay in Tongass National Forest (late July-end September).

For keen hikers, head to Deer Mountain, a 3 mile trail that begins in Ketchikan.

Go sea kayaking, deep-sea fishing, and tour the Misty Fjords by air. For more information, visit the tourist center at the pier.

Downtown at the Eagle Spirit Gallery and Scanlon Gallery view interesting native Indian arts, from ivory carvings to cedar bark baskets and masks.

For a good view of Ketchikan and beyond, travel up by funicular from Creek Street to the hilltop resort of Cape Fox Lodge.

Fishing excursions are very popular in Ketchikan, choose from either salmon or bottom fishing for rock fish and halibut.

Ketchikan’s Potlach Park feature re-created Native Alaskan villages with traditional tribal homes and hand-carved totem poles.

Creek Street and it’s surrounding area is a popular tourist area with shops and galleries. It is located around a block from the cruise ship dock.

The disabled cruiser visiting Ketchikan

Where You’re Docked

Ships dock in the center of town at one of four berths, so there is a lack of the traditional cruise terminal facilities you might see at many larger ports. On crowded days, ships might be required to anchor and tender passengers into Ketchikan. Small ships sometimes dock a mile south of town.

Information kiosks, cafes, shops, museums, tour operators and restaurants, are a short walk from the cruise ships. The visitors/tour center is located at Berth II (131 Front Street). ATMs are available throughout the downtown area, and although the post office is more than two miles away, Frontier Shipping and Copyworks in the Plaza Shopping Center can be reached by the free downtown shuttle for those needing to send mail. A tunnel divides “Old Town” Ketchikan (where the majority of the attractions are) to “New Town,” where several additional restaurants and bars can be found.

Good to Know

No-see-ums. As the name suggests, you won’t see these tiny bugs that reside in wet, wooded areas, but you will notice their bites later (and they aren’t pleasant). Use bug spray if you plan to hike or explore in the woods.

Getting Around

On Foot: Shoppers and gallery hoppers will be able to easily navigate Creek Street on foot. This popular tourist area is only about a block from the cruise ship dock. To go a little further afield, say to Totem Bight State Park (10 miles away), you will probably take a taxi, motorcoach tour through the cruise line or public bus.

By Car: You might not have enough time in port to make renting a car worthwhile, but visitors who want their own wheels can head for Alaska Car Rental (2828 Tongass Avenue), located about a mile and a half from the dock. Ketchikan is home to three taxi companies with taxi stands near the cruise ship docks, and taxis are readily available throughout the downtown area.

By Bus: A free shuttle bus operates a loop around downtown, and connections can be made at various stops to the public bus system, which extends to other outposts and the airport. The silver bus line runs once an hour with pickup locations right in front of the cruise ships at Front Street and Dock Street. Fares are $1; allow ample time when using public transportation.

Currency 

The U.S. dollar is the currency, but some shops will also accept Canadian dollars. Numerous banks with ATMs are located close to the cruise ship dock, including Wells Fargo (409 Dock Street) and First Bank (311 Dock Street).

Language

English is spoken in Ketchikan.

Shopping

Authentic Alaska native and contemporary art produced by local artists make great gifts. These include miniature totem carvings, masks, hand painted drums, paintings, sculptures and glass work.

Favourites on menus here include salmon, halibut, crab, shrimp, oysters and clams. Local dishes include creamy seafood chowders, salmon burger or salmon jerky. Beach asparagus, berries, seaweed and Hudson’s Bay tea leaves are all traditional native foods.

Points of Interest

  • Ketchikan – a seven-

Ketchikan Accessible Excursions

Whether your cruise ship stops in 

Ketchikan Accessible Guided Tour

This 4 hour accessible