Cruisers disembark right in downtown Sitka, where they are immediately immersed in the rich history and culture for which this seaside community is known. Top attractions are located just a few blocks from the heart of downtown, so it’s easy to access everything by foot or bicycle (there are also shuttles, public buses, and taxis).
What We Love
Alaska Raptor Center: Alaska’s native birds soar from trees, plunge into streams for salmon, and perform flight conditioning for release back into the wild at this rehabilitation facility.
New Archangel Dancers: When cruise ships are in port, this troupe performs authentic Russian and Ukrainian dances in traditional costumes. You can buy tickets half an hour before performances at Harrigan Centennial Hall.
Best Known For
St. Michael’s: Discover traces of Russian heritage throughout the town, most strikingly in the onion-shaped domes of St. Michael’s Cathedral. Get a healthy dose of history with a walking tour to the Russian Bishop’s House.
Sitka National Historical Park: This park was established on the site of an 1804 battle between Russian traders and the area’s indigenous people. Don't miss the Tlingit and Haida totem poles along the park’s coastal trail.
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Who It's Best For
Nature Lovers: Learn about Alaska’s native bird species at the Alaska Raptor Center or spot whales from the boardwalk at Whale Park.
History Buffs: Sitka was first inhabited by the Tlingit people before Russian traders arrived. The city now features many museums and historical sites and has 22 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Reservations Required: Ludvig’s Bistro is everyone's favorite restaurant for a cozy meal — and it fills up fast. Make a reservation ahead of time and don’t forget to try the legendary chowder.
Overwhelming Options: You can hike numerous trails winding through the lush Tongass National Forest, explore Russian history, and spot whales and birds. You’ll need more than one day to experience them all.
Matt Villano is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for The Wall Street Journal.