A Day Ashore in Sitka

Posted by Maike Prewett on

Categories: Visitor Services

If you’re coming to Sitka on a large cruise ship, you’ll want to make the most of your time in the “Paris of the Pacific.” With unforgettable views, rich cultural experiences, and unique charm, it’s no wonder that visitors keep coming back.

When you get here, you’ll most likely dock at the Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal (formerly known as the “Old Sitka Dock”). Recently expanded, the new terminal can accommodate two Quantum-class ships, though it rarely has more than one. This summer, both a gift store and fur gallery are open and operating on site, with a restaurant and taste room set to open in 2022.

Have you booked a shore excursion or tour? Check your ticket beforehand. Typically, pre-sold morning tours depart from the Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal while afternoon and independent purchases depart from downtown. You want to be on the right side of town when your tour starts! If you have an afternoon tour leaving from the cruise terminal, don’t be afraid to take the shuttle bus to town in the morning. With frequent shuttles and a walkable downtown, you’ll have more than enough time to make it back.

A driving tour is one way for visitors to see Sitka’s main attractions

The free shuttle bus is just a quick walk up the ramp from the cruise ship. For wheelchair users, the terminal is wheelchair accessible with ramps to each building and shuttle buses have built-in lifts. If you need a lift up the ramp, terminal staff are happy to drive you by cart. Look for the green vests. Buses depart every ten to fifteen minutes – skip the six mile walk to downtown and take a twelve minute shuttle instead! Along the way, look for eagles, beaches, ocean-view neighbors and remote island homes.

Once you arrive in the city center, your bus will drop you off at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Many pre-booked tours depart from here, and tour operators line up to advertise any openings. If you want to explore Sitka on your own, most attractions are within walking distance. The Sitka National Historical Park is less than fifteen minutes away via the scenic sea walk. On the way, you can stop to take pictures of the boats at Crescent Harbor, or soak in the breathtaking views from the pier. Stop by the Visitor Center for more information on attraction admissions, hours, and maps. 

Stop in town for a delicious meal or drinks with an oceanfront view

In the opposite direction, Lincoln Street is the heart of Sitka. Here you’ll find locally owned restaurants, food trucks, gift stores, and art galleries. Enjoy a fresh sea to table meal or support one of our local makers and artisans by buying a handmade souvenir. 

When it’s time to head back to the ship, just walk back to Harrigan and hop in line for the shuttle. Our downtown stoplight will help you find it. The last bus departs thirty minutes prior to all aboard. 

Before you leave, make sure you stop by our Visitor Center so we can help you plan your next visit.

About The Author

Maike Prewett

Maike Prewett is the Visitor Services and Community Coordinator at Visit Sitka. Maike Prewett grew up in Colorado and moved to Alaska after living in China for six years. She was a member of New York University Shanghai’s third graduating class and explored her love of storytelling through the Interactive Media Arts program there. While she worked with Visit Sitka she participated in the Alaska Fellows Program, a nine-month residential fellowship program nurturing the next generation of Alaska- based leaders. She stayed on with Visit Sitka as the Visitor Services and Community Coordinator for a year following her fellowship.

More Posts by Maike Prewett

Related Posts