At the Visitor Center, we’ve been busy preparing for the upcoming summer season: fielding phone calls, updating information and resources, distributing 2021-2022 Visitor Guides, and training our Sitka Star Volunteers.
As the Visitor Services & Community Coordinator at Visit Sitka, I’m here to answer the most common questions I’ve been asked about visiting Sitka during the 2021 tourism season.
1. What can I expect during my visit?
This summer, most of our visitors will be independent travelers, small-ship cruise passengers, and charter fishing groups. If you stay long enough, you might just feel like a local!
2. Will things be open?
The vast majority of Sitka’s shops, restaurants, and attractions will be open this summer, and our community is so excited to welcome our seasonal visitors.
Most of our shops and restaurants are open year round, so don’t worry – our downtown is anything but empty. You’ll even see a few new businesses this summer, including a Mexican restaurant with Sonoran specialties, Italian fine dining, a traveling ice cream truck, a brewery, and an arts and crafts store.
Sitka’s two world class wildlife rehabilitation centers, the Alaska Raptor Center and Fortress of the Bear are open; the bears are already awake and waiting. A good rule of thumb? While some of our museums and historic sites haven’t finalized their summer schedules, they are excited for your visit. Stop by the Visitor Information Center to learn more about the operating hours for our local attractions, and whether reservations are required.
For a customizable, personalized historical or cultural tour, contact one of our walking tour operators. And of course, you can’t visit Sitka without booking a fishing charter or wildlife tour. Our operators are currently accepting reservations, but hurry — they’re filling up fast!
3. Are there any required mandates or travel restrictions for visitors?
Check the State of Alaska COVID-19 Traveler Information for the most up to date information on state mandates and travel advisories, or call us at the Visitor Information Center. Our number is (907) 747-8604 and our staff is happy to help answer any of your questions.
4. How are Sitkans responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?
The City and Borough of Sitka’s COVID Dashboard has accurate, up to date information on everything from cumulative cases and current risk level to our vaccination rate. (As of April 1st, 65.08% of Sitkans were partially vaccinated and 56.64% were fully vaccinated!)
Sitka’s COVID Conscious Business Program recognizes businesses and organizations in town who have gone above and beyond to make their location safe and accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic. On the website, you’ll find a list of businesses which qualified for the voluntary program.
The City and Borough of Sitka has not instituted a mask mandate, although local businesses have different policies on masks and face coverings. Check for signs outside the door for mask requirements; we suggest carrying a mask with you so that you are prepared.
Restaurants are open for dine-in, but still offering deliver and curbside pick up. In addition, two of our grocery stores are offering delivery to vacation rentals and hotels.
5. I need more specific information about my trip – how do I contact you?
Once you’ve checked the information and resources on the Visit Sitka website, the easiest way to contact our staff is by giving us a call at (907) 747-8604 or emailing me directly at email@example.com. One of my favorite parts of the job is interacting with visitors, and finding the answers to your questions – no matter what they are! During your visit, make sure you stop by and say hi! You can find us at 104 Lake Street, right by Sitka’s downtown stoplight.