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Ketchikan is famous for its colorful totem poles, rainy skies, steep-as-San Francisco streets, and lush island setting. Some 14,000 people call the town home, and during the summer, cruise ships crowd the shoreline, floatplanes depart noisily for Misty Fiords National Monument, and salmon-laden commercial fishing boats motor through Tongass Narrows. In the last decade, Ketchikan's rowdy, blue-collar heritage of logging and fishing has been softened by the loss of many timber-industry jobs and the dramatic rise of cruise-ship tourism. With some effort, though, visitors can still glimpse the rugged frontier spirit that once permeated this hardscrabble cannery town.  The primary economy is based on timber harvesting, fishing, tourism.

 LOCATION: 

The town is situated at the foot of 3,000-foot Deer Mountain, near the southeast corner of Revillagigedo (locals shorten it to Revilla) Island, 680 air miles north of Seattle.  It is accessible only by boat or aircraft.  Prior to the arrival of white miners and fishermen in 1885, the Tlingit used the site, located at the mouth of Ketchikan Creek, as a summer fish camp. Gold discoveries just before the turn of the 20th century brought more immigrants, and valuable timber and commercial fishing resources spurred new industries. By the 1930s the town bragged it was the "salmon-canning capital of the world." You will still find some of the Southeast's best salmon fishing around here.

Ketchikan is in the heart of 17 million-acre Tongass National Forest, the largest in the United States.  This temperate rain forest is integral to the lifestyle of Southeast Alaska and is habitat for a rich abundance of plants, animal and birds.

THINGS TO DO


Totem Bight State Historical Park

With the world's largest collection of totem poles, these wood-carved creations portray colorful, intricate tales, often showing a family's history or depicting a local legend.  The Totem Heritage Center serves as the place where totem polses salvaged from deserted Tlingit communities are gathered and resotred to their original condition.  The collection totals over 30,the largest in Alaska.

Creek Street Boardwalk

With its historic cable car and quaint boutiques, Creek Street is Ketchikan's most famous and photographed section, as well as a great place to spend a relaxing afternoon. Creek Street is now a collection of historic homes, restaurants, museums, galleries and gift shops.  All popular stops along the boardwalk.

Misty Fjords National Monument

The monument is accessible by floatplane or boat from Ketchikan and provide the most breathtaking vantage point for an exploration of the majestic Misty Fjords National Monument.  The deep canals and inlets were carved by glaciers thousands of years ago.

GETTING AROUND

Municipal bus service operates seven days a week throughout the city limits and south of town.  The complimentary downtown bus shuttle runs May through September.    Taxis meet airport ferry and state ferry arrivals.  A water taxi service is available from the airport and most hotels offer shuttle vans to pick up passengers who call from the terminal.  Rental cars can be picked up at Ketchikan International airport and in town.

SHOPPING

As a major arts community, Ketchikan offers fine shops and galleries.  Alaska Native art includes carvings and masks; hand painted drums, weaving, ivory and jade.  Galleries feature Alaskan and international artistry.  There is no sales tax; local tax applies.  Most shops offer shipping.

DINING

Salmon, halibut, crab, shrimp, oysters and clams - often caught same day - are on the menus at local eateries.  Hearty steaks, pizza, fast foods and country-style breakfasts are also served.  Ethnic fare ranges from Mexican and Thai to local favorites introduced by immigrants from the Philippines.

INFORMATION

Ketchikan's Visitors Bureau is located at 131 Front Street, downtown on the cruise ship dock.  Telephone 907-225-6166

The Post Office is located on Tongass Avenue near the State Ferry terminal

ATM machine located at First Bank, 331 Doct St. & Tongass Avenue.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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