Definitely Not The Lower 48
As soon as your cruise ship plies into the smooth waters of Tongass Narrows, you will see it: a place like you've never seen before. Houses of vividly diverse colors dot the mountainsides, and you realize that the water doesn't end under the dock, but seems to go under the street beyond! Ketchikan is a unique and hardy town with fascinating history. We've entered the 21st Century, but cling stubbornly to time-proven ways as well. Across the street from the café with wireless access, you'll see the local hardware store has been selling wares ranging from underwear to ammunition since 1898.
Immerse yourself in the eclectic and fascinating culture of Ketchikan, as you tour in the rich privacy of our SUV Limousine. Ask all the questions you want: your driver knows the answers. He can fill you in on architecture, local events, history, housing prices, places to eat, visit or shop. Take a walk up Creek Street, the famous former red light district which is actually built on wood pilings over the creek itself. Walk up or down one of the many "stair streets" — some people carry groceries to their houses over 100 steps up! Visit a local art gallery or restaurant with a great view of the town with your ship below. Take advantage of your personal, private driver and guide. You know your interests, and he knows his town. With us, you become a member of our community for the day — and we can vouch that it's a great feeling to have.
A Town of Artists, Arts and Activity
Ketchikan is designated one of the "Top 100 Small Arts Communities in the United States." Dramas, musicals, even melodrama are among Ketchikan's theater fare. Locals fill the civic center and high school to hear lectures, singers, bands, and watch dancers. Alaskans are known for their unique personalities and striking independence: see evidence of this as you browse the artwork of local artists while roaming the galleries downtown. Examine art ranging from surreal to stunning, classic Alaskan. Visit the Ketchikan Arts and Humanities gallery, which has a new display of local talent each month. A benefit of our small, artistic town: if you find something that intrigues you, it's entirely possible the artist will be there to answer questions!
Our Version of Waterfront
Just when you think that a word like "waterfront" is pretty universal, you come to Ketchikan. Due to the steep, dramatic mountains that drop into the sea, there is a shortage of level ground in Southeast Alaska. Many towns stretch along the shoreline in a slender line. By filling in huge amounts of mudflats and ocean, however, Ketchikan's residents have actually been extending their land base out into the sea for the last 100 years. Dozens of standing buildings in Ketchikan sport hatches in the floor that once led to docks beneath buildings. These trapdoors were used for a variety of reasons: to bring in illegal booze from Canada during Prohibition, load supplies, or simply to dump trash. As late as the 1970's, Ketchikan children claimed the underworld beneath the city as their playground. Building makeshift rafts, they could float for several miles undetected beneath the piers. Imagine their journey in the dark and mysterious world below as you ride above in luxury across our "town on stilts."
Picnic: A Local Sanctuary
Welcome to City Park, on the north bank of Ketchikan Creek, in the heart of old town. As your guide unpacks the basket, stroll by the Raptor Center where you might glimpse the noble bald eagles who reside there. Sit at the creek-side picnic table and enjoy smoked salmon, crackers, homemade cookies, and a thermos of coffee. Listen for the splash of salmon heading upstream to the Deer Mountain Hatchery, located just yards away. After your snack, meander through the fountains of the park to the Totem Heritage Center, with its incredible collection of ancient, original poles. Eagles, salmon, and totem poles in one stop — it's no wonder City Park is a sanctuary for locals as well as visitors.