Why go to Sitka?
A rich heritage is celebrated in Sitka with a totem pole park, cultural center and traditional dancers.
The port is only accessible on certain cruise itineraries.
Blending native Tlingit with Russian roots, Sitka is an illuminating window into a remote part of Alaska.
Sitka Cruise Port Facilities?
If your ship doesn't dock about 6 miles outside of town at the Old Dock at Halibut Point, it will anchor and tender you to one of two docks in town: Crescent Harbor, steps from the Harrigan Centennial Hall, which has free Wi-Fi, restrooms and a tourist information desk; or Castle Hill (where Lincoln Street and Harbor Way meet).
If you tender, you'll end up right in town. If you're docked, you'll find a small terminal with several shops (souvenirs, jewelry and fur apparel) and a tent housing the Halibut Point Crab & Brews restaurant. The ship terminal also has restrooms and free Wi-Fi. A free shuttle service runs every 15 minutes and will drop you in town at Centennial Hall.
Good to Know?
Frequent rain is a fact of life in Alaska, and Sitka is no exception, with an average of 100 annual inches. An umbrella, water-resistant coat and shoes are a must. It's also a good idea to dress in layers.
Opening hours -- particularly at St. Michael's Cathedral -- can be capricious, despite the posted times.
On Foot: Once you're dropped off, Sitka is extremely walkable. Pick up maps, brochures and advice from the information desk located in Harrigan Centennial Hall near Crescent Harbor. You can easily walk to shops, restaurants, St. Michael's Church, the Russian Bishop's House and other attractions.
By Bus: There is a Sitka bus system called RIDE Sitka, but it's primarily designed to serve locals. Buses run from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with three route loops. All routes leave the downtown Crescent Harbor parking lot at 45 minutes past the hour; the Green route also leaves Crescent Harbor parking lot at 15 minutes past the hour.
Fares are extremely affordable for adults and half-price for seniors (age 60 or older), children (ages 6 to 17) or people with disabilities. Day passes are also available.
Several tour companies run shuttles to the Raptor Center and other attractions. Look for signboards in front of Centennial Hall.
By Bike: An active, yet convenient option is to rent a bike from Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop (329 Harbor Drive, across from Centennial Hall). They offer a variety of bikes at about $30 for the day.
By Taxi: There are several local taxi companies whose cabs congregate at Centennial Hall. (You won't find any at Old Dock, but you can call ahead for one to pick you up.) They include Hank's Taxi & Tour Service (907-747-8888), where you might get a song thrown in with your tour; Baranof Taxi and Tours (907-738-4722); Sunset Cab (907-623-0979); and Sitka Checkered Tours (907-738-9417), which operates a classic 1973 Checker Marathon cab.
By Rental Car: Rental agencies are located at the airport, which isn't convenient for cruisers, and with the limited local roads, there's really no reason to rent a car in Sitka. If you insist, you can rent from Sitka Car Rental (907-738-2282), which will arrange to drop a vehicle off at your location upon request.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The local currency is the U.S. dollar. Banks with ATMs are located on Lincoln Street, between St. Michael's Church and Centennial Hall.