Ketchikan Shopping

For decades, Ketchikan residents shopped downtown in the city’s historic shopping district. Whether is was goldfish or a hard hat, you’d find it down at the Bon Marche, Tongass Trading, or another locally owned business.

In post-cruise ship times, though, the cost of rental space in downtown has tripled or quadrupled. Many businesses moved, and now much of the day-to-day local shopping is done several miles to the west.

Downtown shops today cater mainly to tourists, with dozens of jewelry stores adorning the frontage area in summer. These are typically only open in summer, and you can find many of the same shops at ports of call in the Caribbean or Mexico.

Venture just a couple of blocks further into Ketchikan to wander through an eclectic mix of independently-owned stores: local craftsmen and artists, candy stores, gift stores and galleries.

Start off on Mission Street and browse through many of these in a few hours. Be sure to include Creek St. in your shopping expedition too, where you can enjoy retail offerings in an environment that hasn’t changed much from the times when the pilings were first erected here over Ketchikan Creek in the late 1800s.

Some of our recommendations include:

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Shopping

Star­board Frames fea­tures met­al art, blown glass, pho­tog­ra­phy, and wear­ables such as scarfs, hats and jew­el­ry. And of course, there are lots of cool frames at all styles and price-ranges – even for­est-friend­ly recyclables. 

Ketchikan Arts & Human­i­ties Coun­cil (KAAHC) is the pow­er­house of Ketchikan’s arts com­mu­ni­ty; if there’s an arts event in Ketchikan, this orga­ni­za­tion is on it! Locat­ed at the Main Street Gallery, KAAHC pro­duces dozens of art events annu­al­ly, such as summer’s Blue­ber­ry Arts Fes­ti­val and February’s famous Wear­able Arts Show.

Far from your aver­age cor­po­rate book­store, Par­nas­sus Books feels homey, per­son­al, and full of local spir­it. The shelves house a wide vari­ety of read­ing mate­ri­als for the hun­gry book lover: fic­tion, non-fic­tion, poet­ry, children’s lit­er­a­ture, IndieBound best­sellers, cook­books, Pacif­ic North­west and Alaskan Native arts and cul­ture, local his­to­ry and ecol­o­gy, and more. 

Even in Ketchikan we can’t serve salmon for every meal, so we have our own pro­gres­sive health food store, where you can find grass-fed milk, local­ly-grown organ­ic pro­duce and what­ev­er sup­ple­ments you might need. 

The Sil­ver Thim­ble has been in busi­ness for more than thir­ty years, pro­vid­ing locals with much more than just fab­ric and thread. Its large airy space is the per­fect spot for arti­sans to gath­er and share their pas­sion for quilting. 

Rude, bel­liger­ent fish speak their minds in his wild and wacky world of Alaskan fish art. 

You can find gor­geous but func­tion­al hand-carved wood­en bowls, glass sculp­tures of fish, cop­per etch­ings, antler and soap­stone carv­ings and pot­tery. Prints, pho­tographs, and orig­i­nal paint­ings adorn the walls, rep­re­sent­ing both well-known (Bird­sall, Munoz) and less­er-known artists. 

Ton­gass Trad­ing Com­pa­ny has been a fix­ture on dock­side Ketchikan for more than a cen­tu­ry, and is worth a vis­it any­time you are in Alas­ka. As the old­est con­tin­u­al­ly oper­at­ing busi­ness in the state – since 1898 – Ton­gass Trad­ing Com­pa­ny is a liv­ing sym­bol of Ketchikan his­to­ry. Through­out the years, it has out­fit­ted min­ers, log­gers, fish­er­men, tourists, those who work in the tourism indus­try – and even locals need­ing a tux rental or evening gown  ...more

You’ll find the gamut of salmon prod­ucts here – from alder-smoked fil­lets to canned pâté. How about a lit­tle smoked sock­eye salmon bel­ly with hon­ey? Pep­pered smoked salmon jerky? The staff here will explain the dif­fer­ences in prod­ucts and give you sam­ples so you can see what you prefer. 

Chi­nook and Com­pa­ny car­ries sev­er­al types of salmon, in the can and in glass jars. Lin­da will hap­pi­ly give you the low-down on each – and will also hap­pi­ly pack­age up and send your pur­chas­es back home for you.

Beware: if you came just to look,” you’re kid­ding your­self. You can carve a block of choco­late out of the air in this aro­mat­i­cal­ly-rich Parisian-style store. Moun­tains of fresh choco­late sur­round you – and at the end of the aisle is a young lady who is hap­py to trade you choco­late for money.

Local­ly-owned muse­um-like shop offers sil­ver jew­el­ry, carv­ings, lith­o­graphs, bent­wood box­es, hand-made drums and a line of unique t‑shirts designed by the own­er, Ken, himself. 

This is the kind of store you might have found on the Main Street of any town in the 1950s before big box stores trans­formed the Amer­i­can shop­ping experience.

Astound­ing dis­play of taxi­dermy – felines, canines, birds, rodents, reptiles. 

Here you’ll find real peo­ple who make a liv­ing on the ocean com­ing off their boats – more often than not cov­ered in fish slime.

This quaint jew­el­ry and gift shop on his­toric Sted­man Street show­cas­es a live­ly mix of jew­el­ry, cloth­ing, art, and house­wares. Cur­rent pro­pri­etor Ash­ley Burns fills the shop with an eclec­tic mix of items she loves – from children’s clothes, toys and books to ladies’ vin­tage aprons and trendy dress­es. Jew­el­ry has to be the high­light, though, with pieces from up and com­ing woman artists. 

If you want the low-down on fish­ing in Alas­ka, there’s no bet­ter way to soak up the cul­ture than by spend­ing a few min­utes brows­ing the gear at Mur­ray Pacif­ic Supply. 

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