Sitka Day Tours & Attractions
Historic Parks & Sites View All
After Finnish laborers completed St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, they asked Russian authorities if they could build a Lutheran church for themselves. The Russians allowed it, but only if the building didn’t look like a church. That building was torn down in 1888, but you can still see what it looked like: the current Lutheran church (which looks like a church) has a model and photo of the original. The Lutheran Church is right across… ...more
Arrange a water taxi ride to this man made archipelago extending into Sitka Sound, a relic of decaying fortifications built to defend Alaska from foreign invasion during World War II. During World War II, Sitka was the hub of military activity in Southeast Alaska, with a U.S. Naval Air Station and other installations.
After four years of worshiping in the Presbyterian Chapel, Episcopalians finally had their own church in 1899, with the construction of St. Peters-by-the-Sea. Complete with stained glass windows, modified flying buttresses, and wooden pews, this small chapel is open to the public 24⁄7. The church and the adjacent See House (1905) are both on the National Register of Historical Places, and are largely the work of Bishop Peter Trimble Rowe.… ...more
Start at this landmark, in the center of town, to grasp the richness and depth of Sitka’s history as the capital of Russian America. The architecture and treasured icons of this landmark highlight Sitka’s long history as a European settlement decades before the American Revolution.
Once the administrative headquarters for an empire stretching from Asia to California and Hawaii, Castle Hill today is little more than a grassy hill with a few interpretive signs, a modest stonewall, several old cannons, and a few flagpoles. But when you visit the top of this hill, you’re standing on rich historic grounds.
This stout structure is a re-creation of the guard tower that once stood here, part of the fortress enclosing the Russians during their time in Sitka, from 1804 to 1867. Fearful of the wilderness around them, and of Tlingit Natives, the Russians’ enclosed fort was open to outsiders only in the daytime.
One of only a few structures remaining from the original Russian settlement, the endurance of the Russian Bishop’s House reflects the dedication brought to the job by the missionary Bishop Innocent Veniaminov, its first occupant. Its chapel includes several icons Innocent imported from Russia.
Fairs & Festivals View All
Summer is not the only time to embrace Sitka’s connection to our vast oceans and the inhabitants. November’s annual Sitka WhaleFest, hosted by the Sitka Sound Science Center, celebrates marine life through a science symposium, art, wildlife cruises and so much more!
Although it’s a state holiday, Alaska Day is owned by Sitka, which throws an annual, day-long party to observe the anniversary of the transfer of the Alaska Territory to the United States. There’s a parade led by the pipe and drum regiment of the Seattle Fire Department; a ball, historical reenactments, panel discussions, and more.
Jazz in Alaska? In the winter? You bet. In fact, this three-day festival, which takes place over the first weekend in February, has been going on for 17 years. And it continues to draw musicians from New Orleans, Detroit, San Francisco, and New York. The festival’s mission is to bring jazz to Sitka. Professional musicians headline evening performances, but music students also perform at the 650-seat Performing Arts Center. In fact, nearly 200… ...more
This festival brings together some of America’s most talented string musicians and has garnered national acclaim. Celebrated for over 40 years, the festival is the vision of Paul Rosenthal, a violinist from New York who visited Alaska while on tour in 1972. It’s grown to include fall and winter performances in Anchorage and other parts of the state. The stringed performances are truly impressive (they’ve been featured in the New York Times… ...more
This ambitious event spotlighting overlooked choral and classical music and incorporating natural elements from Sitka’s surroundings, speaks to the town’s artistic legacy and its ambitions. This annual, week-long chamber music festival promotes an inclusive, accessible vision of classical music, with free events, workshops and performances.
It’s a wonder that it took until recently to launch this celebration in the town long-billed as “Sitka-by-the-Sea.” Who doesn’t want to be a mermaid? Held over five days in late August, this celebration of the sea includes a Mermaid Parade, seafood tastings and a two-day public market.
Wildlife Parks View All
In the coastal Southeast Alaskan town of Sitka, marine wildlife typically plays out on a big scenic backdrop. At Sitka’s unique Science Center, you’ll find a salmon hatchery and aquarium. Wildlife fans get an up-close look at the marine creatures that make this part of Alaska so special.
You’ll look eagles in the eye at this raptor rehab and education center on the edge of Tongass National Forest. You’ll get a close-up look at a snowy owl, American kestrels, a peregrine falcon, a Swainson’s hawk, a Western screech owl, and other birds of prey.
Museums & Cultural Centers View All
Dr. Sheldon Jackson, museum founder, had the distinction of serving in three pioneer fields during the late 1800s, founding Protestant missions and schools, establishing the public school system, and introducing domestic reindeer. In his travels he reached many sections of Alaska, as well as the coast of Siberia, gathering the majority of the artifacts now seen in the museum. Located on the campus of Sheldon Jackson College, the museum was… ...more
Walking the streets of Sitka, you may find it hard to believe that this quiet coastal community was once the hub of the West Coast: a center for trade, diplomacy, and the arts. When San Francisco had less than 10 residents, Sitka was home to 800 Russians, Europeans, Tlingits, and Aleuts. The oldest town on the West Coast, it was the capital of Russian America — called New Archangel — and was booming from the early 1800s through the United States’… ...more
Explore a large, scale model of Sitka from 1867, the year the Russians transferred the Territory to the United States. View exhibits on traditional Tlingit lifestyles and see a collection of tightly woven cedar and spruce root baskets. Or learn about the town blackouts and a large-scale military buildup in Sitka during World War II. The museum is the only place in Sitka that includes all three elements of the town’s history – Tlingit, Russian… ...more
This is a fun little treasure hunt for kids. The money tree isn’t marked, but it’s near the start of the Totem Trail. Look for a tree stump, about a foot and half tall, that’s filled with coins. Where the branches have broken off, there are coins in the little holes. People have been putting coins in this tree for over 50 years; if you can find the tree, join the tradition!
Flightseeing Tours View All
Witness the dramatic volcanic coastline of the North Pacific, or fly to remote hot springs
Explore Alaska’s hidden gems with customized flightseeing and backcountry adventures for small groups to fit your timeline from Juneau, Sitka, or Glacier Bay National Park. Some options include bear viewing, glacier tours or hot spring adventures!
Plays & Performances View All
Clap your hands, hoot and holler, and tap your feet — it’s all encouraged when you attend a show by the New Archangel Dancers. Performing Russian folk dances in Sitka for over 40 years, this all-female group has been dedicated to preserving and celebrating the town’s Russian heritage since 1969. You’ll experience upbeat dances (with their emcee leading a clapping audience), as well as beautiful, serene, slow dances. There are character dances… ...more
Held in a modern traditional Tlingit clan house, these dances are powerful performances that kids love. The booming echo of a drum, the smell of burning cedar, the lively chanting, and the energetic dance moves make for a memorable experience. The 30-minute performances include a story and five traditional songs. The dance troupe includes performers of all ages, dressed in colorful black and red blankets or traditional regalia. There are… ...more
Sailing Adventures View All
Multi-day Sailing Adventures • Customize Your Itinerary
3 to 10 Day + | $2600+ / Person
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: S/V Arcturus
This Southeast Alaska-based tour operator will leave you with a new definition of what it means to have a once-in-a-lifetime Alaska cruise: You sail on an intimate vessel — often getting to steer yourself, under the supervision of an experienced licensed captain — while exploring away from the crowds, and getting a wonderfully up-close view of the wildlife and scenery. Sailings from Juneau and Sitka.