Photo Credit: Sitka Sound Science Center

Sitka Day Tours & Attractions

Fairs & Festivals View All

Season: Nov 05 to Nov 08

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.

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

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.

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 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.

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Plays & Performances View All

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

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

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Visitor Information Centers View All

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Flightseeing Tours View All

Witness the dramatic volcanic coastline of the North Pacific, or fly to remote hot springs

Season: May 19 to Sep 10 $799+

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!

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Historic Parks & Sites View All

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

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.

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.

Over­grown and unmarked, this 200-year-old Russ­ian ceme­tery is still used for Russ­ian Ortho­dox parish­ioners of St. Michael’s. You’ll find stone and wood head­stones, some of which are made from the bal­lasts of old Russ­ian ships.

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.

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

Difficulty: Easy

You won’t find any old build­ings here, but there are great inter­pre­tive signs and numer­ous hik­ing trails at this state park. And it’s an impor­tant place — the site of the first Russ­ian set­tle­ment on Bara­nof Island.

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 247. 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

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.

Difficulty: Easy

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.

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Wildlife Parks View All

Aquarium • Salmon Hatchery • Raptor Center
Season: Year Round $5

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. 

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Sailing Adventures View All

Multi-day Sailing Adventures • Customize Your Itinerary

Season: Year Round
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. 

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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

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!

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

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

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