10 Things to Do in Sitka That You Shouldn't Miss

January 23, 2018 Darwin Bolte

The city of Sitka, located on Baranof Island along the Alaska Panhandle, was once the capital of Russian America. Nearby Sitka National Historical Park was established to commemorate the Battle of Sitka in 1804, the last major conflict between Europeans and the native Alaskans. The park now helps preserve the culture of the Tlingit people, as well as the Russian and American settlers, with collections of rare artifacts, the preserved remains of the Tlingit fort and a Russian Bishop's House.
Restaurants in Sitka

1. Alaska Raptor Center

1000 Raptor Way, Sitka, AK 99835-9302 +1 800-643-9425
Excellent
76%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 787 reviews

Alaska Raptor Center

Growing from a backyard, volunteer-run operation, the Alaska Raptor Center has become Alaska's foremost bald eagle hospital and educational center, as well as one of the state's premier visitor attractions.Each year, the Alaska Raptor Center provides medical treatment to 100-200 injured bald eagles and other birds. Our goal is to release our patients back into the wild; some, however, are injured so severely they could not survive in the wild even after rehabilitation. These birds may join our Raptors-in-Residence, providing excitement and education for more than 36,000 annual visitors and for the 15,000 schoolchildren we reach through the Adopt-A-Raptor program and Classroom Presentations around the country.The Alaska Raptor Center's 17-acre campus borders the Tongass National Forest, a temperate coastal rainforest, and the Indian River in Sitka, Alaska, and features award-winning natural habitats for our 19 Raptors-in-Residence.

Reviewed By kckelley31 - Winter Park, Florida

The tour starts with a lecture/ photo presentation by an expert, covering the life of the raptors common to the region. After a question and answer period, take a tour of both indoor and outdoor settings and observe the live birds.

2. Sheldon Jackson Museum

Sitka, AK +1 907-747-8981
Excellent
76%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 209 reviews

Sheldon Jackson Museum

Reviewed By John13Tacoma - Tacoma

This is a great home, converted into a museum. The old history of Sitka is told through the story of the family that lived here. This is the best collection of antiques and items from the past. Well worth the visit, You don't need a tour to enjoy.

3. Sitka National Historic Park/Totem Park

103 Monastery St, Sitka, AK 99835-7617 +1 907-747-0110
Excellent
71%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 642 reviews

Sitka National Historic Park/Totem Park

Reviewed By DannyWasserman - Virginia Beach, Virginia

Excellent walk through the ancient grounds of the Indians that roamed and lived in these areas a few hundred years ago. The grounds have many totem poles to depict their lives and history of the events that took place during those times. The area has nice green moss and trees that have odd shapes. Add in, bald eagles criss cross through the park looking for salmon and other foods. The wildlife is really exciting to see. Take a trip through and catch your breathe and enjoy an outdoor activity.

4. Fortress of the Bear

4639 Sawmill Creek Rd, Sitka, AK 99835-9805 +1 907-747-3032
Excellent
68%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 654 reviews

Fortress of the Bear

Reviewed By Dennis M - Moore, Oklahoma

This attraction is located in an old water treatment facility and appears to be quite short on funds. They rehabilitate injured bears but the State of Alaska will not yet allow the rehabilitated bears to be returned to the wild as the raptors currently are.

Their work is admirable and the managers/owners are very passionate in their efforts. They are in the process of enlarging the park with some newly acquired land adjacent to the current facility.

5. Russian Bishop's House

Lincoln & Monastery Streets, Sitka, AK +1 907-747-6281
Excellent
55%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 209 reviews

Russian Bishop's House

Located within the Sitka National Historical Park, this is one of the last surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America.

Reviewed By Douglas2011 - Chattanooga, Tennessee

Our Guide Rachel who was with the park service was interesting & gave us not just a tour but informed us of the significance of this beautifully restored residence & church. Helping us understand Sitka's history. Definitely a worth see!

6. St. Michael's Cathedral

Lincoln and Cathedral Streets, Sitka, AK +1 907-747-8120
Excellent
49%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
17%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 280 reviews

St. Michael's Cathedral

Reviewed By s w - Bridgewater, New Jersey

Small church trying to survive. Nice that it was parishioners giving information. Looks like they need the help.

7. Sitka Sound Science Center

834 Lincoln St Ste 200, Sitka, AK 99835-7650 +1 907-747-8878
Excellent
49%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 91 reviews

Sitka Sound Science Center

Reviewed By Guitarjess - Des Moines, Iowa

Good points: It was only $5 & the staff were very friendly and answered questions. The kids liked the touch tank and there were thing in there we'd never seen before.

Bummers: Very, very small and we did the whole thing in about 15 minutes. I understand there was some information about Salmon but we didn't see anything. It was about a 10 minute walk back to the bus pickup for the boat. The touch tank was not lighted and it was hard to see the things in it.

8. Baranof Castle State Historical Site

Corner of Harbor Road and Lincoln St., Sitka, AK +1 907-747-6281
Excellent
33%
Good
45%
Satisfactory
20%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 77 reviews

Baranof Castle State Historical Site

Reviewed By Frbill92 - [email protected]

Basically after a long walk up a ramp or a hike up many stairs you arrive at the site of the old Baranof Castle. Now it is basically an open area with some beautiful views of the city and surrounding bay and mountains. There isn't much to see except for the beautiful views from on top. It's worth the ten minute visit, if only for a few photos. If you're short on time in Sitka, it's something you could skip for other more interesting sights.

9. Baranof Island Brewing Company

215 Smith St, Sitka, AK 99835-9810 +1 907-747-2739
Excellent
59%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 48 reviews

Baranof Island Brewing Company

Reviewed By VagabondingWithKids - Boise, Idaho

Believe it or not, this was a great little stop for our family of four (with two kids under 10). I wasn't sure if that would be appropriate, but it worked out great. We sampled beer and they made rootbeer floats for our kids. I love the heff, brown, and blonde, but IPA lovers will like their other beers as well.

10. Harbor Mountain Trail

Harbor Mountain Road, Sitka, AK 99835
Excellent
92%
Good
8%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 24 reviews

Harbor Mountain Trail

Reviewed By Randy B - Las Vegas, New Mexico, United States

We read about this trail in a local guidebook and decided to try it out. It's about six miles up a switchback-happy road that very rapidly ascends 2,000 feet up Harbor Mountain. As you near the halfway point, views begin to appear at some of the turns, and there is a windswept but picturesque picnic area just off the road about a mile before it ends at the trailhead.

The trail is well-used and well-maintained. It is often steep, up and down as you climb over ridges and ripples in the landscape. Several sections of the trail are tricky for anyone with vertigo or unsteadiness, so I'd recommend only hiking this if you are in good shape. There are also lots of boardwalk sections over the frequent patches of muskeg.

Definitely carry water, bring rain gear, and wear the best wet-weather footgear you can. I also recommend attaching a bear bell to your gear and making conversation, due to the bears in the area. If you bring a dog, they love chasing squirrels up there, and you can let them off the leash once you are 500 feet from the trailhead. Just watch out for the bears and the steep drops in some places.

Parking is decent, but I imagine on busy weekends it gets challenging. You can do the entire 6-plus miles, but you end up at the foot of the mountain and in downtown, so you'll need someone to ferry you back up to your car. There's an alpine hut 2.3 miles from the trailhead, but we didn't get that far. The mile we did walk was fantastic, both directions.

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