Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska 2024 1
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Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska 2024

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Greetings, Internet Stranger! I’m Stella Jane, author of the travel guide Get Lost, and welcome to the best things to do in Sitka Alaska. Sitka has the advantage of being surrounded by tons of beautiful nature. This is true for many parts of Alaska.

However, what Sitka also has is a number of shelters and rescue centers dedicated to rehabilitating animals. If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal (in a safe way) with a bear or a raptor, this is the city for you.

While Sitka isn’t large, it is also home to some delicious eateries and lovely shops. Let’s head out together and find them!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska

#1 TOP PICK

Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
WHALE WATCHING TOUR
✔️ Amazing views
✔️ Whales are awesome

#2 PICK

Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska 2024 3

SIGHTSEEING TOUR
✔️ Visit a bear sanctuary
✔️ Meet some local raptors!

#3 PICK

Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska 2024 4

ALL OTHER SITKA TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

best things to do in sitka alaska

Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska

Morning: Whale Watching and Marine Life Tour

Sitka is right on the water, so one of the best things to do in Sitka Alaska is definitely go on a whale watching tour. If you’re in Alaska during the summer, which should be the case, there will be tons of whales out. I saw so many in Alaska that I lost count.

However, I’m not a photographer, so my photos of their cute little whale tails didn’t always come out so well.

You’ll definitely want to join a group tour on a boat for this wonderful experience. I recommend trying this excellent tour.

You can book by clicking here.

Then get ready for…

Three Fascinating Facts: Alaskan Wildlife Watching

best things to do in sitka alaska
1) What kind of animals (aside from whales) did you see?

My favorite animals were actually the otters. Can you see their little flippers and adorable tummies in the water in my photo? Also, I’m sorry that someone’s hair got a little bit in the way. Everyone wanted a photo of the most cutest otters!

Our guide told us that otters are really clever and they can actually use rocks as tools. I’m very bad at using any kind of tools, so I think that makes otters officially more clever than I am. I wonder if they’d be able to come by and fix my toilet when it gets clogged. I bet an otter plumber would make tons of money, just from the cuteness factor.

We also saw lots of birds, like cormorants and an eagle’s nest. They were pretty gorgeous in flight, but they are still not as cute as otters.

best things to do in sitka alaska
2) OK, now what about the whales?

Well, I can actually prove to you that we saw a whole bunch of whales on this boat excursion because look! You can see a clear whale tail in my photo above. And yes, I took this picture with my own fair hands.

Our guide told us that whale tails are actually called flukes, and the patterns on the fluke are unique to each whale, like fingerprints. There’s actually an organization in Alaska that keeps track of all the flukes, so if you get a good picture of a fluke and send it in to them, they’ll tell you which whale you saw. That’s what I call service!

best things to do in sitka alaska

She also told us that whales don’t have teeth. They use baleen plates in their mouth instead. We got to touch a piece of baleen and it was quite…furry. You’ll see what I mean when you take the tour yourself.

best things to do in sitka alaska
3) Did you learn anything else?

Yes, we learned lots of fun facts about Sitka. It actually used to be a Russian city when Russia owned Alaska. However, they couldn’t convince people to move there, so they kind of felt it was worthless, and they sold Alaska to the United States for a little over seven million dollars.

This turned out to be a terrible error, as Alaska is full of oil and worth a ton of money. (It’s also full of adorable otters, but you can’t put a price on cuteness.)

They also let us try samples of local coffee and jams and things as we enjoyed our cruise. I highly recommend the spruce tip jam. You definitely won’t find a treat like this back home, unless your home is Alaska.

24 Hour Tip

Those are all the secrets of the whale watching cruise that I can share with you for now. You’ll have to go ahead and book the tour

Check rates and availability by going here

That is, if you want to find out the rest and see the whale flukes for yourself!

best things to do in sitka alaska

Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska

Afternoon: Explore Sitka!

Sitka is not a large city, but there’s still plenty to do here, especially if you love animals. I suggest taking a tour of some of the best animal rescue shelters in Sitka. This is definitely your best chance to see bears and watch how they interact with each other.

If getting to watch bears binge eat cherries and then wrestle appeals to you, let’s head out!

Check out this amazing tour!

Afterwards, we’ll be able to get an affordable award-winning lunch, and do some shopping and exploring in Sitka. So get ready for…

Approximately Top 5: Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska

best things to do in sitka alaska
1) Fortress of the Bear

Fortress of the Bear was one of my favorite places that we saw in all of Alaska, not just Sitka. This is a shelter for bears that need to be rescued because they couldn’t survive in the wild. Before this shelter existed, bears that were deemed unable to live in the wild were actually…killed by the government.

That’s not a conspiracy! That’s an actual fact! They felt like this was the most humane option for these bears. However, there are now eight bears happily living in the Fortress of the Bear who haven’t been murdered by the United States government, so I think we can all feel good about that.

As I mentioned earlier, the bears like to eat cherries, and we got to watch them being fed by their caregivers. One of the caregivers told us all about their personalities, and she said that some of them were more playful, while others were more quiet.

Some of the bears happened to get into a play fight while we were watching, and I have to say that I would never want to play fight with a bear.

best things to do in sitka alaska
2) Alaska Raptor Center

OK, so we got up close and personal with some bears, now let’s get real friendly with some wild birds. The Alaska Raptor Center is primarily a rehabilitation center. That means that most of the birds here are injured and need to be cared for, but they will eventually be released back into the wild. Think of this as a hospital for birds.

However, there are some birds who are too badly injured to ever be released back into the wild, and so they live at the Raptor Center permanently. Think of visiting them as like visiting your grandparents at an old age home, if your grandparents happened to be meat eating birds.

We met several cool birds here, but I was most excited to meet the bald eagle. After all, he’s America’s national bird, but I had never met one in person before, unless you count Sam the Eagle, who is a Muppet.

best things to do in sitka alaska

When the bald eagle show is over, head outside to meet the fine collection of owls. These birds come in all shapes and sizes, and the tiny owls are simply adorable. All of them are making faces at you like they are silently judging you.

Maybe your outfit is terrible or that joke you told wasn’t funny. I don’t exactly know, but I assure you that the owls do.

24 Hour Tip

At this point, our fantastic tour, which you can book by going right is over. So you’ll get dropped off back in Sitka, where you can get ready to explore.

Check tour rates and availability over here!

best things to do in sitka alaska
3) Lunch at Ashmo’s

After that busy day, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to be completely ravenous. So let’s head over to Ashmo’s food truck and order some floppingly fresh seafood. They have tons of options from decadent, like salmon mac and cheese, to lighter, like some fish tacos.

I opted for something in the middle with this rich, buttery black cod tips on rice. They absolutely melted in my mouth. I know people say fish is good for you, but personally it’s hard to believe them when you eat something this delicious.

Just be careful not to drop any rice on the ground. Ashmo’s doesn’t have indoor seating, so you’ll need to eat this outside. And if you drop rice on the ground, a whole gaggle of pigeons will swoop over and terrify you as they eat it up. Not that I know this from experience or anything. AHEM.

best things to do in sitka alaska
4) Shop Til You Drop!

Sitka isn’t big, but like pretty much every town in Alaska that caters to tourists, they have tons of little galleries and stores selling local products. My favorite shop in Sitka was Fate Accompli because they make adorable prints that look like travel posters. (They also sell art and jewelry from local artists.)

I bought a poster from them that dubs Sitka the Paris of the North, and it’s hanging on my wall as we speak. (This is the name the Russians gave Sitka back when they were encouraging people to move here, but it seems like they weren’t widely believed.)

Another cute store that I visited in Sitka was the Alaska Pure Sea Salt Company. They have sea salt in just about every flavor under the sun, but I recommend the vanilla. It adds a vanilla flavor to the salt without being sweet. The saleslady told me it was their most popular flavor.

best things to do in sitka alaska
5) Time for Architecture!

Sitka has some pretty interesting architecture, mostly because it was a Russian colony. I mean, how many former Russian colonies in the United States have you been to? I’m going to go with not that many.

You absolutely have to see St. Michael’s Cathedral, shown above, which is the oldest Orthodox Cathedral in the Americas. That’s pretty impressive, no? I bet you didn’t know we were going to find something like this on our little tour of Sitka.

best things to do in sitka alaska

Also, don’t miss the Tilson building, which was constructed in 1835. It’s supposedly the finest example of Russian secular architecture in Alaska. I kept walking up to random people and asking them to tell me other examples of Russian secular architecture in Alaska, but they just ran away from me.

best things to do in sitka alaska

Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska

Evening: Enjoy Your Cruise Ship

There are some places in Alaska, like Anchorage, where a lot of tourists spend the night. However, this is not the case in Sitka. Unlike our last stop in Alaska, Icy Strait Point, tourists can spend the night in Sitka, but most of the people I met in town were cruise ship passengers.

So I’m just going to assume that you also are enjoying your day of the best things to do in Sitka Alaska from on board a cruise ship, like the delightful Radiance of the Seas, my home away from home.

Most nights on the cruise ship, I have dinner in the main dining hall. It’s a three course meal included with the price of admission, so it’s easy, and it made my trip to Alaska, which wasn’t cheap, a little more affordable. I usually start with soup, especially on an Alaskan cruise because the weather can get a little chilly and rainy, even in the summer.

best things to do in sitka alaska

The waiter’s recommendation for the main course is usually a good one. They have no incentive to tell you anything but the truth because they don’t get tipped based on how expensive your meal was, and they want you to enjoy the cruise. However, I’ve found that pasta is always a safe bet.

best things to do in sitka alaska

Finish up with something sweet like Bananas Foster, and voila! A perfect end to our lovely day.

Best things to do in Sitka Alaska

Best things to do in Sitka Alaska

Where to Stay

If you are finding the best things to do in Sitka Alaska as part of a one day shore excursion, like I was on my most recent Royal Caribbean cruise out of Vancouver, then this itinerary is perfect for you.

You can check out the best deals on cruises that sail to the best things to do in Sitka Alaska, like Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas, click here. I loved Radiance of the Seas and would happily sail on her again.

However, if you’re spending the night in Sitka, you’ll need a convenient hotel. I recommend the Aspen Suites Hotel Sitka. It has a convenient location, and the rooms are clean and comfortable. You really can’t do better for your time in Sitka.

You can go ahead and book a room at this hotel by clicking here.

If you’d rather book a room in another hotel in Sitka, just click here. This search engine will help you explore other excellent options for your day of the best things to do in Sitka Alaska.

That’s the Best things to do in Sitka Alaska!

What do you think are the Best things to do in Sitka Alaska? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Sitka? Any questions about anything in this post? Please email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com and let me know!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska

#1 TOP PICK

Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
WHALE WATCHING TOUR
✔️ Amazing views
✔️ Whales are awesome

#2 PICK

Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska 2024 3

SIGHTSEEING TOUR
✔️ Visit a bear sanctuary
✔️ Meet some local raptors!

#3 PICK

Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska 2024 4

ALL OTHER SITKA TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours with the best things to do in Sitka Alaska.

Add on the best Icy Strait Point things to do. Enjoy a day of what to do Skagway Alaska. Add on 24 hours in Anchorage. Experience what to do Seward Alaska. Go for the best Talkeetna AK things to do. Have fun on a what to do in Denali AK day. You can also try the most fun things to do in Fairbanks AK.

Best Things to Do in Sitka Alaska 2024 8

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