Insider Information, Tips & Questions
Many of our Sitka citizens are very passionate about local events and festivals that they volunteer for. Sitka's volunteers are invaluable to the Sitka way of life. Join us at one of Sitka's many year-round events and festivals and get to know some of these outstanding individuals!
Sitka is a bicyle friendly and walkable town! There's a great tarred walking path, that begins at the corner of Jeff Davis Street and Sawmill Creek Road, that meanders along the edge of the road all the way out to Whale Park. Many of Sitka's hiking trails are used frequently by the local community to enjoy Sitka's scenery and for exercise. Though Sitka is located in a rainforest, you'll see that weather doesn't stop these hearty souls to get outside to enjoy Sitka's views and nature whether they bike or walk!
We are commonly asked, WHAT do you do in Sitka in winter? Sitka's fall and winter time are very busy for the local community! Sitka is known for being very social and full of hospitality! An array of music, the Monthly Grind, art-inspired events, educational speakers, fundraising events and other exciting happenings take place frequently during this time frame. If you visit Sitka in fall or winter, please check out the local events through the newspaper during your stay or visit the Events Page for a list of annual events.
Where can I get information on other cities in the Inside Passage?
Are the large ship docking areas far from town?
The two larger ship lightering areas, Crescent Harbor and O'Connell Bridge are both located in Sitka's downtown area, one street away from Sitka's main street (known as Lincoln Street). The walking map available to view or print on our website has both areas listed. Please click on the link Downtown Walking Map to view the map and see the location of the lightering areas.
Are there public showers available in Sitka?
Yes! Sitka Laundry Center located at 906 Halibut Point Rd (across from McDonald's) and Baranof Laundromat located at 1211 Sawmill Creek Road have showers and are open year round.
What will the weather be like when I arrive in Sitka?
Sitka's weather is extremely unpredictable. Because Sitka is located in the Tongass National Forest, a temperate rain forest, and due to a maritime climate, we suggest layering your clothing and a bringing a raincoat (with a hood). Temperatures tend to be mild throughout the year. June through August tends to be our drier months, but the ocean patterns (La Nina and El Nino) and current (Japanese Current) can affect the weather as well. Winter in Sitka is rainier with mild temperatures. Traditionally, small amounts of snow are received in winter, but temperatures usually warm up shortly after a snowfall and the mild temperatures continue. The mountain peaks do receive much larger amounts of snow.
Will my cell phone work in Sitka?
It may be wise to check with your cell phone provider to see if you have coverage in Sitka (Southeast Alaska). In Sitka, there are places that cell phones may not work at all (i.e., at the end of our road systems or certain places out on the ocean).
Can I bring my pet to Sitka?
Yes, but please check with the airlines or Alaska Marine Highway for their regulations regarding pet health certificates (they may require a health certificate that is dated within a certain time frame of your departure). We also suggest you check with your lodging accommodations to see if pets are accepted (or a deposit is required). Sitka has an enforced dog leash law.
Where can I store my luggage?
Harrigan Centennial Hall, located at 303 Harbor Drive, can hold your luggage temporarily. They will not be held responsible for items, but please be sure to check what time the building closes so you can remove your luggage promptly.
Is there public transportaton available to Sitka's main attractions?
Yes, a Visitor Transit Bus operates in summer on large cruise ship days. Operation begins one hour after a large ship's arrival in port. The Visitors Transit will take visitors to (or very near) all the major attractions in the downtown Sitka area, with the bus returning every 25 minutes. Pickup stops are Sitka National Historical Park, Sheldon Jackson Museum, Alaska Raptor Center, Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi Building, in front of the Random House store (in the center of downtown), O'Connell Docking area and Crescent Harbor Docking area (next to Harrigan Hall). Look for the yellow bus stop signs.
Is local bus service available?
Yes, Sitka's public bus, the Community Ride operates Monday-Friday, 6:30am-6:30pm. The hourly routes include Halibut Point Road, the ferry terminal, Japonski Island (does not include the airport, but includes Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital and the University of Alaska), Sawmill Creek Road ending at Whale Park from downtown Sitka. Please visit http://publictransit.sitkatribe.org/ to download their route and pickup stops, time schedule and fees. All buses are wheelchair accessible. Please call (907) 747-7103 for more information.