Downtown of Sitka at sunset, Alaska

Things to do in  Sitka

Alaska’s cultural capital

When Russia handed over Alaska to America, they did so in Sitka. One of the most prominent Russian hubs, with 10,000-year-old Indigenous roots that still survive, the island town would become Alaska’s first capital until 1906. It may seem like just another gorgeous, mountain-clad cruise port today, but its rich tapestry of history— from the Tlingit experience in Sitka National Historical Park to the onion dome of Saint Michael’s Cathedral—sets it apart as uniquely Alaska and endows it with plenty of things to do.

Top 10 attractions in Sitka

Fortress of the Bear

star-5504
Black and brown bears are the main attraction at this wildlife rescue site. Here, animals that are unable to return to the wild have free access to playgrounds and open space to roam. It’s one of the best places in Alaska to safely see a black bear or grizzly from a short distance away.More

Sitka National Historical Park

star-5363
Created in 1910 to commemorate the 1804 Battle of Sitka between the native Tlingit people and the Russian colonists, the Sitka National Historical Park is Alaska’s oldest cultural and historic park. Highlights include the traditional totem poles that line the trails throughout the grounds, and the Russian Bishop’s House, one of the few remaining examples of Russian colonial architecture.More

Alaska Raptor Center

star-5396
What started out as an effort to save one injured bald eagle in a Sitka local’s backyard, the Alaska Raptor Center is now the state's largest bird center, rehabilitating between 100 to 200 eagles, falcons, owls, and other birds of prey each year. Visitors are drawn to the center to see raptors up close, hear their stories, and watch them relearn how to fly.More

Russian Bishop's House

star-586
Built during the peak of Russian colonialism in the region in 1842, the Russian Bishop’s House was once the center of Russian North American religion, culture, and education. Now a museum and historic landmark, the Russian Bishop’s House provides an opportunity to learn about life in Sitka during the Russian-American era.More

St. Michael's Orthodox Cathedral

star-566
Constructed in the 1840s while Alaska was under Russian rule, St. Michael’s Cathedral was once the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church in North America. Sadly, the church caught fire in 1966, but the townspeople salvaged what they could of the church and rebuilt an exact replica. Today, the landmark houses an important collection of Russian Orthodox art and church artifacts.More

Sitka Sound Science Center

star-5103
Located on land near the waters of Alaska’s Sitka Sound, with mountain slopes as a backdrop, the Sitka Sound Science Center is as incredible inside as it looks from the outside. Its aquarium is full of must-see exhibits, such as an 800-gallon tank with Alaskan sea life and an on-site salmon hatchery. The center is housed in a historic building.More

Sheldon Jackson Museum

star-532
Set on the campus of the former Sheldon Jackson College in downtown Sitka, the Sheldon Jackson Museum is dedicated to Alaska's cultural history and is one of the oldest museums in the state. An extensive collection of Native artifacts provides insight into the history of Aleut and Alutiiq, Athabascan, Inupiat and Yup'ik, and Northwest Coast cultures, and highlights include a full-size Tlingit dugout canoe and argillite carvings.More
#8
Old Sitka Dock

Old Sitka Dock

star-00
Located on the western coast of Baranof Island, Sitka is a popular stop on cruises of Alaska’s Inside Passage. The region boasts a rich Tlingit native culture combined with Russian settlement history. Sitka is also home to one of Alaska’s most impressive raptor rehabilitation centers and a refuge for orphaned bears.More

Baranof Castle State Historic Site

star-00
Commonly known as Castle Hill, the Baranof Castle State Historical Site commemorates the location of the formal transfer of Russian Alaska to the United States in 1867. Once a Tlingit Native fortification site and a Russian military outpost, this small hill overlooking Sitka Harbor also marks the spot where the United States flag was first raised after Alaska became a state in 1959.More
#10
Sitka History Museum

Sitka History Museum

star-00
The Sitka History Museum (previously known as the Isabel Miller Museum) is Sitka’s most comprehensive museum. Exhibits cover all areas of Sitka history, from the original Tlingit culture and the first European explorers to the Russian occupation and the sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867. The museum also features exhibits on mining, logging, and fishing—important industries in Sitka today.More

Top activities in Sitka

Simply Amazing Sitka Tour: Fortress of the Bear, Alaska Raptor, & Totems
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
PREMIUM Sitka Scenic Tour

PREMIUM Sitka Scenic Tour

star-5
216
From
$99.00
Private Taxi Tour

Private Taxi Tour

star-5
32
From
$275.00
per group
Sitka Shore Excursion: Whale-Watching and Marine Life Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Sitka Sightseeing Tour including Fortress of the Bear and Totem Poles
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Sitka Scenic Tour

Sitka Scenic Tour

star-4.5
47
From
$89.00
Amazing Whale Watching and Marine Wildlife Shore Excursion
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Sitka Premium Tour- Private- Alaska Raptor Center, Fortress of the Bears,Totems
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Private Island Experience in Sitka

Private Island Experience in Sitka

From
$5,500.00
per group
Hiking Tour in Sitka, Alaska

Hiking Tour in Sitka, Alaska

star-5
6
From
$139.00
Snorkel Tour at Magic Island

Snorkel Tour at Magic Island

star-5
45
From
$195.00
Private Charter Scenic Wildlife Excursion for Cruise Passengers
Special Offer

Private Charter Scenic Wildlife Excursion for Cruise Passengers

star-5
1
From
$895.50
per group
$995.00  $99.50 savings
Guided Walking Tour of Sitka | HISTORIC DOWNTOWN
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

All about Sitka

When to visit

If you’re looking for warm weather, long days, and endless things to do, summer (June-August) is when to visit Sitka. Then, you’ll also have to deal with cruise-ship crowds, high prices, and lines at the most popular restaurants. If you’re willing to risk chillier weather and a few closed businesses, come in September. You’ll get less crowded experiences, which is what Alaska’s all about.

Getting around

Sitka sits on Baranof Island, on the outer coast of Alaska’s Inside Passage, so you can only get there by boat or plane. While you could rent a car while you’re there—there are roads on the island, just no bridges—the town is highly compact. If you’re just staying a few days, you’re better off hopping on tours or hailing a taxi or shuttle to get farther out.

Traveler tips

Don’t write off visiting Sitka in the fall or winter. With the cruise ships long gone, you’ll get a much more authentic Alaska experience—plus budget prices, last-minute deals, and far more elbow room. In early November, check out Sitka Whalefest for great whale-watching opportunities, a marine-themed market, and more; through March, if Mother Nature’s in the mood, you might even get to see the northern lights.

Local Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
AKDT (UTC -10)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English
Attractions
10
Tours
34
Reviews
939
EN
f02112f5-17b1-43d4-b799-c23d36358643
geo_hub

People Also Ask

Is Sitka Alaska worth visiting?

Yes, Sitka is absolutely worth visiting. Apart from its fascinating Tlingit-Russian-American history (commemorated at spots such as Sitka National Historical Park), there are fantastic hiking trails, world-class halibut fishing, great local shops, and wildlife encounters with bears and whales in the mountains or out at sea.

...More
Why is Sitka famous?

Sitka is famous for being Alaska’s historic hub—it was the capital of Alaska until 1906 and a prominent outpost for Russia. You can still see Russian architecture throughout town mingling with Tlingit totem poles and more modern American influences. It’s also famous for being one of Alaska’s busiest cruise ports.

...More
Is Sitka a walkable town?

Yes, Sitka is a highly walkable town—most people are cruise-ship visitors and don’t bother with a rental car. You’ll find many landmarks in and around downtown (near the port), plus restaurants, shops, and even a few hiking trails. Lincoln Street is the main thoroughfare, and you can walk to Sitka National Historical Park from downtown.

...More
Is Sitka walkable from the cruise port?

Yes, Sitka is walkable from the cruise port, which is basically right downtown. Many visitors not interested in tours decide to head out on foot and take in the town’s fascinating 10,000-year, multicultural history. Spots such as Sitka National Historical Park, St. Michael’s Cathedral, and the Alaska Raptor Center are all within walking distance.

...More
Can you get around Sitka without a car?

Yes, you can get around Sitka without a car–most cruise-ship visitors do so every day. Base yourself downtown for easy access to Sitka National Historical Park, St. Michael’s Cathedral, Baranof Castle Hill, and the Alaska Raptor Center. When you want to get on the water or into the mountains, simply book a tour.

...More
How much time do you need in Sitka?

You need about three days in Sitka. This gives you a chance to explore the city’s history at Sitka National Historical Park and try to spot humpback whales from July through December. You can also hike up into the mountains and in Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the US.

...More
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the top things to do in Sitka?
Q:
What are the top activities in Sitka?
Q:
What are the top things to do near Sitka?
A:
Check out things to do near Sitka: