Ketchikan, Alaska, US

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Alaska’s “First City” of Ketchikan is so named because it’s the first major landfall for most cruisers as they enter the picturesque fjords of the Inside Passage, where the town clings to the banks of the Tongass Narrows, flanked by green forests nurtured by abundant rain.

Ketchikan has long been an important hub of the salmon-fishing and -packing industries—visitors can try their luck on a sportfishing excursion or simply savor the fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants. It is also one of the best spots along the Inside Passage to explore the rich cultural sights of Native Alaskan nations like the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. You can see intricately carved totem poles at the Totem Heritage Center and Totem Bight State Park, while the attractions of Saxman Village just outside of Ketchikan offers the chance to see Tlingit culture in action, with working carvers and a dance show in the clan house. And leave time to explore the sights in the town itself, including historic Creek Street, a boardwalk built over the Ketchikan Creek, where you can shop for souvenirs, smoked salmon and local art, while exploring gold rush­–era tourist attractions like Dolly’s House Museum.

 

Top 3: Things to See

1 Misty Fjords National Monument The rain forests, glaciers and wildlife of Misty Fjords National Monument are best explored by boat or seaplane.
2 Saxman Native Village Totem Pole Park Watch totem poles being carved and traditional dances being performed at this village south of Ketchikan.

3

Creek Street Ketchikan's former red-light district now draws visitors with its stores and galleries.