Also capital capital. Juneau, land of glaciers and whales! Incredible scenery and wildlife, at least once you get out of downtown. Many Juneau restaurants are closed Sundays, limiting our options, and restaurants don’t need to be particularly good here. Is there any other state capital more tourist-driven than Juneau? It is a city, at least, not a big one, but quite urban compared to the hamlet of Skagway.
We saw many humpbacks in the surrounding fjords but didn’t eat any, so let’s just move on. We did eat fish. Had to compare Juneau fish and chips to Skagway’s awesomenitude. Juneau did not measure up (limited sample size notwithstanding). On the recommendation of a local antique shop proprietor, whose advice matched what I read on the internets pre-trip, we tried the Hangar on the Wharf (2 Marine Way). Fish and chips were fine but no match for Skagway Brewing; the halibut was fresh enough but the breading (“tempura” style) was underseasoned and underwhelming, with mealy thick-cut steak fries. Nice metal serving basket though! So it’s got that going for it. Salmon chowder was better, thick and chunky and appropriately salted. Like everywhere else in Alaska (as far as we could tell), the beer list was Alaska-centric; we liked the Alaskan Brewing Company IPA and loved the Freeride APA (American Pale Ale), only slightly less hoppy but better balanced. Also, Hangar on the Wharf provided wi-fi, which is about as elusive as a moose in Alaska. So overall it was a good pit stop.
We found lots of great coffee in Alaska (cruise ship aside), and Juneau has several fine independent local options, including (I hear) The Rookery, which was closed when we were there, and also Heritage Coffee (174 S. Franklin among other locations), which was happily open to provide me with a strong iced americano.
Quality coffee, beer, pizza, fried halibut, glaciers, whales…give me wi-fi and I could live here. Six months a year anyway.