Ketchikan. The First City of Alaska (not chronologically). There is definitely more to this small city than one might think. The key to having a good time while visiting, or living in Ketchikan, is to know the good things to do, and know how to avoid the tourist traps.
Ketchikan’s culinary scene… Sadly, it is quite abysmal. This is the one thing that Ketchikan lacks. However, there is some hidden gems. To get to those, you have to get through the bad ones.
Cape Fox is really a hit or miss restaurant. The view is great, and you get to ride the tram up, but the food is mediocre, and expensive. Service isn’t amazing either.
Bar Harbor is a very popular restaurant in Ketchikan, and widely regarded as the best. However, I have noticed that they lower the quality of their food come Spring/Summer time, it’s a tourist trap.
The Fish House is slightly expensive, but well worth the cost, they are always putting out genuinely good Alaskan seafood meals. Get the fish tacos, best in town by far.
Diaz Cafe is a small, Asian inspired restaurant, and it’s the best place to get food in town, I swear by it. It’s not “Alaskan Oriented”, but it is the best Asian food you’ll eat.
Sushi Palace has some amazing sushi and fast service, making it high on my list, they also serve salmon if you’re looking for that Alaskan vibe.
Lastly, Annabelles. Pretty good food for a good price, and close to the docks.
In short, you are really better off eating at a small shack or small restaurant than eating at our vastly overpriced restaurants.
Tours. We have a lot of tours. Tourism is the biggest part of our economy in Ketchikan. Kayaking, Ziplining, Floatplanes, multiple types of Fishing, Canoeing, the list is endless.
If you’re looking to Kayak, the only way to go is with Southeast Exposure. As a former guide, the Eagle Island Kayak Tour is one of the most informative and hands on tours in Ketchikan. At $90 a tour, you will not find a better bang for your buck. You’ll see plenty of wildlife (seals, birds, whales, starfish, salmon, etc.).
Better yet, if you’re a zipliner, Southeast Exposure has a great 9 zip course along with an obstacle course and a rock climbing wall, all for $125 a person.
Alaska Canopy Adventures specializes in ziplining, and starts at about $189 a person. They have 2 ziplining courses, where you get to both repel and go down a slide.
-Floatplanes are a great way to see our island, especially if you choose to go on a Misty Fjords tour, preferably with Taquan Air ($269 a person). Also, Allen Marine has great boating tours that head into the Misty Fjords, and it is more hands on.
If you’re about walking around by yourself, on a budget maybe, there is still plenty to do. Our downtown is historic and has a lot to offer, aside from the 1,000,000 jewelry stores we have.
Walking historic Creek Street is a good way to go, there is plenty of local shops.
If you feel like going hiking, Deer Mt. is a few hour trek, with amazing views of both the town and the Tongass National Forest.
Walk around downtown and check out all the stores, most have the same things, but all of them have different themes.
Ketchikan has a lot to offer, and is a great place to visit for a day or two. Living here isn’t so bad either. I’d like to think that Ketchikan is a different culture all its own. We aren’t like anyone else, and that’s why we can tolerate living on an island.