"Ketchikan, Alaska" Top 5 Page for this destination Ketchikan by starship

Ketchikan Travel Guide: 232 reviews and 576 photos

Downtown Ketchikan on Foot

Our first visit to Ketchikan was on July 4, 2002. Weather-wize, it was not a beautiful day. But the town was buzzing with activity because they were holding a real, live, honest-to-goodness 4th of July Parade! It was a real home-town type of Parade with the local high school football team, batton-twirlers, kids throwing candy to the crowds and it was great and very Americana!! Also in the parade were both older and young members of the native-American Indian tribes dressed in tribal costumes of varied colors and decorated with mother-of-pearl buttons. At least two cruise lines even had floats in the parade. The whole event really made for a very unique and colorful memory in my mind.

In June, 2004, the skies were again overcast and there was no parade this time, but Ketchikan has a palpable atmosphere. I think the arrival of cruise ships each day makes everyone roll out the welcome mat and look forward to a new day---not to mention new profits but storekeepers are very friendly. When you arrive in Ketchikan, you are full of expectation. Maybe it's similar to what people in the "Gold Rush" era felt--that anything is possible.

In July, 2006, it was sunny and very warm. We missed 4th of July here by only a day and I was sorry to miss the parade. Seeing Ketchikan under sunny skies gave it a very different atmosphere and I enjoyed the change.

The Trolleys

I love this photo! Waiting on the pier, this trolley tour drive obviously has a loyal friend in his husky dog. The trolley is being pulled by a matched pair of draft horses. What a great way to see Ketchikan! This is my favorite sight in Ketchikan. When I see them, it's like coming home again!

Creek Street

Creek Street is considered one of, if not the most historic sight in Ketchikan. It certainly has a "colorful" past and a unique setting on Ketchikan Creek. Built on a series of pilings and boardwalks, it was home to establishments housing "ladies of the night." "Dolly's is the most famous and is open for tours every day. Actually this area is quite sedate, quaint and elegant compared to some of its counterparts I have seen around the world (i.e, has anyone seen the quite graphic etching on the wall of the Coloseum in Rome?)

Today the colorful buildings of Creek Street are home to gift shops selling an array of clothing, jewelry, gifts, and smoked salmon products, etc. If you miss Creek Street, you haven't been to Ketchikan.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Totem poles, Creek Street, Sea Planes, the gorgeous scenery!!
  • Cons:You're lucky if you see the sun!
  • In a nutshell:The Pioneering Spirit and Surprising Vibrancy!
  • Last visit to Ketchikan: Jul 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (11)

Comments (17)

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Jul 19, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Love Creek Street and the totem poles - and the husky :-)

    • starship's Profile Photo
      Jul 19, 2013 at 7:08 PM

      Thanks for visiting my Ketchikan page. Admittedly it is a touristy town, but a charming one in many ways. Unfortunately, this is a very old page and it seems that my photos now look deteriorated, and old coding remained even after successive "upgrades" of VT so a lot of work needed here.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Jul 20, 2013 at 4:26 AM

      I could see they were old photos but they are clear enough to be able to get a good sense of the town. Yes, it seems very touristy but quaint in parts at least

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Good that you finally got a sunny day when visiting Ketchikan!

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Mar 3, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    I love your photo of the horse drawn trolley! That is great! This is a place I would love to visit!

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2009 at 6:59 AM

    Coffee in a Fish House!!! Sounds fishy to me. hehe! Ketchikan sure is pretty esp the charming Creek street and the wonderful totems.

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Nov 30, 2008 at 8:14 PM

    It's been 2 years since I've visited these pages, and I agree even more that they are 5-star tips. Excellent explanations...I learned a great deal. Loved Circle of the Clan of Totems. Bravo!

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2008 at 2:22 PM

    Another gorgeous page of yours about Alaska. Especially the Circle of the Clan Totems looks fabulous.

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2008 at 12:27 PM

    Loved the totem pole park and the natural sounding names here!!

  • Apr 22, 2008 at 7:30 PM

    Another excellent page with a lot of information!

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2007 at 6:49 AM

    What an interesting page! Great information here.

  • cnango's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2007 at 5:00 PM

    I loved Ketchikan when I was there for 1 day during a cruise.Someday when I return I must visit some of those seafood restaurants. Love the Totem pole pics : )


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