SITKA, ALASKA: PARIS OF THE PACIFIC
Once the capital of Russian America, Sitka is an island community on the outer coast of Alaska’s Inside Passage in the Alexander Archipelago. It lies within the Tongass National Forest—the largest temperate rainforest in the world—and boasts an abundance of wildlife, including brown bears, humpback whales, sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, and bald eagles.
Sitka’s arts and culture are inspired by its breathtaking natural surroundings and its Tlingit and Russian heritage, which inspired Sitka’s 19th-century nickname: the “Paris of the Pacific.” In 1867, the United States purchased Alaska and designated Sitka its capital, which remained until 1906 when the Gold Rush necessitated moving the seat of government to the more prosperous Juneau.
Sitka is also a quiet fishing village, with five species of Pacific salmon in its waters. Enjoy dining at a variety of restaurants featuring fresh seafood and delicious Pacific Northwest and local cuisine
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Delight in the magnificence of Sitka’s natural beauty! The trip would be incomplete without delving into its fascinating heritage, featuring Tlingit and Russian cultures in the art and artworks found in local museums.
Be sure to sample local cuisines and breweries to try their renowned traditional Native American dishes and savour locally crafted beers.
Here are some of the Sitka's top sites:
Visit Sitka’s shops and find remarkable items to commemorate your exploration of this unique American island—from Tlingit silverwork, carvings, masks, and baskets to Russian nesting dolls and lacquer boxes and from equipment for outdoor activities to local art and culinary delights.
New Archangel Dancers
These lively performers present Russian and Ukrainian dances. This traditional dance group celebrates the cultural heritage and history of Sitka. The dancers also actively engage with the local community by offering dance workshops, educational programs, and cultural exchanges. Enjoy the authentic costumes, music, and movements as you glimpse into a beloved pastime.
Fortress of the Bear
Visit this habitat for orphaned brown bear cubs and view Alaska brown bears in a natural setting. This sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to observe and learn about rescued bears while supporting their conservation efforts. You can also find educational presentations and interpretative exhibits that teach about bears’ biology, behaviour, and ecological roles in the wild.
Alaska Raptor Center
Learn about bald eagles and other birds at this wildlife rehabilitation centre. Here they aim to heal sick or wounded birds of prey and then release them back into their natural habitat.
Sitka National Historical Park
With its winding coastal trails, Alaska's oldest national park preserves the battle site between the Russians and the Tlingit. Be awed by a collection of Tlingit and Haida totem poles. Walk along the coastal trail and take in the gorgeous views. Then, visit the restored Russian Bishop’s House, containing artefacts of the colonialists.
St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral
Check out St. Michael’s, the seat of the Diocese in Alaska. This cathedral is an outstanding example of Russian architecture. View a remarkable collection of Orthodox art and church treasures. The original St. Michael’s was built in 1848 and burned to the ground in 1966. It was restored to be a replica of the original.
Looking for an Alaskan cruise with Sitka as a port? Let's chat and we'll find some great options for you.
Schedule your Complimentary Consultation today.