May/June 2022 Issue
May marks the great spring awakening in Juneau, Alaska. The whales have arrived to feast, the bears stir in the woods, and Juneau’s urban and cultural pleasures blossom like so many wild forget-me-nots soaking up the longest rays of the year. Here’s how to make the most of a visit to the nation’s sole state capital that’s accessible only by air and sea.
Surrounded by rich waters, massive rainforests, mountains, and glaciers, this city of 32,300 people has a lot to draw on for inspiration and food is front and center. Start things off easy with a breakfast of steak and eggs at Donna’s, a local favorite for comfort food close to the airport. Or break bad with the café’s decadent mounds of Nutella-slathered Belgian waffles and the “Family Favorite,” a six-scoop hot fudge sundae. You can’t talk about food in Juneau without mentioning In Bocca Al Lupo downtown, the brainchild of multiple James Beard Award nominee Beau Schooler. The Italian-inspired menu changes with the seasons, but wood-fired pizzas such as the Funghi show off local mushrooms and greens.
You’ll have to wait until fall or winter for the king crab fishing season, but you can get your fix at Tracy’s King Crab Shack, which opens in July and specializes in finding the giant delicacies and steaming them up along the boardwalk. For halibut, head to The Hangar on the Wharf to nosh on blackened fish tacos while watching seaplanes land in the harbor. Wash it all down with pints from Juneau’s Alaska Brewing Company, where you can do a tasting that may include Island Ale, a limited-release citrus-forward beer available through the summer. Ask the brewery about trips that combine beer tasting with whale watching in Auke Bay, because, Alaska.