Jobs in Juneau, Alaska and City Information
Alaska’s capital city has all of the creature comforts you’d expect to find in a big city combined with a friendly, small town feel.
Juneau has certainly come a long way since the Tlingit people settled thousands of years ago. Canadian prospectors Joseph Juneau and Richard Harris discovered gold in 1880, and brought with them several miners keen to enjoy the precious natural resource. They called the city Harrisburg, and later Rockwell. But in 1881 Joseph Juneau bribed his fellow miners with free drinks, encouraging them to change the town’s name yet again at a local meeting. And so Juneau was born.
Gold mining died out during wartime, but tourism quickly replaced it as Juneau’s most important industry. Juneau has welcomed travelers and seasonal workers in growing numbers since the early 1900s, so today it’s well-equipped to deal with visitors. Its warm hospitality and numerous attractions win over thousands of cruise ship passengers and independent travelers each year.
A rich tapestry of citizens call Juneau home. Fisherman and dock workers represent the city’s traditional industries, while lawyers and legislators show the ever changing face of entrepreneurial Juneau. Artists, students, and young seasonal workers make the city feel fresh, while the indigenous elders remind the locals where it all began.
From this eclectic fabric comes a city that always keeps you guessing. As with other Southeast Alaskan locations, Juneau’s natural surrounds are breathtaking. Humpback whales play in the waters of the northern Inside Passage all year round, but the pod is most populous between the months of April and November. You’ll have more chance of seeing something particularly exciting on a whale-watching cruise during these months, although you’ll have to contend with the crowds who all have the same idea!
Juneau’s glaciers are also unmissable. At around half a mile wide and with ice at around 300 to 1,800 feet deep, Mendenhall Glacier is the most majestic of the icy sites. The collection of glaciers at the massive Juneau Icefield is also impressive, and a must for anyone searching for another chilly fix. Local aerial tours are the best way to see these natural wonders as they offer a bird’s-eye view of the slow-moving ice formations.
And even if you’re not typically an outdoorsy type, Juneau is the place to get active. Hiking, kayaking, rafting, and zip-lining are fun ways to explore the local area, and burn a few calories. And in winter, Eaglecrest Ski Area comes alive. You needn’t be a ski bunny to appreciate the slopes. There’s space for snowboarding and heli-skiing, or you could take it easier with snow-shoeing or a winter hike.
After a day drinking in the great outdoors, travelers can catch a cultural performance at a local theater or indulge in locally brewed beers at one of Juneau’s many historic bars. Juneau’s streets are also lined with buzzing cafes and restaurants and a quirky array of shops, and there are gallery walks held on the first Friday of every month to introduce you to the city’s artistic side. As with all Southeast Alaskan ports, Juneau experiences high annual rainfalls.
The locals joke that when it’s not raining, it’s probably snowing! Travelers may be tempted to take an umbrella, but you’ll be the only one using it. The residents prefer to tough out the showers, as they know the accompanying winds will dry them soon enough. Besides, few umbrellas have the fortitude to take on those fierce gusts! If you want to blend in, opt instead for a light waterproof jacket. Dressing in layers is the Juneau way, as the temperatures can be unpredictable. A light shirt paired with a sweater or coat is perfect for work and play in Juneau.
Traveling by air is the quickest way to reach Juneau. Alaska Airlines operates daily flights to Juneau from Seattle and Anchorage. The airport is conveniently located 10 miles from the city center, and affordable shuttle services are always on hand to take visitors to their accommodation. Cruise ships and ferries also dock regularly at the state capital. Once you arrive, the public buses and taxis make it easy to get around downtown Juneau and its surrounds.