Ports of Call
From its retro Space Needle to the booming tech scene, Seattle has always been looking toward the future—but always with the backdrop of the lush Pacific Northwest. Luxury hotels, high-end restaurants, and art ga
lleries are proliferating, and the city's vaunted music scene never went away (even though grunge did), making Seattle a top tourist destination. The city's vibrant culinary landscape is fueled by the popularity of Pike Place Market, which is filled with colorful food stalls and also houses some of the best restaurants in Seattle. Meanwhile, the Pacific Rim location lends itself to a hearty Asian food scene, and open kitchens across the city invite diners to see chefs at work.
When nice weather descends, everyone heads to the parks and the lakes; every other day offers time for the eclectic museums dedicated to everything from pinball to rock music. When it comes to what to do in Seattle, the list could go on and on, but some places like Discovery Park, the Seattle Art Museum, the REI flagship store, and the Space Needle are always at the top.
Ketchikan is truly the beginning of the last frontier. Set at the southernmost entrance to Alaska's famed Inside Passage. it's known as "The Salmon Capital of the World". A bustling harbor, this port is also known for it's many Native American totem poles on display throughout town. The Tongass Rainforest provides red cedar logs for the totems. One of the best places to view them are in Totem Bright State Park, just a short walk from the dock. Nearby Misty Fjords is a glacier-carved wilderness featuring snow-capped mountains, waterfalls and salmon spawning streams. The dramatic terrain is home to a multitude of wildlife, including bears, black-tailed deer, bald eagles, mink and martens - perhaps an Alaskan float plane tour is on your bucket list? A day in Ketchikan wouldn't be completed without a stroll along the boardwalk at Creek Street and the action-packed Great Alaska Lumberjack show that brings to life the colorful forest history of Alaska.
Prince Rupert, British Columbia
Prince Rupert is the northern most coastal city of British Columbia. It sits on the very edge of the wilderness where wildlife abounds, including bears, mountain goats and a variety of migrating whales. Spend the day exploring the town or set out on an adventure. The majority of the attractions here revolve around the outdoors, such as sport fishing kayaking, golf or a walking tour of the bonsai-like forest at Oliver Lake.
Located on Sitka Sound, Sitka is the only Inside Passage community that fronts the Pacific Ocean. The city is marked by the picturesque remnants of its Russian heritage, including the onion-shaped domes and gold colored crosses of the beloved Saint Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral. The city and borough limits include most of Baranof Island, where the city of Sitka is located, along with south Chichagof Island and many other small, forested islands along the coast. Although first inhabited by Native Tlingit Indians, Sitka is recognized as the heart of the Russian influence in Alaska. The Russians arrived by 1741 and in 1804 attacked a Tlingit fort. The region’s most famous battle eventually led to the creation of Sitka National Historical Park. Originally established as New Archangel, Sitka became the capital of Russian American in 1808 until Russia sold Alaska to the United States on October 18, 1867.
The visitor's centers has information on several walking tours that highlight the city’s history and culture including the Russian Blockhouse, Russian Bishop's House, Princess Maksoutoff’s Grave and Castle Hill to name a few, that date back to the Russian era. There are 22 buildings in Sitka on the National Register of Historic Places, so there’s plenty to see on a walk through town. Downtown features numerous art galleries, a fine bookstore and gift shops. Sitka National Historical Park features a remarkable collection of totem poles carved by Tlingit and Haida artists that are placed along a well-maintained trail in the forest. Near the park is Sheldon Jackson Museum, one of two official Alaska State Museums. The museum's impressive collection represents many different Alaska Native cultures.