A Travel Price Comparison for Alaska Juneau vs. Ketchikan for Food, Hiking, Couples, and Attractions

Should you visit Juneau or Ketchikan?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Juneau or Ketchikan? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Juneau

Juneau is a scenic, breathtaking, and historic city. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It's also known for food, hiking, and shopping.

Ketchikan

Ketchikan is a scenic, quaint, and local town. It's a very nice small town not to be missed. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the food, hiking, and shopping.

Juneau and Ketchikan: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Juneau or Ketchikan?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Juneau. Although Juneau and Ketchikan are popular destinations, Juneau has more sights and attractions for tourists. Juneau is very popular for its museums, shopping, and impressive beauty, while Ketchikan attracts visitors for its food and small town charm. Juneau is famous for its wildlife, natural beauty, and Gold Rush in 1880. It is also well known for the Mendenhall Glacier. Ketchikan is famous for its salmon fishing, beautiful natural environment, and strong sense of local culture.

How is Juneau different from Ketchikan?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Ketchikan and Juneau. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Juneau or Ketchikan?

Juneau
Ketchikan

Juneau is notable for its sights and museums. Also, Ketchikan is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its museums and history.

Many visitors head to Juneau specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. Many museums focus on the history in the area, including the Gold Rush and the mining industry. You can visit several historic mines as well as the Last Chance Mining Museum. Other museums around town include the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, the Walter Soboleff Building, and the Alaska State Museum.

Ketchikan offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are a few local museums in town such as the Tongass Historical Museum and the Totem Heritage Center.


Is the Food Better in Juneau or Ketchikan? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Juneau
Ketchikan

Ketchikan is an amazing town to visit for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Juneau is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

For foodies, Ketchikan is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. It's known as the salmon capital of the world for good reason. You can expect some of the freshest seafood around with many local restaurants serving up fresh Dungeness Crab, Alaska King Crab, and Alaskan King Salmon. It's a huge fishing destination and the cuisine reflects that, but even if you're looking for a landlover's menu, you'll find a number of good dishes.

Juneau has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. The seafood is superb and visitors will regret if they miss out on the salmon, halibut, and crab. There are many local restaurants and local chefs serving up the freshest caught fish. For the best seafood, head to the waterfront, and if you're looking for something other than seafood, the downtown is where you'll want to be.

Is Juneau or Ketchikan Better for Nightlife?

Juneau
Ketchikan

Both Juneau and Ketchikan are reasonable when it comes to partying.

Most people don't head to Juneau specifically for the nightlife scene, but you can find a few options. There are a couple of bars and breweries, but most people relax in the evening.

Those looking for nightlife will find a few places to hang out in Ketchikan. Because most visitors arrive by cruise ship, there's a more local vibe to the nightlife scene. You'll find a few local bars around town where you can enjoy a drink and good conversation.

Is Juneau or Ketchikan Better for Hiking?

Juneau
Ketchikan

If you're looking to go hiking, Juneau and Ketchikan both have world-class trails.

People visit Juneau specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. You'll find more than 250 miles of hiking trails in the area, and this really is the best way to experience Alaska. The area is known for its wildlife, but there are also glacier hikes, meadows, mountains, and more. In downtown Juneau there's the Perseverance Trail, the Granite Creek Trail, and the Mount Roberts Trail. From the Mendenhall Visitor Center there's the East Glacier Loop Trail, the West Glacier Trail, and the Nugget Falls Trail. There are also trails on Douglas Island and many options just outside of town.

Many people visit Ketchikan specifically for its hiking. You'll find many hikes that will take you through the local vegetation or to impressive viewpoints. Some hikes involve challenging climbs while others are more relaxing. Some visitors prefer to hire a guide to the lead them through the Alaskan wilderness, but the most popular and easier trails are usually well marked.


Is the Shopping Better in Juneau or Ketchikan?

Juneau
Ketchikan

Juneau is notable for shopping. Also, Ketchikan is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its shopping opportunities.

Juneau is an extremely popular place for shoppers. There's a mix of contemporary art and traditional artisan crafts. You'll find gift shops and art galleries around, particularly downtown and in the Mendenhall Valley business district. Visitors often enjoy buying art, wood carvings, jewelry, pottery, quilts, or dolls.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Ketchikan. As tourism has grown, the shopping in downtown Ketchikan has shifted from locally-oriented venders to jewelry and souvenir stores. Many shops are only open during the summer months, and you'll find the more local shops outside of town.

Is Juneau or Ketchikan Better for Families?

Juneau
Ketchikan

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Juneau or Ketchikan.

Juneau is a very kid-friendly city. Its is filled with adventure that the whole family will enjoy. There's whale watching, dog sled tours, helicopter rides, hiking, and the Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway. This bucket-list destination will have an impact on kids and adults alike.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Ketchikan. There are a number of kid-friendly activities and tours, but do note that many tours book up fully with cruise ship passengers. Any tours you wish to do should be arranged well in advance. Popular kid-friendly activities include the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, Misty Fjords, and a visit to Totem Bight State Historical Park. Everyone will enjoy learning about the area's history and nature at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. And anyone who enjoys the show "The Most Dangerous Catch" will appreciate the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's Tour.

Is Juneau or Ketchikan Better for Couples?

Juneau
Ketchikan

Juneau is renowned for romance. Also, Ketchikan is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its romantic activities.

For those traveling as a couple, Juneau has plenty to offer. Couples who enjoy exploring and adventuring will be in awe of this destination. Glacier trekking, superb gardens, and romantic helicopter rides will leave you feeling like a contestant on "The Bachelor". There are also opportunities for romantic evenings out and cozy hotels where you can stay in.

Ketchikan makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples who enjoy natural beauty, hiking, and wildlife will appreciate their time here. There are many opportunities for fishing and a plethora of seafood restaurants in the area that take advantage of this past time.


Is Juneau or Ketchikan Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Juneau
Ketchikan

Juneau is notable for backpackers. Also, Ketchikan is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Juneau. It's a popular destination with budget hotels and even a hostel or two.

It's common for backpackers to visit Ketchikan. While most visitors arrive by cruise ship, for those travel independently will appreciate the hostel in town.

Is Juneau or Ketchikan Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Juneau
Ketchikan

Both Juneau and Ketchikan offer reasonable public transit options.

Public transit is generally limited in Juneau. You can only reach Juneau by boat or plane and there are three bus routes through town.

Public transit is mostly limited in Ketchikan. There are buses that travel through town.

Is Juneau or Ketchikan a more walkable city?

Juneau
Ketchikan

Juneau and Ketchikan both are great when exploring on foot.

Juneau is a very walkable city. The downtown is very walkable and many places can be reached within a reasonable walk.

Ketchikan is a very walkable destination. The downtown is relatively compact and walkable.


For even more information, also check out Is Juneau Worth Visiting? and Is Ketchikan Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Ketchikan or Juneau?

How long in Juneau or Ketchikan?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Juneau and Ketchikan. In our opinion, Juneau has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Juneau than Ketchikan. In general, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Juneau, and 1-3 days is enough time in Ketchikan.

Couples should spend more time in Juneau than Ketchikan. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Juneau that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Juneau than Ketchikan if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Juneau.


  • How many days in Juneau or Ketchikan? Ideal Length of Stay
    Juneau 2-3 
    Ketchikan 1-3

One day in Juneau or Ketchikan?

You'll find shopping and museums around the city of Juneau. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the destination of Ketchikan. Hikers are also drawn to this area. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

A weekend in Juneau or Ketchikan?

You'll find museums and food around the breathtaking destination of Juneau. Hikers are also drawn to this area. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Ketchikan is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Juneau or Ketchikan?

Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the breathtaking city of Juneau. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Most people head to the area for the hiking. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Ketchikan. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A week in Juneau or Ketchikan?

Juneau is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the local destination of Ketchikan. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 3-Week Tours in United States of America, The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America, and The Best Coach Bus Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Ketchikan or Juneau?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Juneau is $160, while the average daily cost in Ketchikan is $220. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Juneau and Ketchikan in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Juneau $88
    Ketchikan $136
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Juneau $176
    Ketchikan $272
Compare Hotels in Juneau and Ketchikan

Looking for a hotel in Juneau or Ketchikan? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Juneau


Hotels in Ketchikan


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Juneau Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Juneau $38
    Ketchikan $39

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Juneau

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Juneau:

  • Private Arrival Transfer from Juneau Airport (JNU): $48
  • Private Departure Transfer to Juneau Airport (JNU): $48

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Ketchikan

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Ketchikan are as follows:


  • Bus Ride
    $1.00

Is it cheaper to fly into Juneau or Ketchikan?

Prices for flights to both Ketchikan and Juneau change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Juneau $49
    Ketchikan $53

Typical Food Prices in Ketchikan

Some typical examples of dining costs in Ketchikan are as follows:


  • Slice of Pie & Drink
    $5.00

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Juneau $17
    Ketchikan $46
Typical Entertainment Prices in Juneau

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Juneau are as follows:


  • 1 Day Bike Rental
    $25
  • Admission to Alaska State Museum
    $5.00
  • Glacier Gardens
    $22

Tours and Activities in Juneau

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Juneau are as follows:

  • Juneau, The Last Frontier Self Guided (Smart Phone App/GPS) Audio Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Juneau Underground Gold Mine and Panning Experience: $79
  • Historic Gold Mining and Panning Adventure: $99
  • From Whale Watching Cruise with Snacks: $132
  • Historic Gold Panning Adventure & Salmon Bake: $139
  • Whale Watching Adventure in Juneau: $154
  • eBikes Alaska - Rainforest Adventure: $160
  • Whale Watching and Wildlife Cruise with Local Guide: $177
  • 3.5 Hour Crowd-Skipping Whale Tour in Juneau Alaska: $189
  • Juneau Whale Watching Adventure: $189
  • Five-Star Juneau Pedicab Private Tour: $200

Typical Entertainment Prices in Ketchikan

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Ketchikan are as follows:


  • Ticket to Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show
    $35
  • Duck Tour (one person)
    $38
  • Bear Viewing Tour
    $83

Tours and Activities in Ketchikan

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Ketchikan are as follows:

  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Husky Walking Tour: $49
  • City Highlights Totem Parks and Sightseeing: $59
  • 2.5 Hour Tour in Ketchikan on the Tongass Trolley: $72
  • Ketchikan Duck Tour: $75
  • From Potlatch Totem Park and Herring Cove Tour: $85
  • Totem Pole, Wildlife & City Trolley Tour: $85
  • 2 Hour Alaska Rainforest Walk and Totem Park Small Group Tour: $85
  • Alaska Native Cultural Immersion Experience and Ketchikan Tour: $89
  • Alaska Native Cultural Immersion Experience: $89
  • “OVER THE TOP TOURS”AK Wildlife & Totem poles Tour.: $95
  • Cruisin' and Boozin' - 90 minute Historical Walking Tour of Sites and Bars: $95

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Juneau $16
    Ketchikan $23


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Juneau and Ketchikan, we can see that Ketchikan is more expensive. And not only is Juneau much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Juneau would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Juneau and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Ketchikan would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Ketchikan than you might in Juneau.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Juneau Expensive? and Is Ketchikan Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Juneau or Ketchikan?

Juneau has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Ketchikan. When comparing the sizes of Juneau and Ketchikan, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Juneau or Ketchikan?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Juneau or Ketchikan in the Summer?

Both Ketchikan and Juneau are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The hiking and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Juneau this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Ketchikan for the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Juneau is generally around the same temperature as Ketchikan. Daily temperatures in Juneau average around 56°F (13°C), and Ketchikan fluctuates around 58°F (15°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Ketchikan. It's quite rainy in Juneau. In July, Juneau usually receives less rain than Ketchikan. Juneau gets 4.2 inches (106 mm) of rain, while Ketchikan receives 7.6 inches (193 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Juneau 56°F (13°C) 
    Ketchikan 58°F (15°C)

Should I visit Juneau or Ketchikan in the Autumn?

Both Ketchikan and Juneau during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Juneau for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, many visitors come to Ketchikan in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area.

Juneau is cooler than Ketchikan in the autumn. The daily temperature in Juneau averages around 42°F (6°C) in October, and Ketchikan fluctuates around 46°F (8°C).

Ketchikan gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Juneau. Juneau usually gets less rain in October than Ketchikan. Juneau gets 7.8 inches (199 mm) of rain, while Ketchikan receives 22.9 inches (581 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Juneau 42°F (6°C) 
    Ketchikan 46°F (8°C)

Should I visit Juneau or Ketchikan in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Juneau and Ketchikan. Many visitors come to Juneau in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, most visitors come to Ketchikan for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Ketchikan can be very cold during winter. Juneau can get quite cold in the winter. In the winter, Juneau is much colder than Ketchikan. Typically, the winter temperatures in Juneau in January average around 24°F (-4°C), and Ketchikan averages at about 34°F (1°C).

Ketchikan receives a lot of rain in the winter. Juneau gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In January, Juneau usually receives less rain than Ketchikan. Juneau gets 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain, while Ketchikan receives 14.9 inches (379 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Juneau 24°F (-4°C) 
    Ketchikan 34°F (1°C)

Should I visit Juneau or Ketchikan in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Juneau as well as Ketchikan. Most visitors come to Juneau for the natural beauty during these months. Additionally, the spring months attract visitors to Ketchikan because of the small town charm and the natural beauty.

Juneau can be very cold during spring. In April, Juneau is generally much colder than Ketchikan. Daily temperatures in Juneau average around 40°F (4°C), and Ketchikan fluctuates around 44°F (6°C).

It's quite rainy in Ketchikan. Juneau usually gets less rain in April than Ketchikan. Juneau gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Ketchikan receives 11.3 inches (286 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Juneau 40°F (4°C) 
    Ketchikan 44°F (6°C)

Typical Weather for Ketchikan and Juneau

Juneau Ketchikan
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 24°F (-4°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm) 34°F (1°C) 14.9 inches (379 mm)
Feb 28°F (-2°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm) 38°F (3°C) 13.2 inches (335 mm)
Mar 33°F (0°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 39°F (4°C) 10.6 inches (270 mm)
Apr 40°F (4°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 44°F (6°C) 11.3 inches (286 mm)
May 47°F (8°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 49°F (9°C) 9.3 inches (237 mm)
Jun 53°F (12°C) 3.1 inches (80 mm) 54°F (12°C) 8.2 inches (209 mm)
Jul 56°F (13°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm) 58°F (15°C) 7.6 inches (193 mm)
Aug 55°F (13°C) 5.3 inches (135 mm) 59°F (15°C) 11.1 inches (281 mm)
Sep 49°F (10°C) 7 inches (179 mm) 54°F (12°C) 13.2 inches (335 mm)
Oct 42°F (6°C) 7.8 inches (199 mm) 46°F (8°C) 22.9 inches (581 mm)
Nov 32°F (-0°C) 4.9 inches (123 mm) 40°F (4°C) 17.3 inches (441 mm)
Dec 27°F (-3°C) 4.4 inches (113 mm) 36°F (2°C) 15.7 inches (398 mm)