Last Updated: September 27, 2022

Juneau, Alaska isn’t your typical state capital.

First and foremost, it’s the only U.S. capital city that’s not accessible by road. Instead, you’ll need to hop on a boat or a plane to get to Juneau, which is located on Alaska’s Southeast panhandle.

Secondly, although the population of Juneau is only around 32,000, the borough has an area of 3,255 square miles. (That’s larger than Rhode Island or Delaware!) As a result, there’s plenty of spectacular, wide-open country for you to explore—including forests, lakes, mountains, glaciers, and more. And don’t forget all of the second-to-nowhere-else-in-the-world wildlife you’ll spot along the way!

For many, Juneau delivers the best of both worlds:

The cultural resources and amenities of a populated area…

…served up with easy access to Alaska’s incredible natural landscapes.

In fact, Juneau can be a great middle-ground for those moving to Alaska who aren’t ready for bush-style, off-the grid living but find Anchorage a bit too busy and crowded.

If you’re considering a move to Juneau, Alaska, we’ll give you a run-down of what you can expect. We’ll show you what Juneau is like, where to live, and what to do in the area.

Let’s start with a few must-knows about the area.

Fun Facts About Juneau, Alaska

As you might expect from a state capital, the biggest employer in Juneau is the government. Almost 50% of wages in Juneau come from either the state, federal, or local government.

After the government, travel and hospitality is the biggest contributor to wages in Juneau, followed by mining, then health care/social assistance.

In the summer months, the landscape of Southeastern Alaska explodes with the riotous colors of local wildflowers. Keep your eyes out for fuschia river beauties, purple lupine, wild irises, buttery avens, and lacy white cow parsnip.

St. Nicholas’ Russian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest buildings in Juneau, constructed in 1893. The significant Russian Orthodox presence in the area finds its origins in Alaska’s time as a Russian territory.

Juneau is a friendly city! It’s the kind of place where it feels like everyone knows everyone. You’ll also find that people say “hi” when passing on the street. If you’ve been looking for a locale that feels like a community, Juneau might be the right spot for you.

What About the Weather in Juneau?

No matter where you’re planning on moving in Alaska, weather is always a consideration. And since Alaska is a huge state with several climate zones, each region has its own particular weather.


As a coastal city, Juneau experiences milder winters than other Alaska locations. (And, by that, we mean average lows in the 20s!) Additionally, summers stay relatively cool, with daytime high temperatures in the 60s–70s.


That being said, you’ll need to prepare for frequent rain in Juneau. Southeastern Alaska lies in what’s called a temperate rainforest. That means rainfall of around 200 inches a year. Just to give you a sense of how that compares to the lower 48, the average for the continental U.S. is 30.28 inches annually.

Don’t think for a minute that all that rain holds Juneauites back! Instead, residents put on a good raincoat and a pair of XTRATUF boots and keep moving. If you’re thinking of relocating to Juneau, invest in some good rain gear before you arrive. (But skip the umbrella or risk looking like a tourist!)


In the Land of the Midnight Sun, daylight hours are always a consideration. During Juneau’s summers, the amount of sunlight peaks at an average of about 8 hours per day in June. That number drops dramatically in the winter months. In December, you’ll only see about an average of 1.6 hours a day. Keep that in mind while you consider whether Juneau is right for you. (And consider buying a light box if you know that low sunshine seriously affects your moods!)

Finally, make sure to weigh all of this against Juneau’s absolutely arresting surroundings, which is a big draw for those who live in the borough.

And speaking of living in the borough, let’s discuss some of the more popular neighborhoods in Juneau.

What’s the Best Place to Live in Juneau?

In Juneau, you’ll find a good mix of single-family homes and condominiums, as well as a few attached homes. In other words, Juneau serves up plenty of variety, which can make it easier to find the right home.

The borough is divided up into several neighborhoods, each with their own character. If you have the chance to visit before you make the move, you’ll be able to get the best sense of which one is right for you.

Below, we’ve listed a few of our favorites to kickstart your research:

Downtown Juneau – You might be surprised to find out how walkable downtown Juneau can be. Although dwellings can be smaller, if the idea of being right in the center of things appeals to you—and you love the idea of walking and biking to most places around town—check out the downtown area.

Mendenhall Valley – Usually simply called “the Valley,” living out along the Mendenhall River offers a suburban experience, similar to what you might find in the lower 48. You’ll still have easy access to everything that Juneau offers, but you might get just a little more space than you’d have downtown.

North Douglas – Just across the Juneau-Douglas bridge, you’ll find Douglas Island. In North Douglas, you’ll find mostly single-family homes. You’ll also find a beach on the island—the only one in the area, made up of mine tailings (i.e., rock crushed from local mines). If it’s gorgeous views you’re after, there are several waterfront properties in the area that overlook the picturesque Gastineau Channel.

Out-the-Road – You’ll find this area north of Auke Bay, and it’s one of the lesser-populated sections of the Juneau borough. If you crave peace and quiet, check out this colorfully-named area.

Finally, once you’ve established your home base, your next task will be enjoying it. Next, we’ll show you our favorite activities and things to do in Juneau.

Things to Do in Juneau, Alaska

Even though Juneau is a relatively isolated city, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the variety of activities in the area.

Explore the City

Juneau has a ton of history to discover. Start at the Alaska State Museum, which will give you a good grounding in all that’s taken place on Alaskan soil. You’ll also find some fascinating historic dining options in the city. Some of our old favorites—the Gold Room and Silverbow Bakery—have recently closed. However, Heritage Coffee is still going strong! It’s been a local favorite for more than 30 years, and it’s well worth a visit.

Enjoy Juneau’s Vibrant Arts Scene

You’ll find a number of visual artists working in and around Juneau, many of whom participate in the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council First Friday events. However, if you want to explore the galleries on your own, download a copy of the council’s self-guided Juneau Art Walk.

Juneau also plays host to a number of music festivals, including the Alaska Folk Festival, the Rock Aak’w Indigenous Music Festival, and Juneau Jazz & Classics. You’ll also find live shows throughout the week in the city’s lively pub scene.

Make Some New Friends—Quickly & Easily

One of the most challenging parts of moving to a new place is forming new friendships. Juneau has a number of social clubs and organizations to help you build those bonds quickly. For a taste of what you’ll find in the area, check out the Juneau Trail & Road Runners and the Juneau Alpine Club.

Try Your Hand at Salmon Fishing

Fishing is big in Juneau, both as a way of life and as a sport. When the entire town puts their poles in the water, you’ll know it’s salmon season. The first time you go, try to link up with a friend who can show you the ropes. Although a lot of salmon fishing in Juneau happens by boat, you can also reel in salmon from a few shoreline locations. You’re going to have to make some really good friends before they reveal their secret fishing spots, though!

Discover Juneau’s Indigenous Heritage

Juneau is the ancestral home of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people. One of the best way to discover more about the music, dance, art, and storytelling heritage of these groups is to attend Celebration, a biennial festival of Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures. Thousands of people watch the event online, but, in Juneau, you’ll have a front seat to this traditional gathering.

Go Big on Winter Sports

The possibility for winter adventure draws many people to the Juneau area, and with good reason. You’ll find plenty of opportunities for snowboarding and skiing at the world famous Eaglecrest Ski Area, home to some of the most challenging runs in Alaska. Adrenaline junkies may want to try their hand at heli-skiing, which involves getting air dropped into remote areas with pure, untouched natural scenery.

Snowshoeing is also a popular sport in Juneau. In our opinion, it’s one of the more peaceful outdoor winter activities. If you’ve never tried it before, get ready for an intense workout. However, you’ll be smack dab in the middle of the world’s most scenic landscapes, which makes the burning in your thighs all the more worth it.

Finally, ice skating and ice hockey are both quite popular during the winter months. You may even find yourself skating right on top of a frozen lake, something you might not often find in the lower 48.

Admire a Glacier with Ease

You’ll find one of the most spectacular sights around Juneau just out of town. A short drive (or a bus ride!) will take you right to the Mendenhall Glacier, one of 38 large glaciers in the Juneau Icefield. Considering it’s just 13 miles from downtown Juneau—and features its own free parking lot—the Mendenhall Glacier makes for an easy visiting experience, but that doesn’t make it any less stunning.

Celebrate Alaskan Beer

As the home of Alaskan Brewing Company, Juneau is clearly a town that celebrates its beer. Whether you roll up to the Alaskan Tasting Room in downtown Juneau or opt for something strictly local like Barnaby Brewing, you’re sure to find a beer in Juneau that’s to your liking. If you’re into hyper-local experiences, homebrewing is also big in Juneau. You may find that the best brews in the area come from your friend’s kitchen (or yours)!

Making Your Home in Juneau

Now that you know what life might be like for you in Juneau, where does that leave you? Are you ready to pack your bags and go? Interested, but wanting to do more research? Wondering if there’s another location in Alaska that might be better for you?

No matter which way you’re leaning, the more research you can do on moving to Juneau, the better. That way, you’ll know exactly what to expect on the other end of your move, whether you choose Juneau or another location in the Last Frontier.

However, when you’re ready to make the move to Alaska, we’ll be here. Our Anchorage-based team has helped individuals and families move to locations all over the state, including Juneau. To get started, request a free quote from one of our experts.

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