Ketchikan, Alaska: Beyond the Totem Poles


Based on my post about the many totem poles of Ketchikan, Alaska, I may have given the impression that totem poles are the only thing the town has to offer. While it is the Totem Pole Capital of the World, it’s actually a charming place in its own right. I enjoyed walking around picturesque Creek Street (pictured above), a boardwalk surrounding Ketchikan Creek. It used to be the Red Light District, and was full of brothels well into the mid-1950s. Remember, Alaska didn’t become our 49th state until 1959…


Most of the shops at Creek Street were a full step or two above your typical souvenir shops, including two Native Art galleries. For those who want to experience Creek Street like it was back in the old days, the closest you can get to is Dolly’s House Museum. I didn’t go in because I had already toured an old brothel in Skagway (Red Onion Saloon), but that’s a whole other post.

After Creek Street, I walked around Thomas Basin, the smaller harbor where fishing boats and sail boats reside (pictured below). But even the major harbor where the cruise ships dock (Ketchikan is a stop on most Alaska cruises) is pretty (pictured left) — check out those float planes! A float planes is typical transportation in Alaska, and many of the ones you see there are for sightseeing trips to nearby Misty Fjords.

By the way, Ketchikan is also bills itself as the Salmon Capital of the World. Unfortunately, I completely forgot this at lunch when I was at Fish Pirate’s Saloon on Front Street and ordered halibut fish ‘n’ chips. Made with freshly caught Halibut and battered in beer, they were excellent. So I can’t regret not having the salmon too much.


Comped but never compromised: I’m on an Alaska Twitter Press Trip with Princess Cruises, but I’m free to write whatever I want.

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5 Responses to Ketchikan, Alaska: Beyond the Totem Poles

  1. Peter Carey July 2, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    Looks like a great place to visit, especially in the summer. Thanks!

  2. Mark H July 2, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    I loved walking along Creek street. You could feel the historic seediness of the place yet has a liveliness from all the new shops along this great little boardwalk.

  3. RennyBA's Terella July 3, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    As a Norwegian, I feel almost like home in this – almost the same latitude you know :-)

  4. Gabriel July 13, 2010 at 2:32 am #

    My uncle owns one of the buildings on Creek Street. I grew up in Ketchikan, working in the family stores in the glory days of Ketchikan. Unfortunately almost all the original stores and homes in the downtown area have been converted to tourists shops.
    Thomas Basin was also used as the city baseball field during low tide at the turn of the century, and another moto for Kethikan was “Katch-n-can” for being the salmon capital of the world.

  5. Crystal aka Travelers Barista August 25, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    I loved Ketchikan, it was a beautifu little town.

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