The city’s other claim to fame regards its 406-cm (160-inch) annual rainfall making it a contender for the United State’s wettest city. The earliest visitors, the Tlingit natives, set up summer fish camps on the shores of Ketchikan Creek in what is now downtown.
Sitting on stilts at the base of the Tongass National Forest, Alaska’s southernmost city is the self-proclaimed ‘Salmon Fishing Capital of the World‘.
For a glimpse of Ketchikan’s rough and tumble past, tour Creek Street Historic District, a pedestrian area consisting of wooden boardwalks. Once a bustling red-light district, now it is home to art galleries, restaurants and gift shops. The native heritage is represented in the many totem poles found in the community, which claims to have the most in the world. Flight seeing or boat trips to nearby Misty Fiords National Monument, sport fishing and bear viewing are popular activities.
• Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show (www.alaskanlumberjackshow.com)
• Saxman Native Village
• SE Alaska Discovery Center
• Totem Bight State Historic Park
• Totem Heritage Center (www.ktn-ak.us/totem-heritage-center)
Ketchikan Visitors Bureau
50 Front Street, Ketchikan, AK 99901, USA
Tel: +1 90722 56166.
Art is the number one purchase. Ketchikan is recognised as one of the top 100 art communities in the United States. Many of the galleries are owned by local artists who display both Native Alaskan and contemporary art. Northwest coast Native Alaskan arts such as totems, cedar baskets and cedar stone carvings are also available.
Salmon, halibut, crab and fish and chips are popular menu choices. Clam and smoked salmon chowders are other favourites. Alaskan delicacies include smoked salmon, wild berry products and reindeer sausage.
When to go:
May through September is the most popular time to visit.
Port in city centre.