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Ketchikan Basics

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Scenes of Ketchikan

Fast Facts: Ketchikan


Ketchikan, which bills itself as the "Salmon Capital of the World," is located on Revillagigedo Island and sits astride the Ketchikan Creek in Southeast Alaska. Revillagigedo is the 12th largest island in the United States. With a population of around 7,500 inhabitants, Ketchikan is Alaska's fifth largest city by population. The area's population is around 14,000 people.

The mainstays of Ketchikan's economy are tourism, fishing and fish processing. Each year, Ketchikan attracts over a million tourists, mostly in the summer season, and most of the tourists arrive by cruise ship. In 2013, the city will play host to 466 cruise ship visits spanning the period May through September.

Ketchikan is situated in a maritime climate zone noted for its warm winters, cool summers and heavy precipitation. The area surrounding Ketchikan is a rain forest. It's overcast a lot in Ketchikan, with the city experiencing an average of 300 days of cloudy weather each year. And it gets a lot of rain, too; Ketchikan has the heaviest average rainfall in North America, at over 162 inches annually, including 32 inches of snowfall. That's 13.5 feet! Summer is the nicest time of the year to visit the city.


Ketchikan


First Impressions


Downtown Ketchikan
©2007 Matt Howry, under cc-by-sa 2.0 license

Ketchikan works hard to preserve its frontier town Alaskan heritage. The city is described as being "three miles long and three blocks wide," as everything is close to the waterfront. It's easy to go directly from your ship to the shops and points of interest in town.

Ketchikan is an arty town that really hums during the summer cruise season. With up to six ships visiting the port each day in the summer months, the cruise ship passengers almost outnumber the locals. But the town really has it together in managing the chaos; a free shuttle takes visitors on a loop around downtown, and the buses and vans transporting passengers from the Cruise Ship docks to their tours further afield perform like a well oiled machine.

Your ship will make port at one of the four cruise ship berths that are located in downtown Ketchikan. If there are more than four ships visiting Ketchikan at the same time, the additional ships will anchor in the Ketchikan Creek and passengers will take a short tender trip to the town's downtown pier. In downtown Ketchikan, tour and shuttle buses, taxis and other forms of transportation are readily available for passenger excursions to the area's tour attractions.

The Ketchikan Rain Gauge is a popular landmark a short walk from the cruise ship docks; many tours will pick you up adjacent to the Gauge. If you haven't arranged a tour by the time you arrive, you can always check out the Tour Center, located at Berth 2; they normally have tickets to a number of tours, activities and attractions in the area.

The summer is the nicest time of the year in Ketchikan; there's less rain, the average daily high is in the mid-60s (F), the days are long and the town bustles with the rhythm of the tourism industry.


Interview with "Ketchikan Insider" Kevin Hack


In this section, we interview a Ketchikan local for his thoughts on visiting Ketchikan, what to do and what to see when you make your way to the erstwhile "Salmon Capital of the World."

Kevin Hack

Kevin Hack is the owner of Pirate Airworks and Yes Bay Lodge; he's been dug-in on the Ketchikan waterfront since he was 16 years old. The Hack family has run lodges and float planes for 3 generations. Kevin is essentially an obsessive aircraft maintenance professional. All you need to know is that his shop is cleaner than your home. Notice the wrench on the Pirate Airworks logo? And don't let the Pirate image scare you. For Kevin it represents independence and commitment to survival through meticulous attention to detail.


CruisePortInsider: "I can't say that I've been to Ketchikan unless I ..."

Kevin: The totems are great, the food unbelievable, bears are worth seeing, but the Must Do is a fly out on a deHavilland Beaver with an experienced pilot to the Misty Fjords National Monument. The pictures of the Misty's are the ones you will be itching to share in your attempt to describe the amazing experience.

Why should I take a trip to Misty Fjords?

A trip to the Misty Fjords is a magical, majestic, humbling, ALASKA experience. We do our best with words, but words often fail to describe the cliffs, the peace, the majesty. You are a different person when you get off the plane. We have had both men and women moved to tears.

Can I still enjoy Ketchikan if it's raining?

We certainly do. You will find if you wear a few layers, Wicking-Warmth-Waterproof, you can move right through your day end enjoy all cool things Ketchikan. Where do you think we get our rainbows?

Any suggestions on shopping in town?

Look for the authentic native art and creations. Like any tourist town we have a few shiny offerings that may not be truly native art. Ask a local. We would be glad to talk with travelers about the places we like (and a few to avoid).

For something really unique, what do you suggest I do?

The totems may seem obvious, but they are the roots and first-people story of Ketchikan. Take some time and appreciate that these are the icons of our first residents. Go talk to Crazy Wolf at his studio on Mission St. The real deal.

What do you suggest for a "Great Taste" of Ketchikan?

You really must have the fish and chips and chowder right next to the tunnel. Authentic, fresh, beyond satisfying.

Pirate Skyscraper

Time Zone


Ketchikan is on Alaska Time, nine hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time during standard time, or eight hours during daylight savings time. Daylight savings time begins on the second Sunday of March, and ends on the first Sunday of November.

USA flag Ketchikan Local Time
 


Language


English is universally spoken in Ketchikan.


Dealing with Money in Ketchikan


Currency



US Dollar

The currency of the United States is the U.S. dollar, and it is printed on bills in seven denominations: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins include the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, fifty cent piece and dollar.

Canadian dollars are accepted in Alaska as well. You'll also find Canadian coins circulating freely in the state, and are accepted at par to their U.S. counterparts.

Banks and ATMs

ATM machines in Ketchikan can be found at bank branches, bars, select hotels and a large number of shops throughout the town. Bank branches with ATM machines can be found at the following locations:

  • Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo has two offices with ATMs in Ketchikan; the branch closest to the Cruise Ship docks is located at 409 Dock Street; another branch is located at 2415 Tongass Avenue, about 1½ miles away from the cruise ship docks.

  • First Bank: This Alaska-based bank has two branches with ATMs in Ketchikan; the branch closest to the Cruise Ship docks is located at 331 Dock Street; their other branch is located at 2530 Tongass Avenue, about 1½ miles away from the cruise ship docks.

  • Northrim Bank: This Alaska-based bank has a branch with an ATM located at 2442 Tongass Avenue, about 1½ miles away from the cruise ship docks.

  • Key Bank: Key Bank has a branch with an ATM located at 2501 Tongass Avenue, about 1½ miles away from the cruise ship docks.

Ketchikan ATM Map


Map icon

See our Ketchikan ATM map for the locations of the above ATMs.


Weather


Knudson Cove

Ketchikan is situated in a maritime climate zone noted for its warm winters, cool summers and heavy precipitation. The area surrounding Ketchikan is a rain forest. Summer high temperatures range from 55 to 65; winter high temperatures are around 40--not what one generally thinks of when speaking of Alaskan weather.

Ketchikan is no place for sun worshipers, as it is cloudy an average of 300 days per year. And it's wet, too: Ketchikan has the heaviest average rainfall in North America, at over 162 inches annually, including 32 inches of snowfall. That's 13.5 feet!

The summer season is the driest time of the year, with the persistent rainfall dropping to only 7 inches in June, and less than 6.5 inches in July. And with almost 18 hours of daylight in June, the natives and tourists alike walk around with smiles on their faces.

Average Temperatures

Average Precipitation

Average Daylight Hours



Keeping In Touch


Internet Access in Ketchikan

The advent of smart phones has made operating a cyber cafe a losing proposition for their owners in Ketchikan. But the Ketchikan Library does have terminals that you can use, if you're traveling without a computer or smart phone. In addition, you can find a number of places that offer Wi-Fi in the town. These include:

Internet Terminals

  • Ketchikan Public Library offers once-a-day Internet access for 1 hour to visitors who have a picture ID. Guest User passes can be obtained at the Circulation Desk. To sign up for an Internet slot, please go the Registration Kiosk next to the Circulation Desk. The library is located at 1110 Copper Ridge Lane. Phone: (907) 225-3331.

Wi-Fi Access (Downtown)

  • O'Brien's Pub and Eatery at the New York Hotel, located at 211 Stedman Street, offers free Wi-Fi internet access along with friendly service, Irish grub and Alaskan beers on tap. Phone: (907) 247-2326.

  • The Salmon Landing Market, located at the southern end of the Cruise Ship dock, offers Wi-Fi throughout the complex's many stores, including Fat Stan's Bar & Liquor Store, (Phone: (907) 247-9463) and The Crab Cracker Seafood Bar, located inside the Ketchikan Fish Market (Phone: (907) 247-2866).

  • Annabelle's, located in the Gilmore Hotel at 326 Front Street, offers free Wi-Fi with purchase in their bar and restaurant area. Phone: (907) 225-6009.

  • The Asylum, located at 522 Water Street, offers Wi-Fi in their bar. Phone: (907) 220-0809.

  • The Sourdough Cocktail Lounge, located at 301 Front Street, offers Wi-Fi in their bar. Phone: (907) 225-2217.

Wi-Fi Access (Marina area)

These stores are located in or nearby the Ketchikan Plaza Mall, situated about 1½ miles from the downtown cruise ship docks, so they're really not readily available to cruise ship passengers. But if you're stocking up on supplies for your cruise, then you're in luck.

  • Safeway, located at 2417 Tongass Avenue, offers free Wi-Fi in their Ketchikan store near the deli area.

  • McDonalds, located at 2417 Tongass Avenue, #108, offers free Wi-Fi in their Ketchikan store. Phone: (907) 225-1704

  • Refiner's Roast Coffee Shop, located at 2050 Sea Level Drive, offers free Wi-Fi in their store. Phone: (907) 247-6278

Ketchikan Internet Access Map


Map icon

See our Ketchikan Internet Access map for the locations of the above stores.


Internet Cafe

Cellular Phone & Data Services

Customers of the four major U.S. wireless carriers can expect the following levels of service in Ketchikan:

Verizon

Cell service: Verizon's CDMA service provides extended digital coverage to Ketchikan and the surrounding areas.
Data services: Verizon offers extended 4G LTE coverage to Ketchikan and much of the surrounding areas.
See details on Verizon's cell and data services coverage in Ketchikan.

ATT Wireless

Cell service: AT&T's GSM service covers Ketchikan and much of the surrounding areas.
Data services: AT&T offers 4G LTE service covering Ketchikan and much of the surrounding areas.
See details on AT&T's cell and data services coverage in Ketchikan.

Sprint

Cell service: Sprint's CDMA service covers Ketchikan directly, and other areas through off-network roaming.
Data services: Sprint offers service in Ketchikan and the surrounding areas through off-network roaming. Access is device-specific.
See details on Sprint's cell and data services coverage in Ketchikan.

T Mobile

Cell service: T-Mobile's GSM service is provided through a service partner.
Data services: T-Mobile offers 2G service in Ketchikan; there's no access for laptop sticks, tablets, etc.
See details on T-Mobile's cell and data services coverage in Ketchikan.


Samsung Galaxy S III

Ketchikan Telephone Information

Canadian cell phones used in the U.S. work seamlessly in Alaska, and just like back home.

The Country Code in the U.S. is 1, just like in Canada.

The Area Code used in Ketchikan (as in all of Alaska) is 907.

Local Phone Numbers have seven digits: XXX-XXXX

Woman with a cell phone

Local Events, Holidays & Festivals


Look for the following local festivals, holidays and events taking place in Ketchikan in 2017:

  • New Year's Day, Sunday, January 1.

  • Festival of the North, February. A month-long festival featuring events that include the Annual Wearable Art Show, where you'll see functional and not so-functional wearable art creations in a runway fashion show extravaganza, as well as the Quilting in the Rain annual quilt show, an exhibition of over 200 contemporary and antique quilts on display.

  • Seward's Day, Monday, March 27. Commemorates the signing of the treaty by which the United States bought Alaska from Russia on March 30, 1867.

  • Good Friday, Friday, April 14.

  • Easter Sunday, Sunday, April 16.

  • Alaska Hummingbird Festival, Month of April. A celebration of the annual return of the Rufous Hummingbird and other migratory birds to Ketchikan. Activities include guided hikes, art shows, activities for children, and many other birding events.

  • 70th Annual Ketchikan King Salmon Derby, Memorial Day Weekend to mid- June. A Ketchikan tradition held to benefit various Ketchikan causes. Cash prizes are awarded.

  • Ketchikan Fourth of July Celebration, Tuesday, July 4. They have fun in Ketchikan on the nation's independence day. Food and game booths, Kiddie and Main Parades, High School Reunion gatherings, Ketchikan's annual Timber Carnival, a rubber duck race down Ketchikan Creek and fireworks.

  • Blueberry Pies
    ©2010 Jeffrey W, under cc-by-sa 2.0 license

  • 42nd Annual Blueberry Arts Festival, Friday, August 4 and Saturday, August 5. An event that's unique to Ketchikan, featuring over 70 arts and crafts vendors, food stalls, games, a battle of the bands contest, the Gigglefeet Dance Festival, a special juried art exhibition, slug races (you don't find this very often), pie eating contests and more.

  • Alaska Day, Wednesday, October 18. Anniversary of the formal transfer of the Territory and the raising of the U.S. flag at Sitka in 1867.

  • Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23. A day to give thanks for the things one has at the close of the harvest season.

  • Winter Art Faire, Friday, November 24 to Sunday, November 26. Featuring fine arts and crafts for the holiday season.

  • Christmas Day, Monday, December 25.

Ketchikan Cruise Port Schedules


Oosterdam

Ketchikan is the second most popular destination for the seasonal Alaskan cruise ship trade, which extends from May through September. It's not unusual to have up to six ships visiting Ketchikan at any one time.

As a general rule, cruise ship passengers can expect to spend between 7 and 8 hours ashore in Ketchikan.

In 2017, Ketchikan is slated to welcome 934,700 passengers sailing on 476 ships. See our Ketchikan Cruise Ship Schedule - 2017 for further information.


Cruise Lines Making Port in Ketchikan


The following cruise lines will make port in Ketchikan in 2017:

Carnival icon Carnival Royal Caribbean icon Royal Caribbean
Celebrity Cruises  icon Celebrity Cruises princess icon
Princess Cruises
NCL icon Norwegian Holland America icon
Holland America
Disney icon Disney Cruises Regent icon Regent Cruises
Silversea icon Silversea Cruises Oceania icon Oceania Cruises
Crystal icon Crystal Cruises Seabourn icon Seabourn Cruises
Hapag Lloyd icon Hapag Lloyd
Cruise Ship


       
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