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Seward Basics

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Seward Harbor

Seward is located at the base of Mount Marathon along the scenic shoreline of Resurrection Bay. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Seward has served as a gateway to the interior of Alaska, owing to its location (just 126 miles south of Anchorage) and its ice-free harbor. With only 2,700 residents, Seward is not a big town, even by Alaskan standards.

The mainstays of Seward's economy are commercial fishing, commerce and tourism. Tourism is a big deal in quaint Seward, with the locals from Anchorage come to town to enjoy the recreational opportunities it offers. More than one hundred thousand cruise ship passengers pass through Seward to either start or end their cruises.

Seward generally enjoys a relatively temperate maritime climate, primarily due to the influence of the Japanese current that flows through the Gulf of Alaska. Summer daytime temperatures range from the mid 40s to the low 70s F. Overcast and cool rainy days are frequent. It is not unusual to get several long periods of continuous rain in the summer months, but glorious sunny days are not uncommon. That being said, summer is the nicest time of the year to visit Seward.

Seward map


First Impressions


Seward is a town that people come to in order to leave. That's because most of most people come to Seward to see the beautiful glaciers and wildlife to be found in the Kenai Fjords National Park, which is located south of the town, or Exit Glacier, which is located north of the town, or to go fishing for the ample quantities of salmon and halibut that teem in Resurrection Bay and surrounding waters, or to recreate on the Kenai peninsula. And of course Seward is the north terminus on the Vancouver to Seward cruise circuit.

Yet Seward has charms of its own. Seward is one of the more colorful towns in Alaska, owing to the outdoor murals located throughout the town. The restaurants are good, and for some reason they serve up some of the best pizza in the state. Plus if you're a fan of aquariums, Seward's Alaska SeaLife Center is a first rate institution dedicated to the study of Gulf of Alaska marine wildlife.

Cruise ships visiting Seward dock at the Seward Cruise Ship Terminal, which is located about one mile from the historic downtown area, and adjacent to the Small Boat Harbor.

The summer is the nicest time of the year in Seward; there's generally less rain, daytime temperatures range from the mid 40s to the low 70s F, and the tourists that flock to the city make the cash registers ring.

Kenai Fjord Gacier

Time Zone


Seward 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.


Language


English is universally spoken in Seward.


Dealing with Money in Seward


Currency

dollar bill

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

Seward is a small place, so ATM machines aren't plentiful. However, there are a couple of banks that also feature ATMs to be found here:

  • First National Bank of Alaska: located at 303 4th Avenue in downtown.

  • Wells Fargo Bank: located at 908 3rd Avenue in downtown.

To see the locations of Seward's ATMs, see our Seward ATM map.


Weather in Seward


Seward generally enjoys a relatively temperate maritime climate, primarily due to the influence of the Japanese current that flows through the Gulf of Alaska.

Summer daytime temperatures range from the mid 40s to the low 70s F. Overcast and cool rainy days are frequent. It is not unusual to get several long periods of continuous rain in the summer months, but glorious sunny days are not uncommon. Snow often remains in the higher elevations through June or July.

Winter temperatures can range from the low 30s to -20. The Exit Glacier area, located north of Seward, averages close to 200 inches of snowfall annually, but conditions vary greatly. Storms dumping several feet of snow are common, as are rainy mid-winter days with temperatures hovering in the mid-upper 30s.


Seward Average Temperatures

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High - F 31 33 38 45 52 59 62 62 56 45 37 33
Avg High - C -1 1 3 7 11 15 17 17 13 7 3 1
Avg Low - F 21 22 26 32 39 46 50 50 44 35 27 23
Avg Low - C -6 -6 -3 0 4 8 10 10 7 2 -3 -5

Seward Average Precipitation

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg, Inches 6.3 5.4 3.9 3.8 4.4 2.5 2.1 5.4 10.0 10.5 6.4 7.0
Avg, mm 160 137 99 97 112 64 53 137 254 267 163 178

Keeping In Touch in Seward


Internet Access in Seward

You can find a number of cyber cafes and Wi-Fi hotspots in Seward. Many of the hotels in Seward offer Wi-Fi or internet connections as well.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

  • Starbucks has a shop at 1907 Seward Highway, not far from the cruise ship docks, that provides Wi-Fi. Phone: (907) 224-6900.

  • The Sea Bean, located at 225 Fourth Avenue in downtown Seward, offers free Wi-Fi and excellent coffee and pastries. Open 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. Phone: (907) 224-6623.

  • Alaska Sealife Center Cafe, located at 301 Railway Avenue offers Wi-Fi. Open Monday through Thursday 9:00 am to 6:30 pm, and Friday to Sunday from 8:00 am to 6:30 pm. Phone: (907) 224-3481.

Internet Cafes

  • Rainy Days Internet Cafe, located at 1406 4th Ave., #D at the Small Boat Harbor. Bring your computer, or use one of their 4 laptops for a small hourly fee. Rainy Days serves a variety of Alaskan-roasted coffees, smoothies and baked goods. Open daily 5:30 am to 10:00 pm. Phone: (907) 224-4888.

  • Grant Electronics, located at 222 Fourth Avenue, across the street from the Sea Bean, provides a quiet, comfortable environment for checking email and surfing the Web. Telephone and Ethernet connections are available for notebook computers. Rates are $12 per hour. Open weekdays 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Phone: (907) 224-7015.

  • Seward Community Library, located at 238 5th Avenue, offers internet access.

To see the locations of Seward's Internet Cafes/Wi-Fi locations, see our Map of Seward Internet Cafes/Wi-Fi locations.

Cellular Phone & Data Services

Verizon

Cell service: Verizon's CDMA service provides extended digital coverage to Seward and the surrounding areas.
Data services: Verizon offers extended 3G coverage to Seward and the surrounding areas.
See details on Verizon's cell and data services coverage in Seward.

ATT Wireless

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

Sprint

Cell service: Sprint's CDMA service in Seward is provided through off-network roaming.
Data services: Sprint offers service in Seward and the surrounding areas through off-network roaming.
See details on Sprint's cell and data services coverage in Seward.

T Mobile

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

Kindle Connectivity

In Seward, you can download your Kindle 3G data through AT&T's EDGE/GPRS coverage in the city.

Internet Cafe























Samsung Galaxy S III

Local Events, Holidays & Festivals in Seward


Look for the following local festivals, holidays and events taking place in Seward for the remainder of 2014 and in 2015:

2014:

  • Thanksgiving Day, November 27. A day to give thanks for the things one has at the close of the harvest season.

  • Christmas Day, December 25. Celebrates the birth of Christ.

2015:

  • New Year's Day, January 1.

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

  • Good Friday, April 3.

  • Easter Sunday, April 5. The most important Christian holiday.

  • Halibut Tournament, June 1 to June 30. Cash prizes are awarded at the end of the tournament for the heaviest fish, as well as for the second and third place entries.

  • Independence Day, July 4. Day-long celebrations at a number of venues in the city.

  • 86th Running of the Mount Marathon Race®, July 4. The foot race is a climb and descent of Mt. Marathon: a mile and a half up and a mile and a half down, complete with cliffs, scree fields, waterfalls and a spectacular view.

  • Silver Salmon Derby, August 9 to 17. One of the oldest and largest fishing derbies in the state.

  • Alaska Day, October 19. Anniversary of the formal transfer of the Territory and the raising of the U.S. flag at Sitka in 1867.

  • Thanksgiving Day, November 26. A day to give thanks for the things one has at the close of the harvest season.

  • Christmas Day, December 25. Celebrates the birth of Christ.

Seward Cruise Port Schedules


Seward is the second largest of the two ports used by the cruise ship lines taking their passengers to Anchorage and beyond.

As a rule, ships arrive at the Seward cruise ship dock between 5:00 am and 7:00 am, and depart between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm.

In 2014, Seward is slated to host 71,000 passengers sailing on 47 ships, up 6% and down 2%, respectively, from 2013. For further information, see our Seward Cruise Ship Schedule - 2014.

In 2015, Seward is slated to host 90,000 passengers sailing on 61 ships, up 26% and 30%, respectively, from 2014. For further information, see our Seward Cruise Ship Schedule - 2015.

Harbor seal

Cruise Lines Making Port in Seward


The following cruise lines will make port in Seward in 2014:

Royal Caribbean icon Royal Caribbean Celebrity Cruises  icon Celebrity Cruises
Holland America icon Holland America Regent icon
Regent Cruises
Silversea icon Silversea Cruises
Cruise Ship


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