Juneau: Introduction

The city and borough of Juneau is one of Alaska's most popular tourist destinations and one of the state's most important ports. Juneau is unique in that it is accessible only by air and sea. Annually, more than 800,000 cruise-ship passengers visit the city between May and September. Many are surprised to find a vibrant community with professional theater, museums, art galleries, and historical sites in a small-town atmosphere. The area has a temperate climate with weather on par with that of Seattle. Juneau had been one of the world's major gold mining areas until the 1940s when costs outstripped the value of the gold; however, the industry has had a resurgence with a significant project having gained approval in 2005. The city's economy relies heavily on the government workers who make up the majority of the work force, along with fishermen, loggers, and miners. Nearby Glacier Bay, Admiralty Island, and the Juneau Icefield offer spectacular scenery, and sightseeing flights are available year-round.