Those of us in the Lower 48 may think of glaciers as remote, exotic formations that require overnighting at an alpine base camp in order to be seen. But residents on the north side of Juneau, in southeast Alaska, can just look out at the 13-mile-long Mendenhall Glacier over their morning coffee. In fact, Juneau’s city bus takes you right to the glacier’s visitor center.
Although roughly 6,000 people stream off cruise ships into Juneau daily from May to September, most of them cluster by the docks, with their nearby t-shirt shops and tourist kiosks. They miss the quiet streets that creep up the steep slopes away from the water, where the atmosphere resembles any trendy Pacific Northwest neighborhood — complete with craft distilleries, seafood restaurants, and stylish coffee shops.