Spending Time in Skagway

The small town of Skagway, Alaska, offers family-fun for cruise clients By: Janeen Christoff
 Skagway, Alaska // (c) 2011 Janeen Christoff
 Skagway, Alaska // (c) 2011 Janeen Christoff

The Details

Skagway Convention & Visitors Bureau

I had never been to Alaska before this month, and my first taste of the 49th state was Skagway, which I sailed to onboard the Disney Wonder with my 4-year-old daughter. So, with my daughter, Ava, in tow, we disembarked the ship for a day of exploration in the tiny town. Skagway has many tourist activities that will take clients out of town such as panning for gold, salmon bakes, flightseeing opportunities and more. But Skagway itself is worth at least an afternoon of exploration.

The cruise ship dock is within easy walking distance of the main street which is lined with jewelry stores, tourist shops as well as visitor and tourist information services.

Off the main drag, there are a number of eclectic eateries and sweet shops that offer a variety of different goodies. We ate at the Northern Lights Pizzeria and Mexican Restaurant, which offered great pizza but also served a selection of Mexican dishes as well gyro sandwiches, Greek food and American food. Patrons included locals as well as tourists, and the restaurant is open seasonally. While the food was delicious, the service speedy and there was a family-friendly atmosphere, one thing to note for clients is that smoking was allowed inside the restaurant. Clients from states such as California might be mildly shocked to encounter this, but it didn’t turn us away.

Next door, a small bakery and coffee shop, called Glacial Smoothies and Espresso, is an ideal stop for dessert. All Ava wanted in Skagway, for some reason, was a chocolate chip cookie, and I had promised her one if she behaved during lunch. I had done this with confidence that the bakery next door was certain to have a vast quantity of chocolate chip cookies on hand — I was wrong. After perusing the pastry display, I ordered a latte and a chocolate chip cookie — even though I hadn’t seen any in the display case. To mine and Ava’s horror, there were no chocolate chip cookies. However, as we turned away from the register — me guiltily holding my latte — the server called for us to wait. She had found one last chocolate chip cookie. The day was saved and the cookie was savory. On the odd warm day, the coffee shop serves delicious smoothies as well as a variety of pastries and other goodies. Their coffee was tasty, and there was a large seating area, perfect for lounging in with a laptop. The shop is open year round and is frequented by locals as well as visitors.

After Ava had satisfied her sweet tooth and I had my caffeine fix, we walked around town. I peeked into the Red Onion saloon. For clients traveling without children, the establishment offers a fun and lively atmosphere in which to enjoy cocktails and beer.

Notable sights in the city include the Trail of ’98 Museum, the Gold Rush Cemetery and the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway. Other fun activities include dress-up photos at Soapy Smith’s Old Tyme Photo on 6th Avenue and “The Days of '98 Show with Soapy Smith”, which take place May through September. There are several shows daily, starting at 10:30 a.m. 

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