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The most common starting spot is Marine Park, situated right along the cruise-ship dock. For an introduction to Alaska's human and natural history, head to the engaging Alaska State Museum. From here, circle back along Willoughby Avenue to the State Office Building. Catch the elevator to the eighth-floor atrium, which features an observation deck with vistas across the Gastineau Channel. The snug but cheery Juneau-Douglas City Museum, a local treasure that's slightly off the beaten path, sits a short distance away at 4th and Main streets. The looming, banklike building across the street is the Alaska State Capitol. For a far more attractive example of governmental architecture, walk past the Governor's Mansion, a few minutes away on Calhoun Street. If you have the time and energy, you may want to continue along Calhoun, across the Gold Creek Bridge, and then down along 12th Street to the quiet Evergreen Cemetery, where town fathers Joe Juneau and Richard Harris, as well as Chief Kowee, are buried.
Back in downtown, peruse the historic buildings and busy shops of downtown Juneau, particularly those along South Franklin Street. Check out the Alaskan Hotel, the Alaska Steam Laundry Building, and the Senate Building before dipping inside the terminally crowded Red Dog Saloon at the intersection of South Franklin Street and Admiralty Way. Try a microbrew, and then continue down the street to the Mt. Roberts Tramway, a popular way to reach alpine country for a hike overlooking Juneau and the Gastineau Channel. Next door is the colorful new Juneau Visitor Center.
To cover downtown Juneau's many interesting sights, you should allow at least three or four hours for exploring. Add at least another hour if you're a museum fan, or if you plan to ride the Mt. Roberts Tramway.
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