13 Best Performing Arts Venues in Juneau, the Inside Passage, and Southeast Alaska, Alaska


Fodor's choice

More than 2,000 Native dancers gather in Juneau every even-numbered year in June to celebrate their heritage and the continued vitality of Alaska Native cultures. First held in 1982, this four-day cultural festival brings together tribal groups from all over the state, and includes a parade through the streets of Juneau for which participants don traditional, often very elaborate, handmade regalia. There's also a juried art show, Native fashion show, toddler regalia review, food contests, and a Native artist market. All events are open to the public, but the dance performances require a purchased ticket.

Great Alaska Craft Beer and Homebrew Festival

Fodor's choice
This wildly popular festival in Haines, known locally as Beerfest, offers a five-course gourmet brewers' dinner, beer-tasting sessions, a home-brew competition, and live music. Tickets, which sell out quickly, go on sale in early February.

Alaska Folk Festival

The magic of this free, weeklong music festival is its inclusivity: every performer, regardless of his or her level of professionalism, is given 15 minutes on stage, with the exception of the featured guest artists, who play two one-hour sets. Held each April, Folk Fest draws singers, banjo masters, and fiddlers from all over the state and beyond. Past guest artists have included folk singer Nanci Griffith and western swing band Hot Club of Cowtown. Almost as fun as the festival itself is the after-hours bar scene that blossoms around it. Most local bars host performances and jam sessions; on the weekend the music continues into the wee hours.

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Juneau Jazz & Classics

Performers from all over the world head to Juneau each May to celebrate music from Bach to Brubeck. Taj Mahal, Arlo Guthrie, Booker T. Jones, and the Manhattan Transfer are among past guests. First held in 1987, the festival runs for more than two weeks, showcasing jazz and classics along with blues, rock, and soul. Many events require tickets, but others—such as lunch-hour concerts at the State Office Building and jazz jams at a local bar called Lucky Lady—are free. In this spirit of accessibility, visiting musicians also perform in Juneau schools.

Juneau Symphony

A high-caliber volunteer organization, the symphony performs classical works from October through June in high school auditoriums and local churches.

Little Norway Festival

Enthusiasm for Petersburg's Norwegian heritage, expressed by rowdy locals dressed in horned helmets and fur vests, make this event one to catch. The festival has been held annually since 1958 on the weekend closest to May 17, Syttende Mai, or Norwegian Constitution Day. You won't find better Norwegian folk dancing or beer-batter halibut outside Norway.

New Archangel Dancers of Sitka

Dedicated to preserving Alaska's Russian history, this all-female troupe has performed in Sitka since 1969. The 30-minute performances showcase authentic dances from the surrounding regions and Russia. 

Perseverance Theatre

Alaska's only professional theater company performs classics and new productions from September through May. The company also stages plays in Anchorage each season, and some shows have toured more extensively, among them the all-Tlingit version of Shakespeare's Macbeth, which traveled to the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Perseverance is Juneau's most high-profile troupe, but also worth checking out are Theatre in the Rough, a fantastic all-volunteer theater troupe that's been staging Shakespearian works and other classics twice a year since 1991, and two opera companies, Juneau Lyric Opera and The Orpheus Project.

Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi Dancers

Tlingit dancers in full regalia perform at the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi community house on Katlian Street. Tickets are sold through cruise lines or, for independent travelers, as part of package tours offered through Viking Travel.

Sitka Summer Music Festival

Now under the artistic direction of world-renowned cellist Zuill Bailey, this monthlong celebration in June attracts musicians from as far away as Europe and Asia for concerts and special events. Most performances are held at the Sitka Historical Society and Museum.

Sitka WhaleFest

Hosted by the Sitka Sound Science Center, this four-day festival and scientific symposium is held around town in early November, when the whales are plentiful (as many as 80) and tourists are not. Events include lectures, concerts, races, and cruises.

Southeast Alaska State Fair

From a logging show to a fiddle contest, the Southeast Alaska State Fair provides a slice-of-life introduction to the state's eclectic pastimes. Music is a highlight, and there are also kids' activities, tons of food options, and impressive crafts.
296 Fair Dr., Haines, AK, 99827, USA
Performing Arts Details
Rate Includes: From $10 per day

The Days of '98 with Soapy Smith

Since 1927 locals and visiting actors have performed a show at Eagles Hall called The Days of '98 with Soapy Smith. You'll see cancan dancers (including Molly Fewclothes, Belle Davenport, and Squirrel Tooth Alice), learn a little local history, and watch desperado Soapy Smith being sent to his reward. At the evening show you can enjoy a few warm-up rounds of mock gambling with Soapy's money. Performances of Robert Service poetry start a half hour before showtime. Shows take place from one to four times daily, from mid-May through mid-September.