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View Full Version : What to buy in Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka?


Saintpat
July 24th, 2008, 11:09 PM
What are some ideas for an Alaska memento or something to "remember" the trip by, or to give to special friends? I have no idea what tourists buy in Alaska! The people I know who went most recently bought nothing, and another bought only jewelry on the ship! I've got no need for more jewelry, but I love things for my garden, kitchen, and den. Any ideas appreciated...any good shopping sites (don't want to spend a lot of time, but maybe an hour or so afrer excursions/before sailing) in the cities above? We sail in a month.

TCF
July 25th, 2008, 12:54 AM
There are all kinds of great unique Alaska souvenirs...and none of the places you are visiting are really large cities so the number of shops are limited...you don't need to spend a lot of time!

One thing you have to do is to check carefully to make sure that the souvenirs you buy ARE MADE IN ALASKA! To many souvenirs sold in stores are made in China...cheap copies...over priced!

An Ulu is a must buy! They are unique to the far north of both Alaska and Canada. An all-purpose knife designed by Inuit decades or longer ago they are great for use in the modern day kitchen. They come with wooden a cutting bowl. Some are real works of art that you would only put on display...others are very useful in the kitchen once you get the hang of using them. Make great 'special' gifts for family and friends.

There are also some great carvings, paintings and prints done by 'first nations' artists..as well as really wonderful jewellery.

Look for shops owned and operated by locals...not the big chain stores that open at the end of May and close by the end of September. Local is always better in terms of quality and uniqueness in my opinion. Also the money you spend is staying in the community.

Just my thoughts.

SuburbanMom
July 25th, 2008, 01:00 AM
There are all kinds of great unique Alaska souvenirs...and none of the places you are visiting are really large cities so the number of shops are limited...you don't need to spend a lot of time!

One thing you have to do is to check carefully to make sure that the souvenirs you buy ARE MADE IN ALASKA! To many souvenirs sold in stores are made in China...cheap copies...over priced!

An Ulu is a must buy! They are unique to the far north of both Alaska and Canada. An all-purpose knife designed by Inuit decades or longer ago they are great for use in the modern day kitchen. They come with wooden a cutting bowl. Some are real works of art that you would only put on display...others are very useful in the kitchen once you get the hang of using them. Make great 'special' gifts for family and friends.

There are also some great carvings, paintings and prints done by 'first nations' artists..as well as really wonderful jewellery.

Look for shops owned and operated by locals...not the big chain stores that open at the end of May and close by the end of September. Local is always better in terms of quality and uniqueness in my opinion. Also the money you spend is staying in the community.

Just my thoughts.

If I remember correctly, ulus can't be carried on board ship. They must be shipped to the mainland. There is really nothing to buy there. We walked the shops and looked and kept our money to ourselves. Save yours.

Sprucetree
July 25th, 2008, 08:09 AM
Is it possible to buy button blankets? I've never seen it posted anywhere on these boards, but I have my mind set on acquiring one of these. Where can they be purchased?

rhgru
July 25th, 2008, 09:56 AM
We were in those ports last week. The chain souvenier shops are duplicated in every port and carry the same stuff so if you see something in Juneau and dont buy it- you can probably buy the same thing in Ketchikan or Skagway. We had a coupon book we got on the ship that had lots of freebies or reduced prices for stuff like mugs, hats, t-shirts- calendars- bear claws salad tossers- luggage tags- etc- and we mostly used the coupons in those stores.

If you want something unique- there were many stores with local artists' works like jewelery, wood carvings, drawings and pictures, glass works- gorgeous stuff depicting the scenery and cultures of Alaska and lots of it is very expensive- but worth it to some. I did buy some jewlery made by locals which I will treasure. T

Chat Noir
July 25th, 2008, 10:33 AM
One thing you have to do is to check carefully to make sure that the souvenirs you buy ARE MADE IN ALASKA! To many souvenirs sold in stores are made in China...cheap copies...over priced!

An Ulu is a must buy! They are unique to the far north of both Alaska and Canada. An all-purpose knife designed by Inuit...
Some are real works of art that you would only put on display...others are very useful in the kitchen once you get the hang of using them. Make great 'special' gifts for family and friends.



100% agree!
My ulu is a favorite kitchen utensil. I use it almost daily. I've given them for gifts, and a couple of friends have ordered more to give for gifts, despite never having been to Alaska themselves. Ulu Factory has nice sets (knife with block/bowl) for around $30 per boxed set. They are mass produced by a company in Anchorage and available in every port, cheapest in Ketchikan, my experience. Very unique ulu's are also available... incredibly nice ones, some with beautiful handles, just pricier.

mbisson
July 25th, 2008, 10:55 AM
Juneau---Beer, but you'll probably have to drink it there :D

Actually, my wife uses our Ulu daily. The chopping bowl split recently though. I don't mind, just means it's time to go back to Alaska and buy another! But it'll probably be a land trip for her HS reunion in Juneau

dustyroad
July 25th, 2008, 11:52 AM
What are some ideas for an Alaska memento or something to "remember" the trip by, or to give to special friends? I have no idea what tourists buy in Alaska! The people I know who went most recently bought nothing, and another bought only jewelry on the ship! I've got no need for more jewelry, but I love things for my garden, kitchen, and den. Any ideas appreciated...any good shopping sites (don't want to spend a lot of time, but maybe an hour or so afrer excursions/before sailing) in the cities above? We sail in a month.

i love nesting dolls. they are so lovely and easy to display at home. prices vary immensly but so is the value of each one.

rjscott
July 25th, 2008, 12:05 PM
For ourselves, we bought a soapstone bear which was made by a local artist in Anchorage. For souvenirs, I bought my nephew a zipper pull at Wm. Spear in Juneau. There are many to choose from and I purchased an eagle for him and for my hubby, we got a floatplane. Very nice and fairly inexpensive. For my niece I got a set of the marushka nesting dolls from Russia. Also purchased in Juneau. Also got my nephew a long-sleeved T-shirt from the White Pass Railroad store in Skagway.

dbhome
July 25th, 2008, 01:01 PM
We bought canned smoked salmon. We tasted the particular brand on our kayaking trip and really liked it so we bought small cans for our friends so they could get a taste of Alaska.

kayden
July 25th, 2008, 01:13 PM
Stores will quite often advertise if their items are made in Alaska. Like this:

http://images114.fotki.com/v660/photos/1/139407/6462432/uploaded71008a002-vi.jpg

Be careful though - some items are overpriced due to this - they are aware that visitors have very limited knowledge of artifacts and therefore will charge you a premium for some items.

I think Native artwork or handmade drums, windcatchers, woven baskets etc are good ideas.

RLBlack
July 25th, 2008, 01:28 PM
In Juneau, if you go up the tram- that is owned and operated by the local native corporation- the gift shop has a whole section- featuring items made in Alaska - watch for the logo- that will insure the items were not made in China- they are more expensive- but you will get an item that is made locally. Ruth

Saintpat
July 25th, 2008, 09:19 PM
You are all great to help me with tips. What good advice! thanks a bunch!
Pat from the weedy Midwest
(it's rained here all summer and the weeds are waist high)

2Oregonians
July 26th, 2008, 11:54 PM
What are some ideas for an Alaska memento or something to "remember" the trip by, or to give to special friends? I have no idea what tourists buy in Alaska! The people I know who went most recently bought nothing, and another bought only jewelry on the ship! I've got no need for more jewelry, but I love things for my garden, kitchen, and den. Any ideas appreciated...any good shopping sites (don't want to spend a lot of time, but maybe an hour or so afrer excursions/before sailing) in the cities above? We sail in a month.

The things I got were things I felt were representative of Alaska such as totem poles (they have every size and price) Mytroshka, which are Russian nesting dolls since Alaska is so close to Russia (again, literally EVERY size and price) and also anything with bears, whales, eagles, etc. like a snow globe, plate, figurine, t-shirt.... the ideas are endless. You could also pick up some local jams, teas, locally made soap or candles, things like that. Hope that helps.