If you’re planning on spending some time in Juneau, Alaska, then you probably are wondering how you can best get around the city. This is especially true if you plan on leaving the downtown area to explore places like the Mendenhall Glacier.
In this article, I’ll give you everything you need to know about using Uber, Lyft, and taxis in Juneau. I’ll tell you what our experiences were like, give you some tips, and also provide some price estimates so you’ll know what to expect.
Getting around Downtown Juneau
Getting around Downtown Juneau is quite easy to do just by walking since the entire downtown area is not that big.
The majority of the touristy shops located along Franklin Street are clustered together and convenient to get to for people coming off the cruise ships. You also have a lot of restaurants in that area like Tracy’s King Crab Shack, Deckhand Dave’s Fish Tacos, Red Dog Saloon, etc.
Even if you want to venture further into town where the Alaska State Museum is and other restaurants like Sandpiper, Bullwinkle’s Pizza, etc., plenty of people will be able to easily make that ~10 minute walk from the cruise terminal.
Some parts of the city will require walking uphill so if you have some mobility issues it might be a challenge to get to some places (it’s really not that bad).
But if you are just coming off of a cruise ship you should be able to walk to a lot of places to eat and shop. No need for Uber/Lyft.
Just be aware that it can often be rainy and so if you plan on being outside and walking around a lot you should bring a raincoat with you. You could also use an umbrella but some of the sidewalks are crowded in the touristy areas and a rain jacket just works way better.
So walking is great for downtown Juneau but there are some places that will be further removed from the Downtown Juneau area that are still worth visiting.
One example of this is the dive bar: Sandbar.
This place has the best fish and chips in Juneau but if you’re on a cruise you would probably have to take a ride share or taxi to get over there.
So let’s take a look at what you could expect if you use Uber and Lyft in Juneau.
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Uber and Lyft in Juneau
Using Uber and Lyft in Juneau is not always easy.
There is a limited number of drivers in the city and for that reason sometimes it can take a while for you to find a driver and/or for them to arrive. You may have to wait 20+ minutes for rideshare in some cases. In other cases, you may never find a driver.
It’s not uncommon for the driver that dropped you off to be the same one that picks you up!
When we visited in the summer we sometimes struggled to find drivers so I can only imagine how things might get during the winter when the city gets much sleepier.
Another issue is that sometimes it’s difficult to get good cell phone service in Juneau when trying to order an Uber. We did not have trouble around the downtown area but whenever we ventured out sometimes we only had one or two bars which made it a little bit difficult.
With all that said, we successfully used both Uber and Lyft in Juneau on a number of occasions.
Overall, the drivers that we had were quite nice and several of them gave us some pretty good inside information about different attractions.
That’s one of the benefits of using a rideshare service that people often overlook — you can get unbiased travel advice.
One important thing to know is that some places may not allow you to get picked up by rideshare services or there might be special pick-up zones.
For example, the Mendenhall Glacier is a location where rideshare drivers are technically banned. If you want to get picked up there you’ll have to walk a ways up the road.
We actually had an Uber driver drop us off at Mendenhall Glacier and we did not even realize that he was technically violating their policy. (We suspected something was up whenever he refused to drop us off near one of the park staff members.)
If arriving at Juneau’s airport (JNU), there is a designated area for rideshare pick ups located at the bus pick up area. Just look for the sign.
Make sure that you wander over there because there were some folks enforcing the pick up zone restrictions very strictly when we were at the airport.
As far as some estimated prices for Uber and Lyft in Juneau, here are a few price estimates from downtown (4 Points hotel):
Downtown to Gold Creek Salmon Bake
- Uber: $14.91
- Lyft: $16.82
Downtown to Macaulay Salmon Hatchery
- Uber: $14.97
- Lyft: $14.99
Downtown to Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center
- Uber: N/A
- Lyft: $34.99
Downtown to Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure in Juneau
- Uber: $23.96
- Lyft: $23.98
Downtown to Mount Roberts Tramway
- Uber: $10.07
- Lyft: $10.90
Downtown to Last Chance Mining Museum
- Uber: $10.85
- Lyft: $12.77
Downtown to Mount Roberts Trailhead
- Uber: $10.07
- Lyft: $10.90
Downtown to Juneau International Airport
- Uber: $28.94
- Lyft: $27.99
Downtown to Sandbar & Grill
- Uber: $29.97
- Lyft: $28.99
Downtown to Island Pub
- Uber: $14.00
- Lyft: $14.84
Taxis can be a pretty nice way to get around the city and there are two services that I would recommend:
- Juneau Taxi
- Glacier Taxi and Tours
If you call a taxi on the spot you may face a waiting time of around 30 minutes to one hour depending on where you are.
Note: Some of the destinations like the Mendenhall Glacier have a cap on what the taxi driver can charge.
We called Juneau Taxi and scheduled a taxi for 3:45 in the morning so that we could get to the airport in time for a super early flight.
The taxi driver was there early and got us quickly and safely to the airport.
We also used them to get back from the Mendenhall Glacier to downtown and they were right on time.
So I would fully recommend Juneau Taxi.
A lot of people choose to book tours that shuttle them from the cruise terminals over to the attraction.
For example, if you wanna get over to the Mendenhall Glacier you can easily find a tour that will provide shuttle transportation.
The same goes for things like whale watching or the salmon hatchery.
Some sites might even have a free shuttle that you can use like the Salmon Bake.
So my advice is to call around or ask around to make sure that you’re not missing out on the shuttle service they can help you see the sites you want to see without having to deal with Uber or Lyft.
Of course, the one drawback with shuttle buses is that you may have to wait for them to fill up and they tend to only operate on their own schedules.
Public bus system
Capital Transit provides public transportation throughout the City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska. We never actually did the bus but we did see a number of bus stops and it seems like a pretty decent way to get around.
You can find out more here.
Using Uber and Lyft in Juneau can be tricky. It definitely can be done but in some cases you might be better off scheduling a taxi because that might be much more reliable than relying on chance to book Uber and Lyft.
Don’t forget about inquiring about shuttle rides and there is also the public bus system you might want to use as well. And finally, remember that walking is often a good option even on rainy days (if you have the right apparel).
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.