The shops near the dock cater primarily to cruise-ship passengers. After around 500 summer port calls, many close their doors. The year-round community and more local shops tend to be farther up the hill. If you're looking for authentic Alaska Native arts and crafts, be warned that counterfeiting is widespread.
Juneau Artists Gallery, in the Senate Building, at 175 S. Franklin (tel. 907/586-9891; www.juneauartistsgallery.com), is staffed by a co-op of local artists and shows only the members' work: paintings, etchings, photography, jewelry, fabrics, ceramics, and other media. Much of it is good and inexpensive, and the way it is displayed creates a panorama of artistic visions.
Juneau's Rie Muñoz is one of Alaskans' favorite artists for her simple, graphic, generally cheerful watercolors of coastal Alaskan communities and Native people, among other subjects. Her prints, silk screens, note cards, and the like are shown downtown at the Decker Gallery, 233 S. Franklin (tel. 907/463-5536), and in the Mendenhall Valley at the Rie Muñoz Gallery, 2101 Jordan Ave., across from the Nugget Mall (tel. 800/247-3151 or 907/789-7449; www.riemunoz.com), where you'll also find her original watercolors and stained glass.
For gifts, try Annie Kaill's fine arts and crafts gallery, at 244 Front St. It's a little out of the cruise-ship shopping area and gets business from locals. The shop has a rich, homey feeling, with local work at various price levels. The long-established Ad Lib, 231 S. Franklin St., is also a fun little shop.
Hearthside Books (www.hearthsidebooks.com) is a cubbyhole of a bookstore at the corner of Franklin and Front streets but has a good selection for its size, especially of Alaskan books and maps. (A larger branch, with a good toy department, is in the Mendenhall Valley's Nugget Mall, 8745 Glacier Hwy., a 5-min. walk from the airport.) If you're at the airport in need of reading matter, you also may want to check out Amazing Bookstore, in the Airport Shopping Center, 9131 Glacier Hwy. (www.friendsjpl.org/bookstore). Operated by the public library, its large used book selection is mostly priced at $1.
The most unexpected shop in Juneau is the Observatory, at 299 N. Franklin St. (tel. 907/586-9676; www.observatorybooks.com). This browser's paradise specializes in rare maps and books about Alaska, with a large collection of antique engravings. Among the items I've seen here were huge charts drawn by the first 18th-century explorers to trace Alaska's coastline. To get the full effect, you must strike up a conversation with the shop's owner, Dee Longenbaugh. She is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association. One question will start a fascinating tour of Alaska history.
The Urban Eskimo, at 217 Seward St. (tel. 907/796-3626; www.urbaneskimo.com), also specializes in history, focusing on the gold-rush era with photographs, books, and ephemera, and carrying regional art and antiques.
Bill Spear sells his own brightly colored enamel pins and zipper pulls from his studio, hidden upstairs at 174 S. Franklin (tel. 907/586-2209; www.wmspear.com). Alaskans collect the vividly executed fish, birds, airplanes, dinosaurs, vegetables, and many other witty, provocative, and beautiful pins, which cost from $5 to $20 each.
Taku Store, 550 S. Franklin, across the parking lot from the tram station (tel. 800/582-5122 or 907/463-3474; www.takustore.com), is worth a stop if you're nearby, even if you're not in the market for the pricey seafood in the case: It's interesting to watch workers fillet, smoke, and pack salmon through large windows, and to read the explanatory signs about what they're doing. They'll ship fish anywhere in the U.S.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.