Petersburg, Alaska, located on Mitkoff Island, is considered Alaska’s Little Norway. Petersburg grew up around a salmon cannery and sawmill built by Peter Buschmann between 1897 and 1899. Petersburg is named after Peter Buschmann and part of its charm lies in its magnificent setting and the Scandinavian design of some of its buildings and houses.
Downtown merchants sell a variety of products including gifts and souvenirs, hunting and fishing gear and licenses, camping supplies, groceries, hardware, marine supplies, automotive parts, and clothing. Unique and colorful gifts and clothes imported from Norway are available at some specialty shops. Artwork by local artists is sold at downtown shops and at an art gallery located near the ferry terminal.
The business district contains two banks, several restaurants, a laundry, a movie theater, and a bookstore. The U.S. Post Office and the U.S. Forest Service ranger district office are both located in the federal office building. Other merchants in Petersburg offer nearly all visitor services, including gas stations and car repair, air taxi services and charters, car rentals, RV parking, propane, and boat repairs and rentals.
Visit the Clausen Memorial Museum at Second and Fram Streets to view exhibits that explain local fishing history and Petersburg’s Norwegian heritage. The museum is open daily May through September.
The recently restored Sons of Norway Hall is one of the prominent downtown landmarks. It is a favorite location for artists and photographers. The hall is on the National Register of Historic Places and is open for visitors on special occasions.
Mitkoff Island offers a picnic area at Sandy Beach located north of Petersburg. Sandy Beach has a good view of Frederick Sound and offers covered picnic shelters. Camping is not allowed at the picnic grounds.
Walk through any of the boat harbors and you will usually find a friendly fisherman who will explain some of the fishing gear and fishing boats docked in the harbor. Freshly caught local seafood is often available at the local markets and also is served at local restaurants.
Petersburg offers several attractive walks. The city’s Main Street contains brass inlays of area birds and animals, and boasts recently planted trees, custom light poles and benches, and picnic tables along Harbor Way. A boardwalk connects Mountain View Manor with the local ballpark. Other walks are the Loop Walk, Hammer Slough Walk, Harbor Walk, and the Three Lakes Loop Road Walk.