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The Sitka School District runs several schools in Sitka, including Sitka High School and Pacific High School, as well as the town's only middle school, Blatchley Middle School. They also run a home school assistance program through Terry's Learning Center. Mt. Edgecumbe High School, a State of Alaska-run boarding high school for rural, primarily Native, students, is located on Japonski Island adjacent to University of Alaska Southeast. Two private schools are available in Sitka: Sitka Adventist School, and The SEER School.

Sitka is served by the Daily Sitka Sentinel, one of the remaining few independently-owned daily newspapers in the state. Sitka also receives circulation of the Capital City Weekly a weekly regional newspaper based out of Juneau. Alaska's first newspaper following the Alaska purchase, the Sitka Times, was published by Barney O. Ragan on September 19, 1868. Only four issues were published that year, as Ragan cited a lack of resources available at the time. The paper resumed publishing the following year as the Alaska Times. In 1870, it moved to Seattle, where the year following it was renamed the Seattle Times (not to be confused with the modern-day newspaper of the same name).

Marko Dapcevich, former mayor of Sitka Dale DeArmond, printmaker and book illustrator Annie Furuhjelm, Finnish journalist and legislator Sheldon Jackson, Presbyterian missionary in Alaska in late 19th century Scott McAdams, 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Richard Nelson, cultural anthropologist, writer, and activist Teri Rofkar, Tlingit weaver John Straley, award-winning author

Sitka's attractions include: Alaska Raptor Center Baranof Castle Hill Sheet'k Kwan Naa Kahdi Russian Bishop's House Saint Lazaria National Wildlife Refuge St. Michael's Cathedral Sheldon Jackson Museum Sitka Fine Arts Camp Sitka Historical Museum Sitka Jazz Festival Sitka Lutheran Church Sitka National Historical Park Sitka Pioneer Home Sitka Summer Music Festival Swan Lake Tongass National Forest The flora and fauna of Sitka and its surrounding area are popular. Day cruises and guided day trips (hiking) are large enterprises in Sitka. Floatplane "flightseeing" excursions are a way to view the area's sights from above.

Louis L'Amour penned Sitka, his fictional account of the events surrounding the United States' purchase of the Alaska Territory from the Russians for $7.2 million in 1867. Novelist James Michener resided at Sitka's Sheldon Jackson College while doing research for his epic work, Alaska. The 1952 film The World in His Arms has Russian Sitka as one of its settings. Sitka is the opening setting in Ivan Doig's 1982 historical fiction The Sea Runners. Sitka is mentioned in Chapter 53 of James Clavell's 1993 historical fiction about Japan Gai-Jin. Mystery author John Straley described Sitka as " island town where people feel crowded by the land and spread out on the sea." Part of the action in the novel Csar Cascabel by Jules Verne takes place in Sitka in MayJune, 1867 during the transfer of ownership to the United States. A fictionalized Sitka, with a population in the millions and the host of a fictional 1977 World's Fair, is the setting of the alternate history detective story The Yiddish Policemen's Union, by Michael Chabon. Sitka is a character in the 2003 Disney animated feature Brother Bear. Sitka is a setting used in the 2009 feature The Proposal, although the scenes were filmed in Rockport, Massachusetts. Sitka was featured in a 2012 episode of the Travel Channel's popular series Bizarre Foods, starring Andrew Zimmern. In this episode Zimmern ate herring eggs, stink heads, and sea cucumbers. Sitka was named one of the Top 20 Small Towns to Visit in 2013 by Smithsonian magazine. The Long Dark takes place in the area of the Sitka Islands.