Barrow, Alaska (now known as Utqiagvik) is accessible mainly by air and boat and is the US’s northernmost city. Since we are so close to the Arctic Circle, we have 24 hours of daylight from about mid-May through August. Utqiagvik (Barrow) is an unforgettable bucket-list destination you will never forget. While you are here, don’t miss these five activities:
Iñupiat Heritage Center
The Iñupiat Heritage Center (IHC) tells the rich story of the Iñupiat people. We have thrived in one of the harshest climates in the world for thousands of years and fostered a unique and symbolic relationship with our environment. This dynamic is well documented and preserved for future generations at IHC. Iñupiat artists also have a place at the IHC to work on their crafts as well as showcase the finished pieces. The Traditional Room is a space designated for the construction and repair of traditional whaling boats; thus supporting the continuation of our whaling traditions, which are so central to our culture and survival.
Barrow Beach & Whale Bone Arch
While here in Utqiaġvik (Barrow), walking down on our rocky beach and looking out over the Arctic Ocean is an experience not to be missed. You can take your photo with the “Welcome to Barrow” sign and visit our memorable Whale Bone Arch. Depending on what time of year you visit, you could see the launching of the whaling boats called umiaq and the butchering of the great Bowhead whale from a successful hunt. And from the safety of a vehicle, you could see the polar bears that come to clean up and gorge on what is left of the whale. Then there is the apugauti feast that happens at the end of the whaling season in October or Nalukataq festival in June, which celebrates the successful hunt with friends and relatives from all over the North Slope.
Winter Aurora Viewing
Utqiaġvik (Barrow) is one of the best places in Alaska to view the stunning and eerie aurora borealis. Few are brave enough to venture this far north, but the reward is more than worth it. It is not a guarantee that the lights will be out every night but it is highly probable. You won’t be able to see them though when the sun never sets, so visit us when the sun does set for the show of your life!
Will Rogers and Wiley Post Monuments
Both monuments were dedicated in 1982 to commemorate the 1935 airplane crash that killed the famous pilot and American humorist and actor, Will Rogers and his friend Wiley Post. The accident happened about 15 miles southwest of Utqiaġvik Barrow during a planned stop on their trip from Fairbanks to Siberia. One of the monuments is located on the crash site; the other is across from the Utqiaġvik Barrow airport.
Wild Life Viewing
During the spring and summer months Utqiaġvik (Barrow) is home to millions of birds including the snowy owl from which our traditional name, Utqiaġvik comes from (Utqiaġvik means “the place where the snowy owl”) Both Bowhead and Beluga whales migrate through waters just off the coast of our community. Caribou, fox, seals, walrus, re all plentiful. In the fall polar bear are common as they wait for the left overs from the whale hunts.
There is something for just about every adventurous traveler looking for the experience of a life time!