10 Free Things to do in Dawson
Much of Dawson’s vibrant colour, eclectic flavour, and charming personality won’t cost you a thing! Stretch your travel budget by checking out the following free attractions!
Explore the Visitor Information Centre
Located in the historic Alaska Commercial Company building, we recommend that the Visitor Information Centre be your first stop. Let our friendly staff welcome you to the Klondike with knowledgeable travel tips and localisms. You’ll find informative displays about the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Beringia, the Gold Rush, plus scale models of Dredge No. Four and the Klondike Mines Railway. You can sit and watch our historic films or use the free wifi to catch up with the news from home!
History Hunting at Harrington's
Drop into Harrington’s Store, a building constructed in 1902, that stands at the corner of Third Avenue and Princess Street. Inside you’ll find “Dawson As They Saw It”, an exhibit that includes historical photographs and archival materials that date back to the Klondike Gold Rush.
Discover the Paddlewheel Graveyard
Take a walk to the Paddlewheel Graveyard where the remains of several once majestic sternwheelers sit on the bank of the Yukon River. Explore the area as you conjure what it was like when paddlewheelers were the quickest and easiest way to get to Dawson. Be sure to bring your camera, because this picturesque spot will impress even the most skilled Instagrammer.
Browse the Wares
Our local shops are more than just a place to purchase, they also offer an assortment of unique experiences. From walking the aisles in our very own trading post to seeing a display of authentic mammoth tusk and bone, you’ll have an extraordinary time just window shopping. Who knows, you may just find the perfect Klondike treasure!
Visit Some Founding Dawsonites
Experience another side of our town’s vibrant history by visiting the Dawson City Cemeteries. Visit the grave of a Dawson “knight,” Alexander McDonald, who was knighted by the Vatican for his generous financial donations. Or pay your respects to Percy “Iron Man” DeWolfe, who helped deliver mail in the cold dark winter…by dogsled! You can pick up a pamphlet at the Visitor Information Centre that will guide you through the historic cemeteries located on Mary McLeod Road.
Stroll on Ninth Avenue
Get away from the “busy” Dawson streets by taking a quiet walk among our regional flora and fauna. The Ninth Avenue Trail spans from one end of town to the other, offering both interpretive signage and unforgettable views of Dawson City. A community favourite, you’ll likely meet some locals along the way!
Get on Top of the World
In summer, take the ferry across river and drive over the Top of the World! This highway goes into Alaska, but there’s no need to go that far: the views on this side of the border are stunning. The highway travels along the mountain ridges, with elevations up to 4127 feet, and offers incredible views into the valleys. At kilometer 59, you’ll find Castle Rock, a huge rock outcropping that resembles its namesake. If you’re lucky, you might just see some wildlife, too!
Do the Gallery Hop
Dawson City has a thriving arts community, and the heart of that community is the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture. Their ODD Gallery exhibition space is open year-round and displays work from regional, national, and international artists. There are often pop-up galleries around town throughout the summer, too, so make sure to check in with the staff at the Visitor Information Centre to find out what else is happening!
Take in the View from the Midnight Dome
Unmistakably the most recognizable Dawson City landmark, the Midnight Dome—complete with its rock-face scar known as the Moosehide Slide—stands majestically above town. Drive or hike your way to the top and take in the breathtaking panorama of the Yukon River Valley. It’s the perfect spot to watch the midnight sunset or spot the northern lights!
Celebrate with us at a Community Event!
Dawson loves any excuse to get together and have some fun, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to partake in one of many free community events. Enjoy the Han singers on Indigenous Peoples Day, join an interpretive wilderness tour during Weekend on the Wing, or gallery hop at the Riverside Arts Festival. Whatever your flavour, you’ll love celebrating your free time with us!