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Things To Do In Barrow, AK

By Edited Dec 20, 2013 1 2

Barrow, AK
Credit: wunderground.com

Location & Climate

Barrow is the northernmost point in the United States. Barrow is located at the top of Alaska and it borders the Arctic Ocean. It's only 1300 miles from the north pole and 330 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Barrow has an arctic climate which means lots of snow and cold weather. In fact, Barrow has snow from September to May. The weather can be brutally cold there too. The summers will only get up to 40°-50°f in the summer and can get down to as low as -30°f in the winter. If you don't like the cold then you'll want to visit in the summertime.

24 Hours Of Light & 24 Hours Of Dark

Barrow has a unique sunlight cycle. Since Barrow is above the Arctic Circle, it receives both 24 hours of lightness and 24 hours of darkness during specific parts of the year.

Between November and February the sun sets causing 24 hours of darkness. This means you'll wake up in the dark, eat lunch in the dark, and spend your afternoon in the dark. You'll also see the Aurora Borealis on some of the winter days. The Aurora Borealis is a streak of colorful lights that move through the sky. It's a beautiful sight to see.

Between May and August, the sun rises causing 24 hours of lightness. This means you'll have to sleep when it's light outside, which will feel strange.

The rest of the year has a normal sunrise and sunset cycle so if you don't want too much darkness or don't want to sleep in light, then this is the time you'll want to visit.

Point Barrow Alaska

Point Barrow Alaska is the real northernmost point in the United States. You can take a tour to Point Barrow and you might even see polar bears on your tour. Be sure to have your camera ready because you might get a picture of a polar bear a few feet from you. When you get to point Barrow, you'll see breathtaking views of the Arctic Ocean. This tour can take a few hours so plan accordingly.

Polar Bear Plunge

The polar bear plunge is for the people who like to see if they can stand the cold weather. For a small fee, you'll be able to jump into the freezing arctic ocean, get a towel when your done, and get a certificate to prove that you've swam in the Arctic Ocean.

Since the arctic ocean is frozen most of the year, you'll only be able to do this in the summer. It will also be very cold so only do this if you're comfortable with extreme temperatures.

Barrow's Culture

Since Barrow's population is made up of a lot of native Eskimos, you'll be able to get a lot of culture in Barrow. Whaling events are one common cultural event in Barrow where the town cuts up whales and has a meal. You'll also see a whale arch made of bones on the beach, which is a great place to get a picture taken under.

 

Other Small Tourism Attractions

First of all, Barrow is remote enough to have its own sign that points the direction and number of miles from some of the larger cities. This is a nice thing to see.

Barrow also has these fake palm trees that look awkward in the arctic. This is a highlight for some people.

Barrow has an indoor skating rink. The reason for this is because the outdoor surroundings are rough and it would be hard to skate outside.

Transportation

Getting to Barrow is hard at times. There are no roads leading to or from Barrow due to its remoteness. Because of this, you must fly into Barrow on Alaskan Airlines into their tiny airport.

Once you're in Barrow, you have many options of getting around. Since Barrow is only a few miles (or kilometers) from one end to the other end of town, you can easily walk everywhere. If it's the middle of winter, you'll want to find a different transportation option. Car rental are available as well as snowmobiles and taxis. If you get a taxi, it can cost as little as $5 to go across town.

Accomodations/Hotels

There are only three hotels in Barrow. These include, the Airport Inn, King Eider Inn, and Top Of The World Hotel. Keep in mind that Barrow hotels are expensive due to the remote location.

If you are looking for a small quiet place with the cheapest rates then the Airport Inn is you best option. The Airport Inn is also located right next to the airport for convenience. It also offers basic continental breakfast including cereal, toast, and juice. Rates are around $120-130/night.

If you are looking for a hotel with views of the Arctic Ocean then you'll want to consider the Top Of The World Hotel. This hotel has a spacious lobby, continental breakfast, and has the perfect location next to the Arctic Ocean and restaurants. Rates are around $200-250/night.

If you are looking for a bit of luxury than the King Eider Inn is your best choice. The King Eider Inn offers a nice lobby with a fireplace, free coffee, nice wooden pine furniture, saunas, and even has a presidential suite. Although there is no continental breakfast, the King Eider Inn is located across the street from the airport. Rates are $200+ per night. The presidential suite costs extra.

 

Restaurants & Food

Barrow offers a lot of different types of cuisines in its restaurants. A meak in a restaurant can cost $20 or more easily so be aware. The restaurants include:

* Pepe's North Of The Border: Mexican food.

* Arctic Pizza: pizza

* Northern Lights Restaurant: Chinese food, sandwiches, burgers, pizza, etc.

* Sam & Lees: Chinese food

* Browsers Restaurant: American & Korean food

* Osaka Restaurant: teriyaki food/seafood

* Shogun teriyaki house: teriyaki food

* East Coast Pizza LLC: pizza

Barrow is also a "dry" town meaning the sale of alcohol is banned. Instead you must bring your own. Everything else can be found in a grocery store. Just be aware that the prices are high. A gallon of milk, for example, can cost $10 because it's hard to get food up to the arctic.

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Comments

Mar 6, 2013 8:23am
aguy
I've been to Barrow several times, both in the winter and the summer. Barrow is a really interesting place. One thing I wasn't expecting my first summer there was the mosquitos, so you would want to be prepared for that. If you are in Barrow, be sure to say hello to Fran at Pepe's North of the Border. She was on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Mar 11, 2013 10:20am
dilipchandra12
Great article, well written.
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