From the history of Jack London to Yukon’s stunning scenery, there is so much to see and learn in Dawson City. Here’s a list of activities we recommend doing once you’re done with your shift. Literary types and history buffs will especially get a kick out of spending a summer in this northern town.
1. See the Robert Service Cabin.
Known as the Bard of the Yukon, the poet Robert Service held a day job as a bank teller. He’d get up early and work on poetry before work, his verses inspired by the Arctic trails and northern lights that surrounded him. His cabin is stocked with genuine Gold Rush-era items similar to what he might have used, and actors portraying Gold Rush-era people are on hand to tell you about them.
2. Tour the Jack London Cabin and Interpretive Centre.
Eighth Street was famous among the Yukon literati. On the very same street, you’ll find the Jack London museum. The author is famous for books like White Fang and The Call of the Wild, which are set during the Klondike Gold Rush and evoke the wild spirit of the Yukon. See the cabin where he wrote some of his best works.
3. Stop in the Dawson City Museum.
The Dawson City Museum has historical exhibits featuring the Athabaskan people, the fur trade and the Klondike Gold Rush. It’ll give you a jump on your North American history class if you’re heading back to college in the fall.
4. Check out the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre.
For more about the indigenous people of the Klondike – also known as the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in – visit the Cultural Centre. It’s more than a museum – you can find performances or take a river walk tour. A gift shop sells individual items handmade by First Nation people, so you can take home a unique gift for your family when your summer job in Dawson City comes to a close. Check the summer schedule to get an idea of the activities they’re offering.
5. Knock one back at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s.
If you’re over 19, stop in Diamond Tooth Gertie’s, a turn-of-the-20th-century Gold Rush-inspired entertainment venue in a historic downtown building. Diamond Tooth Gertie’s features gambling – it’s the oldest casino in Canada – and three nightly cancan shows. You might feel like you’ve accidentally stumbled into a time machine back to those raucous prospecting days.
6. Find gold just like the prospectors.
In the 1890s, gold is what drew adventurous travelers like you here. Get inspired with a visit to Dredge No. 4 and try panning for gold yourself at Free Claim No. 6. Then, when the Yukon Gold Panning Championships come around in July, you’ll be ready for competition.
7. Swing at some golf balls.
Visit the Top of the World Golf Course – yes, there’s a course here – and tee off for a midnight game – remember, the sun doesn’t set until about 1 a.m. in the middle of summer, and it doesn’t get dark. Of course, if you stay throughout the year, you’ll discover winters are quite the opposite – you might get four hours of daylight if you’re lucky.
8. Walk along the riverbank.
The massive 2,000-mile Yukon River passes by Dawson City, providing a passageway to early settlers and a recreational fairway to today’s adventure-loving travelers. The river is literally filled with history – if you walk the riverbank, you will encounter abandoned sternwheelers beached since the 1950s.
9. Take in Discovery Days weekend.
Held in mid-August, the Discovery Days weekend features a full menu of exciting activities for many interests and tastes. The Klondike Valley Mud Bog offers a chance to witness monster trucks kicking up plenty of soggy earth. There are trail runs/walks, the Yukon Riverside Arts Festival, a horticulture fair, a dance, music lessons, artist talks, a computer coding tech fair for kids, musical events and a parade, to name a few events. It’s not to be missed during your stay in Dawson Creek.