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What’s life in Alaska? Exploring the America’s Most Northern Town (Utqiaġvik or Barrow)

22 October 2020
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The Remote Arctic Destination At the Top of Alaska

Utqiaġvik or Barrow is the northernmost town in Alaska. Located near the North Pole, its residents experience a unique natural phenomenon every year – polar nights. From November to December, around-the-clock darkness covers Utqiaġvik with a black blanket. The sun doesn’t rise, and the whole town sleeps like a log. Polar nights are like a fly in the ointment that kills the happiness of sunny days. You can’t dine in your favorite restaurant and walk along beautiful arctic seashores. Life seems harsh in Alaska. And when polar nights arrive, it looks even more difficult. 

Sometimes we wonder how people live in Utqiaġvik. Luckily, it’s not so depressive all year around. In summer, you can see breathtaking arctic landscapes or spot a polar bear in tundra. 

So, let’s find out what you can see in Utqiaġvik! 

Breathtaking arctic landscapes in Utqiaġvik

Life in Barrow or Utqiaġvik Can Be Expensive 

Utqiaġvik is like an isolated island cut off from the rest of the world. Freezing weather and poor transport connections make life difficult and expensive there. Imagine yourself living in Utqiaġvik. You can’t grow your vegetables and fruits near your house. Buying green salads or sweet peaches in groceries is the only option available in Utqiaġvik. You go to the local shop, look at the prices, and notice how high they are. You pick a bottle of orange juice and pay $8 at the cashier desk, while in Oregon, it costs $2. 

Utqiaġvik Has Numerous Curious Sights 

Utqiaġvik was renamed from Barrow in 2016. A new version means ‘gathering wild roots’ in the Inupiaq language. Hardly known Utqiaġvik has many interesting places and activities for tourists. From frozen beaches to polar bears, there are various things to explore in this remote town of Alaska. Read further to discover what experiences wait avid travelers in Utqiaġvik: 

Utqiaġvik - interesting places for tourists
  • Inupiat Heritage Center

This museum shows how the Inupiat people lived thousand years ago. When you’re there, you’ll see unique artifacts from this native community like whale hunting, house conditions, and traditional craft. And there is another thing you shouldn’t miss during your tour – the Inupiat dancing shows. Once you’ve entered inside the museum room, you’ll have a chance to see them! 

  • Barrow Beach

Black sand and mesmerizing views will lead your way to Barrow Beach. It’s nice to be there in summer when the pink hues of the sun cover the Arctic sky. Not so often can residents of Utqiaġvik marvel at this picturesque scenery sitting near the arch made from whale bones. But there is one activity for the boldest visitors of Utqiaġvik – jumping into the icy-cold ocean. Only a few of us can boast that they had a plunge into the Arctic waters. And you may be one of them! 

Barrow Beach - mesmerizing views
  • Birnirk Archeological Site

The remnants of ancient life lie in this historic district. Birnirk Archeological Site has numerous artifacts to surprise its curious visitors. Arrows and harpoons made from tusks are among a few of things you can see there. But a 1,000-year umiak, a boat type used for hunting, is a benchmark of Birnik with some decorative ivory elements. Rarely can archeologists find an artifact like that. So, Birnirk Archeological Site should be on your must-see sights to visit in Utqiaġvik (Barrow). 

  • Arctic Wildlife 

Awe-inspiring yet mysterious arctic wildlife has always fascinated humans. And Utqiaġvik is an excellent place to marvel at cute seals, fabulous whales, and other fantastic creatures. If your visit is short in Utqiaġvik (Barrow), and you plan to stay here for 1-2 days – an Alaska tour seems an ideal option. You may see the crowned reindeer or a mighty polar bear. Believe us or not, but it’s well worth your time. You can not only take beautiful photos of amazing arctic animals but also impress your friends or relatives when you come back home. 

  • The Northern Lights

Your arctic journey can’t be remembered better without seeing the northern lights. And Utqiaġvik is a perfect location for capturing the Aurora Borealis in action. Imagine yourself staying on the balcony of your hotel and witnessing the bright swirls of green, yellow, and blue colors shimmering in the sky. This magical atmosphere amazes you a lot so that you grab your camera and capture this unforgettable moment. But keep in mind that you may witness the northern lights only between April and September. So, if you want to see them, plan your visit closer to these months. 

Utqiaġvik - perfect location for capturing the Northern Lights in action

Visiting Barrow or Utqiaġvik is Tricky, But It’s Not Impossible 

Utqiaġvik is located at the edge of Alaska. Curious travelers can’t get there by bus or by train. Reaching Utqiaġvik seems almost impossible. But as an English proverb says, ‘every why has a wherefore’. So, if you ask yourself ‘how you can travel to Barrow or Utqiaġvik’, flying is a good option. From the US, you may take a connecting flight from Fairbanks or Anchorage and get directly to Wiley Post-Will Rogers Memorial Airport in Utqiaġvik. And in 6 or 8 hours, you’ll reach Utqiaġvik! 

Visiting Utqiaġvik - Curious travelers

Take an Exciting Plunge Into Experiencing Utqiaġvik! 

Utqiaġvik leaves positive memories for every traveler who has just been there. From seeing the northern lights to visiting the archeological sites, you may find whatever activity you want. With Ragnar, your visit to Utqiaġvik will be even more fantastic! We care about your traveling experiences and help you organize your trip to Barrow or Utqiaġvik from booking a flight to finding a tour guide for you. Don’t hesitate to contact us! 

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