Once you’ve invested the time and money it takes to get to Nome, you should try and see both the town and some of the outlying areas. There’s something for folks who are drawn to Native culture, history, nature, small-town community, and even celebrity (from famous folks who’ve lived here in the past, to famous Iditarod mushers, and reality-tv stars who work the off-shore dredges in the summer).
But maybe you’re just in town for a conference, or your cruise ship just gives you a few hours. We’ve got recommendations for the hot spots to take in whether you have just half a day or whether you can stay awhile to stop and smell the tundra. See our guide for “Where to take your picture in Nome,” too.
Half a day
If you don’t go anywhere else, you have to get to Front Street and the Nome Beach. This is where thousands of people came, almost overnight, to work the land, and the sands, in search of gold, and it’s what put Nome’s name on the map. Miners are still working this area today, on off-shore dredges, and you’ll likely see them on the beach. Walk down Front Street for a choice of bars, coffee shops and restaurants. You might also recognize it as the site of the finish of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.
Take in Nome Beach and Front Street, and while there, stop at the Nome Visitors Center for local information and up-to-date calendar of events. You might hear about something going on that you just don’t want to miss.
Spend a few hours at the Richard Foster Building, where you can learn much about Nome’s history and present-day life at the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum. The museum opens at noon Tuesday-Saturday, so time this visit for an afternoon. You can also gain perspective on the Native cultures of the Bering Straits Region at the Kawerak Katirvik Cultural Center, also in the Richard Foster Building.
If you’re more into nature and wildlife, skip the museums and take an afternoon hike up Anvil Mountain. Not only does it offer an incredible view, but you have a good chance of seeing musk oxen, eagles and possibly red fox.
Want to meet locals and get the real deal on what it’s like living in Nome? Then plan to join Nome Elders for lunch at the XYZ Center. Visitors are most welcome. You could fit in a lunch and another activity too.
To get the absolute most out of your one free day in Nome, consider booking a tour with Richard Beneville, the charming and knowledgeable owner of Discovery Tours. He’ll not only regale you with insight into everything you’re seeing, but the Broadway veteran could offer a song or two as well!
Two Days in Nome
Lucky enough to have an extra day in Nome? Then be sure to rent a car or book a tour and start sampling Nome’s road system (that is, after you’ve taken all our advice above!).
Three Days, Three Ways: Exploring Nome’s Road System
The ultimate trip around Nome includes a good explore of its 75-mile road system. You’ll come back with a deeper perspective of the history of the Seward Peninsula, the Native cultures, and the wonders of this coastal environment and its wild denizens. See our detailed guide on driving Nome’s road system.
If you aren’t booking a tour on these roads with a local tour guide, then definitely add a day to your itinerary (on the front end) to talk with locals and spend some time at the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum and the Katirvik Cultural Center. What you learn there will help you put your road system adventure in context, for a richer experience.
Itinerary ideas based on interests
If you want to build your itinerary based on interests rather than days you have allotted, see our suggestions for nature lovers, history buffs, Iditarod fans, and more.