Nome Day Tours & Attractions

Winter Activities View All

Snow­ma­chines are part of the fab­ric of life in places like Nome, where snow­fall clos­es the roads to cars and trucks for months on end. Snow­ma­chines serve a prac­ti­cal role, trans­port­ing peo­ple and sup­plies. They also allow for back­coun­try explo­ration in win­ter — and are sure fun to race!

March mad­ness descends on Nome for two weeks, with a huge bas­ket­ball tour­ney, a snow­ma­chine race, local com­pe­ti­tions, arts events – and the ulti­mate excite­ment, as thou­sands cheer Idi­tar­od mush­ers and their dogs on to the fin­ish line. Plan to stay awhile for this crazy arc­tic par­ty, known here as The Mar­di Gras of the North”! 

Tee off in the ice and snow of the frozen Bering Sea in this 6‑hole char­i­ty golf clas­sic that includes a manda­to­ry stop-off at a local bar after the first three holes. Par­ka, fur hat, and heavy boats are advis­able for one of the most unique golf out­ings you’ll ever experience.


Fairs & Festivals View All

There’s no place like Nome at sol­stice time. The com­mu­ni­ty gath­ers for a cel­e­bra­tion like no oth­er: the Mid­night Sun Fes­ti­val. Spir­its are high, as locals take advan­tage of more than 21 hours of direct sun­light. Events include a parade down Front Street, a mock bank rob­bery, and an icy plunge in the Bering Sea.

You too can clean up your act,” promise spon­sors of Nome’s wacky Labor Day Bath­tub Race. Whether a par­tic­i­pant or a bystander, be pre­pared to get splashed as tubs full of water, bub­bles – and a bather – are raced 100 yards down Front Street. For Nome, this is good, clean fun!

Run­ning the Gold Dust Dash in Nome offers a beau­ti­ful view along the 5K race course up and back along the shore­line of the Bering Sea. A gold nugget is on the line for first place fin­ish­ers, so most run­ners enjoy the view at top speed. The Gold Dust Dash is the first of many events cel­e­brat­ing sum­mer sol­stice in Nome.

The 200-mile Nome-Golovin Race is held on the sec­ond Sat­ur­day in March. Rac­ers begin and end in Nome after fol­low­ing 100 miles of the Idi­tar­od trail down the coast to Golovin and back. It takes just a few hours, so you can catch both the start and fin­ish – and maybe even catch the Award Cer­e­monies, held a few days later.

Come on out to watch some com­mu­ni­ty soft­ball, a pas­sion for many res­i­dents. Nome usu­al­ly fields near­ly a dozen teams, offer­ing pret­ty com­pet­i­tive soft­ball for a small town on the far reach­es of Alas­ka. With games through­out the sum­mer and a Mid­night Sun Fes­ti­val tour­na­ment, the ball is in play sev­er­al days a week, rain or shine.

See what it’s like to be Nome for the Hol­i­days” at the much-antic­i­pat­ed Christ­mas Extrav­a­gan­za fills Old St. Joe’s Hall with music, San­ta and his elves, live rein­deer, and just about every­body in town. 

The water’s cold, but there’s def­i­nite­ly gold to be found in the Poor Man’s Beach Gold Pan­ning Con­test,” held annu­al­ly in Nome’s Anvil City Square. Grab a pan and a bag of pay dirt and see if you can find the gold faster than any­body else. 

Snow­ma­chines are part of dai­ly life around Nome, but you usu­al­ly have to mind the speed lim­it. Not so in the Can­non­ball Snow­ma­chine Race each April, when rac­ers tear up the trail in mul­ti­ple laps around Nome.

In Nome you can find tru­ly unique, hand-made items dur­ing local arts and crafts fairs. The largest of these takes place dur­ing Idi­tar­od Week in mid-March. Take advan­tage of the local fla­vor and pick up a hand-spun qivi­ut (muskox fibres) gar­ment, ivory carv­ings or a seal­skin hat. 

Nome is a star attrac­tion for bird­ers, who might be sur­prised by hun­dreds of yel­low ducks drift­ing down the Snake Riv­er on Labor Day.

Tee off in the ice and snow of the frozen Bering Sea in this 6‑hole char­i­ty golf clas­sic that includes a manda­to­ry stop-off at a local bar after the first three holes. Par­ka, fur hat, and heavy boats are advis­able for one of the most unique golf out­ings you’ll ever experience.

Nome res­i­dents have cel­e­brat­ed the Fourth of July since before the town was even incor­po­rat­ed. A fes­tive parade and range of games is always on the agen­da, from the high kick, to gun­ny sack and bicy­cle races. And in Nome, the fun isn’t just for kids. There are race cat­e­gories for all ages!

Rob­bers with guns drawn stride down Nome’s Front Street each sol­stice with one goal: to rob the bank and get away with bags of loot. The plan is some­how always foiled, but that doesn’t mat­ter. Those rob­bers keep try­ing, year after year! Watch for the bad guys to come call­ing at high noon just after the Mid­night Sun parade.

Kick up your heels dur­ing Nome’s Salmonber­ry Jam, a three-day music fes­ti­val with work­shops, guest artists, local musi­cians, danc­ing, hand-made crafts, and a com­mu­ni­ty cook­out and jam.

From Nome to your home: You can cap­ture the spir­it of the Idi­tar­od Trail Sled Dog Race and stay active dur­ing win­ter no mat­ter where you live through Nome-based char­i­ty fundrais­ers: Idi­ta-splash and Idita-walk.

Youth tal­ent is on dis­play at Nome’s Sum­mer­fest, an end-of-July cel­e­bra­tion held in Anvil City Square. Face-paint­ing, a tal­ent show, bounce-house and com­mu­ni­ty booths are all part of the fun in this annu­al event that hon­ors youth, the arts, and healthy choices.

Billed as the World’s Longest, Tough­est Snow­ma­chine Race,” the Iron Dog course totals 2,274 long win­ter miles. Begin­ning at Big Lake (north of Anchor­age), the race course leads to Nome, and then ends in Fair­banks. Rac­ers and the Nome com­mu­ni­ty enjoy a fes­tive ban­quet halfway through the race.

When you see berry pick­ers dot­ting the tun­dra around Nome, you know the Blue­ber­ry Fes­ti­val is just around the cor­ner. Don’t miss this one-day gath­er­ing that cel­e­brates all-things blue­ber­ry: from music to arts and crafts, and so many blue­ber­ry-based food concoctions.

Min­ers took a lot of gold out of Dex­ter Creek, just north­east of Nome, and the Wyatt Earp Dex­ter Chal­lenge takes par­tic­i­pants through this back­coun­try on the Dex­ter Bypass Road. Walk­ers, run­ners and bik­ers com­plete dif­fer­ent course lengths, but all cov­er some of this ridge-lined ter­ri­to­ry on the back­side of Anvil Mountain.

Each Feb­ru­ary a select group of hardy souls sets out from Knik Lake to test them­selves against Alaska’s harsh win­ter ele­ments. Their mis­sion? To tra­verse the famed Idi­tar­od trail, by moun­tain bike, ski, or on foot – with lit­tle to no trail sup­port. Crazy? Maybe. Inspir­ing? Definitely.

The Nome Com­mu­ni­ty Thanks­giv­ing Din­ner, made pos­si­ble by dona­tions and lots of vol­un­teer help, is open to all com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers and vis­i­tors. Stop by for a meal, pitch in to help with the turkey, and enjoy the com­pa­ny of friend­ly Nome-ites, who warm up even the cold­est of Novem­ber days.

Can your home­made raft sur­vive a race down a five-mile stretch of the Nome Riv­er? How about when water bal­loons and squirt guns are in play between race par­tic­i­pants and even spec­ta­tors? The Nome Riv­er Raft Race, held each June as part of the Mid­night Sun Fes­ti­val, is one event where get­ting wet is not only part of the fun – it’s a requirement!

Learn about the far north through the eyes of cre­ative film-mak­ers (many of them local) in this 2‑day film fes­ti­val orga­nized by the Nome Arts Council.

Expe­ri­ence Nome’s col­lec­tive cre­ative spir­it at the Nome Arts Coun­cil Open Mic events, held in mid-Novem­ber and in March dur­ing Idi­tar­od Week. They are always well-attend­ed, so arrive ear­ly to enjoy some of Nome’s best music, dance, poet­ry and story-tellers.

Plung­ing into the Bering Sea’s frigid waters takes a lot of nerve, but each year dozens of folks jump in with gus­to as part of the Nome Rotary Club’s Polar Bear Swim. Many get out as fast as they went in, with gasps, smiles and a rush to the near­by bon­fire. It’s all part of Nome’s wacky annu­al cel­e­bra­tion of sum­mer solstice.


Points of Interest View All

Nome is becom­ing a well-known as a trea­sure for bird­ers. The city is bound­ed by tun­dra on three sides and the Bering Sea coast on the oth­er. Once the ice begins to break up, migra­tion begins. Vir­tu­al­ly the entire area of the Seward Penin­su­la that is acces­si­ble by road from Nome is com­prised of extreme­ly valu­able nest­ing areas for many bird species, includ­ing most North Amer­i­can waterfowl.

Relax in some of Alaska’s hot springs, nat­u­ral­ly heat­ed by the earth below

Nome’s most famous and his­toric street runs par­al­lel with the coast, hav­ing sprung up close to the city’s orig­i­nal tent city. Although none of its orig­i­nal build­ings remain, Front Street con­tin­ues to make his­to­ry as the end­point of the 1,049-mile Idi­tar­od Sled Dog race. 

The town of Solomon has had sev­er­al names and loca­tions since the Fish Riv­er tribe estab­lished a fish­ing and hunt­ing camp called Amu­tach on a sand­bar between the Bonan­za and Solomon Rivers. In 1899, when gold was dis­cov­ered in the grav­els of the Solomon Riv­er, a min­ing boom­town sprang up on the site with a post office, sev­er­al saloons, a rail­road ter­mi­nal, a fer­ry dock, and over 2,000 res­i­dents. Thir­teen large dredges worked the Solomon River.  ...more

In the ear­ly 1900s, dog team dri­vers were heroes to the young chil­dren of Nome. In 1925, when a diph­the­ria epi­dem­ic hit town, 20 mush­ers relayed a serum to Nome through dan­ger­ous bliz­zard con­di­tions, mak­ing them heroes to every­one. Their spir­it of team­work and grit­ty deter­mi­na­tion lives on in the Idi­tar­od Trail Sled Dog Race.

Extend­ing more than half a mile along the coast­line of Nome, the 18-foot tall sea­wall is a silent pro­tec­tor, keep­ing storm surges from flood­ing the city’s build­ings along Front Street and fur­ther inland. 

The Nome area is one of the few acces­si­ble places in the world where you can observe muskox­en in their nat­ur­al habi­tat. They are easy to see and pho­to­graph in and around town. You can also take a lit­tle muskox home with you; gar­ments made from their soft and warm under fur are a lux­u­ry sou­venir worth finding. 

Anvil Rock perch­es above Nome, an ear­ly land­mark for gold min­ers and an easy hike for those who want to take in spec­tac­u­lar views of Nome, the Bering Sea, and the Kiglu­aik Moun­tains. Its resem­blance to a blacksmith’s anvil gen­er­at­ed names for many near­by land­scape fea­tures, includ­ing Anvil Moun­tain and Anvil Creek. The hike also promis­es a good chance to see musk oxen, birds, and maybe even rein­deer or red fox.  ...more

No mat­ter what place a team fin­ish­es, the Idi­tar­od burled arch is a sym­bol of an ardu­ous jour­ney suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed, a job well done, and of a long-await­ed rest – for both dogs and mush­ers –just up ahead. See it above Nome’s Front Street dur­ing Idi­taord sea­son in March, or near City Hall the rest of the year.

Pil­grim Hot Springs is a green oasis for Nome res­i­dents who yearn for trees and the sound of leaves rustling in the wind. Pil­grim has his­toric val­ue too, first as a gold rush resort and lat­er as a Catholic mis­sion. Then there are the springs them­selves. At 178 degrees F, they are a lit­er­al hot spot in the Arc­tic north.

Rein­deer round-ups are held at the cor­ral once or twice a year.

With 18,000 books and a new home, Nome’s pub­lic library offers a place to browse and encour­age­ment to pur­sue read­ing at all ages and stages.” Stop by to check your email, read a mag­a­zine or make an appoint­ment to review rare books on Alas­ka and the Seward Penin­su­la. Closed Sun­days and holidays.

Nome’s crown jew­el,” Anvil City Square is a large open green space pop­u­lar for pic­nics and com­mu­ni­ty cel­e­bra­tions. It’s also where you can see Old St. Joe’s Hall, the largest gold pan in the world, stat­ues of the Three Lucky Swedes” and the young Inu­pi­aq boys who helped them find gold in 1899.

Espe­cial­ly dur­ing its ear­ly years, Nome had brush­es with a sur­pris­ing num­ber of famous peo­ple. Some of them gained fame while in Nome. Oth­ers were well known before they got here. You’ll rec­og­nize some names. Oth­ers have fad­ed with the pas­sage of time, as their exploits fall fur­ther and fur­ther into the past.

Nome’s Gold Coast Cin­e­ma shows films Fri­day, Sat­ur­day and Sun­day, with mati­nees on both Sat­ur­day and Sun­day. The the­atre has first-run movies as well as inde­pen­dent films, and typ­i­cal­ly offers two titles per week. One quirk? Con­ces­sions include a Sub­way sand­wich shop, giv­ing you more options than just pop­corn and candy.

On the left as you head north are rem­nants of an aban­doned rein­deer cor­ral that was first con­struct­ed by the Bureau of Indi­an Affairs in the 1970s for a rein­deer herd­ing demon­stra­tion project. The local Sit­na­suak Native Cor­po­ra­tion took over the cor­ral in the ear­ly 1980s and ran a herd of about 750 ani­mals for sev­er­al years. The cor­ral fell into dis­use after Sit­na­suak got out of the busi­ness and dis­trib­uted the rein­deer to oth­er herders.


Historic Parks & Sites View All

The Kuz­itrin Riv­er Bridge had its ori­gins in Fair­banks. It was orig­i­nal­ly named the Cush­man Street Bridge when it was built across the Chena Riv­er in the heart of down­town Fair­banks in 1917. In the 1950s the bridge was replaced with a con­crete span and the orig­i­nal met­al bridge was dis­as­sem­bled, shipped down the Chena, Tanana, and Yukon rivers and barged up the Bering Sea coast to Nome. It was hauled in sec­tions up the Nome-Tay­lor High­way and  ...more

Min­ers worked this dredge up and down the Blue­stone Riv­er and Gold Run Creek in the ear­ly 1900s. Now it serves as a nest­ing and perch­ing site for com­mon raven.

Beyond the Pil­grim Riv­er Bridge, the road con­tin­ues uphill and offers sweep­ing views of a net­work of lakes and the mean­der­ing riv­er val­ley. North of the Pil­grim Riv­er drainage is a large hill topped with a series of gran­ite rock out­crop­pings known as Hen and Chick­ens because of its resem­blance to a small flock at cer­tain angles. A cross was placed at the sum­mit in mem­o­ry of a priest who died in a bliz­zard on his way to the orphanage.

In 1904 a tele­phone line ran from Nome to the rail­road ter­mi­nus at Dick­son, to the min­ing camps up Big Hur­rah Creek, and on to Coun­cil. For one brief sum­mer, parcels could be mailed to any point in the U.S. and mon­ey orders sent world­wide. The Coun­cil City & Solomon Riv­er Rail­road also ran past, offer­ing min­ers a one-hour trip to the coast. Griz­zlies, moose, muskox, and rein­deer are fre­quent­ly sight­ed between the creek and East Fork Bridge.  ...more

Rail­road con­struc­tion began in Nome the sum­mer of 1900. By 1906 the track stretched 80 miles to the Kuz­itrin Riv­er. Like many oth­er res­i­dents, the world famous mush­er Leon­hard Sep­pala ran his dog team along t he tracks using a small rail­road car, called a pup­mo­bile.”

King Moun­tain is the next hill­side on the west side of the val­ley where it is easy to see the mul­ti­ple cuts across its slopes for much of the year. Most cuts are man­made ditch­es that once brought water to Nome’s gold fields for hydraulic min­ing operations.

Begin­ning in the sum­mer of 1899, thou­sands of men, women, and chil­dren worked shoul­der-to-shoul­der to glean trea­sure from these shores after news of Nome’s Gold­en Beach­es” rock­et­ed around the world. To this day, hearty inde­pen­dent min­ers con­tin­ue to work many area beach­es with high bankers and sluice box­es. Most find them­selves brav­ing the cold waters in wet­suits to oper­ate small, mod­ern, float­ing suc­tion dredges essen­tial­ly vacuuming  ...more

Russ­ian sol­diers were a com­mon sight around Nome dur­ing World War II. The government’s top secret Lend-Lease pro­gram pro­vid­ed Rus­sia with crit­i­cal war mate­ri­als to aid the fight against Ger­many, and Nome was the last fuel stop for war planes head­ed West. A 1944-era hangar can be seen here today, a rel­ic from this amaz­ing effort.

Beyond the bridge, a long line of small build­ings hugs the coast where a U.S. Army post once stood dur­ing the ear­ly gold rush. Fort Davis was dis­man­tled in 1923 as Nome’s econ­o­my declined. The build­ings you see today are local­ly-owned hunt­ing and fish­ing sub­sis­tence camps. The Inu­pi­at used this area well before the sol­diers arrived because of diverse and abun­dant birds, fish, and mam­mals. Please do not dis­turb or trespass.

Nome’s Old St. Joe’s avoid­ed the fate of many oth­er gold rush era build­ings, which were destroyed by fire or flood. Today it is restored and list­ed on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places. The sto­ry of Old St. Joe’s par­al­lels that of the Alaskan pio­neer spir­it: one of hard work, resource­ful­ness and a deep respect for the past.

Teller Road cross­es Anvil Creek one mile below the site of the 1898 gold dis­cov­ery that trig­gered the Nome gold rush. From here you can view the wind tur­bines that form the start of Nome’s efforts to har­vest wind as an alter­na­tive ener­gy source.

Nome­henge,” as some of the locals call the four tow­er­ing anten­nas on Anvil Moun­tain above Nome, oper­at­ed dur­ing the height of the Cold War to link remote parts of Alas­ka with the rest of the coun­try. These are the last of 71 White Alice struc­tures, and serve as impor­tant his­toric and geo­graph­ic land­marks in Nome.

As you round Cape Nome, the Cape Nome Road­house is on the shore-side of the road. Road-hous­es once flour­ished along trails around the state, pro­vid­ing food and shel­ter for win­ter trav­el­ers who often arrived by dog team or horse-drawn sleigh. The Cape Nome Road­house also served as an orphan­age after the dev­as­tat­ing epi­demics of the ear­ly 1900s and as a World War II com­mu­ni­ca­tions base. It is now a pri­vate­ly-owned camp.

Many loca­tions around Nome are named after John Dex­ter, a min­er and busi­ness­man who opened an impor­tant ear­ly trad­ing post/​roadhouse in Golovin. Two oth­er roadhouse/​bars have also car­ried the Dex­ter name, which can get con­fus­ing for vis­i­tors. Read our descrip­tions to help sort them out.

A vis­it to Nome and the Seward Penin­su­la brings you to the ori­gins of the Amer­i­c­as’ indige­nous pop­u­la­tions. It was here that sev­er­al great migra­tions took place from Asia to North Amer­i­ca, across the Bering Land Bridge. The route was made pos­si­ble by low­ered sea lev­els, which exposed a land pas­sage rang­ing up to 1,000 miles wide, link­ing what is now Rus­sia to the Seward Penin­su­la of Alaska.  ...more

Just across Bonan­za Bridge, three rusty steam loco­mo­tives and some rolling stock lie sink­ing into the water-logged tun­dra. Dubbed The Last Train to Nowhere,” they are all that remain of a dream to build the most exten­sive and pros­per­ous rail sys­tem on the Seward Penin­su­la. In the ear­ly 1900s, Chica­go investors backed con­struc­tion of the Coun­cil City & Solomon Riv­er Rail­road in an effort to link the region’s major min­ing cen­ters by rail.  ...more

His­toric site near Golovin opened by John Dex­ter where min­ers got their sup­plies and trad­ed infor­ma­tion. It’s where the Three Lucky Swedes” stocked up (on sup­plies and help) after their big gold dis­cov­ery on Anvil Creek in 1898. Also where Leon­hard Sep­pala fin­ished his long leg of the 1925 dipthe­ria serum run. This build­ing is still stand­ing in Golovin, and was report­ed­ly board­ed up as is, with all its arti­facts still inside.

Alas­ka has served an impor­tant role in U.S. mil­i­tary strat­e­gy, espe­cial­ly dur­ing World War II, and the Cold War. But the mil­i­tary his­to­ry in Nome actu­al­ly start­ed even before the city was incor­po­rat­ed, when gold rush deal­ings and a pop­u­la­tion boom required some old fash­ioned law and order brought by U.S. soldiers.

Three Scan­di­na­vians found gold in Anvil Creek in 1898 and quick­ly staked their claims. The fact that they knew lit­tle about min­ing didn’t impede their quick path toward wealth. Locals call them the Three Lucky Swedes,” and their life-sized bronze stat­ues stand in Anvil City Square, near where their lives were for­ev­er changed.


Plays & Performances

Nome’s Gold Coast Cin­e­ma shows films Fri­day, Sat­ur­day and Sun­day, with mati­nees on both Sat­ur­day and Sun­day. The the­atre has first-run movies as well as inde­pen­dent films, and typ­i­cal­ly offers two titles per week. One quirk? Con­ces­sions include a Sub­way sand­wich shop, giv­ing you more options than just pop­corn and candy.


Snowmobiling Tours View All

Snow­ma­chines are part of the fab­ric of life in places like Nome, where snow­fall clos­es the roads to cars and trucks for months on end. Snow­ma­chines serve a prac­ti­cal role, trans­port­ing peo­ple and sup­plies. They also allow for back­coun­try explo­ration in win­ter — and are sure fun to race!


Museums & Cultural Centers View All

Go back to Beringia, way back, to a time when wool­ly mam­moths and scim­i­tar cats roamed the land. To a time when a 1,000-mile-wide migra­tion cor­ri­dor linked Alas­ka and Rus­sia. (That’s how indige­nous peo­ple got to North Amer­i­ca.) Learn all about it at the Bering Land Bridge Nation­al Pre­serve Vis­i­tor Center.

Dis­cov­er gold nuggets from Nome’s rich his­to­ry at the Car­rie M. McLain Memo­r­i­al Muse­um, open Tues­day – Sat­ur­day in the Richard Fos­ter Build­ing. Inter­ac­tive exhibits fea­ture the nat­ur­al land­scape, Alas­ka Native art­work, and the town of Nome from its Tent City begin­nings to its present-day role as a region­al hub.

Open­ing in Octo­ber 2016! Kaw­er­ak Katirvik Cul­tur­al Cen­ter is a meet­ing place for shar­ing, cel­e­brat­ing and under­stand­ing the cul­tur­al tra­di­tions and lan­guage of the Cen­tral Yup’ik, St. Lawrence Island Yupik and Inu­pi­aq peo­ples of the area. Call ahead for events, which can include Elder sto­ries and danc­ing. Or stop by to check out the inter­ac­tive edu­ca­tion­al displays.


Visitor Information Centers View All

Trav­el­ing to Nome? Make the Nome Vis­i­tors Cen­ter your first stop. Pick up some brochures, see a short video on Nome, say Hi” to Oscar” the stuffed musk ox, and talk to staff about things to do in and around town. Open dai­ly: 8 am — 5 pm in win­ter, 8 am — 7 pm in summer.