Nome Points of Interest

Much of Nome’s gold was mined more than a century ago. Today’s treasure is of a different sort: searching out city landmarks like Anvil Rock or the protective sea wall, learning about famous people who lived here, and connecting with locals at a weekend movie or the public library. There’s a rich “nugget” of information about each of these points of interest, which makes Nome a very compelling place to visit.

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Points of Interest

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

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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. 

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.

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.