Once the beating heart of the great Klondike Gold Rush, Dawson City remains a patchwork of rustic wood cabins and strip-mined geology that oozes with an authentic frontier charm. Sightseeing opportunities abound right from the start, and visitors are encouraged to enter town from the "Top of the World" or Klondike highways, where dramatic panoramas of Yukon’s Alpine valleys dominate on every side. Today the town’s historical pulls are the major draw, and favorite activities include wandering the boardwalk pavements or following in the footsteps of Dawson’s first inhabitants by panning for gold in the cool Yukon streams nearby. But appearances can be deceiving, and amidst the timber-clad saloons and cowboy cabins, there’s an elusive energy to this town that manifests itself in a lively local nightlife scene, year-round festivals, and a variety of worldly eating spots.
Gold was the initial lifeblood of Dawson City. From 1896 onwards its presence here drew an estimated 40,000 hopeful prospectors to the town, and while most left without gaining a cent, there’s still opportunities to be had in the hills. Claim #6 is one of the original discovery spots, located on the same stretch of creek to where it all began. Visitors are invited free of charge to pan in the waters, and you can even keep the gold (that is, if you find any!).
With exhibitions covering every aspect of the Klondike Gold Rush and Dawson City history, this museum also does well to chronicle the lives of Yukon’s nomadic Athapaskan people – the first native settlers on this confluence with the Klondike River. Visitors are treated to a detailed account of Dawson during its boom days, complete with enthralling descriptions of the vices and dishonesty that grew up with the gold.
This gambling hall is the legacy of Diamond Tooth Gertie, a formative figure in the history of Dawson City, who brought entertainment and after-mining activities for the enjoyment of the prospectors. Now legendary as Canada’s oldest, guests are still invited to wager their gold at the casino tables while enjoying the regular on-stage entertainments and well-stocked bar.
Experts in North American cuisine, the chefs at Klondike Kate’s serve up a mouthwatering array of locally inspired meat dishes; from the undeniably Canadian smoked elk meatloaf, to the triple-A "Cowboy" rib eye. Located right in the heart of Dawson town, the décor here is an inviting re-imagining of traditional Victorian gold rush styles that keeps locals and visitors coming back for more.
This Westmark Inn is frequently highly rated and provides visitors with spring and summertime accommodations in the heart of Dawson town. The hotel’s regal appearance is mirrored by the cozy rooms, and guests enjoy a large outdoor seating area, traditional Yukon cuisine and an in-house bar complete with a healthy selection of cocktails.