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Utqiaġvik (Alaska)

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Utqiaġvik (Inupiak: ᐅᑦᕿᐊᒡᕕᒃ), also known as Barrow, is located 320 miles (515 km) north of the Arctic Circle on the Arctic Ocean in Arctic Alaska. The town has a population of about 4,500 people, and holds the distinction of being the northernmost settlement in the United States and the northernmost settlement on the North American mainland. The residents are 61% Iñupiat Eskimo, with the remainder being a very international mix of American, Filipino, Samoan/Tongan, Korean, Thai, Mexican, Hawaiian, and others added. You can expect to hear 5 or 6 languages spoken on any day.

Physically, Utqiaġvik covers about 21 square miles, and is divided into two parts (Barrow and Browerville) separated by a lagoon. Ilisagvik College is located at the site of the old Naval Arctic Research Lab (NARL) about 6 miles towards Point Barrow. The Point is about 12 miles from town and about 2 miles past the end of the road.



Under the Köppen Climate Classification system, Utqiaġvik falls under a polar climate. This means very cold and long winters, and short, chilly, summers. If you plan to travel here for winter, you better really bundle up hard! Wind chills easily fall under -70 Fahrenheit. (-56 Celsius). Highs in the summer are usually around 40.

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) -7 -11 -7 6 24 38 45 43 34 19 4 -5
Nightly lows (°F) -19 -23 -20 -7 15 30 34 33 27 10 -6 -17
Precipitation (in) 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.3 0.9 1.0 0.6 0.5 0.3 0.2

Check Barrow's 7 day forecast at NOAA

Get in[edit]

With the exception of an annual summer barge service, Utqiaġvik is a fly-in-only city. The airport, Wiley-Post Will Rogers Memorial Airport, is located directly south of the city.

By plane[edit]

  • Alaska Airlines [2] offers several daily flights from Fairbanks and Anchorage.
  • Era Airlines (Frontier Flying Service formerly, and before that Cape Smythe Air) now also offers air service from Fairbanks. They also continue on to serve surrounding villages.

Get around[edit]

By foot[edit]

Utqiaġvik is very small, and is actually a flat desert that almost never receives large amounts of snow. So it's easy to get around by foot even in the winter. During the colder months, you can walk directly across the frozen freshwater lagoons. Just bundle up and beware of the wind chill!

Walking in Utqiaġvik is great fun, as is checking out the beach directly in front of town. However, do not walk past the edge of town on the beach going south and do not walk either the road or the beach going north towards NARL/Ilisagvik/Point Barrow! And if you do see a polar bear stay at least 100 yards away, and preferably in a vehicle. Polar bears absolutely will eat you.

By taxi[edit]

There are several cab companies in town. They are always driving about, and can be flagged down easily. Rates vary between $5-9 around Utqiaġvik proper and Browerville.

By car[edit]

UIC Car Rental, located near the Utqiaġvik Airport, provides car rentals. Availability can be limited during peak times. +1 907 852-2700. Gasoline can also be very expensive, as the price is set only once per year.

By bus[edit]

The city bus runs Monday thru Friday 7AM-7PM and can be a good option for daily commutes. Visitors, however, will probably be happier taking cabs due to the convenience, as well as the fact that cab fare for a group of 2 or more people will end up costing less money because the bus charges per person.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Palm trees at shooting station
  • Fresh water lake
  • Whalebones
  • NARL / DEW line relics
  • Satcom Array
  • Point Barrow

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Iñupiat Heritage Center A museum with many fascinating Iñupiat displays and artifacts. [3]
  • Polar Bear PC Internet Station 5146 Boxer St [4].
  • Tundra Tours Inc. 1200 Agvik St, +1 907 852-3900.
  • Join the Polar Bear Club and take a dip in the Arctic Ocean!
  • Bird watch. Finish your life list with the bird list from the King Eider Inn.
  • Arctic Helicopter Company, 1779 Ahkovak (at airport), 907-223-9761, [1].  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Stuaqpak AC Value Center. Find everything you need in this all purpose supermarket and supply store with deli.

Eat[edit][add listing]

There are a number of decent restaurants in the Barrow/Browerville area. Expect to pay approximately $15-20+ per meal at most restaurants.

  • Arctic Pizza 125 Apayauq St, +1 907 852-4222. Good food and a terrific view of the Arctic Ocean.
  • Arctic Thai 5146 Herman St, Browerville, +1 907-852-5719.
  • Northern Lights Restaurant 5122 Herman St, Browerville, +1 907 852-3300. Has a very comfortable, clean dining room and is operated by a charming family. Their menu goes on and on, with the owner's own Chinese food, plus deli selections and burgers, and great pizza.
  • Orties Filipino Fast Food Barrow, +1 907 852-5721.
  • Osaka Restaurant 980 Stevenson St, +1 907 852-4100.
  • Pepe's North of the Border 1204 Agvik St, +1 907 852-8200. (Burned Down 30 August 2013) The most famous place in town thanks to an appearance owner Fran Tate made with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show some 20 years ago. They serve large portions of familiar American-style Mexican food, steak, and seafood. The bus tours come here for lunch and Tate hands out souvenirs. Be sure to sign up for their Christmas card list, they'll send you a unique card and gift.
  • Sam and Lee's Chinese Restaurant 1052 Kogiak St, +1 907 852-5555. A family owned business, the oldest restaurant in Utqiaġvik, with the largest menu (see the web page) and the longest hours, it closes at 2AM and opens again at 6AM.
  • Shogun Teriyaki House 1906 Pakpuk St, +1 907 852-2276. Good food and close to the airport.
  • Stuaqpak Food Court AC Value Center (shopping center/general store) deli.
  • East Coast Pizzeria, 507 Kongosak St (On the corner of Ogrook and Kongosak), +1 907 852-2100. Pizza, philly cheesesteaks, salads, and spaghetti.  edit
  • Quick Stop 24. little grocery opened till 12 am. Very expensive but convenient.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Travel Warning

NOTE: The sale and purchase of alcohol is banned in Utqiaġvik, although importation (by permit only) and possession is allowed. [5]

Bars and Clubs[edit]

  • There are no bars and no nightclubs in Utqiaġvik

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Airport Inn 1815 Momeganna St, +1 907 852-2525.
  • King Eider Inn 1752 Ahkovak St, +1 907 852-4700. [6].
  • Top of the World Hotel 3060 Eben Hopson St, +1 907 852-3900. [7].

Stay Safe[edit]

Polar bears do roam this city, and are one of the few animals known to actively hunt and eat humans. If you see a polar bear, remain calm. Try and proceed to a building that you can take cover in until it goes away.


Get out[edit]

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