North Pole Alaska Christmas Tree
Photo Credit: ATIA

North Pole

North Pole

About North Pole

Do you believe in Santa? If not, a visit to North Pole, Alaska is in order. This community of about 2,700 residents keeps the Christmas spirit alive all year long. Only a 15-minute drive south of Fairbanks on the Richardson Highway, North Pole features holiday decorations and trimmings–even if it’s 80 degrees in July. You can drive down streets like Santa Claus Lane, Kris Kringle Drive, and Mistletoe Lane, or stay the night in the Santa Suite at Hotel North Pole.

Santa Claus House in North Pole
Santa Claus House, Photo Credit: Travel Alaska, Brian Adams

Things to Do in North Pole

Santa Claus House

Celebrate Christmas year-round at the Santa Claus House - North Pole's best-known attraction. This sprawling store holds endless aisles of Christmas ornaments and toys, a live Santa to listen to your Christmas wishes, and walls covered with Dear Santa letters from children around the world. Stroll through the magical winter wonderland to shop Santa’s Workshop for unique toys, North Pole apparel, and Alaska-made gifts. Sample fudge, cookies, and other treats to get into the Christmas spirit.

Wander outside the property for some festive photo opportunities, including a nearly 50 foot tall Santa sculpture, a Christmas tree decorated year-round, and Santa's sleigh. Located next to the main house, the Antler Academy is where Santa’s reindeer team lives. Visit the reindeer pen to learn about all their reindeer games as you pet and feed the animals. 

Shopping at Santa Claus House
Shopping at Santa Claus House. Photo Credit: Travel Alaska, Chris McLennan

WinterFest & Holiday Bazaar

The town comes alive in December with the annual North Pole Winterfest & Holiday Bazaar, which draws crowds with activities, local vendors selling crafts and gifts, and a fireworks show. During this time of year, it’s not unusual for national TV newscasts to broadcast live from the Santa Claus House.

Santa Claus House in North Pole
Photo Credit: @abenteuer_alaska


Can't make it to North Pole to meet the man himself? You can order personalized Santa letters from Santa's Letters & Gifts, along with Official Good Girls and Boys Certificates (only for those on the nice list) mailed directly from the North Pole.

At the North Pole Post Office (located on South Santa Claus Lane, of course), more than 400,000 pieces of mail arrive annually simply addressed to “Santa Claus, North Pole, Alaska.” Each year, teams of community volunteers work to respond to each letter.

Welcome to North Pole sign
Photo Credit: @jennyksf

Outdoor Activities

Outside of the North Pole City is the town's beloved totem pole and a replica homesteader's cabin. Located near City Hall is the trailhead for Beaver Spring Nature Trail, a half-mile path that winds through a northern conifer forest to North Pole Park. Located on Santa Claus Lane, Terry Miller Memorial Park features a picnic area and playground.

Chena Lake Recreation Area

North Pole is an ideal place to be based while visiting the Fairbanks area, especially for RVers. Nearby is Chena Lake Recreation Area with 80 campsites along with a swimming beach, paved bike trails, and canoe rentals. Divided between the lake and river park, the 2,000-acre area is surrounded by birch forests and overlooks waters where beavers, muskrats, otters, and mink live.  In the winter, reserve space at the cabins to try ice fishing. In the summers, bike along paved trails to take a dip in the lake or float down the river. Kick back with a game of volleyball and horseshoes or rent paddleboats, row boats, and stand-up paddleboards.

Traveling along Moose Creek towards the dam, visitors will see a fish-viewing overlook and panoramic views of the river. Cast a line into the river to hook Arctic grayling, northern pike, whitefish, burbot, and king salmon, or canoe through Lake Chena to fish for Arctic char, grayling, and rainbow trout.

Northern lights while camping Chena Lake Recreation Area
Northern lights while camping at Chena Lakes Recreation Area. Photo Credit: @briegonz

History of North Pole

First homesteaded in 1944, North Pole was given its holiday-themed name by a development company selling property and hoping to attract a toy manufacturer that could advertise products as being made in North Pole. The name stuck although a toy factory never materialized.

North Pole’s association with the spirit of Christmas began in earnest in the 1950s by Conrad Miller. The young trading-post operator was well known in rural Alaska for playing Santa Claus for young children in Alaska villages. When he set up a trading post in North Pole, he named it Santa Claus House and today the sprawling store features almost endless aisles of Christmas ornaments and toys, and a giant outdoor statue of Santa beckoning in highway travelers.

Looking for more? Read Top 4 Things to Do in North Pole.

Santa statue and Christmas Tree in North Pole
Santa Statue and Christmas Tree in North Pole



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