4 Things to Do in Alaska’s North Pole
1. Visit the Santa Claus House
Celebrate Christmas any time of year with a trip to the Santa Claus House. 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 while looking for the jolly man himself.
Take a photo with Santa in his sleigh or in front of the 43-foot, wooden Santa statue. Parents can coordinate for their children that are on the nice list to receive personalized letters from Santa.
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. After experiencing the childhood magic of Christmas, purchase a one-of-a-kind Alaska ornament to commemorate the trip.
2. Taste Christmas from “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” Restaurants
Food Network’s Guy Fieri traveled to the North Pole to sample his favorite holiday dishes for his hit series “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.” Embark on a culinary tour to his must-see restaurants including Big Daddy’s BBQ & Banquet serving Southern dishes with northern flare. The restaurant offers smoked turkey and beef brisket.
Fans of “A Christmas Story” can live out the movie at Pagoda Restaurant. Fieri’s team recommends the Santa Claus Lane dining spot for Asian eats with an Alaska twist — Alaska king-crab legs with ginger and the famous Pagoda steak.
Or indulge in a decadent, traditional Christmas at Country Cafe, known for its cranberry glazed ham, holiday turkey dinner, and homemade stuffing.
Try the reindeer sausage hoagie or almond-crusted beef tournedos with brown gravy and béarnaise at Elf’s Den & Lounge, where it’s always Christmas.
3. Experience Christmas in Ice
Get into the holiday spirit with the six-week-long Christmas in Ice competition that promotes ice carving, the arts, and education. The family-friendly event — located near the Santa Claus House — features artistic masterpieces carved by professional sculptors alongside junior and family carvers. There’s even an amateur exhibition so everyone can get in on the fun!
Stroll past illuminated ice sculptures of polar bears, Santa, sleighs, and other whimsical designs or take a photo in the ice throne. Glide down the mile-long ice slide or stroll through the ice maze in the Elf’s Icy Playground. Watch as Santa Claus himself makes an appearance on Christmas Day and bundle up for the Snowflake Drop and fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Rent sleds to slide through the sculptures or stroll along with hot cocoa in hand. Be sure to dress warmly as the winter festival is held mostly outdoors.
4. Explore Chena Lakes Recreation Area
For a break from the holidays, soak in Alaska’s remote, Arctic beauty from one of 80 easily accessible campsites at the Chena Lake Recreation Area. 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.
Traveling along Moose Creek towards the dam, visitors will see a fish-viewing overlook and panoramic views of where the river meets the dike. 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.
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 to cruise the waters.
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