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. Other Fieri-recommended eateries near North Pole include the Cookie Jar Restaurant in Fairbanks and the Silver Gulch Brewing and Bottling Co in Fox.
3. 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.
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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