Top 5 Things to do in Ukpiagvik, United States

September 19, 2017 Jacquiline Delozier

Utqiaġvik (Inupiaq: [ut.qe.ɑʁ.βik] uut-kee-YAH-vik), commonly known by its former name Barrow (/ˈbɛəroʊ/), is the largest city and the borough seat of the North Slope Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska and is located north of the Arctic Circle. It is the 11th northernmost public community in the world and is the northernmost city in the United States. Nearby Point Barrow is the country's northernmost point. Utqiaġvik's population was 4,683 at the 2000 census and 4,212 at the 2010 census.
Restaurants in Ukpiagvik

1. Inupiat Heritage Center

5421 North Star Street, Ukpiagvik, AK 99723 +1 907-852-0422
Excellent
59%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
0%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 96 reviews

Inupiat Heritage Center

Reviewed By kwa829 - Redmond, Washington

As my review title suggests, if you've come all the way to Barrow, you may as well go. The facility is modern and pleasant, but quite frankly it is just not very interesting. After about 20 minutes, you'll probably feel you've seen enough and feel you probably did not need to spend the $10 to come inside. One leaves feeling it COULD have been so much more.

I was hoping to see interesting exhibits about the native people that could have covered such topics as: How did they come to populate the area? How did they survive in pre-modern times (housing, food, clothing, etc.)? What are the problems as well as opportunities of modern life? How do the Inupiat balance tradition with modernity (there were one or two small displays about this, but the potential is so much greater)? Maybe a couple of scientific exhibits discussing weather, the extremes of the 24-hour polar days in summer and the 24-hour nights in winter, the risk of climate change.

There was to have been a live song and dance performance in the facility's large room, but 20 minutes after the scheduled start time, it still hadn't started so we abandoned it.

What you get instead, in addition to a few stuffed birds, seems primarily and disproportionately focused on whale hunting and a vigorous defense of the practice. Of course there are no photos or videos of the actual act of taking a whale. And we're meant to think the slaughter of these beautiful and intelligent creatures is totally OK because it is a "tradition", and because the meat is shared, and because the hunters supposedly pay their respects to the whale.

There is an (indoor) observation level on the third floor. Kids might like the giant whale hanging form the ceiling.

2. Barrow Beach

Ocean front, Ukpiagvik, AK
Excellent
52%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 81 reviews

Barrow Beach

Reviewed By zzzzdoc1 - Largo, Florida

This was a great spot to take pictures of the Arctic Ocean and ice. Gravely, sandy beach is very interesting.

You are told not to go to the water, as the polar bears are a real and potentially present danger. I just looked around and made sure there was someone I could outrun nearby me and went for it.

Seriously, it's an amazing photo op, but don't disregard the danger.

3. Tundra Tours Inc

3060 Eben Hopson Street, Ukpiagvik, AK 99723 +1 907-852-3900
Excellent
58%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
7%
Terrible
12%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 54 reviews

Tundra Tours Inc

Reviewed By SCtripSC - Walnut Cove, North Carolina

For our first visit to Barrow or to the Arctic area, we felt we wanted a tour with information. Pete with Tundra Tours did a great job with the actual tour and was very knowledgeable about the community and culture, being a lifelong resident himself and part of a whaling family. We also got to visit the Inupiat Heritage Center, where Pete was able to give us a first-hand account of the whaling experience. Local volunteers also performed song and dance at the Top of the World Hotel, which sponsors this tour.
The tour itself was good, and we probably saw more than if we had tried to figure out transportation and locations ourselves, but the staff at the Top of the World Hotel which organized the tour were not as well-organized as they could have been, and information was not communicated as well as it should have been. There was a significant delay in starting our tour as they had not taken into account the needs of a conference group or the demands on their drivers, or on the number of people checking into the hotel right before the tour. They were really understaffed for the situation and made us wait to check in for the tour, even though we were in the same line as the hotel guests. We wasted a good bit of time waiting to check in and waiting for the van for the tour to start, but since the hotel was right on the Arctic Ocean, we used that time to explore the Arctic coast right behind the hotel without the tour bus crowd.
All in all, it was a good experience - just not as well organized as it should have been for the price. Pete, our guide, took everything in stride and made sure we got a good, personalized tour, regardless of the delay. Thanks, Pete,

4. Piuraagvik Recreation Center

2026 Ahkovak St, Ukpiagvik, AK 99723 +1 907-852-2514
Excellent
0%
Good
100%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 1 reviews

Piuraagvik Recreation Center

Reviewed By kwa829 - Redmond, Washington

Except for the "Top of the World" hotel in Barrow, no other lodging establishment has fitness equipment. And, while going for a run above the Arctic Circle or on the shores of the Arctic Ocean may be a nice "bucket list" activity or secure you bragging rights, the realities of Barrow's climate (as well as the very real risk of being attacked by a polar bear during certain months) might make that prohibitive, or on a multi-day visit perhaps you'll do that once but then prefer to retreat to a more conventional workout.

The facility is located just east of the high school, a relatively easy 5-10 minute walk from either Airport Inn or King Eider Inn. "Outsiders" are welcome; a day pass is available for $5.

The facility includes a full-size basketball court, a racquetball court, and a second racquetball court that has been repurposed for fitness equipment. Locals often play "pick up" basketball games and I have heard that they welcome visitors to join them.

The fitness equipment is fairly basis - a mix of treadmills, ellipticals, stair climbers, and some free weights. There are no weight machines. The equipment is not top-of-the-line, but it is not bottom-of-the-line either.

There are locker rooms, with showers and sauna. However, be aware there is a $1 fee to use the showers, and you'll need to supply your own soap, shampoo, and towel.

Anyway, I was very impressed that the remote community of Barrow has this modern, well-equipped recreation center.

5. St. Patrick's Catholic Church

618 Cunningham Street, Ukpiagvik, AK 99723 +1 907-852-3515
St. Patrick's Catholic Church

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