Located a stone’s throw from the Bering Sea on the southwest side of the Seward Peninsula is Nome, Alaska. Rich in cultural history, flush with beautiful sunsets over the ocean and tundra, Nome is also one of the best places in Alaska to shop for Native arts and crafts. While boasting spectacular country, unique wildlife and bird viewing opportunities, Nome is probably best known for being the finish line of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Thousands descend on the small community to witness the end of the race, which takes mushers from Anchorage to Nome. While hotels fill to capacity in March, many locals open their homes to mushers and tourists. During the Iditarod, the town comes alive with events from basketball tournaments, banquets and craft fairs to arm wrestling and wet t-shirt contests and an ice golf classic.
1 Nome Convention & Visitors Bureau
During the Iditarod, watch traditional basket weaving, animal skin sewing, hat making, and qiviut weaving or get your photo taken with a live musk ox. Located next to the Iditarod finish line, the visitors’ bureau stays open late if the first mushers come in after hours.
2 White Alice Towers
see a part of history at the old White Alice radar site. Four antennas remain on Anvil Mountain as a reminder of the White Alice communications system used during the cold War. The system connected remote air force sites in Alaska to command and control facilities. Advanced for its time, the system became obsolete following the advent of satellite communications. Winter access is by snowmachine or snocat service.
3 Board of Trade Saloon
With its slogan of “headquarters for the sin city of Nome,” you get the picture. You’ll find the B.O.T. (as the locals call it) on front street, Nome’s main drag. Operating since 1900, the B.O.T. is packed during the Iditarod. Stop in just to say you’ve been to the oldest saloon in Alaska.
4 Norton Sound Seafood Products
Depending on ice conditions, independent resident fishermen begin catching Norton Sound red king crab in early July. They deliver their catch live in small quantities to this processor in Nome. And because it’s the only king crab to be harvested during the summer months, it is an exclusive offering.
5 Airport Pizza
Live in the villages of Shismareff, Gambell or Savoonga and want a great tasting pizza? No problem. Airport Pizza will actually fly pizzas to you via one of the two local air carriers. Known for having the best pizza in Nome, ask for the chicken bacon ranch or the Rockefeller pie when you stop by the restaurant on Bering Street.
6 Aurora Inn & Suites The Aurora Inn and Suites offers nice accommodations in Nome, but if you want to stay here during the Iditarod, please call them two years in advance!
7 Breakers Bar
A locals’ joint on Front Street that has a “No sniveling” sign hanging inside. You may recall this as the bar where Iditarod musher Aliy Zirkle broke another woman’s arm in an arm wrestling competition last year.