Summer days in Whitehorse are endless! With some days having nineteen hours of daylight leaves you with a lot of time to explore. Spending time outside exploring the beautiful Wilderness City, walking along the banks of the Yukon River, take a step back in time on the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site or learn all about Whitehorse and the Yukon’s past in one of the many museums. The beautiful city of Whitehorse offers views of the surrounding mountains from anywhere in the city is a must visit place on your trip through the Yukon.
Here are our top 13 things to do in Whitehorse, Yukon!
Visit the Visitor Information Centre
Your first stop in Whitehorse should be to the Visitor Information Centre where you can speak to a local expert about everything to do in town and the surrounding area. Here you can grab free maps and brochures on activities available all throughout the Yukon. If you are looking for a bit more guidance a local guides will be able to assist you in booking tours for your.
Walk the Waterfront
Just steps outside the Visitor Centre is a paved path that follows the Yukon River. Take a walk along the footpath to get some great views of both the river and Whitehorse.
As you walk along the river don’t forget to look across the water to see a First Nations burial ground. It looks like a home with a white picket fence, but it is actually a place where the ashes and personal effects of the deceased were laid to rest. This final resting place for the First Nations is called the Spirit House. Please do not take photos of the site or visit the site as both are considered disrespectful.
MacBride Museum of Yukon History
The MacBride Museum offers a comprehensive look of the people and events that shaped the Yukon. Explore the museum to learn the stories of the gold rush, discover the truth of the Robert Service Ledgend at Sam McGee’s Cabin and more. The MacBride Museum was named Canada’s #1 most under-rated attraction by MSN Travel Canada and it really is!
Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre
The Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre is a place where the Kwanlin Dün First Nations people celebrate both their heritage and contemporary way of life. The purpose of the cultural centre is to revive, preserve and demonstrate the values, traditional ways of life, language and practices of the Kwanlin Dün people.
Old Log Church Museum
Step into the Old Log Church Museum and experience history of the people and places that built Whitehorse. From 1861 onwards the museum looks at the history of the area and its pioneers. A visit to the museum will help provide a better understanding to the first chapters in the Yukon’s history.
Whitehorse Fishladder & Hatchery
Explore the Whitehorse Fishladder & Hatchery where you can learn about salmon migration. The Whitehorse Fish Ladder is believed to be the longest wooden fish ladder in the world. Building the ladder will aid the migration of the Chinook salmon on the final leg of their journey to their spawning ground at the headwaters of the Yukon. With the help of underwater cameras, TV monitors and viewing platforms you can watch the fish. You can experience and learn about the migrating salmon and freshwater fish on your visit to the Whitehorse Fishladder & Hatchery.
Whitehorse Rapids Dam
The Whitehorse Rapids Dam also constructed in 1958 is located next to the Whitehorse Fishway & Hatchery. This 15,000 horsepower hydro generating station provides power to the people of Whitehorse. The force of the water rushing through the dam is quite the site to see and provides a great spot to watch the sunset.
S.S. Klondike National Historic Site
The S.S. Klondike National Historic Site is looks at when Whitehorse was a hub for transportation for the region for both miners and their families during the Klondike Gold Rush. The S.S. Klondike hauled fuel, food and passengers back and forth between Dawson and Whitehorse. This now Parks Canada National Historic Site is situated on the banks of the Yukon River in Whitehorse free for the 2017 year for those to explore. To read all about our experiences make sure to read it here.
Explore the Downtown
Downtown Whitehorse has so much to offer in a compact area. You can step outside from any hotel room and explore the city on foot. From the various museums, national historic sites and beautiful boutique stores you could easily fill an entire day exploring the downtown. Take a stroll along Main street and pop into some of the boutiques like Paradise Alley for souvenirs, Midnight Sun Emporium for local, hand-crafted products like moccasins and mammoth ivory jewelry.
Stop to Visit the 11 Metre High Healing Totem
The healing totem stands 11 feet high on the banks of the Yukon River in Whitehorse. This beautiful totem pole was a 20 week project that took 20 carvers in total to hand carve. The healing totem is a symbol of the people impacted by residental school experience. The healing totem is at the end of Main Street on the waterfront, next to the White Pass building. You can read more about the healing totem here.
Yukon Transportation Museum
Explore the history of transportation in the Yukon that helped shape the territory it is today. The museum looks at over 100 years of transportation history in the territory. You will learn about pilots, the building of the Alaska Highway and so much more.
Explore The Murals in Whitehorse
Since the early 1900’s, dozens of murals have been painted on buildings in Whitehorse all over the city. There are tons of beautiful murals on the sides of buildings throughout downtown Whitehorse. Each mural depicts something different all with significance to the people of Whitehorse. Murals range from landscapes, famous Yukoners, animals, historical images and more.