Dawson City Yukon: Why This Historic Canadian Town is Worth a Visit

The red front facade of the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon

Updated May 2020

Dawson City, Yukon, can’t let go of its past. And for this tiny town less than 200 miles from the Arctic Circle, that’s a good thing.

The Gold Rush

On a hot August day in 1896, gold was discovered in Yukon swampland that would later be known as Dawson City, and the Klondike Gold Rush was on. In less than two years, the population exploded from a handful of prospectors and First Nations people to over 30,000 souls. Seventy thousand hopefuls who ventured along the treacherous Chilkoot Trail, turned back or lost their lives en route.

They dreamed of striking it rich but, alas, most did not. By the time the word got out there was gold in them thar hills in 1897, most of the land had already been claimed. Wannabe millionaires became bar owners and shipbuilders or whatever else serviced the miners. A few years later, word of a gold strike in Alaska prompted another mad dash, and Dawson’s population dwindled.

Why it’s Worth Visiting Dawson City Today

Today, year-round locals number under 1,400, but the spirit of the Gold Rush is alive and well. The city banks on its history and travelers reap the benefits. Colorful frontier-style buildings (some original, most reconstructed) line the dusty streets and an array of history-centric activities pay homage to the town’s heyday.

Think Westworld light with real locals, not androids, and a smattering of kitsch.

Colorful Frontier-Style commercial buildings on Main Street in Dawson City, Yukon
Main Street
Two people in shadow talking inside CheeChakos on Front Street in Dawson City
Pre-dawn hellos at Cheechakos a local favorite

What to Do First

Start by checking out the Visitor’s Information Center at 1102 Front Street which runs along the Yukon River. It’s a wonderful resource for getting a feel for all there is to see and do. There are all the usual brochures and maps but what sets it apart from visitor centers elsewhere, were the friendly staff members who took the time to figure out what I’d enjoy and made thoughtful recommendations. They can sign you up for local walking tours right there or provide information on road conditions, and all that necessary stuff.

A white landmark home from the late 1800s in Dawson City
One of the original homes from the Gold Rush era

The center is open seasonally between May 1 and September 30. If you’re planning a trip within those months, reach out beforehand at 867-993-5566 or email at vrc.dawsoncity@gov.yk.ca. If you want details during the off-season (Oct 1 – April 30) you’ll want to call the Klondike Visitors Association at 1-867-993-5575.

High Season

The city’s high season from my experience is a wild ride. In the land of the midnight sun, locals and tourists alike end up burning candles at both ends, even if they don’t mean to. I found myself out past midnight more than once even though I woke up every morning at six.

I wasn’t doing anything crazy my brain saw 3:00 pm daylight at 11:30 pm and my body said: “You’re not sleepy, let’s stay up!” The late nights caught up with me, however, once I was home. My first day back I slept 14 hours.

One of the many old buildings built during the gold rush that is tilting due to an unstable foundation due to thawing permafrost in Dawson City, Yukon
One of the many old buildings built during the gold rush that is tilting due to an unstable foundation due to thawing permafrost in Dawson City, Yukon

When I asked some of the locals how they survived all the late nights in the summer, along with a smirk and shrug, the frigid winter seemed to be the pat answer. “Everyone is so exhausted from the summer we don’t mind that it’s freezing. There’s nowhere to go and nothing to do,” one local told me. “It’s the human equivalent of hibernation.”

Dawson City Upcoming Events

(Due to COVID-19, please check ahead to see if these events have been cancelled or rescheduled)

Fun Things to Do in Dawson City

By no means is the list below definitive. There’s a ton of other things to do including golf, canoeing, and other outdoor activities, but I didn’t experience them personally, but when it comes to such exciting pastimes, how bad could they be?

Here is a list of options from the tourist board.

The Jack London Museum cabin
The Jack London Museum Cabin

Jack London Museum and Cabin

If you’re a White Fang fan, you’ll enjoy a visit to the Jack London Museum and Cabin. London spent a year in the Klondike. In 1897, he gave mining a try but he was unsuccessful. His skills were best suited for penning the stories that would later make him famous.

The cabin is a replica of London’s that once stood in the remote woods near Henderson Creek 75 miles from Dawson City. It’s decorated with period-appropriate furnishings and artifacts. Apparently, half of the logs used to build the reproduction were from the original. The other half is in California were London was born.

You can roam the museum and cabin on your own or join a scheduled interpretive session.

The Klondike Spirit Paddle Wheeler

In the days of the gold rush, there were hundreds of paddle wheelers on the Yukon River, transporting people and supplies back and forth from the capital of Whitehorse, but that era has long passed. Dawson’s Klondike Spirit, built in the early 2000s, is alone on the water.

Tourists from Alaskan Cruises in town on an add-on land visit to Dawson City comprise a lot of the Spirit’s passengers, but it’s still fun for the average visitor.

The Klondike Spirit Sternwheeler steaming down the Yukon River dwarfed by the mountains behind it.
The Klondike Spirit

I went on one of the company’s low-key cruises (ie.. the cruisers weren’t in town) on a gorgeous summer morning. Yasmine, the ship’s interpreter, regaled us with stories of Dawson’s history and the First Nations people who’ve inhabited the region for centuries. It was a lovely way to learn more about Dawson while enjoying a bit of sunshine and the natural splendors of the region.


Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to explore all the trails available (you can find a list here), but on my first afternoon, I went on a nice jaunt with Mattias Macaphee from the Klondike Experience, a local outfitter. He was very nice and a bit of a hipster (man bun, skinny jeans rolled up at the ankle, glasses, and beard).

He first familiarized us with the city on a brief walk through the streets, painting a picture of the early days when the gold rush began.

Afterward, we took the Crocus Hike route, an easy 1.5-hour journey through the woods behind the city to a lookout point where we could see the convergence of the Klondike and Yukon Rivers.

Mattias Macaphee, a guide at the convergence of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers
Mattias Macaphee

In the gold rush days, Dawson City’s footprint in Canada’s Yukon was much larger. The thick woods that stand at the base of the mountain today was cleared and the land used for prospector tents, shanties, and cabins. If you look hard enough while walking through the forest you may find some period artifacts. According to Matthias, they’re everywhere.

We added on a few old cemeteries, though they aren’t typically part of the Crocus tour. (I love old cemeteries)  One cross read: “Alphonse Constantine. Murdered 1902. Buried June 1, 1904.” You know there’s a story there.

Headstone in one of the historic graveyards in Dawson City
A grave marker from 1899 in one of the cemeteries we visited on our hike

The cemeteries were a mix of old, restored, and remarked graves. Some were segmented by religion or whether they were public or private lots. For a place so connected to its history, it seemed fitting to spend some time looking around.

(After my trip I found some really interesting information about who’s buried in each cemetery. I wish I’d had it with me when we were exploring. If you go, you may want to print it out and have it with you.

Hike Tip: Everyone (tourists and locals alike) told me they loved the Ninth Avenue trail. A 2.5 km, scenic route that overlooks the city. Unfortunately, my schedule was a little crazy and I didn’t get a chance to try it.

Hike Tip 2: The sidewalk that runs along the Yukon River off Front Street is a lovely stroll any time of day.

HIke Tip 3: Make sure to bring bear spray with you. While it’s unlikely you may come across one, it’s not so unlikely that you shouldn’t be prepared.

The wrecks of historic Sternwheeler boats left on the shore of the Yukon River - Sternwheeler Graveyard
Sternwheeler Graveyard

Artifacts from the Gold Rush Era: The Sternwheeler Graveyard

In the early days, paddle boats (Sternwheelers they used to call them) were the mains source of transportation to and from Dawson. As the years passed and roads were built connecting Dawson to the outside world, the boats became obsolete. In the 1950’s, the paddle boat business failed, companies went bankrupt and the owners abandoned their ships on the side of the Yukon where they’ve remained ever since.

There are seven Sternwheelers in the graveyard in various stages of decay. I’ve always found abandoned things and places fascinating and I knew once I heard about the graveyard I’d have to check it out. (I loved Eastern State Prison in Philadelphia or the Ivigtuut Mine in Southern Greenland.)

An old wooden wheel from a historic Sternwheeler in the Sternwheeler Graveyard in Dawson City

If these wrecks sound like your cup of tea, please WEAR closed-toe shoes, there are jagged metal pieces and exposed nails everywhere, many of which are hidden underneath the foliage. Keep your eyes peeled.

How to Find the Sternwheeler Graveyard

Walk to the free, George Black Ferry connecting Downtown Dawson (You’ll see it at the North end of Front Street) with West Dawson and where the legendary “Top of the World Highway” begins on the far side of the Yukon River. It should take you about 10 minutes.

Then walk along the main road (there are no others) for a minute or two until you see a campground on your right. Walk through the campground to the end where you’ll see a yellow gate to your right next on the beach. Step around the gate, turn left, walking next to the water for a few minutes and you’ll see it on the left.

Tip: If you take a Klondike Spirit cruise beforehand, the boat idles by the graveyard for a little while and it will give you a sense of where it’s located on the river.

A view of Dawson City from a mountain behind the town. The scenic spot is called The Midnight Dome
The view from the Midnight Dome

The Midnight Dome

For those partial to scenic views or photographic opportunities, the Midnight Dome, a spot atop the mountain towering over Dawson, is a divine location.

The view encompasses the city below and miles of lush forest and rivers beyond.  If you have a car, take Dome Road all the way to the top, otherwise, take a taxi or join a scheduled tour. You can walk but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re training for a major marathon. It’s a very long, uphill route.

The best time to go is in the evening. The Klondike Experience offers 1.5-hour tours at night between 7:00 pm – 8:15 pm and 8:30 pm and 9:45 pm. It’s still bright but not blinding.

I went in the morning which was beautiful, but photography-wise, I had to contend with long shadows from me and the surrounding trees which was slightly frustrating.

The afternoon is challenging because you’ll stare into the sun.

Flightseeing view of the mountains that inspired the name Tombstone National Park
Flightseeing view of the mountains that inspired the name Tombstone National Park

Flightseeing over the Tombstone Territorial Park

I adore aerial views of beautiful places, whether by helicopter, hot air balloon, or small plane. I’m never disappointed.

Regrettably, such an adventure is rarely cheap but if your budget allows and you can splurge on something, make it flightseeing.

The Tombstone Territorial Park is a short flight northeast of Dawson—a mountain range named after its ominous resemblance to grave markers.

Aerial view of Tombstone Territorial Park

The morning I went, the sky was thick with dark clouds and smoke from distant forest fires. Together they cast a veil over the jagged rocks and ragged peaks, transforming the pinnacles into a scene out of Game of Thrones.

Our pilot from Great River Air looked 16 but he seemed to know his stuff and we had a delightful time.

(Another Yukon flightseeing favorite is over Kluane National Park. It’s closer to White Horse, and worth the 45-minute drive. There you’ll see the impressive Kaskawulsh Glacier and the largest non-polar icefield in the world.)

A view of vendor tables at the Saturday Market in Dawson City
Local vendors peddle their wares at the Saturday Market

Saturday’s Green Market/Artist’s Market

Every Saturday during the summer season, local artists and farmers sell their goods in two adjoining markets that include the Community Events shelter on Front Street next to the Yukon River.

It’s small and easily navigable. Most of the artist’s work was handmade jewelry, much of which had a mystical or First Nations theme. Megan Creep (see below in “People”) a sketch artist, sold pieces of silkscreened fabric with her drawings on it. There was also an industrious masseuse who brought a large pup tent for privacy, complete with a fan.

Outside Claim 33 Museum where tourists pan for gold in large metal troughs
Panning for gold in the troughs outside Claim 33

Try Panning For Gold

Try your hand panning for gold at Claim 33 & Jerry Bryde Klondyke Mining Museum, a few minutes south from downtown Dawson by car. Pans are $15.00 per person, and the family that owns it will teach you the finer points of the trade.

There’s an indoor museum with classic souvenirs, Gold Rush era reprints, the kind the “stampeders heading north would have read.” They also have a selection of gold nugget jewelry and artifacts from the period.

Outside on the grounds, is a huge collection of antique mining equipment and vintage vehicle––the’ve all seen better times.

A dealer talks to a customer at a blackjack table in Diamond Tooth Gertie's Casino
Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Casino

Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall

No visit to Dawson would be complete without a night at Diamond Tooth Gerties, Canada’s first legal casino. It’s a hoot.

I’m not a gambler and hate Las Vegas, but I still had fun at Gerties. The business is owned by the Klondike Visitor’s Association and all the proceeds are invested back into the community.

Diamond Tooth Gerties at 10:30pm at night. Welcome to the land of the midnight sun -Dawson City, the Heart of the Klondike Gold Rush
Diamond Tooth Gerties at 10:30pm at night. Welcome to the land of the midnight sun

There were the usual: blackjack, poker, and roulette tables and a few banks of slot machines—I”m amazed how addictive those things are. People sat for hours like button-pushing zombies.  As you would expect, the interior was period decor with massive chandeliers, a balcony, and staff wore costumes straight out of central casting.

Gertie’s puts on three different shows every night (8 pm, 10 pm and midnight from May – September) that become a little racier as the night goes on. The entire cast is only six people but they give it their all.

The Dawson City Locals

As much as the city serves up its past, there’s more to Dawson than its history. It’s blessed with a quirky, population whose passion for the city is infectious, and I’d be remiss not to give them a special shoutout.

When I asked Why Dawson? their answers were pretty much the same: a passion for nature, love of the close-knit community, and another feeling they found hard to articulate. It netted out somewhere in the realm of Dawson spoke to them. “I can’t really say what it is,” one man told me. “I came here and I didn’t want to leave.” Something about Dawson grabs people and doesn’t let go.

Artist Megan Creep who I met at the Saturday Artist's Market --Dawson City, the Heart of the Klondike Gold Rush
Artist Megan Creep who I met at the Saturday Artist’s Market

In addition to the summer influx of tourists (huge Holland America buses roll in and out all the time), there’s a slew of free-spirited, artsy millennials, drawn to the city by SOVA, the Yukon’s School of Visual Arts, the long-running Dawson City Music Festival, arts festivals, and the romance of honing their craft in a remote location.

Monica Creep, a 23-year old musician and sketch artist who prefers the pronoun “they”, first came to Dawson four years ago on a whim.

“My bandmate came up here to go to SOVA, and I was like, I’m living in Toronto, I have a car, I’ll drive you to the Yukon.”

Monica fell in love with Dawson and its community of like-minded artists. Their friend left after a year but Monica was hooked enough to brave a subarctic winter living out of their van.  This year, however, the following year they were looking forward to the warmth of a cabin they secured for the frigid weather.

Sue Taylor dressed in period Gold Rush clothing in Dawson City, Yukon
Sue Taylor

Sue Taylor, a vivacious fifty-three-year-old Texan with a deep, nasal voice and a rapid-fire cadence that made my head spin, hitchhiked to Dawson in 1982 when she was 18. “I did a lot of partying when I came here,” she said. “All we wanted to do was drink and party and dance and run around all day because you could. No rules. Live in a tent, just camp and camp, and camp. I spent my first winter in a wool tent. Don’t need to do that again.”

Sue worked various mining jobs including running a drill but years ago she began interpreting for Parks Canada leading walking tours in period costumes.

I met Sue on the Strange Things Done tour, an intriguing hour and a half filled with historical anecdotes and funny stories dating back to the gold rush. The experience was made all the more entertaining by Sue’s animated story-telling.

Brad Whitelaw on the upper deck of his Klondike Spirit Paddle Wheeler --Dawson City, the Heart of the Klondike Gold Rush-
Brad Whitelaw on the upper deck of his Klondike Spirit Paddle Wheeler

Brad Whitelaw, a local business magnate who owns the Klondike Spirit Paddlewheeler, the popular Triple J Hotel, and a hunting outfitter, came to Dawson as a young man and hasn’t looked back. Brad loves Dawson’s extremes. “Six months from now, this place will be the polar opposite.” And he meant that literally. He also loves that he can fly to Vancouver in a few hours or drive into the wilderness and be completely alone. “I embrace the extremes.” If you’re a reality show fan, Brad appeared twice as himself in the 2017 season of Gold Rush Alaska.

Caveman Bill waving to us while we pass by his home (aka cave) on the Klondike Spirit--Dawson City, the Heart of the Klondike Gold Rush
Caveman Bill waving to us while we pass by his home (aka cave) on the Klondike Spirit

One of the more colorful Dawsonians is Caveman Bill. I didn’t meet Bill, but he waved to us as we passed his “home” while cruised on the Klondike Spirit.

I was curious whether he was looney or some sad misanthrope who gave up on life to live in the wild. Turns out he’s nothing so dramatic. He’s just a regular guy who 18 years ago decided to try living in a cave and liked it. I’m told he’s fixed it up with some modern conveniences such as lighting and a door. Bill has become a bit of a tourist celebrity but pays his bills as a handyman and woodworker.

Diners sitting at picnic tables outside the Alchemy Cafe in Dawson City, Yukon
The Alchemy Cafe

Places to Eat

There are many restaurants scattered throughout Dawson but Front Street running along the Yukon River is a great place to start if you’re looking for ideas.

Places I recommend

On Front Street: I had a fantastic turkey club at Cheechakos Bakeshop.  If you’re hankering for Fish n’ Chips try Sourdough Joes. There’s the classic version with Cod (my favorite), or with Halibut, and of course French fries.

The Aurora Inn restaurant on 5th Avenue had delicious poutine (that’s French fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy for all Americans like me who hadn’t heard of this Canadian delight), and veal schnitzel with mushroom sauce. Yum!

Fish n' Chips at Sourdough Joes -Dawson City, the Heart of the Klondike Gold Rush-0647
Fish n’ Chips at Sourdough Joes

I’m a big chicken wings fan but I usually take them with BBQ or hot sauce. At the Westmark Inn restaurant, a friend suggested I try a Canadian wings favorite: honey & garlic. I dream about them now. So. Good.

I never made it to the Alchemy Cafe but it’s always busy and I’m told I missed out.

Places that were meh…

The Drunken Goat, a Greek restaurant also on Front Street is a cute little place but the ribs were hard and tasteless, and while I get that I was there during a festival it still doesn’t excuse that a few people within our party of 10 were served a good 15-20 minutes after everyone else. Other people liked it but I was not impressed.

I had a very disappointing scoop of Cookies n’ Cream at Klondike Cream & Candy. It was bland, watery, more ice milk than ice cream. In its defense, there was always a line out the door so maybe my experience was a fluke.

A man reads a book in the morning inside The Tavern at the Westminster hotel in Dawson City
9 am, The Tavern inside the Westminster Hotel is pretty mellow

Places to Drink

The Westminster Hotel: The Pit (tavern & lounge)

There’s nothing like a good dive bar and The Pit, as it’s affectionately called, is a great one. Just the right mix of seedy and cool with good live music, a pool table, and a relaxed vibe.

Its home is the Westminster Hotel, a large, bubblegum pink building on Third Avenue with a history that dates back to the 1930s. Some of the building is as old as the gold rush when it was the headquarters for the Klondike Thawing Machine company.  

An Asian woman with long hair and tattoes plays pool inside The Pit Lounge in Dawson City, Yukon

I’m told the structure is condemned—not that it’s about to fall down. At least I don’t think it is. They say to bring it up to code would be too expensive. It would make more sense to tear it down and start over, but no one wants to do that. Part of the lounge’s charm is its sloping ceilings and tilted floors.

The Pitt is where all the locals (and pretty much everyone else) go to end their night. I took these photos early in the evening. By 11:30 pm, lines were starting. Be advised: if you’re not in before midnight, chances are you won’t get in.

Fyi. There’s a popup hotdog stand next door if you should get the late-night munchies.

The inside of the Sourdough Saloon attached to the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City
The Downtown Hotel Sourdough Saloon

Sourdough Saloon and the Sourtoe Cocktail Club

I would be remiss not to mention the infamous Sourtoe Cocktail. It’s more than a drink, it’s an event. In short, it’s a popular and somewhat twisted marketing gimmick that’s inspired over 70,000 people to take the Sourtoe challenge since the early 1970s.

Yours truly drinking a glass of whiskey with a real human toe

Here’s the deal: You down a shot of hard liquor—your choice as long as it’s 40 proof—garnished with a dehydrated human toe. (Yes, you read that right.) The challenge: you have to slam the drink and let the toe touch your lips. If it does you’re initiated into the Sourtoe Cocktail Club. You even get a certificate. Why oh why is this so popular? I have no idea. It’s one of those nutso ideas that takes off and becomes a thing.

Did I take the Sourtoe challenge?  Of course, I did.  check out the video above.

A Sunny Day view of The Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon
The Downtown Hotel

Downtown Hotel

I was a guest of the Downtown Hotel, a large red frontier building, much of which dates back to the Gold Rush days. It’s home to the Sourdough Saloon which makes it easy as walking downstairs to line up for the Sourtoe challenge. The location is prime. It’s a quick walk to almost anywhere. Two blocks to Front Street and the Yukon River, a block from a grocery store and two blocks from Gerties. The rooms were clean and comfortable and recently renovated. The hotel provides complimentary wifi (why doesn’t everyone?) and my room had an empty mini-fridge I stocked with diet coke. The hotel also offers guests free shuttle service to and from the airport.

Note: There’s no elevator or bellman, so if you’re on the second floor ask the front desk for some help with the baggage and they’ll happily oblige.

Where is Dawson City ?

Dawson is almost 300 miles northwest of Whitehorse the Province’s capital. It takes about six hours to drive or a one-hour flight by small plane.

Tip: If you decide to drive, make sure you have enough gas, there are few stations along the way.

Tip 2: Along the way on Klondike Hwy, near Carmacks, Yukon, don’t miss the Coal mine Campground (Open May through October). It serves one of the best burgers (veggie and meat) I’ve ever tasted.

Dawson City Weather

Summer Season

In short, the weather is variable and you’ll want to bring layers. It was warmer than I anticipated but occasionally at night, I needed a light jacket. Bring comfortable walking shoes since your feet will be your best mode of transportation.

Winter Season 

Really, REALLY cold. Dawson City is a great place to see the Aurora Borealis, but not much is open in terms of tourist fare. Best time to visit is from May- September.

Final thoughts

I hadn’t heard of Dawson until this trip. To be honest, I may not have chosen it on my own. That’s why I love doing what I do. I experience places I’ve never considered before. I have so many friends who are rigid in their thinking about travel. Only a certain kind of place with a certain level of luxury. It’s limiting. No matter how nice the poolside massage may be.

Dawson will never be for the lux-only folks, but it is for anyone with an adventurous spirit and a love of the outdoors.

I was a guest of Tourism Yukon for this trip but words and sentiment are my own. 

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Dawson City_ Why this Remote Yukon Town is Worth a Visit. _ Things to Do. Where to go. What to eat. #travel #canada #adventure

37 thoughts on “Dawson City Yukon: Why This Historic Canadian Town is Worth a Visit

  1. Megan McCarthy says:

    I used to live in Dawson – in the 70’s, plus elsewhere for a total of 20 years up in the Yukon ( moved back down south in ’94). I enjoyed reading your experiences, as I often wonder what’s new and what’s changed in that town. When I first moved up there the original Caley’s Hardware was still open! Don’t listen to the negative comments – I don’t know why they think your experiences have to match theirs.
    Thank you – it made me homesick, and made me want to go back to see who’s still alive!

  2. Julianna says:

    What an awesome and well-thought out piece. As someone who’d never really considered travelling to Dawson, you have me sold. Thanks for taking the time to create such a thorough and informative article – I love how you brought the characters and place to life.

  3. Jenna Talia says:

    It’s a shame there are many writers out there who would have relished the opportunity you had to experience Dawson City that could have wrote something that rings original and honest about the town than what you’ve published. Who complains about food for a table of TEN (I bet you were a walk in too, no doubt) not coming at the same time during Music Fest? I’m amazed you had the fish and chips and didn’t get food sick – I used to work there and I’ve seen how food is handled there. Was it really necessary to label your guide from Husky Bus a “hipster”? Your Klondike Spirit interpreter’s name is Yasmine, not Jasmine. Megan, or Mo as they’re known as in town, actually prefers the pronoun ‘they’ not her or she. Belittling the Gertie’s dancers? Really?? Those girls dance their cute little butts off every night, three shows a night, ALL summer, smiles and all and you compare it to Broadway – seriously? Have a little respect for the choreographer and the girls who put in heart and soul into their art. The First Nations, the Tr’ondek Hwech’in were and ARE still there – it’s a shame you missed checking out their cultural centre. Also, you might want to reconsider your photo of the “revelers” not because they’re not even from Dawson, but you’ve posted on the internet a photo of people drinking open beer in public…….

    • Susan Portnoy says:

      Dear Jenna –
      Thank you for your thoughtful commentary. I appreciate your love for Dawson and its people and to defend any slight you perceive against it. Your passion for the town is heartfelt, that is obvious, and I assume fostered over time. Unfortunately, I only had a few days and therefore was left to my immediate impressions, which as you can see from the headline was positive. I recommended that people should visit.

      As to the rest, I won’t go line by line but I would like to address a few of your thoughts below.

      “Who complains about food for a table of TEN (I bet you were a walk in too, no doubt) not coming at the same time during Music Fest?”

      – We had a reservation. There was no line and the restaurant was not completely full when we arrived. As a patron of that restaurant, yes, I do believe a business should be able to accommodate its guests, otherwise they should have suggested we go elsewhere or not taken the reservation. I also believe that the food should be worth the price put on it. My ribs were very dry and tasteless. That was truthful. My mention of the music festival as a possible reason for the lack of quality was my attempt to give the restaurant the benefit of the doubt. But the fact remains, with us on that night, the service was not good nor was my food. That is my opinion of my experience.

      “I’m amazed you had the fish and chips and didn’t get food sick – I used to work there and I’ve seen how food is handled there.”

      – Not sure what you mean here. Are you suggesting that Sourdough Joe’s is not a clean restaurant? That’s where I had the Fish & Chips. Or are you still referencing The Drunken Goat? And if so, do you mean the Drunken Goat is unclean?

      “Megan, or Mo as they’re known as in town, actually prefers the pronoun ‘they’ not her or she.”

      —I am in contact with Monica. When we met, they did not tell me of their pronoun preference. There was no way I could have known. They and I have discussed an update which was added to the piece.

      “Also, you might want to reconsider your photo of the “revelers” not because they’re not even from Dawson, but you’ve posted on the internet a photo of people drinking open beer in public…….”

      –I am sorry that you are offended by an image of the individual holding a beer in public. He was not concerned about drinking an open beer in public, nor did he ask to put it down when they posed. I was capturing the moment. In addition, my interest in making their picture was to convey their energy and enthusiasm. Whether they were locals or just in for the weekend was not a factor.

      Lastly, as a local, I would love for you to recommend places and activities you feel travelers should consider as I was not able to see or do everything in the time I had.

      I wish you the best,


      • Scott - Quirky Travel Guy says:

        Great article, Susan! I visited Dawson a few years back and thought your article very much captured the spirit of the town and portrayed it in a positive light. I wouldn’t give much thought to Jenna’s bizarrely oversensitive criticisms. This was definitely the Dawson I know, and the personal anecdotes made it even better.

      • Susan Portnoy says:

        Thanks a million, Scott! I’m really pleased you liked the article and found it to represent the Dawson you know. 🙂

  4. Carol Tyrrell says:

    We lived in Dawson for 12 years, loved it, loved the people. Nice article. I would have included Paul’s Church, the Han information building for all things indigenous, a meal at River West and a night or a drink at Bombay Peggy’s. Visiting at the very beginning or end of season gives a different perspective, people have more time to talk.I think my heart is still in the Yukon!

    • Susan Portnoy says:

      Hey Carol – Thanks so much for including your picks. I was only there a short time and didn’t nearly get to try anything. I appreciate the additional options for readers.
      Why did you end up leaving Dawson?

      And I”m so glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you. 🙂

  5. Allan says:

    Wow another article just like every other one written about Dawson. Writing more boring than a Dawson winter… Also smack talking a local business for being busy and not up to your standards ? Nice move. Congrats on being the 4000th person to write about the sour toe.

  6. CUD EASTBOUND says:

    Hi Susan, could you please correct the following;
    “Megan Creep” is supposed to be “Monica Creep”.
    Also istead of “she” can you please use “they”.
    Pronouns are important.
    Thank you

    • Susan Portnoy says:

      Thank you. I’m really glad you feel I was able to convey Dawson in a compelling way. It’s hard to know how others will receive your work. I really appreciate you taking a look.

  7. janinebeynon says:

    Wow looks like a really interesting place to explore and the photos are amazing! Great job on this comprehensive guide 🙂

  8. SommerKunst says:

    I love your stories and pictures! Especially those about places I actually HAVE heard of – like Dawson City! – but not yet been able to travel to. For my entire life I have been interested in places all over the world but I can only do so much at one time. I heard of Dawson City a while ago already and find it very appealing. So thank you for this little insight 🙂

  9. Loren Rhoads says:

    I love your cemetery photos! Please write more about your adventures in the Klondike graveyards. I imagine they’re full of stories like those in the California Gold Rush graveyards.

    • Susan Portnoy says:

      Hi Loren! Thank you. Unfortunately, I was only there about a half hour and it was not part of the hike. Mattias, our guide, only had basic info. That said, I included a link in that section to a pdf I found later that talks about the cemeteries and some of the people. Very interesting reading!

  10. Chris Riley says:

    Loved seeing those old wooden buildings, and the bright colours they’ve been painted. The brightness of the buildings against the grey skies reminded me a little of Portmerion in Wales.

  11. Kathy Brokos says:

    Great story. I lived in Montana for several years and it took awhile to get used to going to sleep at night while it was still light out. I need to visit Dawson city and see the small town ambiance.

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