Nestled in the beautiful Mackenzie Delta 200 km north of the arctic circle, Inuvik is a spectacular place to visit in Northern Canada
Getting here is equally an adventure. While you could just keep it simple and fly there, you can also drive the famous Dempster Highway, a 736 km gravel road taking you all the way from Dawson, Yukon to Inuvik, NWT. In fact, the newly opened Mackenzie Delta Highway takes you right to Tuktoyaktuk and the Arctic Ocean!
We had the thrill of exploring Invuik and the area during our 150-day road trip across Canada and only wish we had more time to do all the amazing activities and excursions that are possible in the area.
Whether you’re visiting Inuvik for weeks or days, here are five things you shouldn’t miss.
Five Things To Do In Inuvik
Before we continue, we just want to say that there are MUCH more than five things to do in Inuvik. The summer is home to festivals and a plethora of outdoor adventures and wildlife encounters while the winter is home to unique activities in 24-hour darkness.
Inuvik Community Greenhouse
Converted from an old hockey arena (how Canadian is that?), the Inuvik Community Greenhouse has become North America’s northernmost commercial greenhouse! Local inhabitants take advantage of the 24-hour summer sunlight to grow fruits, vegetables, and plants during the summer months. As a visitor, you can take a tour around the building and learn how it all works, how it began, and why it’s important for a town so far up north.
The Igloo Church (Our Lady of Victoria Church)
This cool igloo-shaped church has become Inuvik’s most famous landmark. The interior is decorated with paintings by Inuit artist Mona Thrasher and tours are given during the summer months. It doesn’t take long to explore the church but it’s definitely a unique church not found anywhere else!
Western Arctic Regional Visitor Centre
If you’ve never visited the area before, we highly recommend a quick (and free) stop at the Western Arctic Regional Visitor Centre to learn about the area. Located on Mackenzie Road at the town entrance, the Visitor Centre contains many interesting exhibits on art, flora and fauna, neighboring communities and wildlife. The staff is very friendly and you can even pick up your official Arctic Circle Adventurer Certificate here. The Centre is open from June to September and hosts weekly events based on Northern culture.
Boat Trip on the Mackenzie Delta
Last but not least, you simply should not leave Invuik without a boat trip on the Mackenzie Delta (during the summer months of course). Whether you paddle a kayak or jump on a motorized boat, traveling through the narrow waterways is such a beautiful and amazing experience. We saw beavers gathering wood, a massive eagle flying over us, and hundreds of tundra swans congregating on a nearby lake. We also fished for northern pike and caught one with every cast!
You gotta eat somewhere and we definitely recommend filling your tummy at Alestine’s, a truly unique-looking local restaurant with some of the best fish tacos you’ll ever have. You’ll also find other fish and reindeer dishes as well as local dessert. Best of all, the kitchen is in an old yellow school bus and you can eat indoors, outdoors, or on the rooftop patio!
As you can see, there’s no shortage of things to do and see in Inuvik and this is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also hunting, fishing, dog-sledding, road trips to the Arctic Ocean, and so much more.
Learn more about the best things to do in the Northwest Territories here.
Where to Stay
With so many things to do in Inuvik, you’re gonna need a place to stay. We stayed four nights at the Mackenzie Delta Inn and couldn’t have been happier. The rooms were incredibly spacious and clean. We had a small kitchenette to help prepare meals if we needed to, great WiFi, and a big flatscreen TV. It’s also located right across the street from the Igloo Church, the Tundra North Tours office, and is home to the Mackenzie Grill and Shivers Lounge. Highly recommended!