Yellowknife, Canada’s Northwest Territories’ capital city, is the perfect blend of vast North Canadian nature and city life. Here you’ll find a variety of hotels, restaurants, bars, and festivals as well as numerous lakes and vast wilderness, making it a great base for adventure.
Most tourists use Yellowknife as a base for viewing the Northern Lights or for taking float planes to secluded lakes and other natural attractions. However, even if Canada’s “Diamond Capital” is just a base for further exploration, you really should explore the town and see what it has to offer.
We visited Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories during our 150-day road trip across Canada and really loved our time there. Due to our vehicle breaking down in Hay River, we only had one full day to explore the city, which was enough to see the key sites below.
One Day Itinerary for Exploring the Best of Yellowknife
Yellowknife isn’t a very big city but you’ll most likely need to take a cab to some areas, peddle a bike, or rent a car. There’s also public transportation. Depending on where you’re staying, ask the hotel and see what they recommend.
Stroll Through Old Town Yellowknife
Lovingly preserved, “Old Town” is where the original city of Yellowknife was founded. This area is primarily residential but is also home to some of the oldest businesses in the city. We really enjoyed walking around some of the old shacks and log buildings as well as eating lunch at the most famous restaurant in town – Bullocks’ Bistro. The atmosphere is really cool and the food is delicious. This is also where you’ll find the floatplanes, which can bring you all around the territories or for a scenic flightseeing tour over the area.
Peer Out Over the City from Bush Pilot’s Monument
Located on “The Rock” in Old Town, This is where to go for the best views over Yellowknife. You’ll see Great Slave Lake, Back Bay, Yellowknife Bay, Old Town Yellowknife, Jolliffe Island, and Frame Lake, as well as colourful houseboats, sailboats, and floatplanes. Highly recommended!
Get an Education at Prince of Wales Heritage Centre
This is the perfect place to learn about Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories in both the past and present with a lovely display of exhibits and collections that tell the stories about the land, the people, and the history of the territories’. It was so interesting to learn about the flora and fauna, as well as the minerals found in this part of Canada. We also viewed various artifacts made by local indigenous people, including a massive mooseskin canoe, which is a great display of human ingenuity!
Get into Nature
Hiking and Fishing are two activities that you need to experience in or around Yellowknife. There are various trails suitable for walking, jogging, and biking. However, be prepared to see wildlife, including black bears!
Fish are also abundant but make sure to get your fishing license before you go fishing and follow the catch limits for each type and area. There are a number of experienced fishermen in Yellowknife and surrounding areas that can take you out on their boat.
Where to Stay
We always love to stay central and the Days Inn & Suites fit our style perfectly. Located right in the heart of downtown, this is a great option for people without a car. Not only are you walking distance to all the amenities you could possibly need but you’re also close to bars and clubs if you want to partake in the nightlife.
The rooms were clean, comfortable, and spacious. They also include free high-speed internet, a fitness centre, sauna, meeting space, and more.
For those arriving by air, the Day’s Inn & Suites also includes a free airport shuttle.
Note: We visited Yellowknife during our 150-day multimedia road trip, which was sponsored by hundreds of companies coast to coast to coast. Some of the activities mentioned above, as well as the accommodation, was sponsored during our stay. However, all views are our own.