My Whitehorse, Yukon Getaway
Whitehorse, Yukon is not on everyone’s travel bucket list. But, the city’s spectacular scenery, relaxing vibe, and outdoor adventures create a charm that’s uniquely its own.
I went to Whitehorse for the first time in July 2022. When people learned where I was going for a quick vacation, they asked me, “Why Whitehorse?”. Hopefully, this post will make you think, “Why not Whitehorse?”
The Wilderness City
Whitehorse was established as Yukon’s capital in 1953. Though it has the status of a city, it has maintained its pristine beauty. In fact, the World Health Organization recognized Whitehorse for having the cleanest air in the world in 2011.
The city’s more than 700 kilometres of marked trails running along the Yukon river and picture-perfect lakes will keep outdoor enthusiasts excited. Visitors will also enjoy its perfect mix of rich culture and city appeal.
Whitehorse also enjoys a booming economy thanks to the tourism, government, forestry, mining, agriculture, and business sectors.
The city’s charm and economy have captivated many visitors who have made Whitehorse their home.
I am Filipino-Canadian. Though I know that Filipinos thrive everywhere, I didn’t really expect to see that many Filipinos in Whitehorse.
The Air North in-flight magazine states that 12.6% of Yukoners were immigrants. Further, of the visible minorities living in the territory, 40% were Filipino, 17% were South Asian, and 14% were Chinese. I thought, “40%? That’s a lot.”
Lo and behold! The first person I saw as soon as the plane landed was a Filipino. The last person I saw was also a Filipino. They are both airport employees. I also saw several Filipino store attendants and got to talk to a chef. Then, I saw a posting on a bank door that states that 2 other languages were spoken at the bank, including the Filipino dialect Tagalog. I also saw some Filipino locals and a group of tourists casually walking. There were really lots of them, of us!
Of course, there were people from various backgrounds as well. All in all, over 33,000 people now call Whitehorse home.
I chose Whitehorse as my vacation destination because I only wanted a quick getaway. It is perfect because it is only approximately 2.5 hours away from Vancouver by plane.
Whitehorse is about 300 miles away from the Alaska border and less than 60 miles north of the Yukon and British Columbia border. It is located along the Yukon River’s traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.
Public transit and taxis are available in Whitehorse. But since everything that I wanted to see is in the city centre, I only took a taxi from the airport to my hotel and then back. I comfortably walked to every interesting corner of the city during my entire stay.
There are ample accommodation options in Whitehorse such as inns, apartments, and hotels. There are several hotels downtown with excellent locations. However, during the peak season, there may be difficulties booking one so plan early.
What to Do
Whitehorse is called the Wilderness City because of the great outdoors at your doorstep. Because of this, there is a myriad of exciting activities throughout the year.
Paddlers have the beautiful Yukon River as their wonderful playground. Mountain bikers and hikers alike have access to the pristine outdoors as they travel through marked trails.
For the more adventurous ones, dogsledding and riding on float planes to the wild outdoors are great options.
Chasing Aurora Borealis
The northern lights or Aurora Borealis is a spectacular natural phenomenon that can be viewed from Whitehorse. The best time to see these is at the start of the winter season though these are visible from mid-August to mid-April.
I didn’t get to see these so there’s an excellent reason for me to come back.
Enjoy the Midnight Sun
During summer, the sun sets in Whitehorse shortly before midnight. This gives more opportunities to squeeze in activities while it is bright outside.
I had the chance to stroll along one of the busiest streets of Whitehorse at around 10:00 pm. It was safe and relaxing.
Learn About the City’s History
The location, history, and people have resulted in Whitehorse’s unique charm. Learn more about this wonderful city by visiting the MacBride Museum, Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, and other museums. Watch out for busks, monuments, and historical objects as you roam the city streets.
Relax by the Yukon River
I just really wanted to explore and relax during my mini vacation. It was indeed very relaxing to take a stroll along the Yukon River, sit by the benches facing the river, and watch people walk or bike past me.
Experience the Vibrant Art Scene
One of the things I will vividly remember about Whitehorse is the presence of numerous murals that dotted the city. Seeing huge, colorful, interesting murals at almost every turn on an otherwise regular street was a joy. These murals are testimonies of the city’s active art scene.
The numerous art galleries also delight tourists who were searching for unique mementos to bring home. Lumel Studios is one of the places that sell unique art pieces. They also offer glass-blowing workshops
Sample Delectable Dishes
For me, a trip to a new place is never complete without indulging in its culinary delights. I was quite satisfied – literally and figuratively. Four days were not enough for me to dine in all the restaurants on my list.
One thing I would have wanted was to sample indigenous food. I was able to purchase a Bannock (Indigenous American bread) mix but I don’t think that counts. But, that’s ok.
Whether you want to get your adrenaline rushing or tamed down, there is always something in store for you in Whitehorse.
Plan a visit soon. Who knows, you may also fall in love with its charm and say, “Why not Yukon?”