Old-time wooden boardwalks connect frontier-era buildings in the Yukon Territory’s original capital. The heart of the Klondike Gold Rush, Dawson City housed around 30,000 people in the summer of 1898. But the town was sliding towards “ghost” status just a year later: A fire had destroyed 117 structures, right as the gold ran out and rumors arrived of nuggets in Nome, Alaska.
Dawson City moseyed along quietly until the early 1960s, when Parks Canada began refurbishing landmarks like the Palace Grand Theatre (1899) and the Commissioner’s Residence (1901). It also resurrected the sternwheeler ss Keno and North America’s largest wooden-hull, bucket-line dredge. Along with the community of Bonanza Creek—where Stampeders pried $500 million in gold from the frozen ground—these icons form the Klondike National Historic Sites, now part of a larger proposed UNESCO World Heritage area.
Today tourists wander this subarctic hotspot, which has retained its 19th-century charm. Highlights include the Jack London Museum, Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall and the Sourdough Saloon, which infamously serves a cocktail containing a preserved human toe (donated!)