North Pole, Alaska.
This PR photo apparently promotes a popular brand of snowmobile. It's "Santa's Snowmobile" at Santa Claus House.

Santa Claus House and Statue

Field review by the editors.

North Pole, Alaska

The town of Davis changed its name to North Pole in 1953 and adopted the slogan, "Where the Spirit of Christmas Lives Year Round." It hoped to attract toy manufacturers which could then boast, "Made at the North Pole," and although that plan failed, the town is still the northernmost Santa-themed tourist attraction -- and therein lies its flaw.

The joke with Santa Lands in the lower 48 is that they are plain silly -- akin to a Wild West Town in New Jersey, or a miniature China in Texas. Look, kids -- Santa sweating in 90 degree heat! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Santa statue.

A North Pole in Alaska suffers from diminished comedy opportunities in its wan polar light. What's the fun of an artificially iced North "Pole" in a place where the winter temperature slides to 70 degrees below zero?*

Yet North Pole, Alaska -- a mere 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle -- has the edge on all those other North Poles and Christmas Lands when it comes to kid cred. The town receives mountains of mail from all over the world, answered by a "Santa," or SASEs at least postmarked from the North Pole (Zip code is 99705).

For those who make the trip in person, there are worthy sights. The town's streets are lit with candy cane light poles. And there really is a red-and-white "North Pole" in the town park, supposedly infused with Pole-power by a trip to the actual North Pole, courtesy of the local Air Force base.

A 42-foot-tall Santa, supposedly the World's Largest, stands on Richardson Highway. He was built in 1968 by Wes Stanley for Seattle's Westlake Mall. Con Miller, founder of Santa Claus House, bought the fiberglass Santa and moved him here in 1983, erected in 1984. Santa's "nice list," which he is inspecting, was last updated in 2000.

* Turns out it can climb as high as 93 degrees in the summer, but all an overheated St. Nick has to do is throw himself down on the permafrost.

Also see: North Pole, New York | North Pole, Colorado

Santa Claus House and Statue

101 Saint Nicholas Dr, North Pole, AK
East of Fairbanks, at milepost 14 of the Richardson Hwy.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

!!! Candy Cane Arch!!! Candy Cane Arch, North Pole, AK - < 1 mi.
Dinosaur, Horse, Lady Greenhouse PlantersDinosaur, Horse, Lady Greenhouse Planters, North Pole, AK - 2 mi.
Touch the Alaskan Oil PipelineTouch the Alaskan Oil Pipeline, Fox, AK - 15 mi.
In the region:
Skinny Dick's Half-Way Inn, Ester, AK - 41 mi.

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November 24, 2017

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