Your first stop should be the Western Arctic Visitor Centre (tel. 867/777-4727; www.spectacularnwt.com), located at the entrance to town. Plan to spend at least an hour looking at stuffed caribou, musk ox, arctic foxes, and diagrams of the area. The staff is exceptionally friendly and will happily explain recreation and sightseeing options. It's open from June 15 to early September from 9am to 7pm. While you are there, pick up an Arctic Crossing certificate and get a Dempster Highway passport stamped.
The most famous landmark in Inuvik is the Igloo Church (180 Mackenzie Rd.; tel. 867/777-2236), formally known as Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, a large round structure with a glistening dome resembling an igloo. The iconic church is one of the few buildings on the ground (most buildings are built on pilings because of the permafrost). Tours of the church are available through the Western Arctic Visitor's Centre. The acoustics in the church are amazing, and catching a visiting concert is a real treat. Inuvik also has the world's most northerly mosque. The 144-sq.-m (1,554-sq.-ft.) mosque made the 4,000km (2,485 mile) trip from Winnipeg in September 2010. Prior to that, the Muslim community celebrated Ramadan in the town's curling hall.
Another landmark is Ingamo Hall Friendship Centre (20 Mackenzie Rd.; tel. 867/777-2166); the former Hudson's Bay warehouse is the largest log building north of the Arctic Circle. It was renovated in 1979 using 1,000 logs that were rafted 1,300km (808 miles) down the Mackenzie River from Fort Simpson to Inuvik. The hall is one of the oldest buildings in Inuvik and is used for dances, talent shows, meetings, and bingo.
An ideal way to learn more about the Beaufort Delta region is by paging through the Dick Hill Northern Collection at the Inuvik Centennial Library (100 Mackenzie Rd.; tel. 867/777-8620). The collection has thousands of photos, maps, and memorabilia of the area from 1958 to 2008. The library also has free high-speed Internet access.
The Inuvik Greenhouse, on the corner of Loucheux Road and Breynat Street (tel. 867/777-3267), is home to towering sunflowers and rows of organically grown vegetables in the summer. The greenhouse is a converted hockey arena that was scheduled for demolition until a group of community-minded green thumbs stepped up in 1999. It is the northernmost greenhouse in North America; it's open May to early September.
Several art and gift shops offer carvings and crafts from the Beaufort Delta region; the best is the third floor of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (289 Mackenzie Rd.; tel. 867/777-2737; www.irc.inuvialuit.com). It's normally open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, but it's a good idea to call ahead. The "craft closet," as some call it, is continually getting new soapstone carvings, beaver-fur mitts, beaded slippers, seal-skin vests, prints, paintings, and traditional Inuvialuit parkas. One hundred percent of the sales are paid to the artists.
Originals (171 Mackenzie Rd.; tel. 867/777-2433) has a fine selection of carvings, prints, key chains, and souvenirs. The store is also stocked with Northern diamonds to make your heart skip and your wallet thinner. Northern Images (15 Mackenzie Rd.; tel. 867/777-2786) primarily features high-end prints, carvings, and clothing from the Eastern Arctic.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.