Barrow FAQ

How do I get around town?

There is limited bus service in Barrow along with several taxi cab companies. If you would like to use your own vehicle, you may use part of your relocation allowance to ship your car. There are also options to purchase vehicles in town at your own expense such as cars, four-wheelers or snow machines.

What is there to do in Barrow?

Barrow has a relaxed environment where you can read and watch movies in your home; or you can be busy every night of the week at cultural activities, science related talks, events at the schools, classes at the community college, craft groups, working out, or socializing with friends. Some also go hunting, boating, and fishing depending on the time of the year.

Is there a dentist in Barrow?

Yes. The hospital runs a dental clinic. There are also several dentists who have private practices in Barrow on a part-time basis.

How expensive is food?

Because all food is flown in, it can be expensive. To give you an idea, a gallon of milk in Barrow is around $11.00. However, there are ways to avoid expensive groceries; non-perishables can be sent up as part of your moving allowance. You can also order from grocery stores in Fairbanks and have the items flown up, or you can watch for half-price sales at the local grocery store.

What is the weather like?

Temperatures usually remain below freezing for most of the year, with temperatures reaching above 32°F an average of 110 days per year. Freezing temperatures have been observed in each month of the year. February is generally the coldest month. Beginning in March, temperatures start a general upward trend, with July being the warmest month of the year. During late July or early August, the Arctic Ocean usually becomes ice-free for the summer. Readings of 70°F or above have been known to occur on occasion. The end of summer is reached in September, and by November, about half of the daily mean temperatures are either zero or below. Snow covers the ground about eight months of the year, with some snowfall usually happening every month of the year.

How many days of darkness do you have?

Each year, the sun dips below the horizon at 12:50pm on November 18 and is not seen again until 11:51am on January 23. From the 24th on, the amount of daylight increases by more than nine minutes per day.

How many days do you have where the sun never sets?

By 1:06am on May 10, daylight has increased to 24 hours per day. The sun remains visible from that time until August 2, when it begins to set again for 1 hour and 25 minutes. The decrease in hours of daylight from that point on is also nine minutes per day.

What type of clothes do people wear to keep warm?

Because the temperatures drop below zero, it is important to have outdoor clothes that are appropriate for subzero weather such as a parka, snow pants, warm gloves, hat and boots. During breakup, when the snow is melting, mud boots are recommended. Indoors, the temperatures can be warmer than what one would expect, so it is important to bring lighter indoor clothing.

How is mail delivered?

You can obtain a PO Box at the local post office. Mail is delivered Monday-Saturday. The PO Boxes are no charge, aside from a $1 key deposit. When you first move to Barrow, you can use the hospital PO Box as a place to have your personal items sent, and then you will need your own private mailbox at the Post Office.

What kind of food does the cafeteria serve?

The hospital cafeteria serves three meals a day during set times. The meals are determined by the kitchen staff and contain a main item and accompaniments. Meals currently average $11 each.

Are there restaurants in Barrow?

Yes. There are several restaurants in Barrow that serve a wide range of food, including American, Asian, Italian and Japanese.

What services are offered in Barrow?

Barrow is the main service area for the North Slope and therefore has many services. There is a community college, government offices, utility office, post office, several grocery stores and a convenience store, medical services, schools, hardware store, restaurants, car repair services, library, and heritage center.

Is there hunting and fishing in Barrow?

It is legal for a non-Native resident of the North Slope to hunt caribou, geese, and fish. It is recommended to inquire with Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation and the North Slope Borough for permits and proper land use.

Is Barrow a friendly place to live?

Certainly. Barrow residents are warm and welcoming and encourage staff to participate in and learn about the traditional Iñupiat way of life.

How much does it cost to travel in and out of Barrow?

As with all air travel, flight prices vary greatly by season and depend on advance purchase. You can get great deals on airfare, if you plan ahead. Typically, airfare from Barrow to Seattle can range anywhere from $600-$1,200.