I would use this to get around: In summer, a pair of Birkenstocks. In winter, a dogsled. (You can also fly right into Dawson City, or drive up via Whitehorse).
I would stay here: If you want to camp, I’d recommend going across the river to the YTG (Yukon Territory Government) campground. It’s cheap ($12/night) and has some prime spots right on the Yukon River. The downside to staying here (other than no fridge for your beer) is that it’s a bit of a hike from town and involves taking a ferry. If I were you, I’d stay at the Downtown Hotel. It’s large, comfortable and home of the infamous (and revolting) Sourtoe Cocktail. Don’t know what that is? Google it. And then book a room at the Downtown.
I would eat here: Klondike Kate’s. It is the very best restaurant in town and one of the deliciousest (actual word, as of right now) meals I had in the whole entire Yukon. Everything is amazing. This is not a matter of opinion. It’s good. Fact.
I would drink here: If you’re the kind of person who likes to do things so they can say they did it, you’ll want to spend a bit of time at the Downtown so you can drink whiskey and try not to swallow an old, rotten toe. Otherwise, Diamond Tooth Gertie’s should be at the top of your Summer in Dawson City Bucket List. It’s the oldest gambling hall in Canada, dating back to the Klondike Gold Rush. It’s got everything your dirty old two-timin’ gamblin’ heart desires: games, whiskey and an old-timey musical number with Cancan dancers and Diamond Tooth Gertie herself belting out the classics. There are three shows per night, with the most risqué opening at midnight, which actually feels like about 3pm thanks to the glorious midnight sun. After Gertie’s (or instead of, if you visit during the winter) head to the Snake Pit. You can practically smell stampeders’ sweat from 1898 in there and you can definitely smell everyone else’s sweat, but that’s just because it’s usually full of people having tons of fun, dancing to live music and patting themselves on the back for living such a sweet life. If you do go, check out the painting of a Mountie on the wall to your left as you enter, or avert your eyes if you’re an easy blusher…
I would do this: Go during the Dawson City Music Festival. Wowee, it is incredible. The Palace Grand Theatre made me cry, it’s such a stunning venue, and you don’t even have to know any of the artists playing because the Festival only invites/accepts talented, gifted, passionate acts. (Insider tip: book your hotel room about four decades in advance or you’ll be camping in a ditch – not that there’s anything wrong with that but, again, no fridge for your beer.) Other amazing options for fun and adventure in-and-around Dawson include: being part of the action during the Yukon Quest sled dog race (in February every year), paddling from Whitehorse on the Yukon River, and going to Tombstone Territorial Park for some of the most beautiful hiking or back-country skiing you’ll ever experience.
I wouldn’t do this: Wear my prettiest shoes in Dawson City. The roads are not paved and the sidewalks are still old wood-planked boardwalks, so if you show up in cute summer kickers it’s gonna get messy real quick.