The yellow Pitts Special aerobatic biplane landed on the Deh Cho Boulevard extension near the airport.
City officials say the plane had mechanical issues and could not make it to the airport. Dennis Marchiori, the director of public safety, says the plane was back in the air within an hour of the emergency landing.
RCMP say no one was injured. Traffic was blocked for a short period.
The plane and its pilot, Stefan Trischuk, are in Yellowknife for Saturday's airshow. Trischuk's website says he is part of a Discover Channel reality show.
"He was 30 seconds from the airport but the road was there, which was a safe decision out," said airshow organizer Gord Van Tighem.
He says the landing broke the plane's tail wheel. The plane was flown to a nearby hangar after the landing but Van Tighem says Trischuk will not be flying in tomorrow's airshow.
The airshow starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at the airport.