Visit Fairbanks Alaska! At 65 degrees north latitude, the sky takes on a life of its own—a canvas for the aurora borealis, the midnight sun and sunsets and sunrises that last forever. Here you will find serious mountain ranges, pristine rivers and lakes, abundant wildlife and a solitude that is found nowhere else on earth. Locals embrace the natural world and have created a vibrant river city in the far north. Where else can you travel to such a remote locale and still enjoy all the amenities of a charming downtown, a thriving arts community, rich Alaska Native culture, authentic Alaskan activities and attractions and endless opportunities for exploration?
Fairbanks is known for dog mushing, northern lights and its extremes of light, dark, warmth and cold. In winter, temperatures as low as -62 degrees have been recorded; temperatures in the 80s are common in summer. Summer days are also long – Fairbanks enjoys more than 22 hours of daylight when the solstice arrives on June 21. Visitors will find plenty to do whether they come for the long, warm summer days or to watch spectacular northern lights displays color the night sky in winter. A wide range of activities are available, including shopping the many art galleries filled with pottery, painting, textiles and Alaska Native art and jewelry; rafting or kayaking the meandering Chena River; golfing; fishing; snowmobiling; enjoying tours and attractions like Pioneer Park that celebrate the town’s gold history; cross-country and Alpine skiing; wildlife viewing; soaking in hot springs; or even enjoying a locally brewed beer. Also visit more great Alaska beach locations by <<Clicking Here.>> Need to know what to pack for your Alaskan Vacation? << Click Here >>
Fairbanks Weather (When to Visit)
You can't go wrong visiting Alaska anytime between May 10 and September 15. The days are long, nature is in full bloom, and the air is alive with energy. The best time to visit Fairbanks is from July to August. Shoulder seasons, including May to June and August through September, are also ideal. Although peak season brings the highest accommodation rates and the largest crowds of the year, it also welcomes the warmest weather, with average temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees. You can save money and still enjoy pleasant, cool weather in the late spring and early fall. For the lowest rates, visit during the off season, which begins after Labor Day and runs through Memorial Day. If your main objective is to see the northern lights, the late fall and winter are peak viewing times.
Fairbanks Alaska enjoys warm, sunny summer days. But as with any place in Alaska, the weather can be unpredictable. As a rule it is best to have layers available for the chance of a foggy morning or summer shower. Avoid any heavy winter gear, unless of course, you visit Fairbanks Alaska in the winter. A light wind and water repellent coat is also good to have on hand.
Fairbanks Area Attractions
The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center is a great first stop to pick up maps and information on things to do in Fairbanks. In addition to exhibits on the natural history of the region and the cultural history of Alaska natives, the center offers a free film on Alaska's history and nature. What's more, on the first Friday of every month, the center hosts a free reception featuring the work of an Alaskan artist from the interior region. This is also where you'll find the city's famous Antler Arch, a piece constructed with more than 100 moose and caribou antlers collected from all over interior Alaska.
The Chena River State Recreation Area, which sits just east of Fairbanks, is a popular spot in the summer for hiking, kayaking, fishing and camping. In the winter months, locals head to this area for ski touring and snow machining – the local term for snowmobiling. The 254,080-acre preserve also offers several developed campgrounds and public-use cabins, as well as picnic areas and pavilions for family gatherings.
Georgeson Botanical Garden
The Georgeson Botanical Garden is part of the School of Natural Resources and Extension at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The nationally recognized garden was created by Christian Georgeson in the early 20th century – one of several experimental agricultural stations in the state – to learn what crops would grow best in the Alaskan climate and to share information and techniques with local residents. The garden continues this work today through plant trials and research, but it also contributes to the community with creative annual events like the Dead End Poets Society. The garden boasts a giant hedge maze and at one of the many dead ends, visitors will find poems written by local students.
Part-theme park and part-historic park, the 44-acre Pioneer Park – built in honor of the 100th-anniversary celebration of Alaska's purchase from Russia – showcases the history of Fairbanks through several museums, including the Tanana Valley Railroad Museum, the Alaska Native Museum and the Pioneer Museum. A replica steamboat and two historic houses also give a glimpse of life in past eras. The park features several restaurants and shops, as well as kid-friendly activities, including a train ride, mini-golf and a playground area. Although many attractions and concessions close during the winter, RV parking is available year-round.
Chena Hot Springs is a world class hot springs renowned for its outstanding outdoor rock lake, year-round ice museum, excellent northern lights viewing opportunities and focus on renewable geothermal energy. In addition to the Hot Spring and the Ice Museum, Chena Hot Springs has a wide array of activities and attractions including dog mushing and kennel tours, skiing, snowmobiling, ATV rides, fishing, flight seeing, hiking, biking, aurora borealis viewing tours, horseback riding and even horse-drawn sleigh rides.
Best Fairbanks Tours & Activities by Viator
Arctic Circle and Northern Lights Tour from Fairbanks
Go far off the beaten track on this small-group tour that takes you along one of the world's most isolated roads. Travel into the Alaskan wilderness along the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to the edge of the Arctic Circle. On the way back, keep your eyes peeled for the Northern Lights. Learn more about the Arctic Circle & Northern Lights Tour from Fairbanks.
Arctic Circle Day Trip from Fairbanks with Lunch
Bundle up and embark on this small-group tour from Fairbanks — limited to just nine people — that takes you to the Arctic Circle, Earth’s northernmost circle of latitude, where the sky is completely dark or light all day. Aboard a climate-controlled van, cruise along the Dalton Highway, cross the Yukon River and then enjoy lunch in the arctic landscape. Learn about the indigenous Eskimo culture in the region, and take home incredible pictures, as well an official Arctic Circle certificate. Hotel transport is included. Learn more about the Arctic Circle Day Trip.
Guided Fairbanks Snowmobile Tour
Zip around by snowmobile on the outskirts of the North Pole during a 1-hour guided tour near Fairbanks. Your guide provides driving instructions and practice time before you head out past the Alaska Pipeline and through snow-covered forests. You'll ride in comfort on a 2018 Ski Doo luxury touring snowmobile that accommodates one or two riders, and has heated handgrips and electric start. Look for Alaska's native wildlife including moose, fox, snowshoe hare, ptarmigan, grouse, and squirrels. Includes experienced guide, and use of snowmobile and weatherproof clothing. Learn more about this Guided Fairbanks Snowmobile Tour.
Alaska Heritage & Sightseeing Tour in Fairbanks
Get to know Alaska’s past and present on this 5.5-hour tour in Fairbanks led by an informative guide. Enjoy the Museum of the North’s story of Alaska’s natural and cultural heritage, and admire the art installations at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center. Browse dog-mushing memorabilia at the Yukon Quest Log Cabin, before exploring Pioneer Park (seasonal) that features attractions celebrating Alaska’s notable historical hallmarks, including the Gold Rush. Visit all these sites as part of a small-group or private tour — your choice! Learn more about the Alaskan Heritage & Sightseeing Tour.
Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks
Pair aurora borealis with spa treatments and you get a northern lights experience like no other. This night trip from Fairbanks takes you to Chena Hot Springs Resort for an exciting but relaxing array of activities. Discover eye-popping sculptures at the on-site Aurora Ice Museum, and then unwind in the resort’s legendary mineral water baths. When the conditions are right, a guide takes your small group to the best locations to watch for the ethereal northern lights, with warm beverages in hand. Learn more about the Northern Lights & Chena Hot Springs Tour.
Best Fairbanks Restaurants
The Pump House $11 – 30
The Pump House restaurant and bar is based on the reconstructed design of a 1890s workshop, complete with Victorian era pool tables. The interior is decorated with period oak and wood furnishings, with low beams and cozy decorations, while the restaurant itself looks out over the beautiful Chena River, providing stunning rooms in either summer or winter. Telephone: 907-479-8452 Web: The Pump House.
Pike's Landing $11 – 30
Attached to the Pike’s Waterfront Lodge hotel, Pike’s Landing is a fine dining experience in Fairbanks. The restaurant hosts guests on its outside patio in the summer months, inviting them inside once moose hunting season kicks off and the winter weather drives people away from the elements. The restaurant is perhaps most famous for its Sunday brunch, the revolving menu of which features smoked seafood and cheeses, as well as luxury breakfast meats. Telephone: 907-479-6500 Web: Pike's Landing.
Silver Gulch $11 – 30
Silver Gulch has a claim quite unlike any other, in that it is America’s most northern brewery. And, as guests have to travel so far to get there, it even comes with its very own restaurant. The brewery creates four regular beers, all of which can be enjoyed in bottle or draught form. Of course, trying all that beer is hungry work, which is why the traditionally decorated restaurant, serves nothing but hearty Alaskan fare. Telephone: 907-452-2739 Web: Silver Gulch
Zach's Restaurant $11 – 30
The menu is upscale without being fussy. Breakfast—which includes a hearty Alaskan buffet during the summer—features day-starters such as the house’s roasted corn beef hash, or sweet cream pancakes with blueberries. For lunch, you can’t miss with the hand-rolled slow roast pork taquitos or the teriyaki Alaskan salmon. At dinner, don’t miss the chance to start with a local favorite, the artichoke melt, paired with a glass of wine. Telephone: 907-479-3650 Web: Zach's Restaurant.
Tracker's Bar & Grill $11 – 30
asual, fun and happening, this bar and restaurant inside the Fairbanks Princess Lodge is a great spot to grab a late-afternoon drink and appetizer or to settle in for a full meal. With a huge deck overlooking the Chena River and a trail down to the water’s edge, locals arrive for happy hour via boats—canoes, kayaks, or skiffs. A full bar, featuring Alaska Distillery spirits and Alaskan beers, complements a menu of quality pub fare and Alaskan favorites, like fish and chips or smoked salmon chowder. Telephone: 907-455-4477 Web: Tracker's Bar & Grill.
Best Fairbanks Bars
Silver Gulch has a claim quite unlike any other, in that it is America’s most northern brewery. And, as guests have to travel so far to get there, it even comes with its very own restaurant. The brewery creates four regular beers, all of which can be enjoyed in bottle or drought form. Of course, trying all that beer is hungry work, which is why the traditionally decorated restaurant, serves nothing but hearty Alaskan fare. Telephone: 907-452-2739 Web: Silver Gulch.
This place is huge and hosts events non-stop. It's located in a giant airport hangar in the town of Ester, 7 miles outside of Fairbanks. They have lots of live music, and if a band isn't scheduled they show art house and indie films. The food is a notch above standard bar fare, with good pizza and sandwiches and great appetizers, like calamari and fried halibut. If the weather's nice, the music venue shifts to outdoors. Telephone: 907-457-5666 Web: Blue Loon.
This is where the hippies hang. It's small, little basement bar located just off college campus. There's live music almost every night, including favorite local groups and bands on tour. It's a typical hole, smelling of sweat, patchoulie oil, and cigarette smoke. But it packs them in, and the crowd gets down. There are usually a few good beers on tap and a decent bottled selection. There's no food at the bar, but a hot dog shop above the bar. The crowd is eclectic with bongo players, hippies, lumberjacks and people coming out of the bush. Telephone: 907-479-4646 Web: Marlin.
This place is famous throughout Alaska for it's fun, quirky atmosphere. The walls are covered with strange clippings and news stories, and Yankee paraphernalia (the owner's a die hard fan). And the marquis sign advertises free parking and anchovies for 99 cents a can—which are available in the attached liquor store. It's the kind of welcoming, weird place Alaskans love. Plus, there's great beer, with local and Alaskan beers on tap and a good bottled selection. It's a casual place, with casual pub food—burgers and sandwiches, fish and chips, nachos. But they also have good cuts of meat and fresh Alaska seafood. There's live music pretty regularly (open mic on Saturdays) and the bar can get hopping. Telephone: 907-455-6665 Web: Ivory Jack's.
Golden Eagle Saloon
For $5 you can buy a hunk of raw hamburger and grill it yourself at this funky, Alaskan hideout. You can't beat the atmosphere at the Golden Eagle Saloon. It's not in Fairbanks, but in the quirky, small Alaskan town of Ester. Local's love the saloon, not only as a place to gather and escape the isolation of rural Alaska, but also for it's selection of bottled beers, a big pool table and the dog friendly owners (you're in mushing country). Huskies and hounds lounge on the porch and floor of the rustic bar, which is surrounded by large spruce trees. Inside, there's the grill and pot-belly stove, hearkening back to the country store era. The food isn't fancy, but it's good and filling. Telephone: 907-479-0809 Web: Golden Eagle Saloon.
Best Fairbanks Hotels
Sophie Station Hotel
Offering lodging for both business and leisure travelers, Sophie Station Suites is truly a Fairbanks favorite. Locally owned and operated, our hotel captures the essence of the Fairbanks experience and provides guests with a level of personalized service, style and comfort unparalleled in the Golden Heart City.
Minnie Street Inn
Located within 3 minutes' walk from Central Fairbanks, Alaska and a 15-minute drive from Fairbanks International Airport, this seasonal inn features free WiFi. Rooms at Minnie Street Inn feature a cable TV and a work desk. Select rooms come with a microwave and a refrigerator. This Fairbanks property offers free trip planning. A lending library of books and games is available.
Tucked away on 105 acres surrounded by a 75-acre wildlife sanctuary and a 2,000-acre migratory waterfowl refuge, Wedgewood Resort is the ideal place to experience the natural beauty Fairbanks, Alaska has to offer. Enjoy the quiet, seclusion and breathtaking scenery along with the convenience of being minutes from downtown shopping, attractions and cultural events.
Springhill Suites by Marriott Fairbanks
Located next to the Chena River, this hotel is close to Pioneer Park, University of Alaska Fairbanks and Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center. You might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights during your visit. To complement your Alaskan adventures, they provide recently renovated suites to help you unwind in-between activities. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout their entire property to keep you connected 24/7.
Hampton Inn & Suites
Make yourself at home in one of the 101 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and LCD televisions. Complimentary wired and wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and satellite programming provides entertainment. Private bathrooms with bathtubs or showers feature complimentary toiletries and hair dryers. Conveniences include desks and microwaves, as well as phones with free local calls. Enjoy a range of recreational amenities, including an indoor pool, a spa tub, and a 24-hour fitness center.