Fairbanks is the heart of the Last Frontier
Whether you come seeking the mesmerizing aurora borealis, the dazzling midnight sun, the pristine wilderness or for some other distinctively Alaska adventure, Fairbanks is sure to please. Where else can you travel to such a remote locale and enjoy all the amenities of a charming downtown, a thriving arts community, rich Native culture, one- of-a-kind attractions, amazing natural phenomenon and endless opportunities for exploration? Once a gold rush boomtown, now called the “Golden Heart City,” Fairbanks is inviting and engaging—the heart of the Last Frontier.
From August 21 through April 21, during the “Aurora Season,” shift your gaze toward the night sky for a great chance of seeing the northern lights weave across the sky. In summer, embrace the everlasting sunshine and go golfing, watch a baseball game or head outside for a leisurely walk in the middle of the night. If it’s an “off the beaten path” experience you yearn for, you are in for a treat as Fairbanks is a veritable island in a sea of trees— wilderness in every direction as far as the eye can see.
Besides natural wonders, Fairbanks simply bursts with attractions and activities. Pan for gold, float the Chena River, mingle with reindeer and musk oxen, cool off in an ice museum, take a refreshing hike and look for birds and wildlife, or be inspired by art galleries, museums, and historic sites. Three must-see attractions include the University of Alaska Museum of the North, whose collection spans thousands of years of art, culture and natural history in a contemporary take-your- breathaway venue; the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, with its incredible collection of impressive, drivable historic cars; and the not just beautiful but informative Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center.
After a day filled with remarkable adventures and attractions, wind down with a meal at a local bistro or perhaps soak in a little more sunshine on one of the restaurant decks located along the Chena River. Fairbanks eateries are surprisingly eclectic. Ubiquitous Thai restaurants rival those found in Thailand (no exaggeration), outstanding made- fromscratch meals that incorporate home- grown produce abound, and multiple coffee roasters and two breweries are fundamental to the food scene. At the happening HooDoo Brewing Company taproom, you can rub elbows with university students, workaday stiffs, cabin dwellers, artists and more. If you are in the mood for a drive, head out past the TransAlaska Pipeline viewing station to the town of Fox, located 10 miles north of Fairbanks, and have a seat at the Silver Gulch Brewing and Bottling Company. Here you can indulge in a Northern Light Ale or a Coldfoot Pilsner and come to appreciate their clever slogan, “Fairbanks, where the people are unusual and the beer is unusually good.”
Winter months bring snow (guaranteed) and plenty of things to do like ice carving, dog mushing and snowshoeing. Locals will tell you to dress in layers due to the wide temperature fluctuations and that the subzero temperatures aren’t really so bad since the weather is “dry and still.” Needless to say, snow and ice sports as well as a host of other fascinating activities and events are unveiled during the winter. The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race in February and the World Ice Art Championships during the month of March are two outstanding Fairbanks events that draw worldwide spectators and participants.
Kayaker paddling the Chena River