29 Issues to do in Fairbanks Alaska Summer season and Winter

Welcome to ‘Inside Alaska’ – the land between the mountains. Fairbanks sits within the heart of the state and is the jumping-off level for visiting the excessive Arctic. One of many few large landlocked cities in Alaska, Fairbanks is usually ignored because it’s not a cruise port. However that doesn’t imply that there should not loads of issues to do in Fairbanks year-round!

Fairbanks has been a important hub in Alaska ever since its inception. It began as a gold rush outpost for the area after which advanced right into a important pipeline outpost throughout its development. Now it acts because the outpost of Alaska’s Inside.

I’ve been to Fairbanks 5 totally different instances in summer time and winter. In actual fact, I really like Fairbanks a lot that I even run Ottsworld Excursions there! Fingers down Fairbanks is the perfect place to essentially get to know the hearty folks of the inside of Alaska. It’s additionally the perfect place to have an opportunity to see the aurora from September via April.

Residing on the sting of the Arctic Circle

With a inhabitants of 32,000, I used to be excited to go to Fairbanks and meet the individuals who dwell on this excessive atmosphere on the sting of the Arctic. It’s important to embrace change when you dwell in Alaska; daylight adjustments drastically from everyday shedding 6 minutes of daylight (almost an hour each week!) because it heads in direction of December twenty first and positive aspects 6 minutes after that.

With the darkness comes the chilly and parking heaps with electrical shops at each spot. Because of the excessive chilly temperatures in Fairbanks in the course of the winter, most automobiles are geared up with a number of electrical “heating” units that facilitate beginning in the course of the coldest time and ought to be plugged in to maintain heat.

“When it will get chilly, we simply get shut,” an area Fairbanks man advised me once I requested how he survived the winters.

However with the summer time comes the lengthy days and a inhabitants with an abundance of ‘cabin fever’. As I drove across the metropolis heart in the summertime I used to be impressed by the entire out of doors trails and actions. Folks in Fairbanks like to get exterior in the summertime and winter, and so do I.

What To Count on From This Fairbanks Record

There are a variety of operators to select from which might be nicely established; nonetheless, in my travels, I wish to give attention to the brand new, distinctive operators. They are usually the smaller, youthful corporations which might be serving the impartial traveler and offering a extra private contact than the bigger tour choices. If you happen to simply dig slightly bit, you’ll find these smaller, particular person experiences that could be tougher to get to or much more costly.

Fortunately although you don’t must dig – I’ve compiled all of those superior Fairbanks issues to do into this listing. I’ve organized the issues to do in Fairbanks by summer time, winter, and each seasons. My aim is that can assist you expertise a singular Alaska winter journey that takes you a bit off the vacationer observe and is extra built-in domestically.

Issues to do in Fairbanks within the Summer season

Fairbanks usually goes unnoticed by vacationers in the summertime, however in fact, I used to be not going to miss this previous gold-mining city. Due to being introduced up within the Midwest, I’m at all times intrigued with cities and communities which might be landlocked and within the center, which might be overshadowed by their extra fashionable neighbors (ahem…Anchorage).

1. Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary & Trails

Simply exterior my lodge was the Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary – a collection of trails winding via the boreal forest, excellent for working and strolling. After spending per week within the treeless tundra round Nome I used to be excited to see bushes once more once I acquired again to Fairbanks!

I bumped into many individuals taking their canine out for walks and birdwatching as I did slightly 3-mile run over picket bridges and across the lakes. The paths hook up with the Creamer’s Area Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. That is one run the place I used to be glad I took my cellphone with me to take some footage alongside the way in which!

Extra Data: Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary

Discover out the place to go in Alaska for fall colour

2. Tanana Valley Farmer’s Market

That is the oldest established farmers market in Alaska and the one one positioned in its personal everlasting constructing. The Tanana Valley Farmers Market showcases all kinds of Alaska-grown produce, native Alaskan crops, and domestically made, Alaskan artwork and crafts.

Not solely can you purchase produce there, however you can even plan on having lunch…and you must go hungry! There was a shocking number of ethnic meals and I stuffed my face with Asian pork buns in addition to Mexican tacos.

I spent the remainder of my time wanting round on the big produce and unusual veggies that I had by no means seen earlier than. Everybody was so pleasant and it was an effective way to spend a day studying extra in regards to the group.

Extra Data: Tanana Valley Farrmers Market Web site
The market is open from Might to September on Wednesdays and Saturdays

3. Georgeson Botanical Backyard

Be an newbie botanist for the day as you wander round Georgeson Botanical Backyard seeking uncommon, far-north crops. You’ll uncover uncommon species of flowers and bushes which might be endemic to Alaska and learn the way they dwell and thrive within the wild local weather of Alaska’s sub-Arctic inside.

This five-acre backyard is a part of the College of Alaska Fairbanks campus and was formally opened in 1989 as a analysis facility. It’s now a vibrant inexperienced area that’s stunning, particularly in spring and summer time.

Children will love the Babula Youngsters’s Backyard the place Alaska’s largest hedge maze beckons. Its well-designed pathways meander via lush greenery. Children can discover totally different sections named after beloved storybook characters like Peter Rabbit or Cinderella. Every space options plant species rigorously chosen to mirror components from these timeless tales – really bringing tales to life!

Extra data: Georgeson Botanical Backyard

4. Tanana Valley Railroad Museum

All aboard! Prepare for a captivating journey via railroad historical past with a go to to this pleasant museum located inside Pioneer Park. Marvel at classic locomotives and discover mannequin practice layouts depicting numerous Alaskan landscapes.

Learn the way steam locomotives performed a vital function in shaping Northern Alaska as you discover classic railcars stuffed with intriguing artifacts from yesteryear. You even take a experience on one of many park’s miniature trains!

Extra data: The Tanana Valley Railroad Museum is quickly closed

Plan an Alaska Railroad Hurricane Prepare Tour

5. Gold Dredge 8

Fairbanks owes its existence to the gold fever that descended on the Tanana Valley. Gold Dredge 8 takes you again to the late nineteenth century when prospectors flocked to Alaska seeking fortune. This large gold dredge, towering over the panorama, as soon as extracted thousands and thousands of ounces of gold from the icy floor.

Now retired however meticulously preserved, it’s a nationwide monument the place you may study Alaska’s mining heritage. It stands as a testomony to the unbelievable engineering and willpower of those that sought their goals throughout this historic interval.

If you step onto Gold Dredge 8’s property, prepare for an immersive expertise. The educated guides right here will take you on a journey via time as they share charming tales and insights. You’ll study in regards to the dredging course of that revolutionized gold mining and witness firsthand how these behemoth machines operated. Plus – you may even pan for gold as a part of your go to.

Extra data: Gold Dredge 8

Issues to do in Fairbanks Yr-Spherical

6. College of Alaska Museum of the North

As I pulled as much as the glossy white constructing I used to be shocked to search out trendy structure in a small group. And the shock didn’t cease there. The displays contained in the Alaska Museum of the North have been equally spectacular. There was a big Alaska pure historical past part that can totally educate you in regards to the grand state.

And upstairs was a powerful array of latest and trendy artwork accomplished by Alaskan artists. I beloved the upstairs displays as I’m a contemporary artwork buff. Lots of the works had an Alaska theme to them not directly – however some have been additionally simply nice items that had nothing to do with the state.

And naturally, I couldn’t miss out on Otto the Bear, essentially the most recognizable specimen on the College of Alaska Fairbanks Campus of the North. Otto is an 8′ 9” brown bear that has greeted visitors for greater than 40 years. And sure – Ottsworld met Otto.

The museum has been engaged on restoring Bus 142 from the story Into the Wild for the previous couple of years. Hopefully, in 2024 it will likely be on exhibit for the general public to see and expertise. Try the museum web site for updates on its standing.

Extra Data: College of Alaska Museum of the North

7. HooDoo Brewing Firm

I had been listening to good issues in regards to the Fairbanks craft brew scene, so I made a decision to test it out myself. After getting misplaced across the railroad tracks, I lastly got here throughout the massive industrial constructing that was HooDoo Brewing Firm. In true Alaska kind – it was fundamental and rugged, not just like the craft breweries and bars in hipster neighborhoods that I’m used to. It was useful.

Hoodoo brewery fairbanks alaska
Have a couple of pints with locals at HooDoo Brewery

Go inside and order a HooDoo beer after which head again exterior to the picnic tables to take pleasure in your frosty brew. It didn’t take me lengthy to make buddies with some locals I shared the picnic desk with. HooDoo Brewing doesn’t have meals, as an alternative, they’ve numerous meals vehicles that come every night time and park on the premises serving up meals to the hungry beer drinkers. I beloved the out of doors vibe; everybody absorbing the daylight and having fun with the outside and laid-back really feel.

Extra Data: HooDoo Brewery. Don’t miss Caturday at HooDoos on Saturdays when it turns right into a cat brewery!

8. Operating Reindeer Ranch

As I pulled into the driveway two large balls of brown fur ran out in entrance of my automobile I hit the brakes in a panic. I set free a sigh of reduction, it could have been fairly dangerous if I had hit a reindeer as I entered the Operating Reindeer Ranch!

As reindeer roamed freely within the Operating Reindeer Ranch yard and across the vehicles the proprietor, Jane, greeted us and began filling our heads with fascinating reindeer info. I used to be there to not solely study reindeer however to additionally stroll with them via the forest – a singular Fairbanks exercise supplied year-round. Examine my complete reindeer expertise and the way I almost acquired myself run over.

Fairbanks Alaska things to do reindeer
Take a stroll with reindeer at Faribank’s Reindeer Ranch

My first go to to the ranch was in the summertime. There are few locations I’m going again to a 2nd time as a result of there are simply so many locations to see on this planet that I’m not keen on do-overs. Nevertheless, as quickly as I knew I used to be going again to Fairbanks within the winter, I put Operating Reindeer Ranch on my must-see listing…once more. I visited Jane’s distinctive reindeer expertise once I traveled via Fairbanks in the summertime a couple of years again, however I used to be actually excited to see and stroll with the reindeer within the winter panorama.

My winter go to had some new surprises in retailer for me in comparison with my summer time go to. Along with the snow that was dolloped on the bushes, there was one factor that was vastly totally different on this go to to the reindeer – the folks! Jane was nonetheless there giving the fascinating historical past of reindeer and the way she ended up being what I name the ‘reindeer whisperer’, however the sheer quantity of people that have been additionally there to see the reindeer shocked me. In the summertime once I got here there have been solely 3 of us. Nevertheless, within the winter there have been almost 18 of us! Fortunately there are many lovable reindeer to go round.

Take a stroll via the boreal forest together with the reindeer, get footage, and study in regards to the fascinating lives of those mild animals. It should take you far past Christmas myths, and it’ll make you wish to come again for extra in different seasons!

The Operating Reindeer Ranch is positioned close to the College of Fairbanks. It operates year-round apart from Christmas when the reindeer produce other ‘essential’ work to do. E book early because the tour has turn out to be fairly fashionable and sometimes fills up within the winter!

Extra data: Operating Reindeer Ranch Web site. Learn Operating Reindeer Ranch opinions on Journey Advisor

9. Morris Thompson Cultural Heart

Try the Morris Thompson Cultural Heart and also you’ll shortly have a full Fairbanks itinerary deliberate! The ability was created by the Fairbanks Conference & Guests Bureau, the Alaska Public Lands Data Heart, and the Tanana Chiefs Convention.

Fairbanks Morris Thompson Cultural Center

The Morris Thompson Cultural Heart goals to encourage residents and guests to get out and discover Inside Alaska and Arctic Alaska in addition to to protect Athabascan languages and keep on conventional information via Elder teachings. Right here it is possible for you to to search out all the data you’ll want to your Fairbanks go to to Inside Alaska and Arctic Alaska.

Extra data: Morris Thompson Cultural Heart

10. Go to the Arctic Circle and Coldfoot Truck Cease – Day Journey

Fairbanks is the hopping-off level for the Arctic Circle, and the one technique to get to the Arctic Circle is to take one of many many Alaska bush flights or drive the Dalton Freeway; I did each! You probably have time whilst you go to Fairbanks head north out of city the place the pavement ends and the freeway begins.

The Dalton Freeway follows the Alaskan pipeline from Fairbanks to Coldfoot Alaska (a halfway truck cease) and barely past. The freeway was constructed as a provide street to assist the development of the pipeline in 1974. It’s a 414-mile street (nearly all of it dust) starting on the Elliott Freeway north of Fairbanks and ending at Deadhorse close to the Arctic Ocean. And it’s nonetheless used primarily at the side of the pipeline immediately for upkeep crews, transport…and slightly little bit of…tourism.

Dalton Highway Cold Foot
The street previous Chilly Foot Camp

You may assume that this opportunity to go to the Arctic Circle and drive the Dalton Freeway is simply obtainable in the summertime – however you’re fallacious! You are able to do this tour within the winter too! I’ve truly accomplished it in the summertime and winter and beloved each journeys.

In the summertime, count on numerous daylight to discover. You’ll cease at some previous roadhouses, the Yukon River, the Arctic Circle, and Coldfoot. I truly stayed in Coldfoot for an evening and did extra exploring with a information mountaineering via the tundra and studying in regards to the historical past of this distinctive space earlier than flying in a bush aircraft again to Fairbanks.

What to anticipate from flying in Alaska bush planes

You are able to do the identical kind of journey within the winter with a couple of additions. I flew as much as Coldfoot on an ideal winter day. It was spectacular to see the tundra from the aircraft coated in snow. We had lunch in Coldfoot on the truck cease after which hopped within the van and began the lengthy and interesting drive again to Fairbanks.

We stopped to see the pipeline, do some sledding, and benefit from the Arctic Circle and the Yukon. Lastly – I selected to do an add-on expertise the place we stopped at a cabin about 90 minutes north of Fairbanks to look at for the aurora. As we have been within the van we may see the aurora beginning to seem and by the point we arrived on the cabin, it was in full swing.

This was among the finest aurora viewing nights I had in Fairbanks – the lights danced for hours. Plus – the cabin supplied an exquisite place to heat up and have snacks in between aurora viewing! It was a really lengthy day as we didn’t get again to Fairbanks till 5 AM! However it was soooo price it.

Extra Data for driving the Dalton Freeway
Northern Alaska Tour Firm – drive-up/fly-back variations in winter and summer time
Hire your Personal Automobile from Arctic Outfitters – gravel road-allowed car leases for the Dalton Freeway traveler
Dalton Freeway Shuttle

Uncover the place to go in Alaska off the vacationer path

11. Aurora Ice Museum – Day Journey

Positioned on the Chena Scorching Springs Resort about an hour from Fairbanks is Alaska’s coolest museum! By coolest I imply, actually the best. At a chilling 25 levels Fahrenheit, the Aurora Ice Museum lives as much as its identify. It options the world’s largest year-round ice sculpture show. The sculptures within the museum are all created by Heather and Steve Brice who’re certainly very large names in ice sculpting.

As you wander via the museum’s icy corridors, be ready to come across magnificent sculptures that appear virtually otherworldly. From life-sized animals to legendary creatures and complex ice chandeliers, every creation is meticulously carved. Each nook reveals one thing new and astonishing – play an ice xylophone, crawl into an indoor igloo, or go to a frosted chapel!

Have a Drink on the Well-known Ice Bar

One of many highlights of the Aurora Ice Museum is its well-known “Ice Bar.” Step inside this frigid lounge space adorned with icy furnishings whereas having fun with your favourite beverage served in -10°F glasses made completely out of ice! It’s a really chilling expertise that can make your coronary heart race whereas conserving you refreshed on the similar time.

If you happen to’re fortunate sufficient to go to throughout winter months when Alaska’s well-known Northern Lights illuminate the sky, put together your self for an much more enchanting encounter. The museum’s location gives an excellent vantage level for witnessing nature’s most mesmerizing gentle present – dancing curtains of vibrant colours portray an indigo canvas above your head.

Extra data: Aurora Ice Museum at Chena Scorching Springs

12. Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum

Calling all automobile fanatics! Go to the Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum to delve into automotive historical past. This treasure trove showcases uncommon and superbly restored cars from as early as 1898. Uncover how automobiles have advanced all through time whereas appreciating their intricate designs and craftsmanship. Don’t miss the horseless carriages and the cycle vehicles.

However wait…the Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum is a lot greater than a automobile museum. The true appeal comes from the early fashions and the period clothes on show with every automobile. It homes many equipment that carry the Artwork Deco interval to life. The museum is positioned on the grounds of the Wedgewood Resort.

Fountainhead Antique auto Museum Fairbanks Alaska

Extra data: Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum

13. Pioneer Park

Not your typical museum or guests heart per se, Pioneer Park is a dwelling testomony to Fairbanks’ previous. This attraction in Alaska was created for the Alaska ‘67 Centennial Exposition to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the state’s buy from Russia. It showcases 5 family-friendly academic and group sights.

Pioneer Park isn’t simply an unusual park; it’s additionally house to a number of participating museums that provide insights into Fairbanks’ cultural historical past. Nestled alongside the Chena River, this park recreates an early 1900s gold rush city with genuine log cabins reworked into quirky outlets and eateries.

Make a journey again in time on the Pioneer Air Museum the place you may marvel at classic plane or hop aboard a reproduction paddlewheel riverboat at The Riverboat Nenana Museum for a scenic cruise. With its playground, carousel, and practice that circles the perimeter, it’s straightforward to see how the park is a enjoyable, family-friendly time out.

Extra data: Pioneer Park

14. Fairbanks Group Museum

Discover Fairbanks’ colourful previous at this charming group museum positioned within the coronary heart of downtown Fairbanks. Hear tales about its pioneers, gold rush historical past, and the numerous function that the railroad performed in shaping this frontier metropolis. View fascinating displays on native industries like mining and canine mushing. Don’t neglect to take a look at their rotating displays which regularly spotlight native artists and group occasions. You’ll achieve a deeper understanding of how this vibrant metropolis got here to be.

Extra data: Fairbanks Group Museum

15. Alyeska Pipeline Customer Heart

Located alongside the long-lasting Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), this distinctive attraction gives a captivating journey via the historical past, know-how, and environmental influence of one of many world’s largest pipeline techniques. As you step into the guests heart, put together to be amazed by the sheer scale of TAPS. The pipeline stretches a powerful 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope all the way in which to Valdez on its southern coast. It was inbuilt response to America’s rising demand for oil within the Seventies and has been working safely ever since.

The customer heart supplies a wonderful alternative to study how TAPS operates and its vital function in transporting crude oil throughout this huge state. Participating displays showcase numerous points of pipeline development, upkeep, and security protocols. You’ll achieve insights into the intricate engineering strategies used to beat challenges corresponding to permafrost circumstances and wildlife conservation efforts applied alongside its route.

Pipeline Alley

One spotlight of your go to will undoubtedly be exploring “Pipeline Alley.” This out of doors exhibit options an precise part of pipe permitting you to see up shut the way it features. Marvel at its dimension and energy whereas studying in regards to the modern measures taken to guard it from excessive climate circumstances like earthquakes and avalanches.

For these inquisitive about environmental stewardship, there are interactive shows that delve into Alyeska Pipeline Service Firm’s dedication to minimizing impacts on native ecosystems. Uncover their intensive monitoring applications geared toward safeguarding wildlife habitats and guaranteeing clear waterways all through TAPS’ operation.

Extra data: Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint

16. Go to the Fairbanks Geophysical Institute

For these science-y folks – this can be a tremendous cool factor to do in Fairbanks. Go to the Geophysical Institute positioned on the College of Alaska Fairbanks. Because it was established by an Act of Congress in 1946, scientists on the Geophysical Institute have studied geophysical processes from the middle of the Earth to the floor of the solar and past, turning knowledge and observations into data helpful for state, Arctic, and nationwide priorities.

World-class researchers research every thing from the middle of the Earth to the middle of the Solar. After I was researching a narrative in regards to the northern lights in Fairbanks, I truly was capable of meet with a number of the scientists at GI and discuss to them about aurora on different planets.

Nevertheless, for the vacationer – you can even go to the institute and study extra about their analysis. They provide free public excursions in the summertime weekly on Wednesdays at 1 PM. If you happen to can’t make that point, they’ve self-guided excursions you are able to do. Additionally they run excursions out at Poker Flat Analysis Vary. Poker Flat is the most important land-based rocket analysis vary on this planet and the one high-latitude rocket vary in america. Be part of a tour to study in regards to the thrilling science that occurs on the vary and see a number of the services, together with the blockhouse advanced and the launch pads.

Extra Data: Geophysical Institute | Poker Flat Excursions

Try the Fairbanks meals scene

Most individuals come to Fairbanks for journey – and there may be loads of that. Nevertheless one of many shocking issues about Fairbanks is the meals scene. For a city of 30,000 folks, I’m amazed on the ethnic variety and high quality of meals in Fairbanks. And it’s not all seafood and steak! These are all locations that I take my tour teams once I’m there.

17. Thai Meals in Fairbanks

The Thai Home Restaurant was the primary to carry Thai meals to Fairbanks, in 1989. Now there are over 20 Thai eating places within the comparatively small city of Fairbanks. It’s the Thai capital of Alaska! There was a migration of Thai folks into the Alaska inside for gold mining; when that didn’t pan out, many stayed needing a livelihood. Eating places adopted. I counsel you strive Thai Home and Bahn Thai – every thing is scrumptious – and genuine!

Extra data: Thai Home Restaurant

18. Strive Moldovan Meals at Soba

Sure – you learn that proper – there’s a Moldova restaurant in Fairbanks. I’m fairly certain my house in Denver doesn’t actually have a Moldova restaurant. Soba serves genuine Jap European meals and Moldovan wines. It’s the proper hearty meals within the winter.

We tried the potato pierogies, pelmeni pork dumplings, cabbage wraps with rice and pork, beet soup, and don’t miss out on the bitter cherry crepes. It’s all so good!

Extra data: Soba Restaurant

19. The Crepery Restaurant

Photo of sign above restaurant The Crepery in Fairbanks

The Crepery is the place to be in downtown Fairbanks. It’s a preferred cease for locals and vacationers. They serve up candy and savory crepes and it’s a favourite place of mine for lunch. Common fillings embrace Brie and pear, in addition to smoked salmon. Gluten-free variations can be found.

Extra data: The Crepery

20. Pump Home Restaurant

The Pump Home is one among my favourite upscale eating places in Fairbanks. The historic constructing alongside the Chena River was reconstructed within the spring of 1978 giving a nod to the 1890’s “Gold Rush” motif and environment. All over the place you look you will note relics from the wealthy and illustrious previous. In the summertime months, sit on the deck overlooking the historic Chena River and watch the Riverboat Discovery move and the float planes land. The Pump Home serves extra conventional Alaskan truthful corresponding to steaks and seafood. Count on large parts and nice drinks too.

Extra data: The Pump Home

Fairbanks Alaska – Your House Base for Winter Enjoyable

Fairbanks is the place all of the Alaska winter enjoyable appears to occur. Not like summer time the place so many tour choices are about cruises, the winter in Alaska is in regards to the inside and survival.

Touring overland in summer time is a tricky course of; Alaska’s panorama is made up of numerous spongy tundra (permafrost covers half of Alaska) and there are few roads. However winter immediately makes every thing accessible. Rivers freeze and turn out to be highways to maneuver round on. The bottom hardens and immediately Alaska sled canine can take you wherever.

Watch my winter adventures in Fairbanks under! Video by Michaela Potter

Alaska Winter Climate

I do know what you might be pondering – it’s too chilly, there’s an excessive amount of snow, it’s too darkish. Nevertheless, in case you are going for a winter trip – don’t you need snow? And if you will see the Northern Lights – don’t you need darkness?

You could be shocked to search out out that the coastal areas don’t get as chilly as you assume – they hardly ever fall under 20F apart from the occasional storm. Up within the Arctic areas, they don’t get a lot snow as a result of it’s thought-about a desert.

Nevertheless, Alaska’s inside does get chilly and has a number of snow. There chances are you’ll expertise temperatures dipping into the -20F vary and get a number of snow that can stick round all winter from October via March. All Alaskans know that you just fight winter climate with the suitable gear. You probably have the suitable gear – you may take pleasure in Alaska winter – even in Fairbanks!

I’ve traveled to some fairly chilly locations world wide and have discovered some key gear that I tackle each winter journey. Try my listing of maximum winter gear I take advantage of

Month-to-month temperatures Coastal and Inside Alaska

See the present Alaska climate circumstances right here.

Alaska Winter Driving

Most of those locations I’ve talked about do require a rental automobile, however it’s price it to courageous the winter roads in an effort to get out and have all of those fantastic experiences. It’s straightforward to hire a automobile on the Fairbanks airport. I used Avis, however there are a selection of choices.

I’d completely get an all-wheel drive automobile although as it’s crucial and there have been a couple of instances once I was driving via numerous snow on not-so-well-plowed again nation roads!

Do notice that Fairbanks and the encompassing space don’t use salt on their roads, however that doesn’t appear to trouble the locals a lot and I used to be capable of get round high-quality.

Plus when you go to Alaska within the winter, you get launched to the distinctive Alaska winter tradition of plugging in your automobile at night time! Sure, that’s proper, your rental automobile will include an electrical chord that you should utilize to plug in your automobile in all places you go and hold the engine block from freezing.

Extra data: Fairbanks Rental Automobiles

Issues to do in Fairbanks within the Winter

Whereas Alaska is a well-liked dream vacation spot in the summertime, it will get little respect within the winter. The concern of frigid temperatures, lack of sunshine, and heavy snow scare off most individuals. Nevertheless, that’s the precise cause why I believed Fairbanks could be the proper place to go for an Alaska winter journey – I wished to see how the hearty Alaskans lived and performed within the low season.

Plus you get a few bonuses to the Fairbanks winter, like Northern Lights and cheaper costs. My airfare from Denver to Fairbanks was solely a mere fraction of summer time costs, and fairly a bit lower than different hearty additional flung Scandinavian winter locations.

And whereas a Fairbanks Northern Lights journey might have introduced you to this lesser-known a part of Alaska, there are many different issues to do which makes Fairbanks the proper spot for an Alaska winter journey trip!

21. Ice Fishing

Fairbanks is a winter wonderland for ice-fishing fanatics! If you happen to’re trying to expertise the joys of catching fish via a frozen lake’s icy floor, look no additional than this unbelievable vacation spot. Nestled amidst scenic landscapes and frigid temperatures, this charming metropolis gives an exhilarating expertise for each novice and seasoned anglers alike.

Fairbanks is famend for its beautiful frozen lakes and rivers that remodel right into a winter playground for ice-fishing fanatics. With over 100 lakes inside a 50-mile radius, you’ll have infinite alternatives to discover new spots and discover that excellent catch. The area boasts quite a few lakes teeming with numerous fish species corresponding to Arctic char, northern pike, rainbow trout, and burbot.

Fairbanks ice fishing

Rods Alaskan Information Service gives a ton of various winter tous within the space and that features ice fishing. Don’t fear about getting chilly – you fish from inside a heat little hut/cabin on the ice. If you happen to go along with a information – you’ll have every thing you want, gear and a heat place to attend for the fish to chew! They even provide an aurora tour additionally – so you may snag that Arctic Char below the northern lights!

Extra data: Rods Alaskan Information Service

22. Canine Mushing

Expertise Alaska’s primary winter sport – canine sledding. Any Alaska winter journey wants to incorporate some canine mushing! Fairbanks, with its beautiful landscapes and frigid local weather, gives an ideal setting for this conventional mode of transportation.

Canine mushing has been an integral a part of Alaskan historical past and tradition for hundreds of years. Initially used as a way of transportation by indigenous peoples, immediately it has advanced into a preferred leisure sport and vacationer attraction. In Fairbanks, the place winters are lengthy and snow is considerable, canine mushing stays deeply ingrained in native traditions.

The true stars of canine sledding are undoubtedly the unbelievable sled canine themselves. These extremely skilled canine athletes possess outstanding endurance and energy. Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and Alaskan Huskies are generally discovered breeds in sled canine groups as a result of their distinctive cold-weather adaptability.

Fairbanks boasts an in depth community of well-groomed trails that wind via breathtaking forests and frozen landscapes. Whether or not you’re a newbie or an skilled adventurer, there are alternatives obtainable for all ability ranges. From shorter introductory rides to multi-day expeditions throughout distant territories corresponding to Denali Nationwide Park – there’s one thing for everybody!

Go to Mushing Faculty and learn to function a canine sledding crew

There are such a lot of decisions and types to select from round Fairbanks for canine mushing. Nevertheless, I used to be on the lookout for a extra hands-on expertise as I wished to study extra about how one can mush my very own crew. Discover Fairbanks really helpful I try a brand new, younger operation in Two Rivers, The Final Frontier Mushing Co-op.

Not solely did I learn to mush your individual crew in a half-day ‘mushing faculty’ tour, however I additionally realized a wealth of details about the canine racing tradition of Alaska and what it takes to run a racing kennel. The younger homeowners of the Co-op all have critical backgrounds in racing and due to that, they wish to provide guests an actual immersive expertise at their sled canine kennels. Their aim is to have folks see how a lot the canine love their job and expertise the true Alaska.

alaska dog mushing last frontier

However I have to warn you, when you learn to mush your individual crew of canine, you’ll by no means wish to return to easily driving in a canine sled once more. I used to be bitten by the canine sledding Alaska bug and may’t wait to return once more!

Extra data: Final Frontier Mushing Co-op. Positioned simply half-hour exterior of Fairbanks, the Co-op gives day excursions, expedition-style excursions, and aurora excursions! Examine and see my mushing faculty expertise.

23. Winter Heat-Up at Chena Scorching Springs – Day Journey

Probably the most fashionable stops round Fairbanks is a visit to Chena Scorching Springs. Simply hop on the Chena Scorching Springs street and drive it till the tip – about an hour from Fairbanks. You’ll arrive at a heat and toasty Alaskan winter wonderland.

This can be a larger vacationer operation than the others I discussed above, nonetheless, it’s price a cease – particularly within the winter! It’s not simply in regards to the sizzling springs, the resort additionally gives snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and canine sledding.

I like to recommend merely making this a day journey because the lodging choices aren’t that nice except you get a cabin.

Nevertheless, we booked slightly cabin set away from different housing and loved our heat cozy spot whereas the snow fell exterior. After a giant hike, we went for a soak within the sizzling springs at night time. The wind was blustery and the snow was flying whereas we had a surreal expertise floating across the many artifical sizzling spring swimming pools within the night. It was simply what our sore legs wanted! Sadly the attractive snowfall ruined our probabilities to see aurora there, however it’s a fantastic spot to situate your self to see the aurora!

Extra data: Chena Scorching Springs Resort. Spend an evening or two off-grid on this idyllic spot and spring! Learn opinions of Chena Scorching Springs on Journey Advisor.

24. View the Northern Lights

Fairbanks is likely one of the prime spots on Earth for witnessing the breathtaking spectacle often called the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. It’s really a paradise for aurora borealis hunters; nonetheless, catching sight of these elusive inexperienced waves dancing throughout the sky isn’t only a piece of cake. Plan your go to between September and April when nights are longer and darker – excellent circumstances for recognizing these shimmering Northern Lights.

Location issues! To maximise your probabilities of recognizing the Northern Lights, escape from town lights. Head out to distant areas away from gentle air pollution or get cozy at one among Fairbanks’ charming lodges the place you may stare upon stars with none interference. Bear in mind: It’s all about discovering that candy spot the place darkness reigns supreme.

Additionally, needless to say one of many the reason why Fairbanks (the inside) is such a fantastic place to view the northern lights is as a result of it’s inland and normally has clear skies. Not like the coastal areas and nations like Iceland.

Relating to witnessing the celestial Aurora Borealis portray its method throughout Alaska’s skies, persistence is vital — except you’ve been blessed by some kind of cosmic cheat code! Generally the Northern Lights seem early; generally they make you wait.

Have an Alaska Aurora Expertise at Aurora Bear

Frank and Miriam will gladly welcome you into their house and Alaska lifestyle on their off-grid house an hour north of Fairbanks. They provide nightly Northern Lights excursions and pictures instruction. They solely tackle small teams to allow them to present an intimate stage of service since they’re internet hosting you of their house. They’re located completely for Northern Lights viewing north of Fairbanks below the aurora oval and amongst a backdrop of lovely forest.

As well as, they share their attention-grabbing perspective on Alaska since they each got here from Germany lately and determined to make this their new house. They fell in love with the Alaskan wilderness and have embraced it as their new house.

All of us turned quick buddies and even got here again out to fulfill them for a day of snowshoeing earlier than we departed! Their hospitality was phenomenal to not point out their darn cute canine you’ll fall in love with. Aurora Bear is by far my favourite place to attend and look ahead to Northern Lights. It is usually the place I take my Ottsworld Tour Group!

Extra data: Watch the aurora or learn to {photograph} it at Aurora Bear. Learn opinions of Aurora Bear on TripAdvisor.

25. Go to Denali and experience the Winter Aurora Prepare – Day Journey

Alaska Train trips winter

Most individuals assume that Denali Nationwide Park is simply open in the summertime, however it’s truly open year-round! Winter is a good time to go to Denali Nationwide Park because the crowds have all left, and also you’ll discover that you’ve got the place to your self! Cease in on the customer heart and ask to ‘borrow’ some snow sneakers and poles, and also you’ll be capable to tackle a number of the winter trails.

Denali is a few 2-hour drive south of Fairbanks, however if you would like an actual distinctive journey take the Denali in a Day Alaska winter practice journey the place you might be pushed all the way down to Denali (with a couple of scenic stops alongside the way in which), snowshoe within the nationwide park there, after which hop on the northbound Aurora Winter Prepare and slowly come again to Fairbanks through the Alaska Railroad!

This present day tour lets you go to Denali Nationwide Park, and experience the winter practice all utilizing Fairbanks as your hub! Examine my winter practice expertise right here.

Extra data: Denali in a Day on the AKRR Web site

All aboard the Alaska Railroad: See the final frontier by practice

26. Snowshoeing Nature Walks

Plenty of locations in Fairbanks provide snowshoeing excursions within the winter. However when you actually wish to get out and recognize the outside, study in regards to the winter natural world, and the ecosystem of life amongst all of the snow – you then wish to try Leaf Out Excursions.

This can be a native small operator that I take advantage of on my Ottsworld Alaska winter excursions. I like to assist small companies once I journey, so once I met Shannon from Leaf Out a nature information working her personal little guiding enterprise I used to be fairly excited. She took me out round her cabin to go snowshoeing within the woods. She’s a naturalist and the snowshoe hike was extra like an interactive classroom – I realized SO MUCH. I performed “Guess that Skat”, realized about studying animal tracks within the snow and understanding which method they have been strolling, and realized that squirrels are messy eaters!

If you’re touring independently round Fairbanks – you’ll want to search for Leaf Out and meet Shannon for a hike or snowshoe – she’s a wealth of data and a kind of superior bad-ass Alaska ladies.

Extra Data: Leaf Out Nature Guides

27. Go to the Fairbanks Curling Membership

We’ve all seen it in the course of the Winter Olympics – the unusual and overseas sport of curling. I’m at all times intrigued by issues which might be particular to a area – and the game of curling is certainly particular to the far north. The Fairbanks Curling Membership is proud to be the oldest organized sports activities group in Alaska. If you happen to go to Fairbanks within the winter and marvel, “What do the locals do throughout these lengthy, chilly winters”, simply head to the curling membership and also you’ll get your reply.

Fairbanks Curling Center

There’s league play virtually each night time within the winter – so why not head to the Fairbanks Curling Membership, sit up within the viewing space, seize a beer (sure – there may be at all times a bar), and watch the locals play on this fascinating sport! Plus – there might be loads of different native spectators there to reply your many questions on the game.

As well as, there are some alternatives to get hands-on and learn to curl your self! I’ve this as an exercise in my Ottsworld Alaska winter tour and it’s at all times a spotlight. Or you may at all times go to the Fairbanks Curling Membership web site and ask about newbie programs!

Extra Data: Fairbanks Curling Membership

28. Fairbanks Ice Carving

Fairbanks is house to the World Ice Carving Championship. Every February the perfect ice sculptors on this planet compete. So in fact, in case you are visiting in the course of the championship – you must undoubtedly head to the Ice Park and test it out and see the artists in motion.

Fairbanks Ice Sculpture Park

Even after the competitors is over – the ice sculptures stay on show and you’ll stroll via and consider them for the rest of the winter…or till they soften! It does require a ticket to get in – however it’s price it to see these distinctive artworks. It’s notably stunning at night time when the sculptures are lit up and appear to glow.

Fairbanks Ice Museum

As well as, you may study extra about Alaska ice carving on the Fairbanks Ice Museum. This museum is open year-round and can take you thru the historical past of carving and the competitions. As well as – in the summertime they provide courses so you may learn to carve your individual ice artwork!

Extra Data: Fairbanks Ice Museum | Ice Alaska – Ice Carving Championship and Ice Park

29. Snow Machining

Whereas in Fairbanks, be sure you attempt to journey across the Alaska wilderness like an area – on a snow machine! We name them snowmobiles within the decrease 48, however if you wish to slot in whereas touring in Alaska – you higher name it a snow machine!

There are a variety of locations the place you may guide a tour – from a couple of hours to a snowmobile multi-day tour. If you wish to simply get your ft moist and see what it’s like, then try Rod’s Alaskan Information Service. They provide numerous totally different excursions and you’ll mix them with issues like ice fishing or canine sledding.

Fairbanks Alaska Winter Chena hot springs

I did a half-day tour with them and I used to be actually impressed with the standard of their gear and the extent of instruction. They may present the entire heat winter gear you want together with boots and gloves. The snowmobiles are additionally in actually nice situation. I additionally beloved that they gave you time by yourself to simply zip across the lake and have a look by your self with out having to at all times observe the group!

Extra Data: Rod’s Alaskan Information Service Snowmobiling Excursions

Now you might be all set to expertise winter and summer time adventures in and outdoors of Fairbanks!

The place to remain in Fairbanks

Springhill Suites

This can be a very nice lodge positioned in Downtown. It’s an ideal location to have the ability to stroll to all of these nice ethnic eating places, and bars, get presents, and the Ice Museum. Plus, it’s near the river and you are able to do numerous good walks across the river.

Fairbanks Springhill Suites

Verify costs and availability for the Springhill Suites Downtown | Learn opinions for the Springhill Suites on TripAdvisor | Seek for different resorts in Fairbanks

Pike’s Waterfront Lodge

Positioned on the banks of the Chena River – this large lodge is a good location for the airport and the practice station. It has a beautiful restaurant related to it and within the winter they even have some particular aurora viewing areas arrange the place you may hold heat whereas ready. There’s at all times numerous hustle and bustle at this lodge!

pikes waterfront lodge fairbanks

Verify costs and availability for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge | Learn opinions for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge on TripAdvisor | Seek for different resorts in Fairbanks

Bear Lodge at Wedgewood

That is additionally a fairly large lodge usually utilized by cruise corporations in the summertime. The lodge is sweet and it’s positioned by many issues on this listing – like Creamers Area, Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary and Trails, and the Vintage Automotive Museum.

Verify costs and availability for Bear Lodge at Wedgewood | Learn opinions for Bear Lodge at Wedgewood on TripAdvisor | Seek for different resorts in Fairbanks

Lodging exterior of Fairbanks

If you wish to get actually off the crushed path, then go spend an evening exterior of Fairbanks on the Lodge at Black Rapids.

Lodge at Black Rapids – a Fashionable-Day Roadhouse

A 2 hour drive south of Fairbanks you’ll go deep into the Alaskan wilderness and historical past on the Lodge at Black Rapids. This spectacular lodge fabricated from slate and timber was made by hand by homeowners Annie and Mike Hopper.

Alaska winter Black Rapids
Visiting an ice cave close to Lodge at Black Rapids

It took them 10 years to construct it! Now it sits completely perched on a hill overlooking the Black Rapids Glacier located on Richardson Freeway, what was the previous major freeway between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Nevertheless, now for the reason that new Parks Freeway has been constructed, this route via the Jap Alaska Vary has turn out to be the street much less traveled and is seldom seen by vacationers.

Uncover all of the issues to do in Anchorage in Summer season or Winter

As well as, this route was additionally house to historic roadhouses that have been constructed to serve vacationers again in 1904 touring the Valdez-Fairbanks path. In actual fact, Annie has a ‘labor of affection’ venture at present restoring the previous Black Rapids roadhouse that sits just under the brand new lodge.

Black Rapids Lodge is kind of like a modern-day roadhouse; a spot to cease, get a heat meal, a snug mattress, and native hospitality. However not like conventional roadhouses, you’ll wish to keep some time as a result of Annie and Michael have an unbelievable listing of outside winter adventures so that you can pattern.

The most effective actions they provide is a snowshoeing journey to a close-by ice cave. Black Rapids equipped the entire gear and are glad to lend further heat climate gear when you want it. You are able to do these hikes or snowboarding independently or rent an area information through Black Rapids.

The rugged luxurious lodge is simply the way you wish to spend your winter in Alaska; having fun with the outside after which having a heat, comfy place to come back ‘house’ to with slightly pampering. It’s a spot the place you’ll really feel instantly at house.

Keep at The Lodge at Black Rapids for a weekend and have a number of adventures! Learn opinions for The Lodge at Black Rapids on TripAdvisor

See my tales on different ‘underdog’ cities and areas you shouldn’t overlook

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