Things to Do in Fairbanks AK – 2024 Ultimate Guide

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Welcome to Fairbanks, Alaska, a hidden gem in the Last Frontier! Nestled in the heart of the state, Fairbanks offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and exciting activities for all types of travelers. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or adventure seeker, Fairbanks has something special in store for you. Join us as we explore the top things to do in Fairbanks and uncover the hidden treasures of this captivating destination.

Can’t-Miss Attractions

When visiting Fairbanks, AK, there are several must-see attractions that showcase the unique beauty and culture of the area. Here are the top 5 attractions that you should not miss when exploring Fairbanks:

1. Denali National Park: Just a few hours’ drive from Fairbanks, Denali National Park is home to the tallest peak in North America, Denali. The park offers breathtaking views of the Alaskan wilderness, with opportunities for wildlife viewing, hiking, and camping. Denali National Park is a must-visit for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts looking to experience the raw beauty of Alaska.

2. Chena Hot Springs Resort: Located about an hour outside of Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs Resort is a relaxing oasis in the Alaskan wilderness. Visitors can soak in the natural hot springs, which are rich in minerals and are said to have healing properties. The resort also offers activities like dog sledding, ice museum tours, and aurora viewing, making it a popular destination year-round.

3. University of Alaska Museum of the North: This museum is a treasure trove of Alaskan history, art, and culture. Visitors can explore exhibits on Alaskan Native cultures, natural history, and contemporary art. The museum’s architecture is also a sight to behold, with its modern design inspired by the Alaskan landscape. A visit to the University of Alaska Museum of the North is a great way to learn more about the rich heritage of Alaska.

4. Riverboat Discovery Cruise: Experience the beauty of the Chena River on a Riverboat Discovery Cruise. This authentic sternwheeler boat takes visitors on a journey through the heart of Alaska, with opportunities to see a replica Athabascan village, witness a sled dog demonstration, and learn about the history of the region. The cruise offers a unique perspective on life in the Alaskan wilderness and is a favorite among tourists.

5. Pioneer Park: Formerly known as Alaskaland, Pioneer Park is a historic theme park that celebrates Fairbanks’s Gold Rush past. The park features museums, historic buildings, and attractions like the Riverboat Nenana and the Gold Rush Town. Visitors can take a stroll through the park, ride the train, and enjoy a picnic in the beautiful outdoor setting. Pioneer Park is a great place to immerse yourself in Fairbanks’s history and enjoy a fun day out with family and friends.

These top 5 attractions in Fairbanks, AK, offer a diverse range of experiences that highlight the natural beauty, history, and culture of the region. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, cultural exploration, or simply relaxing in a scenic setting, Fairbanks has something for everyone.

One-day trip

Fairbanks, Alaska, is a fantastic base for exploring the surrounding areas, offering a plethora of one-day trip options within a 2-hour drive. Here are five recommendations for unforgettable day trips:

1. Denali National Park: Known for its stunning wilderness and iconic wildlife, Denali National Park is located about 2 hours south of Fairbanks. Visitors can enjoy scenic drives, wildlife viewing, and numerous hiking trails, including the popular Savage River Loop. The park also offers ranger-led programs and bus tours for a deeper exploration of its natural beauty.

2. Chena Hot Springs Resort: Situated just over an hour east of Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs Resort is a relaxing getaway known for its natural hot springs. Visitors can soak in the rejuvenating waters, take a guided tour of the Aurora Ice Museum, and even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights on clear nights.

3. Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge: A short 15-minute drive from Fairbanks, Creamer’s Field is a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. The refuge features walking trails, bird blinds for observing migratory birds, and educational exhibits on local wildlife and conservation efforts.

4. Pioneer Park: Located in the heart of Fairbanks, Pioneer Park offers a blend of history and recreation. Formerly known as Alaskaland, this park features historic buildings, museums, and a vintage carousel. Visitors can also enjoy picnicking, mini-golf, and paddleboat rides along the Chena River.

5. University of Alaska Museum of the North: Just a 10-minute drive from downtown Fairbanks, the University of Alaska Museum of the North is a cultural gem showcasing Alaska’s art, history, and natural science. Highlights include exhibits on Alaska Native cultures, dinosaur fossils, and contemporary Alaskan artists.

Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or cultural experiences, these day trips from Fairbanks offer a diverse range of activities to suit every interest. From exploring pristine wilderness to delving into local history and art, each destination promises a memorable and enriching experience just a short drive away.

Restaurants and bars

Fairbanks, Alaska, is a hidden gem for food enthusiasts, offering a variety of dining experiences that cater to all tastes. Here are five must-visit restaurants in Fairbanks that promise to tantalize your taste buds:

1. Aurora Borealis Restaurant – Indulge in authentic Alaskan cuisine while enjoying panoramic views of the Northern Lights. Don’t miss their famous smoked salmon chowder, a creamy and flavorful dish that captures the essence of the region.

2. Chena’s Alaskan Grill – This upscale restaurant offers a blend of local ingredients with international flavors. Try their signature dish, the Alaskan King Crab Legs, known for their sweet and succulent meat that melts in your mouth.

3. Silver Gulch Brewery – A unique dining experience awaits at Fairbanks’ first microbrewery. Pair their award-winning craft beers with the Baked Alaska, a decadent dessert that combines cake, ice cream, and meringue for a sweet finale.

4. The Pump House – Housed in a historic building overlooking the Chena River, this restaurant serves up classic Alaskan dishes with a modern twist. Sample their Halibut Tacos, featuring fresh fish and zesty slaw, for a taste of local flavors.

5. Gambardella’s Pasta Bella – For a cozy and intimate dining experience, head to this family-owned Italian restaurant. Their Wild Mushroom Ravioli is a crowd favorite, stuffed with foraged mushrooms and drizzled with truffle oil for a rich and earthy taste.

When it comes to cafes and bars, Fairbanks has a vibrant scene that caters to both locals and visitors. Here are two must-visit spots that stand out for their quality offerings and unique ambiance:

1. Lavelle’s Bistro – Known for its artisanal coffee and laid-back atmosphere, Lavelle’s is a favorite among locals looking for a cozy spot to relax. Sip on their signature Honey Lavender Latte, a fragrant and soothing drink that pairs perfectly with their homemade pastries.

2. The Red Couch – This quirky bar is a hidden gem in Fairbanks, offering a selection of craft cocktails and small plates in a retro-chic setting. Try the Midnight Sun Mule, a refreshing twist on the classic cocktail made with local vodka and ginger beer, while lounging on one of their plush red couches.

Whether you’re craving local delicacies or international flavors, Fairbanks has a diverse culinary scene that is sure to satisfy your palate.

Interesting Facts

Fairbanks, Alaska, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Here are three surprising and interesting facts about Fairbanks that will make you want to pack your bags and head north:

1. Northern Lights Capital: Fairbanks is one of the best places on earth to witness the mesmerizing dance of the Northern Lights. Thanks to its location under the “Aurora Oval,” Fairbanks offers a front-row seat to this natural light show. The best time to catch this spectacle is during the winter months when the night sky is at its darkest. Imagine standing under a canopy of swirling colors – a truly unforgettable experience.

2. Midnight Sun: Fairbanks experiences a natural phenomenon known as the Midnight Sun during the summer months. From late May to late July, the sun never fully sets, bathing the city in 24-hour daylight. This unique occurrence allows for round-the-clock exploration and activities, from hiking and fishing to golfing at midnight. It’s a surreal experience that will challenge your perception of time.

3. Gold Rush History: Fairbanks has a rich history rooted in the Gold Rush era. The city was founded in the early 1900s after gold was discovered in the nearby hills. Visitors can step back in time by visiting Gold Dredge 8, where they can learn about the mining techniques of the past and even try their hand at panning for gold. The Gold Rush shaped the identity of Fairbanks and exploring this history adds a layer of depth to your visit.

Fairbanks is a destination full of surprises and wonders, from natural phenomena to rich history. Whether you’re seeking adventure, natural beauty, or a glimpse into the past, Fairbanks has something for everyone.

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