25 Best Things to Do in Fairbanks, AK

Fairbanks, AK

Fairbanks is not your typical holiday destination.

This picturesque city in Alaska lets travelers enjoy many unique things not typically found in tourist hotspots.

You can feast your eyes on endless hours of scenic beauty with exquisite natural landscapes.

You can also catch a glimpse of the incredible Northern Light shower.

Alternatively, you can participate in a plethora of activities in this beautiful city.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the 25 best things to do in Fairbanks, Alaska:

See the Northern Lights

Gorgeous view of Northern Lights
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Fairbanks is considered one of the best vantage points to watch the Northern Lights.

It is under the Auroral Oval, a zone in the northern sky that sees intense Aurora activity.

Northern Lights over log cabins
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Fairbanks is also situated far away from the coast, and the rainfall here is also pretty scanty.

This makes the night skies clear and perfect for watching the Northern Light shower in compelling visuals.

A visitor enjoying the view of Northern Lights
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Dine at Latitude 65

Latitude 65 is one of the best eating spots in Fairbanks, where Chef Georges serves his special meals.

The master chef even makes plenty of use of in-house-grown berries in many of his recipes.

One of the must-try dishes here is the excellent halibut chowder.

You can never have enough of this delightful preparation from Chef’s recipe collection!

The exquisite views of the Borealis Basecamp igloos around the place make the eating experience at Latitude 65 even more delightful!

Pay a Visit to Borealis Basecamp

Borealis Basecamp
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Borealis Basecamp is one of the best places to stay on your visit to Fairbanks.

Located right amid the snowy peaks, this lodge house provides stunning views of the breathtaking snowscapes.

The best part about staying at Borealis Basecamp is that you can view the Northern Light spectacle right from the comfort of your room in the lodge!

This is one of the most awe-inspiring experiences you can enjoy on your entire Fairbanks trip.

The bubble cabins in Borealis Basecamp have impressive transparent domes and are the only glass-topped igloos in the whole state!

They are located on a cliff edge and hang above the valley, letting you enjoy stunning views of the surroundings!

Try the ATV Rides

A couple enjoying their adventurous ATV Rides
Keith Parker, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are planning on traveling to Fairbanks in the summertime and are disappointed about missing out on the fantastic snowmobiling thrill, fret not, as ATV rides in Fairbanks provide a similar riding thrill for summer tourists!

You can explore the vast wilderness in Alaska on those all-terrain beasts and head out into the region's remotest corners.

The surface in Fairbanks is undulating, giving you maximum thrill on your ATV.

The rocky terrain is interlaced with muddy splash puddles and steep climbs to test your ATV driving skills to the core.

Ride on the Dog Sledges

Dog Sledges on the snow covered slopes
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One of the best winter experiences in Fairbanks is dog sledding on the snow-covered slopes.

You can taste the wilderness as you race your canine-driven snow vehicles around the vast expanses and touch remote and far-off points.

It is a thrilling sport and also gives you extra brownie points in the education department, as the musher will teach you all about this exciting activity.

Dogs tied to the Sledges
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You will learn about the rich history of dog sledding when it was used as the primary means of transport in the snowy peaks.

You will enjoy learning a little about the exciting culture around dog sledding and how it has evolved throughout the years.

View of Dog Sledges
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Experience the Snowmobile Ride

For the adventurous, have the thrill of your life by snowmobiling in the snow-capped slopes around Fairbanks.

If you want to spend time at the famous Borealis Basecamp, you might join one of their snowmobiling tours.

Alternatively, you can book a 30-minute to 1-hour snowmobiling session with any other snowmobiling operators in the area.

Visit Running Reindeer Ranch

Running Reindeer Ranch
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Reindeer are exciting animals, and interacting with them is pretty awesome.

If you are an animal lover and would love to know about the habits of these incredible animals, you should head out to the Running Reindeer Ranch.

You can rub, feed, pet, and catch photos with the beautiful reindeer here.

This family-owned ranch can be reached after journeying through picturesque forests on both sides.

Reindeer in its natural habitat at Running Reindeer Ranch
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The owners are reindeer enthusiasts and will fill you with exciting reindeer trivia and tales!

Finally, the Running Reindeer Ranch celebrates its visitors by offering them delicious cookies and refreshing lemonades before they return!

Relax at Chena Hot Springs

Chena Spring
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You can take a dip into the warm waters of the Chena Hot Springs while there is snow all around to have the ultimate experience!

These hot water springs are located a few miles from Fairbanks, and the waters here are warm and pleasant throughout the year.

There is a vast resort built around these springs. The Chena Hot Springs Resort houses the famous ice museum, a wonder of human craftsmanship.

Visitors relaxing at Chena Hot Springs
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The resort also draws a significant portion of its power from geothermal energy and is an active promoter of this renewable energy resource.

You can also enjoy a multitude of fun activities at the resort.

These springs are yet another suitable location to watch the Northern Light show!

Ducks at Chena Hot Springs
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Explore the Aurora Ice Museum

Interior view of Aurora Ice Museum
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The Aurora Ice Museum is the perfect foil to the Chena Hot Springs, right next to the latter.

Designed in the form of a beautiful igloo and constructed out of 1,000 tons of solid ice and snow, this unique museum exhibits artifacts of ice art.

Take a look at some of the beautiful ice sculptures of different styles.

Exterior view of Aurora Ice Museum
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Some of them are in beautiful colors that shimmer in dazzling patterns on the ice surfaces.

Others are crystal clear and shining in their pristine simplicity.

Finally, relax at the ice bar and enjoy your favorite cocktails, all served in beautiful ice glasses.

Our recommendation is to try out their vodka martini – and of course, you would want it shaken, not stirred.

Bar at Aurora Ice Museum
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Witness the Annual Competition at World Ice Art Championship

Display at World Ice Art Championship
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We are not done with ice art just as yet!

Fairbanks hosts the World Ice Art Championship sometime in February-March, and if you happen to be in Fairbanks at that time, you must visit this fantastic event.

This annual competition is held in the vast Tanana Valley Fairgrounds and attracts hundreds of talented artists every year.

Unique glass sculpture at World Ice Art Championship
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

The artists display exquisite sculptures carved out of ice blocks to provide arts connoisseurs with a new medium to explore.

This contest is the world's largest Ice Art contest!

Display at World Ice Art Championship
Gary Whitton / Shutterstock.com

Tour with Riverboat Discovery

Riverboat Discovery
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The Fairbanks version of the riverboat ride is unique and will leave you with many fond memories to cherish.

Your cruise in the boat for over three hours in the splendid clear waters of the Chena and Tanana Rivers.

The views of the surroundings are stunning and make the perfect material for your vacation photos.

You will find a dog sled training area along the way,y and the owner will surprise you by showing off his well-trained little pups as they go about pulling sleds.

Further down, you halt at a Native Alaskan village. From close quarters here, you will see the famed Eskimo way of living.

You will also roam in the Indian Chena village and enjoy interacting with the indigenous population.

Try the Alaska Railroad

Alaska Railroad
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The famous Alaska railroad lets you reach tourist spots around Fairbanks quite quickly while giving you plenty of opportunities to enjoy the numerous sights along the way.

The railroad can connect you to Anchorage, Talkeetna, Whittier, Denali, and Seward, among other regional tourist destinations.

Alaska Railroad passing through Denali National Park
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The journey on the Alaska Railroad is a memorable experience both because of the special train and technology used here and the stunning scenes of the landscape.

You can opt for Goldstar Service to have the ultimate luxury train experience on this ride!

View of a train passing through Alaska Railroad
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See the Various Artifacts at the Museum of the North

Exhibits at Museum of the North
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You can soak into the rich history and traditions of Alaska at the impressive University of Alaska Museum of the North.

This is a goldmine for digging all kinds of information about Alaska in a fun and visual way.

Exterior view of Museum of the North
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You can learn about wildlife in Alaska, native art as it is practiced in contemporary Alaska, and the famous Alaska gold rush by going through the many artifacts on display.

Exhibits at Museum of the North
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Experience the Flightseeing Tour

You can enjoy stunning aerial views of Alaska by undertaking a flightseeing tour over its vast interiors.

You can book one with the Arctic Circle Air Adventure from Fairbanks itself.

You will catch quick views of the famous Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the Brooks Mountains, and the Yukon River.

The best sight would be to look at the magnificence of the Gates of the Arctic National Park from above.

Wander around Arctic Circle

View of Arctic Circle
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You can breathe in as much of your Arctic excitement as possible by venturing on a full-day tour into the snow-covered expanses of the Arctic Circle!

We agree that this is one of the riskier undertakings on this list.

If you are a true explorer at heart, the danger will be all the more reason for you to complete this journey and reap great excitement and thrill as rewards!

Try Different Winter Sports

Yukon quest race in Fairbanks
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If you are a thrill-seeker, but your thunder is in adventurous winter sports, Fairbanks is the perfect winter holiday destination.

Participate in the many winter sports here and enjoy fantastic adrenaline rushes.

Skiing and snowboarding are the two most popular activities loved by hundreds of tourists visiting Fairbanks during winter.

Admire the Collections at Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum is among the country's best vintage and antique automobile museums.

Their collection comprises thousands of historical garments from the 18th to the mid-20th century and 102 brilliantly repaired and preserved automobiles.

There are also a ton of displays, artifacts, photos, and historical recordings that tell the tale of Alaska's early automotive history, together with America's early love affair with the vehicle.

With a top-notch collection of antique vehicles and attire from that era and fascinating exhibitions, accessories, and archive movies, you may go back in time and experience an incredible historical period.

Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum is available for group reservations after hours, audio handset tours, and guided tours.

Grab a Drink at HooDoo Brewing Company

Interior view of HooDoo Brewing Company
Bernt Rostad from Oslo, Norway, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

HooDoo Brewing, in Fairbanks, Alaska's Golden Heart, produces top-quality ales and lagers.

Visit the Taproom for a nice pint of their handcrafted beer, then load a growler or pick up some cans to drink at home.

Relax in the lovely Biergarten with your neighbors from Fairbanks while you sit around the firebugs.

The Biergarten takes its cues from the outdoor spaces used throughout southern Germany and Bavaria for drinking beer and enjoying local cuisine.

Stop by HooDoo Brewing Company, conveniently situated in the center of Fairbanks and accessible from all parts of the city.

Explore Georgeson Botanical Garden

Colorful flowers at Georgeson Botanical Garden
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The Georgeson Botanical Garden was launched in 1989 as a program for research, instruction, and community outreach.

It is a nationally known botanical garden and a part of a community of educational and research institutes committed to planting, cultivation, and preservation.

Pretty pink flower at Georgeson Botanical Garden
Nikki Yancey / Shutterstock.com

The Garden, a dynamic area, continues to expand with new activities and events promoting interaction between people and plants.

The magnificent and well-known botanical park offers self-guided tours, school visits, and group trips.

Vibrabt red flower at Georgeson Botanical Garden
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Dine at the Pump House

Exterior view of Pump House
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Savor gourmet food while taking in views of the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The Pump House features Alaskan seafood, prime-aged beef, a good wine list, and craft beer.

Meals are served "Alaskan Style," which combines the freshest ingredients with their unique culinary history.

Interior view of Pump House
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They provide fresh fish from Alaska and Certified Angus meats, matured, whenever available, to ensure optimum taste.

For a weekend of relaxation and delectable food, enjoy a fantastic Sunday brunch on the balcony or in the dining room.

Book a Room at Pike's Waterfront Lodge

Pike's Waterfront Lodge covered with snow
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Pike's Waterfront Lodge features 180 pleasant rooms, several with breathtaking views, a steam room, a riverfront terrace, a restaurant, a comfy lobby, and wireless Internet in the common spaces and most sleeping rooms.

All of the rooms are non-smoking, and some even allow dogs.

The following basic amenities are available in every room: a microwave and refrigerator, a flat-screen TV with free cable, a full bath, Aveda aromatherapy bath products, a hair dryer, a telephone, an alarm clock, a coffee/tea maker, many more.

Cabins at Pike's Waterfront Lodge
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Explore the hotel's collection of distinctively Alaskan art or take in a movie with an aurora theme at their luxurious 14-seat theater.

Take your time browsing over their collection of Alaskan literature.

Sign of Love Alaska at Pike's Waterfront Lodge
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Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the North Pole

Santa Claus House in North Pole
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The North Pole is a small town located just south of Fairbank.

It is situated on the northernmost extremity of the earth, and reaching it comes with a complicated feeling.

This town is in Christmas mode all year round. This tradition started when the famous Santa Claus House was built many decades ago.

Souvenir shop at North Pole
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Kids can especially have a fun riot in this town where Santa seems to be constantly patrolling the streets to drop gifts for the little ones.

You can also lay your hands on beautiful and creative Christmas-themed souvenirs at the many little galleries and shops around here.

Christmas decorations at North Pole
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Pay a Visit to Denali National Park

Denali National Park
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The Denali National Park and Preserve are situated close to Fairbanks.

Everyone should tour this famous national reserve on their visit to Fairbanks.

The best way to enjoy exploring this national park is to head out to Denali Basecamp on an air taxi ride.

From here, you can launch your climb up to the top of Denali.

This is the highest peak in North America.

Bears at Denali National Park
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You will feel much better about yourself if you attempt this challenging climb and even more if you conquer it!

Get sumptuous bird-eye visuals of the magnificent Kahiltna glacier as you fly over it.

Ride the Denali shuttle service bus to go around the park and catch amazing views of the rich flora and fauna.

Scenic view of Denali National Park
Marc Cappelletti / Shutterstock.com

Hike to your heart’s content, and you will come across some unique animal species. Observe them as they go about their business.

The weather here is quite unpredictable.

Make sure to carry enough supplies and clothes to withstand harsh climates while climbing the Denali summit.

Log cabin at Denali National Park
Betty Shelton / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

The most incredible tourist sites and natural marvels of Alaska are present in Fairbanks, making it a fantastic year-round vacation.

Several state parks in the area allow for outdoor recreation all year long, while unique cultural attractions provide a wide range of family-friendly activities.

Prepare to find cultural and historical activities in Fairbanks that illustrate town life across the distant city.

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