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Fairbanks, AK

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Fairbanks, AK

Fairbanks is a town in Interior Alaska, 1488 miles (2395 km) from the start of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, BC. It is the second-largest city in Alaska and, being a junction of several major highways, will be a likely stop of most visitors to the state.
Fairbanks proper may be like a smaller version of a large American city. There's a Wal-Mart, a Home Depot and a McDonald's. Don't let this fool you: The greater Fairbanks area is true to its roots. There are plenty of Alaskan originals here.

Location

The city is extremely far north, being located close to 16 parallels north of the Pacific border between the U.S. and Canada. It is roughly on the same parallel as the northern Swedish city of Skellefteå and the Finnish city of Oulu. Apart from those cities, this parallel is sparsely populated due to its cold climate.... Read more

Fairbanks, AK

Destination:

Fairbanks is a town in Interior Alaska, 1488 miles (2395 km) from the start of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, BC. It is the second-largest city in Alaska and, being a junction of several major highways, will be a likely stop of most visitors to the state.
Fairbanks proper may be like a smaller version of a large American city. There's a Wal-Mart, a Home Depot and a McDonald's. Don't let this fool you: The greater Fairbanks area is true to its roots. There are plenty of Alaskan originals here.

Location

The city is extremely far north, being located close to 16 parallels north of the Pacific border between the U.S. and Canada. It is roughly on the same parallel as the northern Swedish city of Skellefteå and the Finnish city of Oulu. Apart from those cities, this parallel is sparsely populated due to its cold climate. On account of its warm summers, however, Fairbanks is located south of the arctic tree line.

Climate

Fairbanks' climate is subarctic, with frigid winters from October to March or April, short spring and fall seasons, and mild summers from May to September. July is the mildest month, with average highs of 73 Fahrenheit and average lows of 52; January is the coldest month, with average highs barely above 0 and average lows of -18. Being located in a valley and far from any large body of water, Fairbanks has little seasonal lag in both winter and summer.

The city of Fairbanks and the greater Fairbanks area is home to a number of attractions and events, which draw visitors from outside of Alaska throughout the year. Summer tourist traffic primarily consists of cruise ship passengers who purchase package tours which include travel to Fairbanks. Many of these tourists spend one or more nights at a local hotel and visit one or more attractions. Tourism the rest of the year is mostly concentrated around the winter season, centered upon the northern lights, ice carving, and winter sports. In addition, other events draw visitors from within Alaska, mostly from the community's trading area throughout Interior Alaska and the North Slope.

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Fairbanks, AK: Port Information


Fairbanks is a popular stop on the Alaska Land Tour, which is a great way to get a closer look at the Last Frontier by combining a cruise and a land tour.

Get around Fairbanks, AK


By car

By far, the easiest way to get around Fairbanks is by car. Major car rental companies are located at the airport.

By taxi

Multiple taxi companies provide transportation throughout the city.

By bus

Bus service, although infrequent, provides transportation throughout the downtown area. 

What to see in Fairbanks, AK


  • Creamer's Field. Located in the northern part of town off of College Road, Creamer's Field Wildlife Refuge is a former dairy that is now a migratory stopover point for countless numbers of Canada geese, sandhill cranes, ducks, and other bird species. Numerous trails lead through the refuge and there is a visitor center located within the old farmhouse.
  • University of Alaska Museum (University of Alaska campus). 15 May-15 Sep 9 AM-7 PM with shorter hours during the rest of the year. An excellent collection of exhibits about the nature, history, and cultures of Alaska; the displays on the Northern Lights are particularly trippy. 
  • Ice Alaska. Where the World Ice Art championships take place every year usually around February end or early March. Ice sculptors from all over the world come here and sculpt stunning ice sculptures. These sculptures are worth visiting both during day and night (due to the glow from ice).
  • The aurora during winter. Fairbanks' position under the "Auroral Oval"—a ring-shaped region around the North Pole—makes it one of the best places in the world to see the aurora borealis. Our location offers a great balance of clear nights, occurrence frequency and activity that draws people from all over the world. These beautiful and mysterious curtains can be seen from mid-August to April, and range in color from green to red to purple, with the brightest and most common being a yellow-green. Intensity varies from night to night, with the best displays happening in the late evening to the early hours of the morning. When the nights are clear and dark enough, there will be aurora visible an average of eight out of ten nights. If you stay a minimum of three nights and are actively out during the evening hours, your chances of seeing the aurora increase to 90%. Ask your accommodation's front desk if they offer a wake-up call if the aurora appears. No guarantees, but the longer you're here, the better your chances of seeing a great show.
  • Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center, 101 Dunkel St., Fairbanks AK 99701 (From Airport Way, turn onto Noble St. toward downtown Fairbanks; follow Noble to Wendell Ave; the center is at the corner of Wendell and Dunkel), ☎ 907-456-5774. 7 days a week: summer 8 am-9 pm; winter 8 am-5 pm. The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center (MTCVC) serves as the regional visitor center for Fairbanks and Interior Alaska. The Fairbanks Convention & Visitors Bureau, Alaska Public Lands Information Center and Tanana Chiefs Conference Cultural Programs have teamed up to be your first stop for visitor information. You’ll find knowledgeable and friendly staff and volunteers, racks of informative brochures, daily vacancy listings, local walking and driving tours, telephone, WiFi and Internet access and answers to all of your questions. Enjoy daily free films and programs on Alaska’s natural and cultural history in our 100-seat high-definition theater and stroll through an exhibit hall featuring 9,000 square feet of museum-quality interpretive displays and dioramas depicting Interior Alaska’s people, landscapes and seasons. The center also offers cultural programs and performances, artisans’ workshop and demonstration area, an Elders’ gathering area, cultural and environmental education classroom, and an Alaska Geographic Store. 
Pioneer Park is a must. It is awesome and it is free.

What to do in Fairbanks, AK


Tours

If you are visiting Fairbanks mid-May through the end of September, there are several tours that allow tourists to learn the history and culture of Fairbanks. The tours described below are the most popular and advised tours to take while visiting Fairbanks. All major lodges in the area can set you up on a number of local tours.

  • Riverboat Discovery. Arguably the best tour you can take while staying in Fairbanks. This tour departs twice a day and lasts three and a half hours. You have the ability to go at 8:45 AM or 2 PM. While enjoying a beautiful day on the Chena River, you will have the opportunity to see and learn a lot about Alaskan Native culture and Fairbanks. This tour demonstrates a bush pilot airplane taking off from the Chena River. The tour stops for an hour at the Chena Indian Village where passengers are taken through a tour by Alaskan Native guides. The riverboat also stops at an Athabascan fishing village where passengers see how fish are cut and prepared. One of the most exciting aspects of this tour is that you are able to witness "Nuchalawoya," an Athabascan Indian term meaning "the wedding of two rivers"- in this case, the Chena and Tanana Rivers.
  • El Dorado Gold Mine. Another tour run by the same family who operates the Riverboat Discovery. This tour runs twice a day at 9:45 AM and 3 PM. However, on Saturdays, it only runs at 3 PM. This tour is located about twenty minutes outside of Fairbanks and takes you on a two-hour tour of Alaska's gold mining history. The tour begins on a train where you go through a permafrost tunnel. While in the tunnel you are shown how gold miners used to mine underground. Following this, you will learn how miners historically panned for gold and how current gold miners operate. You will also have the opportunity to talk with Alaskan miners. Each person on the tour gets to pan for actual gold! Everyone finds gold and the staff at the El Dorado Gold Mine will weigh it for you to see how much you actually found.
  • Fairbanks City Tour. Available through Princess Tours, or any of the major lodges in the area. This tour runs every day at 8:30 AM and lasts for three hours. This tour takes you to downtown Fairbanks where you are able to tour Golden Heart Park and the Visitor's Center. While on this tour, you also get to view the Trans-Alaska Pipeline that was built in the 1970s and continues to transport oil to this day. The Fairbanks City Tour takes its passengers to the University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum and Botanical Gardens.

Events

  • Midnight Sun Baseball Game. Held every summer on Summer Solstice. The Alaska Goldpanners are the farthest north semi-professional baseball team. What makes this event so special is that the sun barely goes down in Fairbanks on Summer Solstice. The game begins at 10:30 PM and lasts the whole nine innings without getting dark. Throughout its one hundred years of existence, the Midnight Sun Game has never had to turn on artificial baseball lights.
  • Fairbanks Golden Days. A week-long event that was created to celebrate the discovery of gold in Fairbanks in 1902. The event is usually held toward the end of July. Throughout the week people are able to participate in several activities. However, the highlight of the week is the Golden Days Parade. This parade showcases marching bands, antique cars, clowns, jugglers, and several decorated floats. Enjoy watching the parade as it goes through the heart of Fairbanks. During this week make sure you wear a Golden Days pin or take the risk of getting "arrested" and put in the Golden Days jail!
  • Rubber Duckie Race. Following the Golden Days Parade is the annual Rubber Duckie Race. Every year at this time 6,000 plastic yellow rubber duckies race the Chena River to win cash and prizes worth up to $30,000.
  • The Red-Green Regatta. Another event, associated with golden days. Picture 40+ homemade "boats" floating down the Chena River all created using liberal amounts of duct tape and imagination.
  • Yukon Quest dog race. This race, held in March, starts (or finishes, depending on the year) downtown. Additional mushing races also start downtown in March. Also in March, across the river from Pioneer Park, there's an international ice carving competition with all sorts of beautiful artwork created which (usually) lasts until April.

Activities

  • Pioneer Park. Definitely, something that all tourists should visit while staying in Fairbanks. Pioneer Park includes several gift shops, the Alaska Civic Center, an aviators museum, a native village, fishwheel, President Harding's rail car, mining tunnel, miniature golf course, playgrounds, merry-go-rounds, Pioneer Museum, and the S.S. Nenana which is an old sternwheeler that used to travel Alaskan rivers. Pioneer Park is set up like an old Gold Rush Town, which makes the activities and surroundings very fun.
  • Chena Hot Springs Resort. Located sixty miles outside of Fairbanks. Along your way out to Chena Hot Springs, you have a very good chance of seeing moose and other wildlife. Once you arrive at the resort you have a variety of things you can do. The swimming area includes an indoor pool, three indoor hot tubs, an outdoor rock pool, and two outdoor hot tubs all using water from the hot springs. Enjoy relaxing in the rock pool under 24-hour daylight! Another must do while visiting Chena Hot Springs is the Aurora Ice Museum. The Aurora Ice Museum is the largest year-round ice environment. Everything in the museum is made of ice including a bar, polar bear beds, full-size game of chess, and an ice tower. The resort has a hotel and a campground. Camping, cabin rentals, and fantastic hiking opportunities are available throughout the Chena River State recreation area. This area is heavily used by mushers to practice dogsledding in the winter months.
  • The Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Built in 1975 and was constructed to carry oil from the oil port in Prudhoe Bay down to Valdez, Alaska the northernmost ice-free port, covering 800 miles of land. The pipeline has transmitted more than 15 billion barrels of oil since 1975 and continues to carry on average 735,000 barrels of oil every day. This represents approx 3.5% of the United States daily oil consumption. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline is one of the largest pipelines in the world.
  • Dog Sledding. Fairbanks has lots of dog sledding operators and its a popular winter activity for tourists. Most of the operators have a variety of options like 30 minutes, 4-5 hours or even days.
    • Paws for Adventures.
    • Chena Dog Sled Adventures.
  • Northern Lights. Fairbanks is one of the best places to see the northern lights. The northern lights are best seen between September and Mid-April on cold clear nights.
  • Arctic Circle Tour (NATC), 3820 University Ave S, ☎ +1 800-208-0200.
  • Flight see. Alaska has few roads. Getting around is about flying. Sure, it isn't cheap. Sample flights include village mail runs, Arctic Circle flights, Barrow or Deadhorse, and numerous other small villages. Some people hitch plane rides from the general aviation side of the airport as well as the float plane base. Bush pilots are for hire.

What to eat and drink in Fairbanks, AK


Eat

  • Alaskaland Salmon Bake, 2300 Airport Way (in Alaskaland). Summer only, 5 PM-9:30 PM, seven nights a week. Alaskaland is the mother of all cheesy tourist stops and is heavily trafficked by tour buses filled with foreigners and senior citizens, but for the hungry budget traveler, the salmon bake probably provides the best value in Fairbanks. This all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of grilled salmon, halibut, ribs, lemonade, and blueberry dessert can be had for $31 per person (2008 price), which by Alaska standards is a bargain.
  • Alaska Coffee Roasting Co, 4001 Geist Rd. Alaska Coffee Roasting Co is a small coffee shop, offering a small variety of food items as well. Is frequented by locals, college kids, and tourists alike. Alaska Coffee Roasting Co roasts their own coffee and offers specialties such as wood oven baked pizza.
  • Loose Moose Cafe, 3450 Airport Way. Has huge burgers made from Buffalo meat and a do it yourself topping bar. Frozen meat is also for sale here.
  • The Pumphouse, 796 Chena Pump Rd. Has some menu items with game meats.
  • Wolf Run, 3360 Wolf Run.
  • Cookie Jar, 1006 Cadillac Ct.
  • Ivory Jacks, 2581 Goldstream Rd, ☎ +1 907-455-6665. Ivory Jacks offers casual meals to fine dining. Located just north of town in Goldstream Valley. There is an open mic every Saturday at 10 PM where performers get to take a free CD home of their performance.
  • The Lemongrass, 388 Old Chena Pump Rd, ☎ +1 907 456-2200. Best Asian food in City - from Pad Thai to BBQ Beef. Great atmosphere and food.
  • Pad Thai, 3400 College Rd.
  • Siam Dishes, 338 Old Steese Hwy.
  • Lin's Asian Bistro, 1900 Airport Way, ☎ +1 907 479-8866. Slightly upscale Chinese dining, with an emphasis on presentation and a contemporary re-interpretation of American-Chinese cuisine.
  • Wok N' Roll Express, 3535 College Rd, ☎ +1 907 455-4848. Chinese takeout. Not the best in town, but conveniently located by UAF; the noodle soups are good.
  • Pikes Landing Riverfront Dining & Sports Bar, 4438 Airport Way, ☎ +1 907 479-6500. 11 AM to midnight. Great outdoor deck, fine dining indoors

Drink

One traditional Fairbanks cruise is known as "The Bar Float". The Chena river runs right through the center of town, with several of the bars that may be accessed right from the river. You can start at the put in near Pioneer Park, where Peger Road crosses the Chena River. There, they also rent canoes and kayaks. From here, you can float downriver past the bars known as The Boatel, Chena's, Pikes Landing, and finally taking out at The Pumphouse. The Chena is an easy-going river, but there's plenty of motorboat, canoe, jetski, and even airplane traffic during the summer so, as always, have a designated driver to keep it safe.

  • College Coffeehouse, 3677 College Rd Unit 4, ☎ +1 907 374-0468, fax: +1 907 374-4442. Coffee and snacks served in an environment perfectly suited for broke college students. Great for studying, chatting, or listening to the frequent musical guests. Internet access (wireless & LAN) is available, with fifteen minutes free with any purchase.
  • The Marlin, 3412 College Rd, ☎ +1 907 479-4646. The late-night college bar for the UAF area. Just down the hill from campus. Subterranean. Funky. Legendary. Hangover Lounge Tuesdays. Open Mic Wednesdays. Live Music Thursday-Saturday.
  • The Blue Loon, 2999 Parks Hwy, ☎ +1 907 457-5666. Theatre and Club in the Gold Hill area. Hosts several outdoor live events in the summer. Bar and grill.
  • Bun on the Run, 3480 College Rd (parking lot of Beaver Sports), ☎ +1 907 479-2867. Bakery and Sandwich shop with outdoor seating. Homemade everything at an affordable price, has been a local favorite for 25 years. Summer only.

Shopping in Fairbanks, AK


  • The Red Fox (on 2nd street next to Soapy Smith's). Has a large collection of furs and leathers. And it has the smell.
  • Pro Music in Fairbanks Alaska, 300 Front St, ☎ +1 907-456-1994, toll-free: +1 800-478-1994. The city's largest music store.

Safety in Fairbanks, AK


Unlike Anchorage, Fairbanks has had somewhat of a bad reputation for crime, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. While crime rates have improved since then and downtown Fairbanks is well policed, it is wise to avoid the area around South Cushman street after dark. It is the poorest and most dangerous area of Fairbanks, has high rates of drug activity, prostitution, sexual assaults, and muggings, and suffers urban blight - but attacks on tourists are very rare and there's little reason for tourists to be in this area, anyway. Other constant problems in Fairbanks are break-ins in parked vehicles, house robberies, and petty theft. Don't leave valuables visible in your car, lock your car and house doors, and you should be fine.

Language spoken in Fairbanks, AK


English is the official language.

LOCAL TIME

8:22 pm
December 14, 2018
America/Anchorage

CURRENT WEATHER

-25.17 °C / -13.306 °F
sky is clear
Sat

-25.54 °C/-14 °F
light snow
Sun

-26.55 °C/-16 °F
light snow
Mon

-22.82 °C/-9 °F
sky is clear
Tue

-26 °C/-15 °F
sky is clear

LOCAL CURRENCY

USD

1 EUR = 1.13 USD
1 GBP = 1.26 USD
1 AUD = 0.72 USD
1 CAD = 0.75 USD

Travelers recommend visiting the following places of interests



http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 University of Alaska Museum of the North, Fairbanks
Average: 10 (10 votes)

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