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Best Cool Things To Do In Fairbanks, Alaska

by Swarnim Singh Rokey
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Things to Do in Fairbanks, Alaska

Fairbanks, Alaska | Photo Credit – Amy Meredith

What do you think of when you think of Alaska? Snow, Reindeers, Skiing, and Northern Lights? What else do you think of? Well, Fairbanks, the biggest city in internal Alaska, offers everything you can imagine and much more than you could have ever imagined. By the way, this is the place where the boundaries between days and nights, fun and beauty, and winters and summers blur and all become one to give you one aesthetically satisfying adventure-packed beautiful experience of a lifetime. Also Checkout our list to things to do in Alaska.

The best time to visit is in the mid-to-late winters; March has perfect weather for you to enjoy the snow, skiing, and northern lights. You can also find the northern lights during September, while May, when the summers start, is when you can enjoy the midnight sun. So, let’s get started with the best things you can do in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Morris Thompson Cultural Center

Morris Thompson Cultural Center | Photo Credit – arctic_council

Set up in 2009, after years of planning, the Morris Thompson Cultural Center is the perfect place for you to start your tour of Fairbanks from. There’s a lot you can learn about the culture and culture history of internal Alaska from here through the cultural programs and exhibits.

The place also organizes multiple programs like documentary screenings, performances, demonstrations, and celebrations which can help you learn about the region’s culture and history, especially about the indigenous communities. You can also get maps, guides, and related stuff here which can help you in navigating through the region smoothly.

Where exactly: 101 Dunkel St, Fairbanks, AK 99701, United States

What to visit: Public Lands Information Center, Explore Fairbanks

What to do: Learn about the history, geography, and culture of the region, prepare to travel the area

Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum | Photo Credit – Amy Meredith

The Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, like the name suggests, is a museum that documents almost a hundred years of history of automobiles in Alaska. It showcases more than 80 vintage cars, some of which are the only ones left of their kind, like the 1905 Sheldon Roundabout which was built here, and 1920 Argonne.

The place is unique for its collection, but you can also visit the place to look at how these cars have been restored to perfection. There’s also a clothing exhibit that shows the clothes from the high society of the early 1900s USA. The place has so much more to offer than looks to the eye. The tickets cost $6-12.

Where exactly: 212 Wedgewood Dr, Fairbanks, AK 99701, United States

What to visit: car exhibit, clothes exhibit, wildlife sanctuary, resort, waterfowl refuge

What to do: enjoy history, nature and click pictures in this amazing mix of past present, and nature

Running Reindeer Ranch

Reindeer | Photo Credit – Timo Newton-Syms

Imagine walking with reindeers, and now what will you do if I tell you that it is possible? Running Reindeer Ranch is a privately owned ranch where you can go and watch reindeers, walk around with them and get to learn about them, their habitat, and their environment. The tours are guided and reserved-only in nature.

You also get to learn about organic farming here and get offered some light snacks and refreshments. The place is world-renowned and more than just about reindeers, as the guided tours also included information about the region’s aurora lights and so much more.

Where exactly: 1470 Ivans Alley, Fairbanks, AK 99709, United States

When to visit: Open all year round, but winters are better. Tickets cost $70-100. 

What to do: Roam around looking at and learning about reindeers, aurora borealis, and organic farming

University of Alaska Museum of the North

University of Alaska Museum of the North | Photo Credit – Bernt Rostad

With artworks from over 2000 years, the Museum of the North showcases the natural and cultural history of distinct regions of Alaska. The design of the museum seems inspired by the geography of Alaska, the snow, glaciers, and alpine mountain ranges.

You can visit the museum to enjoy works from Alaskan and non-Alaskan artists ranging from ancient carvings to modern works of art. There is an interactive exhibit that shows the landscape and geography of the region which changes with the changes in aurora activity and seismic waves in the state.

Where exactly: 1962 Yukon Dr, Fairbanks, AK 99775, United States

What to visit: Rose Berry Alaska Art gallery, Gallery of Alaska, The Place Where You Go To Listen

What to do: Watching artworks, learning about the region, watching related programs and exhibits

Chena River State Recreation Area

Chena River State Recreation Area | Photo Credit – Mark Spangler

Spread over 397-square-miles, the Chena River State Recreation Area is a cool adventurous getaway for people of all ages. You can spend your time relaxing within the most beautiful outdoors that Alaska has, and also spend time watching wildlife like grizzly bears, moose, beavers, and whatnot.

Also try hiking, rock climbing, catch-and-release fishing, and so many more activities. You can also drive across the area to reach the Chena Hot Springs which are one of the best and most unique experiences you can have in all of Alaska.

Where exactly: 3700 Airport Way, Fairbanks, AK 99709, United States

What to visit: Chena Hot Springs, Angel Rocks, Granite Tors, Tors Trail

What to do: Camping, Picnic, relaxing, enjoying the flora and fauna of Alaska, adventure activities like rock-climbing, dog-sledding, etc.

Aurora Ice Museum

Aurora ice museum | Photo Credit – Craig Talbert

Located within the Chena Hot Springs Resort, this Ice Museum is actually the world’s largest ice sculpture exhibit. The artists credited to all the sculptures exhibited in the museum are 23-time World Ice Championship winners Heather and Steve Brice. The Aurora Ice Museum exhibits unique ice sculptures and is open all year round.

Apart from the sculptures, there are some unique experiences you can have in the museum like the Aurora Ice Bar and Christmas trees and so much more. You can watch unique colored ice chandeliers hanging in the bar, which mimic aurora borealis.

Where exactly: 17600 Chena Hot Springs Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99712, United States

What to visit: Aurora Ice Bar, Observation Tower

What to do: Have appletinis at the bar, enjoy watching the unique ice sculptures and everything ice 

Palace Theater

This theater is most popularly known for its nightly performances of Golden Heart Revue by the Fairbanks composer Jim Bell. The place located inside the pioneer park hosts different unique comedic and musical performances for its visitors.

The name of the aforementioned performance of the Golden Heart Revue comes from the nickname of Fairbanks “the Golden Heart City”. 

Where exactly: Fairbanks, AK 99701, United States

What to visit: Golden Heart Revue Performance, Salmon Bake restaurant

What to do: Eat at Fairbanks oldest restaurant and watch one of the most popular performances at this extremely fun theater.

HooDoo Brewing Company

HooDoo Brewing Company | Photo Credit – Bernt Rostad

Sometimes you just need a self-guided beer tour of a city, but sadly there aren’t many cities that offer that, are there? What does that have to do with Fairbanks you ask? You get a whole tour of Alaska and the rest of the world through unique beer brewing styles that the HooDoo Brewing company practices. With no-nonsense naming of its beers, you actually get the most authentic beer tasting experience and get to know about the brewing process.

This brewery started when the owner Bobby Wilken started home brewing for some beer while studying business. Now you can try their tao room open on Tuesdays through Sundays or maybe get a guided tour on Saturdays and try some of the most popular beers like the German Kolsch, Belgian Saison, American IPA, and many more from around the world.

Where exactly: 1951 Fox Ave, Fairbanks, AK 99701, United States

Similar Places: Silver Gulch, Black Spruce 

What to do:  Try some of the best beers from around the world and learn their making process in action

Pioneer Park

Pioneer Park | Photo Credit – Amy Meredith

Constructed in 1967, to celebrate the hundred-year anniversary of the purchase of Alaska from Russia this park has it all. You can hike from here to the Visitor Center and wait, it’s not boring. This is as exciting as a park can be. The park has multiple educational and community attractions for people of all ages. The park has had amusement parks, zoos and still has four museums and a number of other attractions and hosts fairs, and performances all year round.

This is a beautiful place all year round with its wonderful lights and a mixed bag of natural, recreational, and exciting experiences. With restaurants, mini-golfs, carousels, and musical performances, this can be one of the most wholesome experiences you have ever had.

Where exactly: 2300 Airport Way, Fairbanks, AK 99701, United States

What to visit: Tanana Village Railroad Museum, Alaska Centennial Center, Pioneer Air Museum, Pioneer Hall, Salmon Bake.

What to do: Everything from attending concerts, watching performances to playing mini-golf and simply having lots of fun

Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge

Creamer’s Field | Photo Credit – James Halliday

This dairy-turned-bird conservation center is the perfect place for bird-watching. Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge is a refuge for many migratory birds from spring through fall. You can also try naturalist walk and trails starting at the Farmhouse Visitor Center. The place is a tourist attraction all year round as people come for skiing across the area during winters.

Where exactly: 1300 College Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99701, United States

What to do: trails, walks, birdwatching, skiing

What are some other cool things to do in Fairbanks Alaska?

Well, the whole Fairbanks experience, and in some ways, the whole Alaska experience is extremely unique. The city can give you as many challenging adventures as you want, from cross country skiing across the University of Alaska Fairbanks ski trails to staying in a public cabin in the woods near the Salcha river, with hiking and trail riding being extremely common.

The experience you have here can get so surreal and sometimes even so sublime that you would only want to have that again, and again, and again or maybe even decide to stay in this place also called “the city of the Golden Heart ”. There are some experiences that one might consider less sought after or even weird like watching the Alyeska Pipeline, but they are also important and can be as educational as they are amazing because of the beautiful setting of the Alpine mountains.

You can try dog sledding and Black Spruce Dog Sledding, or experience bliss chasing the northern lights with Aurora Chasers or check out some botanical gardens and parks for a more complete experience, yet Fairbanks will still have only more to offer you from its Golden Heart. This is one of those places that offers you a different perspective on life just by showing how different it can be during summers and winters, also maintaining its extra-ordinariness throughout the year.

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