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Things to do in Fairbanks

Things to do in  Fairbanks

Welcome to Fairbanks

Alaska’s gateway to the Arctic Circle, Fairbanks offers a lot more than its urban sprawl might initially suggest. Seemingly endless summer days (it’s not called the Land of the Midnight Sun for nothing) are best spent panning for gold, floating or fishing along the Chena River, and hiking in the nearby White Mountains National Recreation Area. Come winter, northern lights expeditions, road trips along the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle, and snow sports like ice fishing, dog mushing, and cross-country skiing top the list of the most popular things to do.

Top 10 attractions in Fairbanks

#1
Chena Hot Springs Resort

Chena Hot Springs Resort

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An hour’s drive from Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs Resort is renowned for its natural hot-springs lake, year-round ice museum, and Northern Lights viewing opportunities. Discovered over a hundred years ago by gold miners who saw steam rising from the Chena River Valley, the curative waters have been soothing weary travelers ever since.More
#2
Dalton Highway

Dalton Highway

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The Dalton Highway runs for 414 miles to Alaska’s northernmost mountains in the Brooks Range and nearly all the way out to the Arctic Ocean. Running through valleys surrounded by jagged peaks, the highway connects Interior Alaska to the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and is technically part of the northernmost highway in the U.S. Also one of the most remote, the Dalton Highway parallels the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Visitors who take the drive themselves will need to note that much of the road is still mostly gravel. Unless you’ve appeared on Ice Road Truckers, you might want to skip the ride in winter.Public access ends at the small town of Deadhorse, just before the Arctic Ocean, and if you want to reach those last 8 miles of private road out to the coast, it’s possible to join private tours from Deadhorse. At the Coldfoot truck stop, 250 miles north of Fairbanks, the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center gives details on road and backcountry conditions along the Dalton Highway, as well as information on recent wildlife spottings of the likes of grizzlies, black bears, and dall sheep. There’s also a picnic area and sign showing where the road crosses the Arctic Circle.More
#3
Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint

Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint

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The Trans-Alaska Pipeline traverses 800 miles (1,287 kilometers) through the Alaska wilderness from the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay to Valdez where it is shipped to refineries. Built between 1974 and 1977 and requiring over 28,000 people to build, the pipeline is considered one of the world’s most amazing engineering marvels and the viewpoint outside of Fairbanks is one of the best places to view it.More
#4
Aurora Ice Museum

Aurora Ice Museum

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Made from over 1,000 tons of ice and snow, the Aurora Ice Museum is the largest year-round ice structure in the world. Completed in 2005 by world ice-art-carving champion Steve Brice and his wife, Heather, the museum features furniture, life-size knights on horseback, chandeliers shifting colors to mimic the Northern Lights, and even a bar, all made of ice.More
#5
Pioneer Park

Pioneer Park

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Opened in 1967 as part of the Alaska 67 Centennial Exposition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Alaska purchase, Pioneer Park is a historical theme park featuring museums, gold rush era relics, amusement rides, restaurants, and more. The 44-acre (109-hectare) park is one of the city’s most popular destinations, drawing visitors and locals interested in reliving Alaska’s early years.More
#6
Tolovana River

Tolovana River

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Starting in the Yukon-Tanana Upland, 57 miles from the town of Fox, the Tolovana River is known for its grayling and northern pike fishing and flows southwest for 116 miles through the Tolovana Valley and its abundance of birch and spruce trees.With little to no light pollution, the area surrounding the Tolovana River is a particularly good place to see the Aurora Borealis, and while you’re in the area, look out for typical Alaskan wildlife, including moose, bears, eagles, and martens. Tucked into the mountains near the river, you can also visit Tolovana Hot Springs. The most remote of the region’s “big four” hot springs, the site is only accessible via cross-country skiing, hiking, dog-sledding or helicopter.More
#7
University of Alaska Museum of the North

University of Alaska Museum of the North

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This top-rated visitor attraction at the University of Alaska Fairbanks boasts being the only research and teaching museum in Alaska. With a goal of acquiring, interpreting and showcasing collections relating to Alaska’s natural, cultural and artistic heritage, the University of Alaska Museum of the North currently houses 1.4 million artifacts and specimens. Visitors can peruse the collections and exhibits to gain a true understanding of the development and culture of Native Alaskans. These are separated into 10 different categories: Archaeology, birds, documentary film, earth sciences, ethnology/history, fine arts, fishes/marine invertebrates, insects, mammals, and plants.Visitors can also see ancient artwork spanning from 2,000 years ago to present, like ancient ivory carvings; contemporary sculptures; Alaska’s most comprehensive public display of gold and Blue Babe; a light installation that changes with the position of the moon and sun; Native tools and toys; and much more. Other things to do include seeing a 36,000-year-old preserved steppe bison; learning about Alaska’s mining history, seeing a film on the Aurora Borealis; viewing the world’s largest collection of polar dinosaurs; taking in beadwork handicrafts from the mid-1800s and other experiences you just can't have anywhere else. Don’t leave without perusing the Museum Store, which sells authentic Native Alaskan artwork.More
#8
Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center

Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center

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For those interested in learning about Interior and Arctic Alaska as well as Native culture, the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center is a must-have experience when visiting Fairbanks. The mission of the attraction is to celebrate the people and culture of Interior Alaska while also promoting the local economy and acting as a community gathering place to exchange cultural ideas, and they do this in a number of ways.First, the center showcases a number of free exhibits on Interior Alaska and its people, providing insight to the heritage of the area. For example, their main exhibit, “How We Live: The People and the Land”, features life-sized dioramas depicting the seasons of Interior Alaska. You can also shop for Native Alaskan artwork in their Alaska Geographic store; dress up in traditional Athabaskan attire for a photo; see a traditional performance of music, art and storytelling; create your own traditional Athabascan moose skin bags or sun catcher; view a film of Alaska’s history; and more. On the first Friday of each month the center hosts First Fridays from 5pm to 8pm, a free reception showcasing the work of a local Interior Alaska artist.More
#9
Chena River State Recreation Area

Chena River State Recreation Area

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Encompassing 254,080 acres (102,823 hectares), the Chena River Recreation Area is located about 30 minutes east of Fairbanks, with the Chena River being the central focus of the park. As the name implies, the park is full of opportunities for outdoor recreation and is popular with hikers, backpackers, climbers, anglers, kayakers, skiers, snowmobilers, canoers, wildlife photographers and adventure enthusiasts.The area is abundant with wildlife, home to black bears, brown bears, beavers, red fox, caribou, wolves, hoary marmots, pika, rock ptarmigan and, most predominantly, moose, which you’ll see many of around the lakes. In the Chena River, catch-and-release fishing for Arctic grayling is possible, but grayling and rainbow trout caught in the park’s stocked ponds -- located at mileposts 30, 42.8, 45.5 and 47.9 on the Chena Hot Springs Road -- may be kept.While during warmer months visitors enjoy activities like hiking, climbing, ATVing, picnicking, canoeing and kayaking, winter activities may include dog sledding, skiing and snowmobiling. And no trip to the Chena River Recreation Area would be complete without a soak in the Chena Hot Springs, which is especially relaxing in the cold winter months. Nearby you can tour the Aurora Ice Museum, filled with ice sculptures, an ice bar and ornate chandeliers made of ice that change colors every six seconds to resemble the Northern Lights.More
#10
Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

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Vintage cars, history, and fashion collide at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum. Located in Fairbanks, this museum traces the evolution of fashion and cars, from the Victorian Age to the 1930s. Visit to see its collection of more than 95 vintage cars and the largest display of vintage fashion in the Pacific Northwest.More

Top activities in Fairbanks

Arctic Circle and Northern Lights Tour from Fairbanks
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Northern Lights Lodge Viewing in Fairbanks
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Arctic Circle Winter Drive Adventure
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Chena Hot Springs Tour

Chena Hot Springs Tour

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Arctic Circle Winter Fly Drive Adventure - Southbound
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Fairbanks Snowmobile Adventure from North Pole
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Dog Sled Adventure

Dog Sled Adventure

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Northern Lights and Arctic Circle Trip from Fairbanks
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Northern Lights Viewing including Dinner and 1-Hour Dog Sledding
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Aurora Lodge Viewing
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Aurora Lodge Viewing

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Arctic Circle Aurora Fly Drive Adventure - Southbound
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1-hour Winter Dog Sledding in Fairbanks
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Recent reviews from experiences in Fairbanks

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Northern Lights @ Artic Circle
LNBS, Nov 2021
Arctic Circle Winter Drive Adventure
What an amazing tour i reccomend it for anyone who visits Fairbanks in the winter, our guide was incredible from start to end took us to places with extraordinary sights until he successfully found the Lights while all while educating us on the history of the artic and surroundings.
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Northern Lights @ Chena Springs
LNBS, Nov 2021
Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks
What an amazing tour i reccomend it for anyone who visits Fairbanks in the winter, our guide Jacob was incredible from start to end took us to places until he successfully found the Lights.
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Highly recommend!
Rungploy_Y, Nov 2021
Aurora Lodge Viewing
We got to see the Aurora on our first night in Fairbanks.
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Chena Hot Springs Resort
Elizabeth_E, Sep 2021
Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks
The ice museum was a great visit to see the sculptures, bar, bedrooms, and a man at work.
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A great spa experience!
Ronald_T, Aug 2021
Chena Hot Springs Tour
The hot springs were wonderful.
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Great trip and best with Alaska tours and travel.
satish_a, Jul 2021
Chena Hot Springs Tour
Something to see around Fairbanks.
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Northern Lights @ Murphy Dome
LNBS, Nov 2021
Northern Lights Viewing at Murphy Dome
What an amazing tour i reccomend it for anyone who visits Fairbanks in the winter, our guide was incredible from start to end very energetic and fun person to be around, this was my first experience seeing the Lights and cant complain a bit, was during the lunar eclipse 2021 so it added even more extraordinary sight to the night.
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A great way to start a vacation!
Carinel_G, Nov 2021
Arctic Circle Winter Drive Adventure
This was our first tour in Fairbanks and it was a great way to see the sights.
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Definitely a Unique Alaskan Experience !
Akshay_k, Sep 2021
Arctic Circle Journey Tour
We also got to see a Moose on the way back to Fairbanks.
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Great day trip
Nancy_O, Aug 2021
Arctic Circle Day Trip from Fairbanks with Transportation
Very interesting to see the Trans-Alaskan pipeline.
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Arctic Circle tour was a highlight of my trip
Mary_C, Jul 2020
Arctic Circle Journey Tour
Mr Bill was great and knew his stuff in regards to the Dalton highway Really amazing to see what is north of Fairbanks Highly recommended!
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Museum of the North a must see
lismitx, Feb 2020
Fairbanks Autumn/Winter City Tour
This tour was a great way to see Fairbanks.
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Fairbanks delight
quan258, Jan 2020
Fairbanks Autumn/Winter City Tour
We didn’t rent a car, so this tour was a wonderful overview of the city highlights of Fairbanks and a great way to visit Northpole, AK.
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A must do. The tour director was a...
Denyse L, Oct 2017
Arctic Circle Day Trip from Fairbanks with Transportation
Looking to visit Fairbanks and go on some of the other available tours.
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Chena Hot Springs was great! We were...
Linda_C, Aug 2016
Chena Hot Springs Day Tour from Fairbanks
Chena Hot Springs was great!
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Bucket List check item
Chris_V, Jan 2022
Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks
I didn't know hot spring was 60 miles outside Fairbanks.
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Our tour of Fairbanks was...
Mary_L, Jun 2016
Fairbanks City Highlight Tour
Both museums were very interesting, and it was a lot of fun to visit the North Pole and help Santa to mail customized letters to our grandchildren.
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A great opening experience to see...
Barbara T, Sep 2015
Alaskan Heritage and Sightseeing Tour in Fairbanks
A great opening experience to see Fairbanks.
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Highlight of my trip
Matt_Ruggz, Mar 2020
Arctic Circle and Northern Lights Tour from Fairbanks
Even though we did not see the lights, all of the other activities along the way to the arctic circle made up for it several times over.
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Epic Aurora watching!!
Shelly_M, Jan 2020
Individual Aurora Northern Lights Photography Workshop & Tour
Coming to Alaska the Aurora lights was on the top of our list to see and Bill made it happened.
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