Home World 29 Things to Do in Fairbanks Alaska Summer and Winter

29 Things to Do in Fairbanks Alaska Summer and Winter

29 Things to Do in Fairbanks Alaska Summer and Winter

Welcome to ‘Interior Alaska’ – the land between the mountains. Fairbanks sits in the part-way of the state and is the jumping-off point for visiting the upper Arctic. One of the few big landlocked towns in Alaska, Fairbanks is often overlooked since it’s not a trip port. But that doesn’t midpoint that there are not plenty of things to do in Fairbanks year-round!

Fairbanks has been a hair-trigger hub in Alaska overly since its inception. It started as a gold rush outpost for the region and then evolved into a hair-trigger pipeline outpost during its construction. Now it acts as the outpost of Alaska’s Interior.

I’ve been to Fairbanks 5 variegated times in summer and winter. In fact, I love Fairbanks so much that I plane run Ottsworld Tours there! Hands lanugo Fairbanks is the weightier place to really get to know the hearty people of the interior of Alaska. It’s moreover the weightier place to have a endangerment to see the sunrise from September through April.

Living on the whet of the Tundra Circle

With a population of 32,000, I was excited to visit Fairbanks and meet the people who live in this lattermost environment on the whet of the Arctic. You have to embrace transpiration if you live in Alaska; daylight changes drastically from day to day losing 6 minutes of daylight (nearly an hour every week!) as it heads towards December 21st and gains 6 minutes without that.

With the darkness comes the unprepossessed and parking lots with electrical outlets at every spot. Due to the lattermost unprepossessed temperatures in Fairbanks during the winter, most vehicles are equipped with several electric “heating” devices that facilitate starting during the coldest time and should be plugged in to alimony warm.

“When it gets cold, we just get close,” a local Fairbanks man told me when I asked how he survived the winters.

But with the summer comes the long days and a population with an zillions of ‘cabin fever’. As I crush virtually the municipality part-way in the summer I was impressed by all of the outdoor trails and activities. People in Fairbanks love to get outside in the summer and winter, and so do I.

What To Expect From This Fairbanks List

There are a number of operators to segregate from that are well established; however, in my travels, I like to focus on the new, unique operators. They tend to be the smaller, younger companies that are serving the self-sustaining traveler and providing a increasingly personal touch than the larger tour options. If you just dig a little bit, you can find those smaller, individual experiences that might be harder to get to or plane increasingly expensive.

Luckily though you don’t have to dig – I’ve compiled all of these superstitious Fairbanks things to do into this list. I’ve organized the things to do in Fairbanks by summer, winter, and both seasons. My goal is to help you wits a unique Fairbanks trip that takes you a bit off the tourist track and is increasingly integrated locally.

Things to do in Fairbanks in the Summer

Fairbanks often goes unnoticed by tourists in the summer, but of course, I was not going to overlook this old gold-mining town. Thanks to stuff brought up in the Midwest, I am unchangingly intrigued with towns and communities that are landlocked and in the middle, that are overshadowed by their increasingly popular neighbors (ahem…Anchorage).

1. Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary & Trails

Just outside my hotel was the Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary – a series of trails winding through the boreal forest, perfect for running and walking. Without spending a week in the treeless tundra virtually Nome I was excited to see trees then when I got when to Fairbanks!

I ran into many people taking their dogs out for walks and birdwatching as I did a little 3-mile run over wooden bridges and virtually the lakes. The trails connect to the Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. This is one run where I was happy I took my phone with me to take some pictures withal the way!

More Information: Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary

Find out where to go in Alaska for fall color

2. Tanana Valley Farmer’s Market

This is the oldest established farmers market in Alaska and the only one located in its own permanent building. The Tanana Valley Farmers Market showcases a wide variety of Alaska-grown produce, native Alaskan plants, and locally made, Alaskan art and crafts.

Not only can you buy produce there, but you can moreover plan on having lunch…and you should go hungry! There was a surprising variety of ethnic supplies and I stuffed my squatter with Asian pork buns as well as Mexican tacos.

I spent the rest of my time looking virtually at the giant produce and strange veggies that I had never seen before. Everyone was so friendly and it was a unconfined way to spend an afternoon learning increasingly well-nigh the community.

More Information: Tanana Valley Farrmers Market Website
The market is unshut from May to September on Wednesdays and Saturdays

3. Georgeson Botanical Garden

Be an ventriloquist botanist for the day as you wander virtually Georgeson Botanical Garden in search of rare, far-north plants. You’ll discover unusual species of flowers and trees that are theirs to Alaska and learn how they live and thrive in the wild climate of Alaska’s sub-Arctic interior.

This five-acre garden is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus and was officially opened in 1989 as a research facility. It’s now a vibrant untried space that is beautiful, expressly in spring and summer.

Kids will love the Babula Children’s Garden where Alaska’s largest hedge maze beckons. Its well-designed pathways meander through lush greenery. Kids can explore variegated sections named without minion storybook notation like Peter Rabbit or Cinderella. Each zone features plant species thoughtfully chosen to reflect elements from these timeless tales – truly bringing stories to life!

More information: Georgeson Botanical Garden

4. Tanana Valley Railroad Museum

All aboard! Get ready for a mannerly journey through railroad history with a visit to this delightful museum situated within Pioneer Park. Marvel at vintage locomotives and explore model train layouts depicting various Alaskan landscapes.

Learn how steam locomotives played an essential role in shaping Northern Alaska as you explore vintage railcars filled with intriguing artifacts from yesteryear. You plane take a ride on one of the park’s miniature trains!

More information: The Tanana Valley Railroad Museum is temporarily closed

Plan an Alaska Railroad Hurricane Train Tour

5. Gold Dredge 8

Fairbanks owes its existence to the gold fever that descended on the Tanana Valley. Gold Dredge 8 takes you when to the late 19th century when prospectors flocked to Alaska in search of fortune. This massive gold dredge, towering over the landscape, once extracted millions of ounces of gold from the icy ground.

Now retired but meticulously preserved, it’s a national monument where you can learn well-nigh Alaska’s mining heritage. It stands as a testament to the incredible engineering and determination of those who sought their dreams during this historic period.

When you step onto Gold Dredge 8’s property, get ready for an immersive experience. The knowledgeable guides here will take you on a journey through time as they share captivating stories and insights. You’ll learn well-nigh the dredging process that revolutionized gold mining and witness firsthand how these behemoth machines operated. Plus – you can plane pan for gold as part of your visit.

More information: Gold Dredge 8

Things to do in Fairbanks Year-Round

6. University of Alaska Museum of the North

As I pulled up to the sleek white towers I was surprised to find modern tracery in a small community. And the surprise didn’t stop there. The exhibits inside the Alaska Museum of the North were equally impressive. There was a large Alaska natural history section that will fully educate you well-nigh the grand state.

And upstairs was an impressive variety of trendy and modern art washed-up by Alaskan artists. I loved the upstairs exhibits as I’m a modern art buff. Many of the works had an Alaska theme to them in some way – but some were moreover just unconfined pieces that had nothing to do with the state.

And of course, I couldn’t miss out on Otto the Bear, the most recognizable specimen at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus of the North. Otto is an 8′ 9” brown withstand that has greeted guests for increasingly than 40 years. And yes – Ottsworld met Otto.

The museum has been working on restoring Bus 142 from the story Into the Wild for the last few years. Hopefully, in 2024 it will be on walkout for the public to see and experience. Trammels out the museum website for updates on its status.

More Information: University of Alaska Museum of the North

7. HooDoo Brewing Company

I had been hearing good things well-nigh the Fairbanks craft mash scene, so I decided to trammels it out myself. Without getting lost virtually the railroad tracks, I finally came wideness the big industrial towers that was HooDoo Brewing Company. In true Alaska form – it was vital and rugged, not like the craft breweries and bars in hipster neighborhoods that I’m used to. It was functional.

Hoodoo brewery fairbanks alaska
Have a few pints with locals at HooDoo Brewery

Go inside and order a HooDoo beer and then throne when outside to the picnic tables to enjoy your frosty brew. It didn’t take me long to make friends with some locals I shared the picnic table with. HooDoo Brewing doesn’t have food, instead, they have various supplies trucks that come each night and park on the premises serving up supplies to the hungry beer drinkers. I loved the outdoor vibe; everyone soaking up the daylight and enjoying the outdoors and laid-back feel.

More Information: HooDoo Brewery. Don’t miss Caturday at HooDoos on Saturdays when it turns into a cat brewery!

8. Running Reindeer Ranch

As I pulled into the driveway two big balls of brown fur ran out in front of my car I hit the brakes in a panic. I let out a sigh of relief, it would have been pretty bad if I had hit a reindeer as I entered the Running Reindeer Ranch!

As reindeer roamed freely in the Running Reindeer Ranch yard and virtually the cars the owner, Jane, greeted us and started filling our heads with fascinating reindeer facts. I was there to not only learn well-nigh reindeer but to moreover walk with them through the forest – a unique Fairbanks worriedness offered year-round. Read well-nigh my unshortened reindeer wits and how I nearly got myself run over.

Fairbanks Alaska things to do reindeer
Take a walk with reindeer at Faribank’s Reindeer Ranch

My first visit to the ranch was in the summer. There are few places I go when to a 2nd time considering there are just so many places to see in the world that I’m not fond of do-overs. However, as soon as I knew I was going when to Fairbanks in the winter, I put Running Reindeer Ranch on my must-see list…again. I visited Jane’s unique reindeer experience when I traveled through Fairbanks in the summer a few years back, but I was really excited to see and walk with the reindeer in the winter landscape.

My winter visit had some new surprises in store for me compared to my summer visit. In wing to the snow that was dolloped on the trees, there was one thing that was vastly variegated on this visit to the reindeer – the people! Jane was still there giving the fascinating history of reindeer and how she ended up stuff what I undeniability the ‘reindeer whisperer’, but the sheer number of people who were moreover there to see the reindeer surprised me. In the summer when I came there were only 3 of us. However, in the winter there were nearly 18 of us! Luckily there are plenty of lovable reindeer to go around.

Take a walk through the boreal forest withal with the reindeer, get pictures, and learn well-nigh the fascinating lives of these gentle animals. It will take you far vastitude Christmas myths, and it will make you want to come when for increasingly in other seasons!

The Running Reindeer Ranch is located near the University of Fairbanks. It operates year-round except for Christmas when the reindeer have other ‘important’ work to do. Typesetting early as the tour has wilt pretty popular and often fills up in the winter!

More information: Running Reindeer Ranch Website. Read Running Reindeer Ranch reviews on Trip Advisor

9. Morris Thompson Cultural Center

Check out the Morris Thompson Cultural Part-way and you’ll quickly have a full Fairbanks itinerary planned! The facility was created by the Fairbanks Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Alaska Public Lands Information Center, and the Tanana Chiefs Conference.

Fairbanks Morris Thompson Cultural Center

The Morris Thompson Cultural Part-way aims to inspire residents and visitors to get out and explore Interior Alaska and Tundra Alaska as well as to preserve Athabascan languages and siphon on traditional knowledge through Elder teachings. Here you will be worldly-wise to find all the information you’ll need for your Fairbanks visit to Interior Alaska and Tundra Alaska.

More information: Morris Thompson Cultural Center

10. Visit the Tundra Whirligig and Coldfoot Truck Stop – Day Trip

Fairbanks is the hopping-off point for the Tundra Circle, and the only way to get to the Tundra Whirligig is to take one of the many Alaska small-time flights or momentum the Dalton Highway; I did both! If you have time while you visit Fairbanks throne north out of town where the pavement ends and the highway begins.

The Dalton Highway follows the Alaskan pipeline from Fairbanks to Coldfoot Alaska (a midway truck stop) and slightly beyond. The highway was built as a supply road to support the construction of the pipeline in 1974. It’s a 414-mile road (the majority of it dirt) whence at the Elliott Highway north of Fairbanks and ending at Deadhorse near the Tundra Ocean. And it’s still used primarily in conjunction with the pipeline today for maintenance crews, shipping…and a little bit of…tourism.

Dalton Highway Unprepossessed Foot
The road past Unprepossessed Foot Camp

You might think that this endangerment to visit the Tundra Whirligig and momentum the Dalton Highway is only misogynist in the summer – but you’re wrong! You can do this tour in the winter too! I’ve unquestionably washed-up it in the summer and winter and loved both trips.

In the summer, expect a lot of daylight to explore. You’ll stop at some old roadhouses, the Yukon River, the Tundra Circle, and Coldfoot. I unquestionably stayed in Coldfoot for a night and did increasingly exploring with a guide hiking through the tundra and learning well-nigh the history of this unique zone surpassing flying in a small-time plane when to Fairbanks.

What to expect from flying in Alaska small-time planes

You can do the same sort of trip in the winter with a few additions. I flew up to Coldfoot on a perfect winter day. It was spectacular to see the tundra from the plane covered in snow. We had lunch in Coldfoot at the truck stop and then hopped in the van and started the long and fascinating momentum when to Fairbanks.

We stopped to see the pipeline, do some sledding, and enjoy the Tundra Whirligig and the Yukon. Finally – I chose to do an add-on wits where we stopped at a motel well-nigh 90 minutes north of Fairbanks to watch for the aurora. As we were in the van we could see the sunrise starting to towards and by the time we arrived at the cabin, it was in full swing.

This was one of the weightier sunrise viewing nights I had in Fairbanks – the lights danced for hours. Plus – the motel provided a wonderful place to warm up and have snacks in between sunrise viewing! It was a very long day as we didn’t get when to Fairbanks until 5 AM! But it was soooo worth it.

More Information for driving the Dalton Highway
Northern Alaska Tour Company – drive-up/fly-back variations in winter and summer
Rent your Own Car from Tundra Outfitters – gravel road-allowed automobile rentals for the Dalton Highway traveler
Dalton Highway Shuttle

Discover where to go in Alaska off the tourist trail

11. Sunrise Ice Museum – Day Trip

Located at the Chena Hot Springs Resort well-nigh an hour from Fairbanks is Alaska’s coolest museum! By coolest I mean, literally the coolest. At a spooky 25 degrees Fahrenheit, the Sunrise Ice Museum lives up to its name. It features the world’s largest year-round ice sculpture display. The sculptures in the museum are all created by Heather and Steve Brice who are indeed very big names in ice sculpting.

As you wander through the museum’s icy corridors, be prepared to encounter magnificent sculptures that seem scrutinizingly otherworldly. From life-sized animals to mythical creatures and intricate ice chandeliers, each megacosm is meticulously carved. Every corner reveals something new and uncanny – play an ice xylophone, trickle into an indoor igloo, or visit a frosted chapel!

Have a Drink at the Famous Ice Bar

One of the highlights of the Sunrise Ice Museum is its famous “Ice Bar.” Step inside this frigid lounge zone ornate with icy furnishments while enjoying your favorite instillation served in -10°F glasses made entirely out of ice! It’s a truly spooky wits that will make your heart race while keeping you refreshed at the same time.

If you’re lucky unbearable to visit during winter months when Alaska’s famous Northern Lights illuminate the sky, prepare yourself for an plane increasingly enchanting encounter. The museum’s location offers an platonic vantage point for witnessing nature’s most mesmerizing light show – dancing taps of vibrant colors painting an indigo canvas whilom your head.

More information: Aurora Ice Museum at Chena Hot Springs

12. Fountainhead Antique Wheels Museum

Calling all car enthusiasts! Visit the Fountainhead Antique Wheels Museum to delve into automotive history. This treasure trove showcases rare and beautifully restored automobiles from as early as 1898. Discover how vehicles have evolved throughout time while appreciating their intricate designs and craftsmanship. Don’t miss the horseless carriages and the trundling cars.

But wait…the Fountainhead Antique Wheels Museum is so much increasingly than a car museum. The real recreate comes from the early models and the era suit on walkout with each car. It houses many traps that bring the Art Deco period to life. The museum is located on the grounds of the Wedgewood Resort.

Fountainhead Antique wheels Museum Fairbanks Alaska

More information: Fountainhead Antique Wheels Museum

13. Pioneer Park

Not your typical museum or visitors part-way per se, Pioneer Park is a living testament to Fairbanks’ past. This witchery in Alaska was created for the Alaska ‘67 Centennial Exposition to commemorate the one-hundredth year-end of the state’s purchase from Russia. It showcases 5 family-friendly educational and polity attractions.

Pioneer Park isn’t just an ordinary park; it’s moreover home to several engaging museums that offer insights into Fairbanks’ cultural history. Nestled withal the Chena River, this park recreates an early 1900s gold rush town with pure log cabins transformed into quirky shops and eateries.

Take a trip when in time at the Pioneer Air Museum where you can marvel at vintage watercraft or hop aboard a replica paddlewheel riverboat at The Riverboat Nenana Museum for a scenic cruise. With its playground, carousel, and train that circles the perimeter, it’s easy to see how the park is a fun, family-friendly day out.

More information: Pioneer Park

14. Fairbanks Polity Museum

Explore Fairbanks’ colorful past at this mannerly polity museum located in the heart of downtown Fairbanks. Hear stories well-nigh its pioneers, gold rush history, and the significant role that the railroad played in shaping this frontier city. View fascinating exhibits on local industries like mining and dog mushing. Don’t forget to trammels out their rotating exhibits which often highlight local artists and polity events. You’ll proceeds a deeper understanding of how this vibrant municipality came to be.

More information: Fairbanks Polity Museum

15. Alyeska Pipeline Visitor Center

Situated withal the iconic Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), this unique witchery offers a fascinating journey through the history, technology, and environmental impact of one of the world’s largest pipeline systems. As you step into the visitors center, prepare to be amazed by the sheer scale of TAPS. The pipeline stretches an impressive 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope all the way to Valdez on its southern coast. It was built in response to America’s growing demand for oil in the 1970s and has been operating safely overly since.

The visitor part-way provides an spanking-new opportunity to learn well-nigh how TAPS operates and its significant role in transporting transplanted oil wideness this vast state. Engaging exhibits showcase various aspects of pipeline construction, maintenance, and safety protocols. You’ll proceeds insights into the intricate engineering techniques used to overcome challenges such as permafrost conditions and wildlife conservation efforts implemented withal its route.

Pipeline Alley

One highlight of your visit will undoubtedly be exploring “Pipeline Alley.” This outdoor walkout features an very section of pipe permitting you to see up tropical how it functions. Marvel at its size and strength while learning well-nigh the innovative measures taken to protect it from lattermost weather conditions like earthquakes and avalanches.

For those interested in environmental stewardship, there are interactive displays that delve into Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s transferral to minimizing impacts on local ecosystems. Discover their wide-stretching monitoring programs aimed at safeguarding wildlife habitats and ensuring wipe waterways throughout TAPS’ operation.

More information: Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint

16. Visit the Fairbanks Geophysical Institute

For those science-y people – this is a super tomfool thing to do in Fairbanks. Visit the Geophysical Institute located at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Since it was established by an Act of Congress in 1946, scientists at the Geophysical Institute have studied geophysical processes from the part-way of the Earth to the surface of the sun and beyond, turning data and observations into information useful for state, Arctic, and national priorities.

World-class researchers study everything from the part-way of the Earth to the part-way of the Sun. When I was researching a story well-nigh the northern lights in Fairbanks, I unquestionably was worldly-wise to meet with some of the scientists at GI and talk to them well-nigh sunrise on other planets.

However, for the tourist – you can moreover visit the institute and learn increasingly well-nigh their research. They offer self-ruling public tours in the summer weekly on Wednesdays at 1 PM. If you can’t make that time, they have self-guided tours you can do. They moreover run tours out at Poker Flat Research Range. Poker Flat is the largest land-based rocket research range in the world and the only high-latitude rocket range in the United States. Join a tour to learn well-nigh the heady science that happens at the range and see some of the facilities, including the blockhouse ramified and the launch pads.

More Information: Geophysical Institute | Poker Flat Tours

Check out the Fairbanks supplies scene

Most people come to Fairbanks for venture – and there is plenty of that. However one of the surprising things well-nigh Fairbanks is the supplies scene. For a town of 30,000 people, I’m amazed at the ethnic diversity and quality of supplies in Fairbanks. And it’s not all seafood and steak! These are all places that I take my tour groups when I’m there.

17. Thai Supplies in Fairbanks

The Thai House Restaurant was the first to bring Thai supplies to Fairbanks, in 1989. Now there are over 20 Thai restaurants in the relatively small town of Fairbanks. It is the Thai wanted of Alaska! There was a migration of Thai people into the Alaska interior for gold mining; when that didn’t pan out, many stayed needing a livelihood. Restaurants followed. I suggest you try Thai House and Bahn Thai – everything is succulent – and authentic!

More information: Thai House Restaurant

18. Try Moldovan Supplies at Soba

Yes – you read that right – there’s a Moldova restaurant in Fairbanks. I’m pretty sure my home in Denver doesn’t plane have a Moldova restaurant. Soba serves pure Eastern European supplies and Moldovan wines. It’s the perfect hearty supplies in the winter.

We tried the potato pierogies, pelmeni pork dumplings, cabbage wraps with rice and pork, beet soup, and don’t miss out on the sour cherry crepes. It’s all so good!

More information: Soba Restaurant

19. The Crepery Restaurant

Photo of sign whilom restaurant The Crepery in Fairbanks

The Crepery is the place to be in downtown Fairbanks. It’s a popular stop for locals and tourists. They serve up sweet and savory crepes and it’s a favorite place of mine for lunch. Popular fillings include Brie and pear, as well as smoked salmon. Gluten-free versions are available.

More information: The Crepery

20. Pump House Restaurant

The Pump House is one of my favorite upscale restaurants in Fairbanks. The historic towers withal the Chena River was reconstructed in the spring of 1978 giving a nod to the 1890’s “Gold Rush” motif and atmosphere. Everywhere you squint you will see relics from the rich and illustrious past. In the summer months, sit on the deck overlooking the historic Chena River and watch the Riverboat Discovery pass and the bladder planes land. The Pump House serves increasingly traditional Alaskan pearly such as steaks and seafood. Expect big portions and unconfined drinks too.

More information: The Pump House

Fairbanks Alaska – Your Home Base for Winter Fun

Fairbanks is where all the Alaska winter fun seems to happen. Unlike summer where so many tour offerings are well-nigh cruises, the winter in Alaska is well-nigh the interior and survival.

Traveling overland in summer is a tough process; Alaska’s landscape is made up of a lot of spongy tundra (permafrost covers half of Alaska) and there are few roads. But winter suddenly makes everything accessible. Rivers freeze and wilt highways to move virtually on. The ground hardens and suddenly Alaska sled dogs can take you anywhere.

Watch my winter vita in Fairbanks below! Video by Michaela Potter

Alaska Winter Weather

I know what you are thinking – it’s too cold, there’s too much snow, it’s too dark. However, if you are going for a winter vacation – don’t you want snow? And if you are going to see the Northern Lights – don’t you want darkness?

You might be surprised to find out that the coastal areas don’t get as unprepossessed as you think – they rarely fall unelevated 20F except for the occasional storm. Up in the Tundra areas, they don’t get much snow considering it’s considered a desert.

However, Alaska’s interior does get unprepossessed and has lots of snow. There you may wits temperatures dipping into the -20F range and get lots of snow that will stick virtually all winter from October through March. All Alaskans know that you gainsay winter weather with the right gear. If you have the right gear – you can enjoy Alaska winter – plane in Fairbanks!

I’ve traveled to some pretty unprepossessed places virtually the world and have found some key gear that I take on every winter adventure. Trammels out my list of lattermost winter gear I use

Monthly temperatures Coastal and Interior Alaska

See the current Alaska weather conditions here.

Alaska Winter Driving

Most of these places I’ve mentioned do require a rental car, but it’s worth it to unflinching the winter roads so that you can get out and have all of these wonderful experiences. It’s easy to rent a car at the Fairbanks airport. I used Avis, but there are a number of options.

I would veritably get an all-wheel momentum vehicle though as it is necessary and there were a few times when I was driving through a lot of snow on not-so-well-plowed when country roads!

Do note that Fairbanks and the surrounding zone don’t use salt on their roads, but that doesn’t seem to scarecrow the locals much and I was worldly-wise to get virtually fine.

Plus if you go to Alaska in the winter, you get introduced to the unique Alaska winter culture of plugging in your car at night! Yes, that’s right, your rental car will come with an electric chord that you can use to plug in your car everywhere you go and keep the engine woodcut from freezing.

More information: Fairbanks Rental Cars

Things to do in Fairbanks in the Winter

While Alaska is a popular dream destination in the summer, it gets little respect in the winter. The fear of frigid temperatures, lack of light, and heavy snow scare off most people. However, that’s the word-for-word reason why I thought Fairbanks would be the perfect place to go for an Alaska winter venture – I wanted to see how the hearty Alaskans lived and played in the off-season.

Plus you get a couple of bonuses to the Fairbanks winter, like Northern Lights and cheaper prices. My airfare from Denver to Fairbanks was only a mere fraction of summer prices, and quite a bit less than other hearty remoter flung Scandinavian winter destinations.

And while a Fairbanks Northern Lights trip may have brought you to this lesser-known part of Alaska, there are plenty of other things to do which makes Fairbanks the perfect spot for an Alaska winter venture vacation!

21. Ice Fishing

Fairbanks is a winter wonderland for ice-fishing enthusiasts! If you’re looking to wits the thrill of transmissible fish through a frozen lake’s icy surface, squint no remoter than this incredible destination. Nestled surrounded scenic landscapes and frigid temperatures, this mannerly municipality offers an exhilarating wits for both novice and seasoned anglers alike.

Fairbanks is renowned for its stunning frozen lakes and rivers that transform into a winter playground for ice-fishing enthusiasts. With over 100 lakes within a 50-mile radius, you’ll have uncounted opportunities to explore new spots and find that perfect catch. The region boasts numerous lakes teeming with various fish species such as Tundra char, northern pike, rainbow trout, and burbot.

Fairbanks ice fishing

Rods Alaskan Guide Service offers a ton of variegated winter tous in the zone and that includes ice fishing. Don’t worry well-nigh getting unprepossessed – you fish from inside a warm little hut/cabin on the ice. If you go with a guide – you’ll have everything you need, equipment and a warm place to wait for the fish to bite! They plane offer an sunrise tour moreover – so you can snag that Tundra Char under the northern lights!

More information: Rods Alaskan Guide Service

22. Dog Mushing

Experience Alaska’s number one winter sport – dog sledding. Any Alaska winter trip needs to include some dog mushing! Fairbanks, with its stunning landscapes and frigid climate, offers a perfect setting for this traditional mode of transportation.

Dog mushing has been an integral part of Alaskan history and culture for centuries. Originally used as a ways of transportation by ethnic peoples, today it has evolved into a popular recreational sport and tourist attraction. In Fairbanks, where winters are long and snow is abundant, dog mushing remains tightly ingrained in local traditions.

The true stars of dog sledding are undoubtedly the incredible sled dogs themselves. These highly trained canine athletes possess remarkable endurance and strength. Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and Alaskan Huskies are wontedly found breeds in sled dog teams due to their unrenowned cold-weather adaptability.

Fairbanks boasts an wide-stretching network of well-groomed trails that wind through scenic forests and frozen landscapes. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced adventurer, there are options misogynist for all skill levels. From shorter introductory rides to multi-day expeditions wideness remote territories such as Denali National Park – there’s something for everyone!

Go to Mushing School and learn how to operate a dog sledding team

There are so many choices and styles to segregate from virtually Fairbanks for dog mushing. However, I was looking for a increasingly hands-on wits as I wanted to learn increasingly well-nigh how to mush my own team. Explore Fairbanks recommended I trammels out a new, young operation in Two Rivers, The Last Frontier Mushing Co-op.

Not only did I learn how to mush your own team in a half-day ‘mushing school’ tour, but I moreover learned a wealth of information well-nigh the dog racing culture of Alaska and what it takes to run a racing kennel. The young owners of the Co-op all have serious backgrounds in racing and considering of that, they want to offer visitors a real immersive wits at their sled dog kennels. Their goal is to have people see how much the dogs love their job and wits the real Alaska.

alaska dog mushing last frontier

But I must warn you, once you learn how to mush your own team of dogs, you’ll never want to go when to simply riding in a dog sled again. I was bitten by the dog sledding Alaska bug and can’t wait to go when again!

More information: Last Frontier Mushing Co-op. Located just 30 minutes outside of Fairbanks, the Co-op offers day tours, expedition-style tours, and sunrise tours! Read well-nigh and see my mushing school experience.

23. Winter Warm-Up at Chena Hot Springs – Day Trip

One of the most popular stops virtually Fairbanks is a trip to Chena Hot Springs. Just hop on the Chena Hot Springs road and momentum it until the end – well-nigh an hour from Fairbanks. You’ll victorious at a warm and toasty Alaskan winter wonderland.

This is a worthier tourist operation than the others I mentioned above, however, it is worth a stop – expressly in the winter! It’s not just well-nigh the hot springs, the resort moreover offers snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and dog sledding.

I recommend simply making this a day trip as the lodging options aren’t that unconfined unless you get a cabin.

However, we booked a little motel set yonder from other housing and enjoyed our warm cozy spot while the snow fell outside. Without a big hike, we went for a soak in the hot springs at night. The wind was blustery and the snow was flying while we had a surreal wits floating virtually the many manmade hot spring pools in the evening. It was just what our sore legs needed! Sadly the trappy snowfall ruined our chances to see sunrise there, but it’s a unconfined spot to situate yourself to see the aurora!

More information: Chena Hot Springs Resort. Spend a night or two off-grid in this idyllic spot and spring! Read reviews of Chena Hot Springs on Trip Advisor.

24. View the Northern Lights

Fairbanks is one of the prime spots on Earth for witnessing the scenic spectacle known as the Sunrise Borealis or Northern Lights. It is truly a paradise for sunrise borealis hunters; however, transmissible sight of those elusive untried waves dancing wideness the sky isn’t just a piece of cake. Plan your visit between September and April when nights are longer and darker – perfect conditions for spotting those shimmering Northern Lights.

Location matters! To maximize your chances of spotting the Northern Lights, escape from the municipality lights. Throne out to remote areas yonder from light pollution or get cozy at one of Fairbanks’ mannerly lodges where you can gaze at stars without any interference. Remember: It’s all well-nigh finding that sweet spot where darkness reigns supreme.

Also, alimony in mind that one of the reasons why Fairbanks (the interior) is such a unconfined place to view the northern lights is considering it is inland and usually has well-spoken skies. Unlike the coastal areas and countries like Iceland.

When it comes to witnessing the godhead Sunrise Borealis painting its way wideness Alaska’s skies, patience is key — unless you’ve been happy by some sort of cosmic trickery code! Sometimes the Northern Lights towards early; sometimes they make you wait.

Have an Alaska Sunrise Wits at Sunrise Bear

Frank and Miriam will gladly welcome you into their home and Alaska way of life on their off-grid home an hour north of Fairbanks. They offer nightly Northern Lights tours and photography instruction. They only take on small groups so they can provide an intimate level of service since they are hosting you in their home. They are situated perfectly for Northern Lights viewing north of Fairbanks under the sunrise oval and among a scenery of trappy forest.

In addition, they share their interesting perspective on Alaska since they both came from Germany recently and decided to make this their new home. They fell in love with the Alaskan wilderness and have embraced it as their new home.

We all became fast friends and plane came when out to meet them for an afternoon of snowshoeing surpassing we departed! Their hospitality was phenomenal not to mention their darn cute dogs you will fall in love with. Sunrise Withstand is by far my favorite place to wait and watch for Northern Lights. It is moreover where I take my Ottsworld Tour Group!

More information: Watch the sunrise or learn how to photograph it at Aurora Bear. Read reviews of Sunrise Withstand on TripAdvisor.

25. Visit Denali and ride the Winter Sunrise Train – Day Trip

Alaska Train trips winter

Most people think that Denali National Park is only unshut in the summer, but it’s unquestionably unshut year-round! Winter is a unconfined time to visit Denali National Park as the crowds have all left, and you’ll find that you have the place to yourself! Stop in at the visitor part-way and ask to ‘borrow’ some snow shoes and poles, and you’ll be worldly-wise to take on some of the winter trails.

Denali is well-nigh a 2-hour momentum south of Fairbanks, but if you want a real unique venture take the Denali in a Day Alaska winter train trip where you are driven lanugo to Denali (with a few scenic stops withal the way), snowshoe in the national park there, and then hop on the northbound Sunrise Winter Train and slowly come when to Fairbanks via the Alaska Railroad!

This day tour allows you to visit Denali National Park, and ride the winter train all using Fairbanks as your hub! Read well-nigh my winter train wits here.

More information: Denali in a Day on the AKRR Website

All aboard the Alaska Railroad: See the last frontier by train

26. Snowshoeing Nature Walks

Lots of places in Fairbanks offer snowshoeing tours in the winter. But if you really want to get out and fathom the outdoors, learn well-nigh the winter flora and fauna, and the ecosystem of life among all the snow – then you want to trammels out Leaf Out Tours.

This is a local small operator that I use on my Ottsworld Alaska winter tours. I love to support small businesses when I travel, so when I met Shannon from Leaf Out a nature guide running her own little guiding merchantry I was pretty excited. She took me out virtually her motel to go snowshoeing in the woods. She’s a naturalist and the snowshoe hike was increasingly like an interactive classroom – I learned SO MUCH. I played “Guess that Skat”, learned well-nigh reading unprepossessing tracks in the snow and understanding which way they were walking, and learned that squirrels are messy eaters!

If you are traveling independently virtually Fairbanks – be sure to squint up Leaf Out and meet Shannon for a hike or snowshoe – she’s a wealth of knowledge and one of those superstitious bad-ass Alaska women.

More Information: Leaf Out Nature Guides

27. Visit the Fairbanks Curling Club

We’ve all seen it during the Winter Olympics – the strange and foreign sport of curling. I am unchangingly intrigued by things that are specific to a region – and the sport of curling is definitely specific to the far north. The Fairbanks Curling Club is proud to be the oldest organized sports group in Alaska. If you visit Fairbanks in the winter and wonder, “What do the locals do during these long, unprepossessed winters”, just throne to the curling club and you’ll get your answer.

Fairbanks Curling Center

There is league play practically every night in the winter – so why not throne to the Fairbanks Curling Club, sit up in the viewing area, grab a beer (yes – there is unchangingly a bar), and watch the locals play in this fascinating sport! Plus – there will be plenty of other local spectators there to wordplay your many questions well-nigh the sport.

In addition, there are some opportunities to get hands-on and learn how to flourish yourself! I have this as an worriedness in my Ottsworld Alaska winter tour and it’s unchangingly a highlight. Or you can unchangingly go to the Fairbanks Curling Club website and ask well-nigh beginner courses!

More Information: Fairbanks Curling Club

28. Fairbanks Ice Carving

Fairbanks is home to the World Ice Scarification Championship. Each February the weightier ice sculptors in the world compete. So of course, if you are visiting during the championship – you should definitely throne to the Ice Park and trammels it out and see the artists in action.

Fairbanks Ice Sculpture Park

Even without the competition is over – the ice sculptures remain on walkout and you can walk through and view them for the remainder of the winter…or until they melt! It does require a ticket to get in – but it’s worth it to see these unique works of art. It’s particularly trappy at night when the sculptures are lit up and seem to glow.

Fairbanks Ice Museum

In addition, you can learn increasingly well-nigh Alaska ice scarification at the Fairbanks Ice Museum. This museum is unshut year-round and will take you through the history of scarification and the competitions. In wing – in the summer they offer classes so you can learn how to whittle your own ice art!

More Information: Fairbanks Ice Museum | Ice Alaska – Ice Scarification Championship and Ice Park

29. Snow Machining

While in Fairbanks, make sure you try to travel virtually the Alaska wilderness like a local – on a snow machine! We undeniability them snowmobiles in the lower 48, but if you want to fit in while traveling in Alaska – you largest undeniability it a snow machine!

There are a number of places where you can typesetting a tour – from a few hours to a snowmobile multi-day tour. If you want to just get your feet wet and see what it’s like, then trammels out Rod’s Alaskan Guide Service. They offer a number of variegated tours and you can combine them with things like ice fishing or dog sledding.

Fairbanks Alaska Winter Chena hot springs

I did a half-day tour with them and I was really impressed with the quality of their equipment and the level of instruction. They will provide all of the warm winter gear you need including boots and gloves. The snowmobiles are moreover in really unconfined condition. I moreover loved that they gave you time on your own to just zip virtually the lake and take a squint by yourself without having to unchangingly follow the group!

More Information: Rod’s Alaskan Guide Service Snowmobiling Tours

Now you are all set to wits winter and summer vita in and outside of Fairbanks!

Where to stay in Fairbanks

Springhill Suites

This is a really nice hotel located in Downtown. It’s a perfect location to be worldly-wise to walk to all of those unconfined ethnic restaurants, and bars, get gifts, and the Ice Museum. Plus, it’s tropical to the river and you can do a number of nice walks virtually the river.

Fairbanks Springhill Suites

Check prices and availability for the Springhill Suites Downtown | Read reviews for the Springhill Suites on TripAdvisor | Search for other hotels in Fairbanks

Pike’s Waterfront Lodge

Located on the banks of the Chena River – this big lodge is a unconfined location for the airport and the train station. It has a lovely restaurant associated with it and in the winter they plane have some special sunrise viewing areas set up where you can alimony warm while waiting. There’s unchangingly a lot of hustle and precipitance at this lodge!

pikes waterfront lodge fairbanks

Check prices and availability for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge | Read reviews for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge on TripAdvisor | Search for other hotels in Fairbanks

Bear Lodge at Wedgewood

This is moreover a pretty big hotel often used by trip companies in the summer. The hotel is nice and it’s located by many things on this list – like Creamers Field, Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary and Trails, and the Antique Automotive Museum.

Check prices and availability for Bear Lodge at Wedgewood | Read reviews for Bear Lodge at Wedgewood on TripAdvisor | Search for other hotels in Fairbanks

Lodging outside of Fairbanks

If you want to get really off the tamed path, then go spend a night outside of Fairbanks at the Lodge at Black Rapids.

Lodge at Black Rapids – a Modern-Day Roadhouse

A 2 hour momentum south of Fairbanks you’ll go deep into the Alaskan wilderness and history at the Lodge at Black Rapids. This impressive lodge made of slate and timber was made by hand by owners Annie and Mike Hopper.

Alaska winter Black Rapids
Visiting an ice grotto near Lodge at Black Rapids

It took them 10 years to build it! Now it sits perfectly perched on a hill overlooking the Black Rapids Glacier situated on Richardson Highway, what used to be the old main highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks. However, now since the new Parks Highway has been built, this route through the Eastern Alaska Range has wilt the road less traveled and is seldom seen by tourists.

Discover all the things to do in Anchorage in Summer or Winter

In addition, this route was moreover home to historic roadhouses that were built to serve travelers when in 1904 traveling the Valdez-Fairbanks trail. In fact, Annie has a ‘labor of love’ project currently restoring the old Black Rapids roadhouse that sits just unelevated the new lodge.

Black Rapids Lodge is sort of like a modern-day roadhouse; a place to stop, get a warm meal, a well-appointed bed, and local hospitality. But unlike traditional roadhouses, you’ll want to stay a while considering Annie and Michael have an incredible list of outdoor winter vita for you to sample.

One of the weightier activities they offer is a snowshoeing adventure to a nearby ice cave. Black Rapids supplied all of the gear and are happy to lend uneaten warm weather gear if you need it. You can do these hikes or skiing independently or rent a local guide via Black Rapids.

The rugged luxury lodge is just how you want to spend your winter in Alaska; enjoying the outdoors and then having a warm, well-appointed place to come ‘home’ to with a little pampering. It’s a place where you will finger immediately at home.

Stay at The Lodge at Black Rapids for a weekend and have multiple adventures! Read reviews for The Lodge at Black Rapids on TripAdvisor

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