Fairbanks is known as the Golden Heart of Alaska, with just over 100k residents. People consider this city as a gateway to discovering the real Alaska. It offers visitors small-town hospitality and a pioneer spirit that will make your vacation memorable. This city is poised as the entryway to the Arctic Circle to view the Aurora Borealis and is surrounded by expansive wilderness. It is known as the land of the midnight sun, boasting endless daylight hours in the summer. Don't forget to step down from your cruise and plan a day excursion to Fairbanks.
Known as the Golden Heart of Alaska, Fairbanks is the largest city in the state. People come to Fairbanks for many reasons, but perhaps the most popular is to see the world-famous northern lights. Alaskan visitors rarely venture beyond Juneau, Anchorage, or the beautiful Denali National Park, regardless of whether they arrive by cruise ship or airplane. However, we have a lot of love for Fairbanks, located another 100 miles beyond Denali and home to some of the most rugged terrain in the state. There are plenty of reasons to love the region, from its surprisingly diverse cuisine to its truly remote setting:
Fairbanks residents highly value locally made items. Fresh Alaskan produce, homemade jams and jellies, baked goods, art, handmade goods, and jewelry are available at Tanana Valley Farmers Market. The quirky Great Alaskan Bowl Company sells Alaskan-made kitchen bowls and Alaskan gemstones. From books on Alaskan history to stuffed animals themed to Alaska, the Alaska Geographic Bookstore has souvenirs to suit every taste.
Thousands of years ago, what is now known as Fairbanks was inhabited by Native Alaskans and Athabascan communities. A Gold Rush had begun in Fairbanks by 1903 when thousands of prospectors flocked to Alaska's interior hoping to strike gold. Following the completion of World War II and the passing of The New Deal, Fairbanks grew in size. There is no shortage of cultural centers and events celebrating Alaska's proud history in Fairbanks, which is home to 100,000 residents and has a charming downtown.
The hot springs in Alaska are some of the best in the world. In addition to offering relaxing soaks, these thermal pools may also have additional amenities. Chena Hot Springs is approximately 90 minutes from Fairbanks and is one of the most developed and easily accessible. Chena Hot Springs also provides lodging in addition to relaxing soaks.
Located in the vast interior of Alaska, Fairbanks is a unique community. With long summers and midnight sun, Fairbanks is a prime location for thrilling adventures and cultural attractions. Nearby adventures could quickly draw travelers to Fairbanks simply because of its proximity to the Arctic Circle. But doing so would be counterproductive. Fairbanks offers a variety of things to do that represent the cultural and historical background of the city.
Fairbanks is known for its Arctic Circle, an imaginary line that cuts through the city. Charter air companies operate flightseeing tours into Alaska's Arctic Region from Fairbanks that fly above the Arctic Circle. A trip to Prudhoe Bay on the Haul Road - also known as the Dalton Highway - begins in Fairbanks, which is accessible by a small plane. If you need assistance planning your trip, you can contact the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center in the city.
As a result of its location, hours of darkness in the winter, and auroral activity, Fairbanks is one of the best places in Alaska to see the northern lights. There are plenty of places in town to see the northern lights, but the best viewing happens away from the city's ambient light. Cruisers can find the best spots for viewing the northern lights on guided tours led by locals. If you would like to enhance your northern lights experience, book a multi-day package, which includes northern lights viewing excursions, meals, and overnight stays at special remote accommodations that are explicitly designed to give you a better view of the lights of the north.
You can spend the Midnight Sun Season enjoying nature hikes, watching gardens grow, floating down the Chena River, or enjoying dessert on a deck at night. The Alaska Goldpanners start their historic solstice game at 10:30 p.m. at the Alaska Goldpanners' historic solstice game. You can even run, golf, garden, and walk your dog at night. You can find one of the best summers on earth in this town with low chances of rain, a constant 70-degree average temperature, and the midnight sun that refuses to go down.
Spend three hours traveling along the Alaskan riverside aboard an authentic Alaskan Sternwheeler. You'll have a memorable trip through the wilderness surrounding Fairbanks by cruising along the Chena and Tanana rivers. Chena Indian Village is included in the tour. Visitors to the village are given insight into the Athabascan culture by native guides who show them around their homes and provide information about how they interact with the land and animals. Pay close attention to the clothing of the natives. This handcrafted garment is composed of hides and furs from the land, which are then stitched together by hand with intricate beadwork. Another riverside fishing camp will be your next stop. See how natives smoke salmon and prepare it firsthand here.
Princess Cruises and Holland American Line operate Alaska's largest dome railcar fleet, McKinley Explorer. As many as 88 passengers travel in 10 McKinley Explorer cars, which are equipped with panoramic roof dome windows and footrests, and folding tray tables. There are several intermediate stops between Anchorage and Denali National Park that allow for shorter journeys, though tours last approximately eight hours. The lower level of the train offers a restaurant and an outdoor viewing platform, while the upper level has a bar.
Visit Fairbanks between July and August for the best weather. May and June, as well as August and September, are ideal shoulder seasons. Winter and late fall are the best seasons for viewing the northern lights.