Fairbanks is the largest city in the interior of Alaska, and the second most populous in the state. For most tourists, it’s the handiest place from where to catch the Northern Lights during winter. But the city does have a lot more to recommend it. Founded in 1901 as a small trading post, the inrush of gold prospectors rapidly expanded the settlement. The population boomed again after the construction of the Ladd Army Airfield starting in 1939. In August 14, 1967, terrific amounts of rain flooded the city overnight, leading to the creation of the Moose Creek Dam and it’s spillway.
Tourism-wise, when visitors aren’t being enchanted by the Aurora Borealis in winter, they’re out enjoying the many excellent ski trails (some of which are open even during the summer), or checking out the winter ice carving festival. During summertime, places to visit are less typical, and more cultural. The Riverboat Discovery tour is a popular way to get to know the area both geographically and culturally. There are multiple wildlife and nature refuges, and you can arrange for day trips explorations from Fairbanks. The University of Alaska has an incredible natural science exhibit. And of course, the fishing in the Chena River is excellent.
There’s not much to do shopping-wise, or even nightlife, though there are a few decent pubs and bars in downtown Fairbanks. It’s cold after all. But the food can be surprisingly hearty and filling. Most cuisines are well represented. Naturally, before you visit, keep in mind that depending on the season, extraordinarily long days and extraordinarily long nights are the norm, and that many establishments have opening hours that fluctuate wildly throughout the year.
Essential travel information and Fairbanks tips for your visit
- Time Zone: UTC-09:00
- Currency: USD
- Electricity and Internet:
- Plug type: Type I
- North American grounded sockets.
- Voltage:110-120 Volts
- Languages: English
- 911: Standard emergency number
- +1 (907) 452-8181: Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and Denali Center
- Fairbanks Police Department: +1 (907) 450-6500
- Off-Beaten Path: Dog Musher’s Museum
- Tourist Traps: Pioneer park
- Customs: Don’t invite your fishing and/or travel guide home for dinner; they’ll just see it as extra hours spent at work
- 15% for service people.
- Fishing guides expect to be tipped USD 50 – USD 100 a day
The best tours and activities in the city, guided by experts to give you a local insight to the best of Fairbanks
Save 4%Arctic Circle and Northern Lights Tour from Fairbanks38 Reviews
Duration: 14 Hrs
Travel along one of the worlds most isolated roads from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle on this memorable 14-hour tour through...
Save 4%Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks44 Reviews
Duration: 11 Hrs
Discover the ethereal beauty of Alaskas famous celestial display, impressive ice sculptures and the states ancient healing wa...
Save 3%Northern Lights Lodge Viewing in Fairbanks10 Reviews
Duration: 5 Hrs
Enjoy incredible views of the Northern Lights from the comfort of a lodge. Watch the Aurora Borealis while staying warm insid...
Save 4%Arctic Circle Day Trip from Fairbanks with Lunch85 Reviews
Duration: 12 Hrs 30 Mins
Journey to the Arctic Circle from Fairbanks for a first-hand experience of the Earths northernmost circle of latitude in one ...