Things to Do
Watch the Northern Lights: The northern cities of Alaska are some of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. 1st Tours Alaska and Chandalar Ranch provide immersive, reasonably-priced services.
Dog Sledding: Who wouldn't want to spend a day with dogs and get a beautiful view of Alaska while you're at it?
Chena Hot Springs: Enjoy dinner and a soak in the revitalizing hot springs and surrounding pools. Many tours also include the Ice Museum, which is very cool. One note, the 15 dollar 'Appletini' is just Apple Pucker and McCormick's Vodka! Walk up to the observatory later on to view the Northern Lights.
Pan for Gold: Get your prospecting on! Maybe you'll get lucky and stumble upon a nugget.
Visit Museums: Fairbanks has a wide variety to peruse. From antique cars to art, there's an exhibit around for anyone.
Day Trip to Denali: An absolutely stunning National Park that shouldn't be missed.
Snowmobiling: Go in the spring or fall for slightly warmer temperatures!
Chena River: Beautiful no matter the season and offers trails to walk alongside. Don't miss the Antler Arch!
Morris Thompson Center: Free and provides a generous amount of history about The Last Frontier.
Live music: In the summer, Fairbanks hosts terrific live music and festivals.
Visit the North Pole: Just outside of Fairbanks, you'll find year-round Christmas decorations and joy.
Fishing: If you're visiting in the summer! Or, if you're feeling bold, try some ice-fishing when it freezes over.
Alaska Pipeline: Most tours take a quick stop here, and it's well worth it to see the size and hear some expansion-history.
Places to Eat
The Crepery: Sweet or savory, you can't go wrong. The Chai Tea Latte was out of this world.
Fudge Pot: Melt in your mouth fudge and filling sandwiches.
Frostbite: Food truck converted to restaurant with street tacos!
The Diner: If you want to try reindeer sausage, this is your spot.
The Cookie Jar: Drool over a stuffed cinnamon roll for breakfast.
Noodle House: Thai is very popular in Fairbanks! One of many.
Places to Drink
Brewster's: No shortage of TVs and beer. This is your typical sports bar, with above-par fresh beef burgers.
Lavelle's: Locals love Lavelle's! They've got quality food and tons of wine to choose from.
McCafferty's: Cute coffee house, often has live music.
Venue: Coffee shop downtown with chic decorations.
Places to Stay
9th Avenue Hostel: House converted to a hostel with bunkbed style rooms. Prime location, and the owner is extremely accommodating. Also, a plethora of pamphlets with things to do around Fairbanks.
Uber and Lyft both work in Fairbanks - but there's not many drivers. Don't be surprised if you get the same person twice!
Artic Taxi - if you get in late at night, Uber or Lyft might not be servicing. This company was fast and is 24 hours -- (907) 455-0000
Train to Denali: If you're nervous to drive in Alaska, there's a train that can take you straight to Denali.
Winter is cold. We're talking -22 cold. Be sure to dress in plenty of layers. A winter coat, hat, thermal gloves, and scarves are a must!
Spend the extra money for Northern Lights tours: Trust us when we say you don't want to be sitting in a van without heat in -20 degree weather waiting for the aurora. Spend the extra money for a viewing cabin or yurt -- they usually have coffee and snacks as well.
Photos Tips: For the Northern Lights, make sure you have multiple batteries on hand (they'll freeze), and a tripod to keep your camera steady. Make sure to focus your camera in the light sometime ahead of time (on auto is fine), then make the switch to manual while focused. Test out your settings based on movement and brightness of the aurora, but for a general guideline: shutter speed 8-20 seconds, ISO 1500-1800, and the lowest f-stop. Test out with stars ahead of time so you're not flustered when the lights come out!
My Aurora Forecast & Alerts: Trusty app to predict the lights.