Fairbanks, the only real town in inside Alaska, sits at the crossroads for adventurers heading to all kinds of destinations—it’s a straight shot north to the Arctic, east to Canada, and south to Denali National Park and Maintain. But the town is way additional than just a staging point, and if you’re thinking of an Alaskan adventure, it is truly worth spending a long weekend right here. Even though it is an intriguing put yr-spherical, the winter is a especially unique time in Fairbanks: It’s the finest season to witness one of nature’s good wonders, the aurora borealis or northern lights, unfurl streamers of gentle over the town.
Fairbanks sits specifically below the Auroral Oval, a band that hugs the northernmost aspect of the world and denotes where by auroral activity is most most likely to get put. From September to April, it is an ideal area for observing the northern lights. According to the regional tourism board, the gentle screen is obvious an common of 240 evenings for each yr in Fairbanks.
Even though evenings are in truth long in Fairbanks during the winter months (on the shortest working day of the yr, there are just three several hours and forty one minutes of daylight), auroral activity is normally finest noticed following midnight. So what are you going to do with the rest of your working day? We have received a couple of tips.
In which to Continue to be
Borealis Basecamp: Without having a doubt, one of the coolest spots to stay around Fairbanks is Borealis Basecamp, where by fifteen very clear-roofed igloos have been tailor made-created and positioned to increase your prospects of catching stellar views of the northern lights. All through the working day, staff members guide company on quintessential Alaska adventures like pet dog sledding, snowmachining (snowmobiling to Reduced 48ers), snowshoeing, and additional.
Chena Sizzling Springs Resort: A different preferred choice is the Chena Sizzling Springs Resort. It’s a little over an hour’s generate from downtown Fairbanks and remote more than enough that you will not have to get worried about gentle pollution interfering with your look at of the aurora. It’s also a beloved place for locals, who make the vacation right here to watch the northern lights whilst soaking in the resort’s purely natural scorching springs.
Prefer to stay in city? There are loads of alternatives, including River’s Edge Resort, Pike’s Waterfront Lodge, A Style of Alaska Lodge, and Wedgewood Resort, amongst many others.
What to Do
College of Alaska Museum of the North: This is one of the finest museums in the 49th state, and it characteristics reveals on anything from Alaskan wildlife to Indigenous artwork to a mummified bison from the Ice Age (severely). You can also see the popular Into the Wild bus on screen in the building’s atrium. In 2020, the state airlifted the forties bus—where Christopher McCandless lived and mysteriously died in 1992—from its place in Denali National Park and Maintain and introduced it to Fairbanks. Museum staff members, engineers, and conservators are now doing the job to restore the bus.
Fountainhead Antique Automobile Museum: 7 of the around a hundred antique (pre-WWII) cars at Fountainhead Antique Automobile Museum never exist wherever else in the globe. All together, the assortment represents some of the rarest, most traditionally sizeable, and (at the time they have been created) most technologically superior autos ever crafted. It’s astonishing that this museum is positioned in Fairbanks, specifically when you take into account that when some of these autos have been created, streets barely existed in Alaska. All the additional motive to see it when you’re in city.
Soak in Sizzling Springs: If there is one point that will lure you into donning a swimsuit on a working day with subzero temperatures, it is the expertise that it is only a shorter walk from the locker space to a 106-degree, spring-fed soaking pool. For that motive, the Chena Sizzling Springs Resort is must-see attraction even if you’re not keeping at the lodge. Past the scorching springs, other routines consist of snowmobile excursions, ice fishing, pet dog sled excursions, and a tour of the Aurora Ice Museum, which concludes with an appletini served in an ice chalice (Reasonable warning: They are strong).
Hike with Reindeer: On Bramble, on Forest, on Rocket and Peanut! Oh, all those are not the reindeer you’re common with? Effectively, they’re just a couple of customers of the herd that lives at Operating Reindeer Ranch. Operator Jane Atkinson will tell you receiving a pet reindeer is just what comes about when you reside in Alaska and tell your child they just can’t get a pony. On most times in the winter, you can get a shorter hike with the domesticated reindeer (also known as caribou in North The us) via the boreal forest at the ranch and watch them look for for delicious lichen. The hike wraps up with scorching chocolate and cookies.
Go Pet Mushing: Very last Frontier Mushing Co-op delivers an all-inclusive a few-hour knowledge that incorporates pet dog mushing along backcountry trails, looking at the aurora dance overhead, and warming up with Alaskan treats and scorching chocolate inside a Mongolian yurt. In which else can you do all that in one working day?
Choose an Aurora Right away Tour: If you want to really dive into pet dog sledding, Arctic Pet Journey Co. combines overland pet dog sled vacation with exceptional aurora viewing. Indicator up for one of their right away excursions, and you’ll vacation by pet dog sled via the backcountry and spend the night time in a cozy mountain cabin. It’s a unique way to knowledge authentic Alaskan wilderness.
Check out the Arctic Circle: From Fairbanks it is about two hundred miles up the Dalton Freeway to the Arctic Circle, a put that the tourism board estimates considerably less than two per cent of all vacationers to Alaska get to see. Even though it is doable to generate your self, we would not suggest it—varying highway conditions make it a long, difficult vacation. Rather, e book a “flightseeing” tour with Northern Alaska Tour Organization. The 5-hour Arctic Circle Air Journey usually takes you up over the beautiful Yukon River Valley and steers via the formidable Brooks Variety just before touching down in Coldfoot, AK for a swift land tour. As soon as you’re back again in Fairbanks, you’ll get a certification attesting to your Arctic journey—essential for bragging legal rights when you return home.
In which to Consume and Consume
Fairbanks is not always known for its food stuff (it is tricky receiving refreshing substances this far north), but there are a handful of go-to spots for a very good meal.
One regional beloved is Lemongrass. Really do not enable its strip mall area fool you—this cafe slings some of the finest northern Thai food stuff in the state, if not the nation. In the mood for pizza? Verify out East Ramp Wooden-Fired Pizza. If you could not guess, it is positioned around the japanese edge of the Fairbanks airport, so you can watch bush planes get off whilst you wait around for your food stuff and beer.
Lavelle’s Bistro is a perennial beloved for an Alaskan variation of upscale eating (feel honey apple halibut and twenty five-component meatloaf). Hilltop Restaurant & Marketplace admittedly doesn’t glance like significantly (it is the very first put to seize a bite coming south on the Dalton Freeway from the Arctic), but it delivers reliable convenience-food stuff breakfast alternatives and a definitely stunning range of pie flavors.
For libations, you’re in luck: Fairbanks is home to a amazingly dynamic beer scene. Swing by Silver Gulch Brewery, the northernmost brewery in the United States, for real-to-fashion lagers and ales, HooDoo Brewing for its enormous beer yard and stellar barleywines, and Black Spruce Brewing for a daring and creative faucet checklist. Midnite Mine is also a crowd-pleaser—the basement is an previous-faculty Alaska dive bar, and upstairs is one of the latest breweries in city. And for cocktails, you just can’t go mistaken with a check out to The Library Bar & Bites, Goldie’s AK, or Ursa Significant Distilling.
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