What to See and Do

Whether your trip is 1 day or all summer, there are a few fun things to do all year round to visit and check out.

Morris Thompson Cultural Center – This place has all the things, is located downtown near the river and gives a really good overview of all the things available in Fairbanks as well as a wealth of knowledge (way more than I put on this page). It’s free to get in and poke around.

Museum of the North – There is an admission cost of $16 dollars per person to get in but not only do you get to check out some serious Fairbanks history but even more Alaskan Native history. There are taxidermy animals including a huge bear, whale bones and various other creatures native to Alaska.

Pioneer Park – This is free to go into and walk around. Located off Airport way, Pioneer Park is a hub of activities all by itself in the summer and acting as a venue in the winter. The old cabins from the pioneer days of the 1900s have been moved to this central location (although you can still find some in old downtown Fairbanks) and people even still use the old church from the Gold rush town to get married in today!

Running Reindeer Ranch – I know the woman who runs this ranch and she is wonderfully dedicated to her reindeers. You can go walk and check them out, they have tours and other things to do at this ranch.

Fairbanks Ice Museum – Just fun to check out if you are from a warmer place. The Ice Museum inspires with creations of ice. Located in downtown Fairbanks by a little place called the Fudge pot (which I’d recommend checking out if you are in the area)

Chena Hot Springs – I would highly recommend checking this place out if only for the hot springs. The hot springs is natural but they created a huge pool outside to go into. In the winter, your hair will freeze but you will stay perfectly warm. Its a really fun experience. The food is a tad expensive but Id eat the burgers or the salmon pasta. The ice bar also offers fun drinks served in ice glasses for your fun and enjoyment. This place offers rides, tours and is far enough outside of town to catch the northern lights (which they have tours for). You can stay in one of their hotel rooms or rent a cabin there. There is no cell service here.

Other things to do:

River Rafting (In the summer)
A river runs right through our town and contrary to popular belief, it can get to 90 degrees in the summer. For this reason, you end up seeing a lot of people floating, kayaking, and boating down the river. You can rent Kayaks at Pioneer Park and put in at the river there, float until Pikes waterfront lodge and eat lunch at the lodge before heading back to your kayak rental.

Dog Sled Tours (In the winter)
This is mostly enjoyed in the winter and is a historically relevant sport common to Alaska. There are a lot of people who have their own dogs to make up their own sled team and if you know anyone who knows anyone, I would ask them for a free trip. If you don’t know anyone and would like to enjoy this experience, I have included three companies below that provide dog sledding tours!

Check out the Pipeline

The pipeline was built in the 1970’s to bring oil from the top of Alaska to the bottom. It stretched across the entire Alaskan state and you will catch glimpses of it randomly throughout your journey.  In Fairbanks, we have a viewing area to see the pipeline and read about its creation.  Its bigger than you’d think and you can walk around it or under it. In fact there are some people who make walking the pipeline a journey through the summer.

Gold Panning

If you are here in the summer, there will be many places for you to mine gold for yourself.  These tours require a fee but you’ll get some serious gold rush history including how to pan for gold and then an opportunity to do so and even get your own gold! Some places in Fairbanks that offers this tour are:

Gold Daughters – http://golddaughters.com/ – this company is RIGHT across from the pipeline viewing area so you could pan for gold, go check out the pipeline and since you’re so close to the town of fox, you can stop at one of their nice restaurants to eat for lunch.

Gold Dredge 8 – I haven’t personally taken this tour but it seems like a really fun time with the train ride.  It’s a 2 hour long tour so you can stop anytime and do this.

Northern Lights Chasing

I have lived here most all my life and still get excited and stop what I am doing to see the lights.  I am not sure if it’s a true “legend” but I have always been told that you should whistle to them and they will respond by “dancing.”  Despite logically knowing this to be untrue, I still whistle and think of past ancestors when I see the lights.  Being a resident here, I am very very well aware that you can go pay someone to see the lights but I know my own places to see them for free.  I personally feel like it doesn’t make a difference but each person traveling is their own person and for that reason I will include some places around town you can see them for free in your car as well as some of the hot spot tours in town.

To see them for free:

Drive down Chena Hot Springs Road and find a pull off – Anywhere past 3 miles if they are out you will see them. 

Murphy Dome

Ester Dome

Anywhere in Fox, Alaska (10 miles North outside Fairbanks)

Halgelbarger Ave – This road is at the top of a hill on the way out to Fox, Alaska and has a nice pull out to park at and see the lights of the city as well as the Northern Lights. This isn’t my favorite spot but it is the easiest to get to from town if you are nervous to go out in the dark. You can find this

To pay for a Tour:

If you like someone else to do all the things for you and make it a cushy experience, I have included some places that offer Northern lights Services for a fee.

The Borealis Basecamp – https://borealisbasecamp.net/ – This place is 40 miles north of Fairbanks.  They offer super cool “Igloos” for you to stay in and see the Northern Lights from your ceiling. They offer a lot of other snow tours while you are there as well.  Situated in a secluded area you will get a real Alaskan Experience and probably the warmest view of the borealis.  It’s a little spendy but if you need cozy and warm I would recommend you check them out.  They have also just recently opened a new super fancy restaurant, Latitude 65 that has been getting rave reviews all around town.  I personally haven’t check this place out yet but from what I have heard, its worth going.

Chena Hot Springs – You can stay out here for your entire stay as they have cabins, hotels and even camping sites in the summer. They are located at the very end of Chena Hot Springs Rd and is probably regarded as the place to go to see them.  We get a lot of tourists that go to the hot springs to hang out in the springs and see the lights. They have many other tours available at their resort as well. I personally only go out there to play in the hot springs because it’s so nice on my body but I never go on a weekend because it gets really busy and not very relaxing with all the people.

Other Aurora Borealis Tours:

I found these online around but I have not joined any of them.  If you do, leave a comment and let me know!







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