things to do in fairbanks

Top Fairbanks Attractions & Activities Await!

Fairbanks, located in the Interior region of Alaska, offers a diverse range of attractions and activities for visitors. From exploring the city’s gold rush history to experiencing the stunning Northern Lights, Fairbanks has something to offer every traveler. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, cultural sights, or unique local experiences, this article will guide you through the top things to do in Fairbanks.

Key Takeaways:

  • Fairbanks is a destination with a rich history of gold rush
  • The city is known for its natural beauty, including the Chena River
  • Fairbanks offers a diverse range of cultural experiences
  • The Northern Lights are a must-see attraction in Fairbanks
  • Experience the thrill of dog sledding in Fairbanks

Plan your ultimate Alaskan getaway to Fairbanks and discover the beauty and excitement of this remote and fascinating destination.

Explore Fairbanks’ Gold Rush History

Fairbanks owes its existence to the gold fever that descended on the Tanana Valley. One of the top attractions in Fairbanks is the authentic Gold Dredge 8, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Visitors can learn about the city’s gold rush history and even try their hand at panning for gold. Gold Dredge 8 offers guided tours where you can explore the dredge and see how gold was extracted from the riverbeds. You’ll discover the challenges and triumphs of the early pioneers who sought their fortunes in the Alaskan wilderness.

Immerse yourself in the fascinating past as you take a leisurely walk through the Bucket Line Gift Shop, which offers unique gold rush souvenirs. You can even try your luck at panning for gold in a trough specially designed to guarantee a find!

For a more hands-on experience, other local companies also provide panning opportunities. Join expert guides who will teach you the art of gold panning and make sure you strike it rich with guaranteed gold flakes.

Exploring Fairbanks’ gold rush history is an exciting way to connect with the pioneers who shaped the region. Witness firsthand the determination and resilience it took to endure the harsh conditions and pursue dreams of striking it rich.

Get a Glimpse of Fairbanks’ Gold Rush Era

“The Gold Dredge 8 offers visitors an authentic experience of Alaska’s gold rush history. It’s amazing to see the machinery that was used to extract gold from the rivers and to try panning for gold ourselves.” – Sarah, avid history enthusiast.

So, put on your adventurous spirit and experience the thrill of the gold rush as you delve into Fairbanks’ captivating past.

Gold Rush Attractions in Fairbanks

Gold Dredge 8An authentic gold dredge listed on the National Register of Historic Places, offering guided tours and hands-on gold panning experiences.
Bucket Line Gift ShopA gift shop at Gold Dredge 8 with unique gold rush souvenirs, perfect for bringing home a piece of Fairbanks’ history.
Local Gold Panning CompaniesVarious companies offer guided gold panning experiences with guaranteed gold for an immersive and rewarding adventure.

Immerse Yourself in Fairbanks’ Natural Beauty

Chena River

Fairbanks is surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty of the Chena River, offering visitors a chance to engage in outdoor activities amidst scenic landscapes. The Chena River is a prominent feature of the city and provides a tranquil setting for various recreational pursuits.

If you’re looking for a relaxing experience, the Chena Riverwalk is an ideal choice. Spanning 3.5 miles, this picturesque path meanders along the river and takes you past parks, museums, and historic districts. It’s a perfect opportunity to enjoy a leisurely stroll while admiring the stunning scenery.

For those seeking a more adventurous outing, renting canoes, kayaks, or stand-up paddleboards allows you to explore the twists and turns of the Chena River at your own pace. As you paddle along, you’ll be captivated by the charm of the river and its surrounding natural wonders.

Experience the Riverboat Discovery

Another unique way to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Chena River is by embarking on a Riverboat Discovery tour. Step aboard an authentic sternwheeler for a 3.5-hour journey, tracing the course of the Chena River. This enchanting expedition includes stops where you can learn about dog mushing, interact with bush pilots, and gain insights into Alaska Native culture.

“The Chena River offers a serene escape and a myriad of opportunities to explore Fairbanks’ natural wonders.” – Local resident

Chena River Attractions

Here is a list of attractions and activities related to the Chena River that you can experience in Fairbanks:

Chena RiverwalkA 3.5-mile scenic trail along the Chena River, passing parks, museums, and historic districts.
Riverboat DiscoveryAn authentic sternwheeler offering a 3.5-hour journey on the Chena River with cultural stops.
Canoe, Kayak, and Paddleboard RentalsOpportunities to rent watercraft and explore the Chena River at your own pace.

Immerse yourself in Fairbanks’ natural beauty and make the most of the Chena River’s attractions. Whether you prefer a leisurely riverwalk or an adventure on the water, the Chena River promises a memorable experience in the heart of Fairbanks.

Immerse Yourself in Fairbanks’ Cultural Heritage

Fairbanks Museums

Fairbanks, Alaska, is a city rich in cultural heritage. Explore the diverse influences that have shaped the city by visiting its renowned cultural attractions and museums.

Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center

Begin your cultural exploration at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center. This center serves as a gateway to learning about the vibrant Athabascan culture. Immerse yourself in the fascinating traditions and history through informative exhibits, films, and engaging cultural programming.

Pioneer Park

Make sure to visit Pioneer Park, a must-see attraction in Fairbanks. This expansive park is home to various museums that highlight the city’s gold rush history, early pioneers, and its industry and transportation. Soak up the history and gain insights into the challenges and triumphs of those who shaped the region.

UA Museum of the North

For a comprehensive exploration of Fairbanks’ cultural heritage, head to the UA Museum of the North. This renowned museum showcases a fusion of natural and cultural galleries, offering a deeper understanding of Alaska’s unique ecosystem and the diverse cultures thriving within it. Marvel at the largest public display of gold in Alaska and be captivated by the museum’s stunning exhibits and artifacts.

To truly appreciate Fairbanks’ rich cultural heritage, take the time to visit the local museums and cultural centers. Delve into the city’s past, gain an understanding of its present, and be inspired by the stories that have shaped this remarkable destination.

Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors CenterProvides information, films, and Athabascan cultural programming.
Pioneer ParkFeatures museums dedicated to gold rush history, early pioneers, industry, and transportation.
UA Museum of the NorthOffers natural and cultural galleries, including Alaska’s largest public display of gold.

Experience the Magic of the Northern Lights

Fairbanks Northern Lights

Fairbanks is renowned for its incredible Northern Lights displays, thanks to its location under the “Aurora Oval.” The best chance to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights is to stay in Fairbanks for at least three nights. Formal aurora viewing tours are available, offering information, photography tips, and optimal viewing conditions away from city lights. You can also choose to stay at a remote wilderness lodge or a clear-roofed dome for an unforgettable Northern Lights experience. Another option is to travel to remote Coldfoot, above the Arctic Circle, for truly spectacular aurora displays.

Embark on a Dog Sledding Adventure

Fairbanks dog sledding

Dog sledding is a unique and thrilling winter activity in Fairbanks. Many tour guides are active mushers who have completed races like the Iditarod or Yukon Quest. You can hop on a sled and experience the excitement of working dogs eager to hit the trails. Some companies even offer multi-day mushing and camping experiences, immersing you in the mushing lifestyle. Winter is the best time for dog sledding, with picturesque snowy trails through the black spruce forest.

Why Choose Dog Sledding in Fairbanks?CompanyOfferings
Incredible SceneryArctic Dog Adventure Co.Guided dog sledding tours through scenic landscapes
Authentic ExperiencesGold Rush Sled Dog ToursExperience dog mushing with a former Iditarod racer
Multi-Day AdventuresWhite Fang VenturesCombine dog sledding with overnight camping in the wilderness

Embarking on a dog sledding adventure allows you to connect with the Alaskan wilderness in a truly unique way. The powerful sled dogs will take you on a thrilling ride through the snowy trails, while you marvel at the breathtaking scenery. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the exhilaration of dog sledding in Fairbanks.

Venture North of the Arctic Circle

Arctic Circle Tour

Fairbanks is an ideal starting point for venturing north of the Arctic Circle. Rent an SUV and travel the Dalton Highway, known as the “haul road,” all the way north to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. This road trip offers amazing vistas, limited services, and unlimited adventure.

“Traveling along the Dalton Highway is a true Arctic adventure. The rugged landscape and remote wilderness make for an unforgettable journey.”

If you have limited time, the Northern Alaska Tour Company offers various Arctic tours, including bus tours, flights, guided hikes, and scenic floats. They provide an opportunity to explore the Arctic Circle and its surroundings without the need for a lengthy road trip. Another option is to fly to remote communities like Anaktuvak Pass or Coldfoot, where you can experience the unique culture and pristine beauty of the Arctic firsthand.

For nature enthusiasts, a visit to Gates of the Arctic National Park is a must. This vast wilderness area is located entirely above the Arctic Circle and offers breathtaking landscapes, from tundra-covered mountains to pristine rivers and lakes. It’s a place where you can truly immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of the Arctic.

So whether you prefer driving along the Dalton Highway or exploring remote Arctic communities, Fairbanks is your gateway to unforgettable Arctic adventures.

Arctic Circle Tours

Experience the wonders of the Arctic Circle with these guided tours:

  • Arctic Circle Bus Tour: This full-day tour takes you across the Arctic Circle, with stops at key landmarks like Finger Mountain and the Arctic Circle Trading Post.
  • Arctic Circle Flightseeing Tour: Take to the skies and witness the vast expanse of the Arctic Circle from above. This tour offers panoramic views of the untouched wilderness.
  • Arctic Circle Guided Hike: Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a guided hike through the Arctic Circle region. Learn about the unique flora and fauna while enjoying the stunning scenery.
  • Arctic Circle Scenic Float: Drift along a peaceful river and take in the beauty of the Arctic landscape. This tour provides a relaxed and immersive experience.
Arctic Circle Bus TourFull day– Cross the Arctic Circle
– Visit Finger Mountain
– Explore the Arctic Circle Trading Post
Arctic Circle Flightseeing Tour1-2 hours– Panoramic views of the Arctic Circle
– Fly over rugged mountains and rivers
Arctic Circle Guided HikeHalf day– Hiking through Arctic wilderness
– Learn about unique flora and fauna
– Scenic viewpoints
Arctic Circle Scenic Float2-4 hours– Relaxing float along a scenic river
– Opportunities for wildlife sightings
– Immersive Arctic experience

Discover Fairbanks’ Wildlife

Fairbanks wildlife viewing

Fairbanks is home to abundant wildlife, providing visitors with ample opportunities to observe them in their natural habitats. Whether you’re interested in mammals or birds, there are several places where you can enjoy wildlife viewing experiences.

Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary

If you prefer exploring at your own pace, the Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary is a must-visit. This outdoor area is a sanctuary for a variety of animals and birds, offering a tranquil setting for observation and photography. Keep your eyes peeled for foxes, beavers, moose, and a wide range of bird species.

Creamer’s Field

Another fantastic spot for wildlife viewing is Creamer’s Field. This former dairy farm has been transformed into a wildlife refuge and migratory bird sanctuary. You can walk along the trails, admire the picturesque landscapes, and spot a diverse array of bird species, including sandhill cranes and waterfowl.

If you’re lucky, you might even witness the spectacle of thousands of migratory birds taking flight together. Creamer’s Field is a beautiful setting that offers a peaceful escape into nature.

Fairbanks Wildlife Tours

To enhance your wildlife viewing experience, consider booking a wildlife tour. These guided excursions provide unique opportunities to get up close with wildlife and learn from knowledgeable guides.

“A wildlife tour with knowledgeable guides enhances your experience by providing insights into the animals’ behavior and natural habitats.”

In addition to viewing wildlife, some tours also offer the chance to meet and take a leisurely stroll with reindeer. This unforgettable experience allows you to interact with these gentle creatures and gain a deeper appreciation for the diverse wildlife found in Fairbanks.

Wildlife Viewing LocationsDescription
Wedgewood Wildlife SanctuaryA tranquil outdoor area home to various mammals and bird species.
Creamer’s FieldA former dairy farm transformed into a wildlife refuge and bird sanctuary.
Wildlife ToursGuided tours that offer enhanced wildlife viewing experiences and the opportunity to interact with reindeer.

Embark on a wildlife adventure in Fairbanks to witness the beauty and diversity of its natural inhabitants. Whether you choose to explore the Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary, visit Creamer’s Field, or join a wildlife tour, you’ll be treated to unforgettable encounters with Alaska’s wildlife.

Indulge in Winter Adventures

Fairbanks winter activities

When it comes to winter activities in Fairbanks, residents embrace the snowy season with enthusiasm. From thrilling snowmobiling adventures to serene cross-country skiing and exciting ice fishing, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

1. Snowmobiling

Explore the picturesque forest trails and frozen lakes of Fairbanks on a snowmobile. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you navigate through the winter wonderland, surrounded by snow-covered trees and breathtaking scenery.

“Snowmobiling in Fairbanks offers an exhilarating experience, allowing you to discover the beauty of the winter landscape at high speeds.”

2. Cross-Country Skiing

For a more peaceful and immersive winter activity, try cross-country skiing. Fairbanks offers a variety of well-groomed trails that wind through snowy forests, providing an excellent workout and an opportunity to be one with nature.

“Cross-country skiing in Fairbanks is not only a great physical activity but also a peaceful and meditative way to explore the beautiful winter woods.”

3. Ice Fishing

Experience the unique thrill of ice fishing on Fairbanks’ frozen lakes. Bundle up in warm layers and venture onto the ice to catch trout, arctic char, burbot, and more. The tranquility of the frozen lake combined with the excitement of reeling in a big fish creates an unforgettable winter adventure.

“Ice fishing in Fairbanks offers a memorable and scenic experience, where you can combine the joy of fishing with the enchantment of the winter landscape.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to engage in these exciting winter activities while visiting Fairbanks. Embrace the cold and discover the magic that awaits during the winter season.

SnowmobilingExplore Fairbanks’ scenic winter trails and frozen lakes on a snowmobile. Experience the thrill of speeding through the snowy landscape.
Cross-Country SkiingEnjoy the tranquility of Fairbanks’ winter woods while cross-country skiing. It’s a great way to exercise and appreciate the beauty of nature.
Ice FishingGrab your fishing gear and head out onto Fairbanks’ frozen lakes. Experience the excitement of catching fish while surrounded by a peaceful winter landscape.


Fairbanks, Alaska is a destination that offers a wealth of attractions and activities for every type of traveler. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or adventure seeker, Fairbanks has something special to offer.

For those interested in the city’s gold rush history, a visit to the authentic Gold Dredge 8 is a must. Experience the thrill of panning for gold and gain insights into the pioneering spirit that shaped Fairbanks.

And when night falls, be prepared to witness the magic of the Northern Lights. Fairbanks is renowned for its incredible displays of this natural phenomenon. Whether you choose to join a tour or venture to a remote location, the Northern Lights are an awe-inspiring sight you won’t want to miss.

If wildlife is your passion, Fairbanks won’t disappoint. Explore the Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary or Creamer’s Field, where you can observe a variety of mammals and birds in their natural habitats. Or embark on a unique reindeer stroll and get up close with these fascinating animals.

With its diverse range of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and wildlife viewing opportunities, Fairbanks is the ultimate Alaskan getaway. Plan your trip and immerse yourself in the beauty and excitement of this remote and fascinating destination.


What are some popular attractions in Fairbanks?

Some popular attractions in Fairbanks include Gold Dredge 8, Chena Riverwalk, Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center, and Pioneer Park.

What can I do to learn about Fairbanks’ gold rush history?

To learn about Fairbanks’ gold rush history, you can visit Gold Dredge 8, where you can try panning for gold and learn about the city’s gold rush heritage.

How can I experience the beauty of the Chena River?

You can experience the beauty of the Chena River by taking a leisurely stroll along the Chena Riverwalk or renting canoes, kayaks, or stand-up paddleboards to explore the river. You can also take a tour on the Riverboat Discovery for a unique experience.

What cultural attractions are there in Fairbanks?

Fairbanks has several cultural attractions, including the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center, Pioneer Park, Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, and UA Museum of the North.

How can I witness the Northern Lights in Fairbanks?

To witness the Northern Lights in Fairbanks, you should stay for at least three nights and consider joining a formal aurora viewing tour or staying at a remote wilderness lodge. Another option is to travel to remote Coldfoot for truly spectacular aurora displays.

Can I go dog sledding in Fairbanks?

Yes, dog sledding is a unique and thrilling winter activity in Fairbanks. There are many tour guides who are active mushers, and you can hop on a sled and experience the excitement of working dogs eager to hit the trails.

How can I venture north of the Arctic Circle from Fairbanks?

You can venture north of the Arctic Circle from Fairbanks by renting an SUV and traveling the Dalton Highway to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay. Another option is to join Arctic tours offered by Northern Alaska Tour Company or fly to remote communities like Anaktuvak Pass or Coldfoot.

Where can I view wildlife in Fairbanks?

You can view wildlife in Fairbanks at places like the Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary and Creamer’s Field. There are also wildlife tours available where you can meet and take a stroll with reindeer.

What winter activities can I enjoy in Fairbanks?

In Fairbanks, you can enjoy winter activities such as snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing on the city’s lakes.

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