Visiting Fairbanks

3 Days Itineraries in Fairbanks

Day 1: Visit Down Town and University
Day1-Tour 1: Take a leisurely walking tour of downtown Fairbanks:
Exploring downtown won’t take more than an hour or two, but there are a few interesting spots in addition to the ice museum and community museums. Start with the exhibits at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center at 101 Dunkel St. The visitor’s bureau there lends audio players with spoken tours for the other sights. In a stretch of about 3 miles, the historic downtown Fairbanks walking tour offers 41 points of interest in and around the downtown area. The visitor’s center also has maps of the walking tour.During the course of about two hours, the walking tour takes visitors to 41 locations, including:
Immaculate Conception Church (115 N Cushman St), the first Catholic church of Fairbanks, founded in 1904 by the Rev. Francis Monroe. The church previously sat directly across the Chena River but was moved twice with the help of volunteers who raised the church from its foundation and rolled it across the frozen river on a horse-drawn sledge.
Doyon Native corporation offices (1 Doyon Pl Suite 300) to see Native cultural displays from all over Alaska, the traditional Athabascan tool collection, and the colorful modern art hanging from the walls and ceiling.
Crossing back on the Cushman Street Bridge, at 550 1st Ave, you’ll see on the left a large log cabin with a sod roof, the headquarters of the Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race.
A plaque at the northeast corner of 1st Avenue and Noble Street marks the original site of Judge James Wickersham’s frame home (the actual house can be seen at Pioneer Park). Wickersham was instrumental in the success of Fairbanks and the one who suggested “Fairbanks” as the name for the new settlement on the Chena River
The Lacey Street Theater showed movies for 40 years starting in 1936. It now houses the Alaska Ice Museum (500 2nd, Ave.)
Co-op Plaza (535 2nd Ave) was once the Empress Theatre. Empress Theater provided several firsts for Fairbanks. Its construction in 1927 caused a furor because it was the town’s first structure to be built of reinforced concrete, and people believed that concrete would crumble in the cold Fairbanks winter. The theater could seat 670 people and opened to a packed house of 1,300 people on August 25, 1927. In 1961, the movie theater closed, and the building was remodeled for use as the Co-op Drug Store; today, it houses a diner, coffee shop and unique gift stores.
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church(1030 2nd Ave ) is an old log church with a working rope-pull bell. It was founded by missionary and dog-sled explorer Hudson Stuck in 1904, who organized the first successful climb of Mount McKinley. The original church burned; the present structure dates from 1948.
Courthouse Square (250 Cushman Street ) is the site of the first courthouse and federal jail, built in 1904. The current building, built in 1932, served as the town’s central gathering area by housing a post office and a federal court.
The Masonic Temple (809 1st Avenue) built in 1906, was once a host to President Warren G. Harding, who spoke from the building’s front steps in 1923.
Mary Lee Davis house (410 Cowles Street). Miner Arthur Williams built this house in 1916 for his fashionable wife to keep her from moving to Seattle. In 1923, the miner’s widow sold the house to Mary Lee Davis, author of We are Alaskans. The home now is a historic landmark.
Fairbanks’ oldest frame house, built in 1905 by the founder of the Tanana Valley Railroad, is known as the Falcon Joslin Home. The house still sits in its original location at the corner of Cowles Street and Fifth Avenue (413 Cowles St.)
Clay Street Cemetery hosts more than 2,000 Fairbanks residents buried between 1903 and 1978. Mary Pedro, wife of Italian immigrant prospector and Fairbanks founder Felix Pedro, is buried here. Pedro was the first to discover gold in Fairbanks.
Day1-Tour 2: Explore the attractions at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Fairbanks is home to an array of worthwhile attractions, especially for those interested in learning about nature and culture. First there is the Georgeson Botanical Garden. North America’s northernmost botanical garden, the attraction focuses on researching and showcasing high-latitude flora. Walking around the Georgeson Botanical Garden you’ll be immersed in a world of colorful flowers, aromatic herbs, fresh vegetables and sweet fruits, all separated into specific themed gardens like the Dye Garden, Family Food Garden and Dorothy Truran Memorial Herb Garden. There are also peaceful ponds for quiet reflection.
Also make sure to visit the University of Alaska Museum of the North, where you can peruse 1.4 million artifacts and specimens relating to Alaska’s natural, artistic and cultural heritage. Some items you’ll find include ivory carvings, Native tools, a 36,000-year-old mummified steppe bison and beadwork handicrafts from the mid-1800s. There are also educational films to help give you a narrated visual.
Near to the campus you can visit the Large Animal Research Station to learn about animals the live in the high-latitude north. Originally started in 1979 in an attempt to repopulate Alaska with muskoxen, the attraction now also has reindeer and caribou. It’s a great place to see local wildlife up-close in a peaceful setting and learn about these beautiful creatures.

Day 2: Pioneer Park & Local Attractions
Day2-Tour 1. Get to know Alaska’s rich history at Pioneer Park and visit a couple of interesting place in town.
Opened in 1967 as part of the Alaska 67 Centennial Exposition, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Alaska Purchase, Pioneer Park is Alaska’s only historical theme park. Within the park’s 44 acres (109 hectares) you’ll find an array of attractions, restaurants, museums, shops and art spaces.
Learn about Eskimos and Indigenous cultures at the Alaska Native Museum; view aircrafts and aviation memorabilia at the Pioneer Air Museum; enjoy fresh local salmon at Salmon Bake; or take in a live performance about Fairbanks at the Palace Theatre. There are more than 30 attractions in all, so you can easily spend all day roaming around here.
Day2-Tour 2. Visit a couple of interesting places.
Fairbanks Antique Car Museums 212 Wedgewood Drive Winter Hours – Sundays – Noon to 6pm
Bouchard’s International Dog Mushing and Sled Museum( 519 1st Ave). The most comprehensive dog mushing exhibit in the world. The museum features a 15-panel exhibit of photo essay materials entitled “The Driving Spirit: A Salute to Our Sled Dog Tradition.” It exhibits sleds used in the major races; Siberian skin clothing, and state-of-the-art cold weather expedition gear; several harnesses showing the progression of style; trophies and other miscellaneous mushing memorabilia. Theater features mushing videos. Museum shop carries items relating to dog mushing.
The Knotty Shop – Mile 332 Richardson Hwy – Salcha – AK – Phone: (907) 488-3014.
Very interesting shop, from the various taxidermed animals to the various unique and not so unique trinkets, and gift items. There are sculptures of local wildlife made of their signature knotted wood in the lawn and a shop full of Alaskan goods. The highlight for most all, however, is the ice cream. There were 12 flavors on the menu, from the standard strawberry and vanilla to butterfinger and java mash-up. If you love ice cream the Knotty Shop is worth the drive.
Soak in Chena Hot Springs Resort’s legendary healing mineral waters. Take a tour learning about the multi-faceted renewable energy projects which builds up towards full self-sustainability of the resort. Daily pool/outdoor natural hot springs rock lake hours are from 7:00 AM to midnight. Chena Hot Springs Resort is home to the world’s largest year-round ice museum in the world, the Aurora Ice Museum!

Day 3: Immerse yourself in the Alaskan outdoors
No trip to Alaska would be complete without exploring the beauty of its wilderness. Luckily, there are many opportunities to do this when in Fairbanks. One popular stop is the Chena River Recreation Area and Chena Hot Springs, which encompasses 254,080 acres (102,823 hectares) of beautiful scenery and outdoor recreation. Hiking trails abound, as do opportunities for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, ATVing, camping, climbing, photographing wildlife, skiing, snowmobiling and, of course, relaxing in the park’s steaming namesake hot springs.
Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge is another place that’s great for enjoying the outdoors in Fairbanks. Located at the site of the historic Creamer’s Dairy, this 2,000-acre (809-hectare) refuge is full of field, forest and wetland hiking trails as well as opportunities to see migratory birds like ducks, geese, swans, sandhill cranes, Canada geese, pintails and golden plovers. You might even see some larger wildlife like moose.
Fairbanks is also a great home base for taking a day tour to the Arctic Circle, the Earth’s northernmost circle of latitude. Here you can enjoy raw natural beauty as well as experience authentic Eskimo culture. Interestingly, depending on when you visit you’ll experience 24 hours of day or night.

Click each button below to find other information:

Attractions Ski Info Aurora Info Dog Sledding Eat & Drink

Events & Activities Adventures & Tours Drive around Fairbanks

 

One day with a car in Fairbanks…

During Winter:
You can drive out toward or to Chena Hot Springs – very peaceful and scenic road, some hiking trails start at various places on that road. I don’t recall but I think it is about a 50-mile drive to the end of the road where the Hot Springs resort is.
There is a pipeline exhibit near where you can view the pipeline on the Steese Highway north of Fairbanks and just a couple miles north of the Chena Hot Springs Road exit.
Creamers Field is a good stop to see if there are any birds around. They have guided nature walks once or twice a day (free).
The Large Animal Research Station could be a stop to see Musk Oxen.
The UA Fairbanks Museum is not too far from the research station and is excellent. Not so much wildlife and beauty but they have excellent displays with many stuffed animals, exhibits and films.
Before anything, stopping at the Alaska Lands Office in visitor’s center and checking out the literature and information they have there.
During Summer
A nice way to cover many of the interesting points is to start at the University museum and then heading out a mile or so (north) to the Big Animal research center to see musk oxen and caribou; then continue north to Goldstream Road and head east toward Fox. They took many millions of dollars in gold from this small valley, and Gold Dredge #8 is there as a reminder. It is currently closed for repairs, but you can head out toward Chatinika Gold Camp for lunch and a chance to explore the abandoned gold dredge across the road. Gold panning around the Pedro Monument used to be a favorite recreational activity, so you may be able to stop there and chat with some panniers. Then heading back to Fairbanks along the new Steese Highway you will have a pretty complete pipeline display on the east side of the road. From there you can walk a few hundred feet north and look across the road to see how much of the permafrost ice lens is exposed in the eroding bluff. Look for ‘black ice’ in the brown dirt on the bluff.
Then consider all or part of the 60-mile scenic drive to Chena Hot Springs. There are many pull outs, river access points and hiking trail heads if you wish to stretch your legs. There is also a fair chance to see bear or moose.
 

Attractions listed by locations

Downtown area:

Beyond downtown:

Near Fairbanks: