things to do in fairbanks catch a dogsled tandem style

Fairbanks, Alaska: A Winter Wonderland

In Alaska Travelgram by scott

Epic Things To Do In Fairbanks in the Winter

Special Correspondent Juno Kim lists why you should visit the Golden Heart City of Fairbanks, Alaska, during the wintertime. Follow along to check off the boxes–and make your plans!

We love Fairbanks, especially in winter. It’s the gateway to the Arctic, and you can catch the winter-long northern lights display. How we travel has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic, and in some way, it has provided us more opportunities to visit in-state destinations.

We (safely) visited Fairbanks several times over the last couple of years and compiled suggested activities for your winter trip to Fairbanks.

Pack your parka and plan your next Fairbanks adventure with these things to do in Fairbanks in winter!

best winter time activities in fairbanks see the ice alaska exhibition
Visit the Ice Alaska exhibition in Fairbanks.

World Ice Art Championships

Ice Alaska might be the biggest reason to visit Fairbanks in winter. Forget the ordinary ice sculptures you see at weddings. The artistic expression, size, and scope of these ice sculptures are hard to explain without seeing them in person. Ice Alaska is usually a huge international event, but it has been downsized in the last couple of years due to the pandemic. We’re hoping to see international artists return soon.

This year’s Ice Alaska exhibition is open this week at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds.

Make sure to visit the sculptures at night! The lighting really enhances the experience. Your tickets are valid all day, so you can return in the evening if you visit during the day.

ice alaska exhibition in fairbanks alaska
Winter fun in Fairbanks. Check out the Ice Alaska Exhibition.
World Ice Art Championship in Fairbanks

Want to save money on your next trip to Fairbanks?

Sign up for our newsletter and receive travel deals right to your inbox. NEVER MISS out on a TRAVEL DEAL to Alaska again. 

Visit Fairbanks Museums & Cultural Centers

Museums are a go-to option for extra cold days, and Fairbanks has quite a few museums and cultural centers to visit. When the temperature plummets to -40, staying indoors is a good idea. Although the museums in Fairbanks are so good, I recommend visiting even on good weather days. 

Some of our favorite museums and perhaps the most unique in Fairbanks are the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum and the Museum of the North with their fantastic new whale skeleton exhibit, and the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center (free of charge).  

visit fairbanks fountainhead antique auto museum in winter
Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

Local Cafes and Eateries 

Who would’ve thought there’s a whole array of international dining choices in the far north city of Fairbanks, Alaska? Between visiting museums, running around to see ice sculptures, shopping for local goods, and hunting northern lights, I was busy tasting my way around the different restaurants and cafes in Fairbanks. One of the best bagels in the state, an award-winning tea blender, gluten-free bake goods, and some of the best Thai food in the country are all found in Fairbanks. 

enjoy a hot coffee in wintertime in fairbanks the crepery cafe
Morning coffee at The Crepery

Winter Outdoor Activities in Fairbanks

There’s no bad weather if you’re properly prepared. Don’t be afraid to head outside in Fairbanks! The temperature might be too low for you (-40 is, in fact, really cold), but you can layer and bundle up.

Because the temperatures are so low and winter is long, the landscape around Fairbanks is magical. The snow-covered downtown, hoarfrost shining like diamonds, the frozen Chena River, it’s really beautiful.

Expert opinion: Where should I go this weekend for fun? Sitka, Kennicott Mine, Snug Harbor Outpost, Hope, Alaska.

Winter Fat Biking

Fat tire biking in Fairbanks isn’t just for summer visitors. Fairbanks offers numerous winter biking trails, and the staff at Beaver Sports will help you get fit properly on a fat bike for a reasonable price. The best thing is there are miles of trails right behind their shop.

The trail provides a gorgeous ride through the woods not far from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

If you are new to winter fat biking, check out our article Winter Fat Biking in Fairbanks to learn all the details on how to have a fantastic wintertime fat bike adventure in Fairbanks. 

take a dog mushing tour in fairbanks the best winter time alaska adventure
Mush, you huskies! Dog Sledding in Winter in Fairbanks, Alaska

Dog Sledding Tours

Dog mushing in Fairbanks is an adventure you will never forget. Whether you want to experience a dog sled ride or be a spectator, Fairbanks has plenty of opportunities all winter long.

Hop on a dog sled to feel the history of Alaska. 

Mush, you huskies!

things to do in fairbanks catch a dogsled tandem style
Riding tandem in the dogsled (Photo: Stephen Bugno, the Bohemian Traveler)

Chasing The Northern Lights

Of course, the northern lights are the jewel of Fairbanks. Bundle up and head outside to catch one of the most wonderful natural phenomena. 

Weather is one of the most critical factors in northern light viewing, and Fairbanks is an excellent place to try because of potential clear skies. 

Fairbanks is located in the interior of Alaska, far away from coastal areas. It’s also north of Anchorage, and the Aurora will be visible on nights when it’s too low in Anchorage or other locations south. 

I was lucky to see the northern lights every visit to Fairbanks, and I can’t wait to return to see the dancing lights. 

best wintertime adventure in fairbanks viewing the aurora borealis
The “dancing lights” of the aurora borealis in Fairbanks.

Cozy Up In Your Hotel Room

drinking tea at my hotel in fairbanks alaska
Drinking tea at my hotel in Fairbanks

And after you complete our list of suggested activities for your winter trip to Fairbanks. Why not cozy up with a hot cup of tea in one of Fairbanks finest hotels? 

Fairbanks has excellent accommodation options, such as the Fountainhead HotelsSophie Station and Wedgewood Resort are open year-round. I love these hotels because the rooms are so big it’s like staying in an apartment. 

There are proper bedrooms, a kitchen and dining area, and a living room. I loved making hot tea after a night of northern lights hunting or watching the morning’s orange glow slowly illuminate. 

Alaska summer vacation ideas: Kenai Peninsula for an Alaska Safari

Sophie Station Hotel cozy place to stay in fairbanks
Working remotely at Sophie Station Hotel.

Fairbanks is a fantastic place to visit during winter and has many unique adventure opportunities. We hope this post inspires you to plan a visit to Fairbanks in winter!

Find The Best Travel Deals To Alaska

From Anchorage to Utqiagvik, Alaska Travelgram can help you save money on your next flight to Alaska. You have found the original Alaska discount travel website with the best deals on airfare and lodging. 

Since 1999, Alaska Travelgram has been dedicated to delivering the best travel deals. You can find last-minute travel deals and quality information about all the top vacation spots in Alaska. We love travel deals, don’t we? 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter, and visit our Travel Deals page to learn how Alaska Travelgram can help you save money on airfare, travel packages, Alaska resident travel deals, and last-minute travel deals to Alaska.

Share this Post