11 Best Things to Do in Fairbanks: Our Guide to the Golden Heart City
Are you headed to Fairbanks, aka “The Golden Heart City?” There’s a big place in my heart for our neighbors to the north. Try one or all of these amazing things to do right in Fairbanks.
Best Activities, Attractions & Tours in Fairbanks
Fully experience and appreciate the most memorable spots Fairbanks offers on your next adventure.
1. Visit the Morris Thompson Visitor Center
My selfie (above) standing over the Chena River is close to the Morris Thompson Visitor Center. Stop by and check out “what’s on” in Fairbanks and take a stroll through the beautiful 4-season exhibit of life in the north.
Located at 101 Dunkel Street, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 (907) 459-3700
2. Enjoy a Cup of the Best Coffee in Fairbanks
BEST COFFEE: Waking up is hard to do. Not really, but I loved that song by Neil Sadaka. HA. McCafferty’s at 408 Cushman Street has the best coffee. Don’t miss it. I always buy a pound of their coffee to take home with me!
Located at 408 N Cushman St, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 (907) 456-6853
3. Wildlife Viewing at Creamer’s Field and Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary
EXPLORE OPEN SPACES: You don’t have to go far to see wild things in Fairbanks. Start at Creamer’s Field off College Road for epic bird watching. Watch for the migrating sandhill cranes, swans, geese—and more. You can literally pull off of College Rd. into the parking lot and see all of the birds. It’s fantastic.
Located at 1300 College Rd, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709 (907) 459-7307
Adjacent to Creamer’s Field is Wander Lake in the Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary. Walking around the lake after dinner is a wonderful way to seal the day!
4. Stay at the Bear Lodge and Save with Alaska Resident discounts
We stayed next door to the refuge at Bear Lodge. It’s part of the Wedgewood Resort complex. For the best deal, ask for the Alaska Resident discount!
Located at 325 Wedgewood Dr, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 (907) 452-1442
5. University of Alaska Museum of the North – A Must See
DISCOVER: The University of Alaska’s Museum of the North is a must-see when you visit Fairbanks. You cannot miss the skeleton of a giant bowhead Whale when you enter. In addition to the “Alaska Gallery”, there are modern works of art by local artists and the famous “Place Where I go to Listen.” Go there…and see all of earth’s natural forces put to music. By John Luther Adams. Fabulous!
Located at 1962 Yukon Drive, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775 (907) 474-7505
6. Vist a Truly Unique Antique Auto Museum
The Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum is another must-see item for visitors. Seven Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum cars cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The museum concentrates on pre-WWII-era cars with an Alaska connection. Special shout-out for displaying period fashions alongside the cars!
Located at 212 Wedgewood Drive, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 (907) 450-2100
7. Take a Memorable Riverboat Discovery Tour
RIVERBOAT DISCOVERY: Have you taken the cruise on the Chena River? The Binkley family has been cruising Alaska’s rivers for over 100 years. On the fun cruise, you’ll see a Bush Plane demonstration, visit the home of four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher and get off to visit the “Chena Village Living Museum.”
Located at 1975 Discovery Drive, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709 1 (866) 479-6673
8. Best Places to See the Northern Lights in Fairbanks
LOOK UP—it’s the AURORA BOREALIS. Fairbanks is “Northern Lights Central” during the winter. Already, there are reports of northern lights in the autumn skies. There are lots of ways to see the lights, including just standing around downtown. But you have better luck when you go with a guide.
I met Aaron Lojewski of Fairbanks Aurora Tours when I was on a tour bus he was driving. Aaron does a great job tracking down the lights.
Located in Fairbanks, Alaska (907) 978-1766
We’ve visited Coldfoot several times during the winter to see the aurora borealis. Take the “Arctic Circle Fly/Drive” with Northern Alaska Tour Company. Co-owner Brett Carlson says, “Coldfoot is where the northern lights are born.” I’ve never been disappointed—and the Coldfoot Cafe has great food! The northern lights viewing is nearby in Wiseman, Alaska. The on-site expert, Jack Reakoff, is a real citizen scientist, by the way. He knows all about the lights—in addition to setting your camera up so you can snap photos!
Located at 3820 University Ave S, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709 (907) 474-8600
9. Take a Dog Mushing Tour near Fairbanks – Bucket List Worthy
MUSH YOU HUSKIES. Fairbanks has gone to the dogs, literally. Get an up-close look at the world of dog-mushing at the Last Frontier Mushing Co-op. Then, go for a ride in a sled! Amanda Brooks and her crew have a nice set-up about 30 miles outside Fairbanks on Chena Hot Springs Rd.
Located at 265 Gettinger Rd. Fairbanks, AK 99712 907-388-7666
10. Grab a Cold Beer & Some Serious Eats at the Hoodoo Brewing Company
ENJOY. I’m partial to one particular brew pub in Fairbanks: Hoodoo Brewing Company. Brewmeister Bobby Wilken takes his beer seriously. you’ll love it. Extra bonus: there’s a different food truck every day! Earlier this week, I opted for a delicious “Margarita Pizza” from Hungry Robot. My favorite beer? That would be the IPA!!
located at 1951 Fox Ave, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 (907) 459-BEER
11. Dine in Style at Lavelle’s Bistro
My favorite dinner place in Fairbanks is Lavelle’s Bistro, in the lobby of the Spring Hill Suites downtown. They have a great wine list—and an excellent bar menu if the dining room is full (that’s usually the case). This is the place to come for King Crab legs, rack of lamb, Lollipop Pork Chop, or several other fabulous dishes.
Located at 575 First Ave. Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 (907)-450-0555
Getting there—getting around. I flew Alaska Airlines without issue. Once on the ground, I picked up a car from Avis…located right by baggage claim. They gave me a snappy, stylish Toyota Corolla (above).
As you can see, there’s plenty going on in Fairbanks. It’s why they call it the Golden Heart City!
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