Planning a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska?

There’s no better place to explore this U.S. state’s natural beauty than in Fairbanks.

But it can be hard to decide on the fun activities to try since Fairbanks is the second largest city in all of Alaska.

It is famous for dog mushing and the Northern Lights, which are often visible there. 

Fairbanks even has its own university and military base.

We’ve looked into all the attractions and uncovered the 22 most fun things to do in Fairbanks, Alaska for you to experience.

Check them out!

1. Riverboat Discovery Cruise

Set sail on a scenic Riverboat Discovery Cruise in Fairbanks!

This fun cruise will take you through the great rivers of Alaska.

Cruises are three hours in length and will take you to the area’s most beautiful sites.

You will also meet and learn from a native Alaskan family.

Throughout the course of your three hour cruise, you can expect to see a floatplane take off and watch champion sled dogs in action.

A tour of Chena Indian Village and an ancient Athabascan Indian village visit are also included.

The Riverboat Discovery Cruise is the perfect way to introduce yourself to Alaska!

Details

  • Address: 1975 Discovery Dr, Fairbanks, AK
  • Opening hours: 9:00am – 5:00 pm daily

Official Site


2. Denali Star Scenic Train Ride

For those that don’t know, visiting Denali National Park while in Alaska is a must.

This park encompasses 6 million acres of natural wildlife and is generally considered one of the most beautiful natural parks in all of the United States.

And there is no better way to travel there than the Denali Star Scenic Train Ride.

The fun ride to Denali is Alaska Railroad’s most popular train, running from Fairbanks to Anchorage and vice versa.

During the 12 hour journey, you will make multiple stops including Wasilla, Talkeetna, and of course, Denali National Park!

Please note that the Denali Star Scenic Train is a seasonal train, only operating between the months of May and September. 

Details

  • Address:1031 Alaska Railroad Depot Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99701, United States
  • Operating months: Mid-May until mid-September

Official Site


3. Alaskan Heritage & Sightseeing Tour

When in Alaska, it’s important to learn about the local culture.

This Alaska Heritage & Sightseeing Tour lets you do just that.

Immerse yourself in the region’s fascinating history and culture on this small group tour.

(Tours can even be made private if you’d prefer a more intimate experience.)

This tour includes stops at many of Fairbanks’ cultural institutions, such as the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center.

Other stops include the University of Alaska Museum of the North and the Yukon Quest Log Cabin.

At the Yukon Quest Log Cabin, you will learn all about the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race and even have the chance to explore Pioneer Park.

Tour details

  • Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Departure Times: 9:00 am or 1:00 pm
  • Inclusions: Local guide, hotel pick up and drop off

Book Tour


4. Northern Lights Photo Workshop

Many people come to Fairbanks, Alaska just to experience the Northern Lights in all their glory.

Seeing this stunning natural lights show in person is a bucket list activity for many travelers.

Luckily, Alaska is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights.

This Northern Lights Photo Workshop will not only give you an incredible view, but also learn about how to capture the magic through photography.

The workshop is 6 hours in length and there is a maximum of just 9 people per tour.

High quality cameras, lenses, and tripods will be provided.

This is an out of the world fun experience that you will cherish for a lifetime.

Workshop details

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Departure Times: 9:00 pm
  • Inclusions: Drive/guide, hotel pick up and drop off, camera rentals, coffee, hot cocoa, apple cider, or tea.

Book Workshop


5. Arctic Circle Day Trip

Did you know that you can travel all the way to the Arctic Circle?

It’s true – and Fairbanks, Alaska is the ideal starting point.

Travel up north for an unbelievable experience at the Earth’s northernmost circle of latitude.

Please note that depending on the time of year, it can be in complete darkness (winter) or complete daylight (summer).

Throughout the journey, you will drive along the Dalton Highway, passing by the Yukon River.

Keep your eyes peeled for all kinds of native Alaskan wildlife.

When you arrive, you will learn about the area’s indigenous culture, take a guided walk, snap photos, and eat a delicious warm stew.

And to ensure you stay warm along the way, you will travel in a climate-controlled van.

For those after a little extra adventure, choose the Drive & Fly tour option that ends in a small plane flight out of Coldfoot Airport.

Tour details

  • Duration: 12 hours 30 minutes
  • Departure Times: 7:00 am
  • Inclusions: Local guide, transportation, free homemade stew and snacks, hotel pick up and drop off

Book Tour Drive & Fly


6. Fort Yukon by Plane

Travel way up north to Fort Yukon.

Fort Yukon is a small city northeast of Fairbanks, home to just over 500 people.

On this fun tour, you will get to experience this small Alaskan village by plane.

You will take off from East Ramp Airport in Fairbanks.

There will be a short orientation as the small plane only fits 9 people and it’s likely you’ve never flown on a plane quite this small.

Next, you will take a 30 minute flight to Yukon.

Upon arrival, a friendly guide will meet you, where you will then depart on a bus tour of the area.

Tours stop at the Yukon River, which is famous for its natural beauty and wildlife.

Tour details

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Departure Point: 3820 University Ave S, Fairbanks, AK
  • Departure Times: 7:00 pm
  • Inclusions: Entry fees

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7. Chena Hot Springs Resort

Exploring the Chena Hot Springs Resort is a must while in Fairbanks!

Beyond your typical hotel, this resort features natural hot spring pools and the Aurora Ice Museum.

First, the pools are as relaxing as can be, filled with natural mineral water.

There is both an indoor and outdoor pool, as well as a soaking hot tub.

Meanwhile the Aurora Ice Museum attracts thousands of visitors each year with their unique hand made ice sculptures.

The temperature is a constant -7 degrees celsius inside the museum.

It was designed in 2005 and features over 1,000 tons of ice carved into beautiful artwork.

Details

  • Address: 56.5 Chena Hot Springs Rd, Fairbanks, AK

Aurora Ice Museum  Hot Springs Official Site


8. Gold Dredge 8 Experience

Strike it rich at the Gold Dredge 8 Experience in Alaska.

Travel back into time when Alaska had a booming gold mining industry.

Learn all about this period of history, including a special presentation on the Trans Alaska Pipeline.

You’ll then be treated to a fun train ride on a replica of the Tanana Valley Railroad.

During the ride, a train conductor will tell you stories about the prospectors who came to Alaska during the gold rush.

You’ll eventually arrive at Gold Dredge 8 where it’s your turn to try your hand at gold panning!

If you find gold, you can keep it and take it home as a souvenir or perhaps exchange it for real money if it’s big enough!

Details

  • Address: 1803 Old Steese Hwy N, Fairbanks, AK
  • Opening hours: 10:30 am – 4:00 pm daily

Official Site


9. Dog Sled Ride

Fairbanks is known for dog sledding, also called dog mushing.

So now is your chance to try out the famous indigenous sport for yourself!

On this 1 hour adventure that leaves from Fairbanks, you will get to have a team of dogs pulling you through the snow.

There will be an expert guide on-site to teach you all about how the sport works and its history.

Along the way, you’ll have plenty of time to pose for pictures with the pups.

Also be sure to take in the incredible natural scenery surrounding you.

The fun tour ends with a relaxing break in a warm, cozy cabin.

Tour details

  • Duration: 90-180 minutes
  • Departure Times: 12:00 pm or 2:00 pm
  • Inclusions: Driver/guide, coffee or tea, hotel pick up and drop off, entry fee

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10. Snowmobile Tour

One of the best ways to experience Fairbanks is by snowmobile!

On this action-packed tour, you will get to ride around Alaska’s natural landscape on a state of the art Ski Doo.

Tours are 1 hour in length and take place on the outskirts of the North Pole.

A guide will take you around so you know exactly where to go.

Over the course of an hour, you’ll zip through snow-covered forests and spot all kinds of animals.

It’s possible you’ll catch a view of moose, fox, snowshoe hares, grouse, and more.

Snowmobiles comfortably fit 1 or 2 people 

Tour details

  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Inclusions: Guide and all rental equipment

Book Tour


11. Ice Fishing

Live like a local and try your hand at ice fishing.

Sub-arctic ice fishing is an experience like no other.

Professional fishing guides and a year round fishing resident will be your instructor.

They will teach you everything you need to know about the art of ice fishing in Alaska.

And of course, you’ll get to try your hand at it!

An ice fishing cabin is located at Chena Lakes to ensure you’re warm while waiting for fish to bite.

On arrival, you’ll be give fishing equipment, including a pole and bait.

Stay warm in the heated cabin until it’s time to strike on a fish bite!

The tour will end with a cookout of the fish that you catch the same day.

Tour details

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Departure Point: Chena Lakes Recreation Area
  • Departure Times: 9:00 am, 12:00 pm, 3:00 pm or 6:00 pm
  • Inclusions: Hot beverages, professional guide, coffee or tea, heated shelters, fishing gear, grilled fish meal.

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12. Hiking Adventure

Alaska’s natural beauty is the main reason tourists from all over the world come here.

So when you’re in Fairbanks, you should take advantage of the stunning surroundings and go on a hike!

There are plenty of guided hiking options in parks throughout the state.

Angels Rock, Wickersham Dome, and the Table Top Mountain Trail are just a few of the most popular outdoor hiking spots.

Most hiking tours come with an expert guide, and include beverages, snacks, hotel pick up and drop off.

This is the best way to see Fairbank’s natural surroundings if you don’t want to organise anything!

Make sure you bring a camera, as you’ll want to snap photos of the area’s natural beauty and of any animals you see along the way.

Inclusions for most tours

  • Beverages
  • Snacks 
  • Local guide
  • Hotel pick up and drop off

Check Tours


13. Winter Biking

Have you tried fat tire biking?

Fairbanks is the place to do it!

Go on a magical and fun winter bike ride in the snow on this Winter Biking Tour.

There are endless miles of scenic bike trails in and around Fairbanks and this tour will take you through them.

You’ll get the lay of the land fairly quickly as you’re guided by an experienced instructor.

The guide will take you to all the best spots and there will be plenty of time for a photo opp.

You’ll even get to bike through a boreal forest on the outskirts of the city.

Winter gear and fat tire bike rentals are included.

Tour details

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Departure Point: 2300 Airport Way, Fairbanks, AK
  • Departure Times: 12:00 pm
  • Inclusions: Snacks and bike rentals

Book Tour


14. River Rafting in Alaska Wilderness

Explore Alaska’s natural beauty from an exciting river raft!

This fun river rafting adventure will have you drifting down of the state’s incredible natural rivers.

The day will begin with you being picked up from your hotel in Fairbanks.

From there, you’ll be given instructions and all of the necessary equipment.

Then it’s time to hit the water!

Float and paddle your way down a scenic river.

Along the way, keep an eye out for moose, bears, wolves, bald eagles, beavers, and foxes.

Tour details

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Departure Times: 8:00 am or 4:00 pm
  • Inclusions: Light refreshments, local guide, hotel pick up and drop off

Book Tour


15. Pioneer Park

Pioneer Park is a Fairbanks cultural institution like no other.

It is essentially a mine, museum, and native Alaska village rolled into one.

This is a fun and educational stop for people of all ages who are visiting the area.

The park covers 44 acres and is located along the Chena River.

It is a historic theme park and is the state’s only one of this kind.

Pioneer Park originally opened in 1967 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Alaska Purchase.

Inside the park, there are exhibits, as well as shops and restaurants.

Highlights include the Gold Rush Ice Cream Parlor, Alaska Native Museum, and the Pioneer Air Museum.

Inclusions for most tours

  • Snacks
  • Bottled water
  • Coffee or tea
  • Driver/guide
  • Hotel pick up and drop off

Check Tours


16. Running Reindeer Ranch

Channel your inner Santa Claus at Running Reindeer Ranch.

This family-friendly ranch is home to the majestic reindeer and offers reindeer walks to visitors.

That’s right, you can go on a walk through Alaskan’s wintery wilderness with a real life reindeer in tow.

Walking tours through the boreal forest are all guided by expert staff.

You’ll love watching the reindeer play in the snow and stroll beside you on this experience.

Running Reindeer Ranch also has a lodge on-site with chalet-style houses suitable for groups of two.

At the lodge, reindeer yoga is also offered.

Details

  • Address: 1470 Ivans Alley, Fairbanks, AK

Official Site


17. HooDoo Brewing Company

It seems the craft beer trend has even taken off in Alaska!

Right in Fairbanks is where you’ll find HooDoo Brewing Company.

HooDoo is an Alaska institution.

It is a microbrewery and taproom that offers European-inspired craft beers.

Specifically, HooDoo brews classic English, German, Belgian, and American styles of beer.

There are tours of the brewery available for those who want to delve more into HooDoo’s history and the brewing process.

A variety of beers are on tap daily and food is served in the taproom.

Details

  • Address: 1951 Fox Ave, Fairbanks, AK 
  • Opening hours: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm Saturday and Sunday; 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm Tuesday to Friday; closed Monday

Official Site


18. Handmade Vodka at Hoarfrost Distilling

Have you ever tried vodka made by hand in Alaska?

Now’s your chance!

At Hoarfrost Distilling, you can sip on local, hand-crafted vodka made in Alaska.

In fact, all of their vodkas are made in small batches right in Fairbanks.

Each batch is made from Alaskan barley and pure Alaskan water.

There are multiple types of vodka, including their Premium Crystal Vodka (Hoarfrost’s flagship product) and Hoarfrost Premium Brilliant vodka.

They have a tasting room that is open throughout the week where you can order a variety of cocktails using their famous vodka.

Details

  • Address: 3501 Lathrop St Unit F, Fairbanks, AK
  • Opening hours: 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm Monday to Thursday and Saturday; 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm Friday; closed Sunday.

Official Site


19. Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum is one of the coolest museums in all of Alaska.

It is here where you can marvel at a collection of over 95 retro vehicles.

Vehicles range from horseless carriages and steamers to midget racers and 30s classics.

They even have such rarities as an 1898 Hay Motor Vehicle and the 1906 Compound.

Automobiles in the collection span from the Victorian Era to the Art Deco Era.

In addition to the cars themselves, there are exhibitions featuring archival videos, photographs, and accessories as well.

If you’re a lover of cars and history, you’ll have loads of fun here while in Fairbanks!

Details

  • Address: 212 Wedgewood Dr, Fairbanks, AK
  • Opening hours: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm Sunday and Wednesday; closed the rest of the week

Book Passes Official Site


20. University of Alaska Museum of the North

Taking a stroll through the University of Alaska in Fairbanks can be fun.

While on the campus, don’t miss the University of Alaska Museum of the North.

This is one of the top rated attractions in the city and for a reason!

The Museum of the North is the only research and teaching museum in all of Alaska.

It is focused on showcasing artifacts from Alaska’s cultural, natural, and artistic heritage.

Their collection currently includes more than 1.4 million artifacts.

Visitors can walk through exhibits dedicated to different parts of Alaskan history, including sections on insects, mammals, plants, and earth sciences.

Inclusions for most tours

  • Entry fees
  • Live commentary
  • Bottled water
  • Driver/guide
  • Hotel pick up and drop off

Check Tours Official Site


21. Alaska Salmon Bake & The Palace Theatre

Experience an authentic Alaskan dining experience in a fun environment.

This Alaska Salmon Bake & The Palace Theatre experience offers two cultural highlights in one evening.

First off is the Alaskan Salmon Bake.

Head to Pioneer Park where you will be treated to an all-you-care-to-eat menu of grilled salmon, beer battered cod, and slow roasted beef.

From there, head to The Palace Theatre for an unforgettable show.

The Palace Theatre is known for their summer shows, including Golden Heart Review, a hilarious musical comedy show.

Dinner and a show – what could be better?

Details

  • Address: 2300 Airport Way, Fairbanks, AK 
  • Opening hours: 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm daily

Official Site


22. Stay in Aurora Express Bed & Breakfast

Only in Fairbanks will you have the opportunity to stay at a hotel made of renovated railroad carriages!

That’s right, at the Aurora Express Bed & Breakfast, you can sleep and dine in a stationary train. 

From the train, you’ll be treated to gorgeous views of Alaska’s natural scenery.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Tanana River and the Alaskan Mountain Range, as well as the lights from Fairbanks.

There are only 7 train suites available to guests.

Each suite comes with elegant period decor and a queen size bed.

This unique hotel is suitable for all ages and is open only during the summer months (May until September).

Details

  • Address: 1550 Chena Ridge Rd, Fairbanks, AK
  • Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Official Site


From snowmobiling and ice fishing to taking in the stunning Northern Lights, there are plenty of fun ways to spend your time in Fairbanks.

No matter your age or the time of year you visit, you’re guaranteed to fall in love with this Alaska paradise.

We hope this list has inspired your upcoming trip!

Find more Fun Things to do in Fairbanks

emily
Emily is a freelance writer from Canada and it was during her time studying History that she became interested in travel. Countries I've visited include the United States, Mexico, the Cayman Islands, New Zealand, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.