Favorite thing: Unfortunately, the best things to see around Fairbanks require a vehicle.
There are many day trips from Fairbanks which can also be extended if a person likes to camp.
I recommend drivng to Chena Hot Springs. There are some great places to camp and canoe along the way.
Another trip is to Circle Hot Springs. You can see the Yukon river, camp in Central and have a soak.
Chatanika is another nice daytrip.
Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)
Favorite thing: Translated to mean "Northern Dawn", the aurora borealis is most often visible on a dark clear night. Fairbanks is at an excellent latitude for seeing this amazing display. Two popular spots are the Creamer's Field just outside of town and the area around Cleary Summit, where there is a ski area and a bed and breakfast. It is definitely best to escape the city lights to see this.
The aurora varies in shape and in color. Sometimes, it is a glow while at other times it is a rapidly moving band of light. No display is ever the same. If you are in Fairbanks during winter, definitely try and see this. Usually, the late hours of the evening are the prime time. It is something you will always remember should you have the fortune of seeing it.
Also, make note of the Chena Hot Springs section of my Alaska pages. This resort also offers excellent viewing possibilities in addition to other winter activities.
Fondest memory: On the second attempt, finally seeing the Northern Lights emerge on a clear windless night.
- Adventure Travel
- Family Travel
Park your RV!!!!!!!!!!!! The...
Favorite thing: Park your RV!!!!!!!!!!!! The roads are far too hazardous for you to be driving your huge house around.
Having grown up in the outskirts of Chicago (Hog-butcher to the world! City of big shoulders!!),
I am stunned EVERY DAY by the vast sweep of wild beauty that surrounds me.
Go to the top of Murphy or Ester Domes for the full-wallop panorama of it all
(if you squint you can even block out the mining scars on the landscape)
If you are sturdy, hike the Granite Tors trail off of Chena HotSprings road
...if you are not-so-sturdy, try Angel Rocks about 10 miles futher down the same road...
if you don't move much at all, continue down road all the way to the actual Hot Springs and soak yourself silly.
If you want pie, concoct your own, as Tack's General Store burned to the ground.
Fondest memory: Though my spleen has an endless capacity to vent scathing vitriol about the Fairbanks situation, I must say that some CRAZY-EXCELLENT people live here
...it just slips their minds, at times, to remember to be crazy or excellent
As anywhere, it is what you make it (no matter where you go there you are).
People HELP eachother...even when they are helping you loose your tiny little mind
...or at least, folk here will attend to rendering you mad once their ruggedly individual agendas are satisfied:
at which point, rest assured, Alaskans will dig right in to the tender flesh of your sensibilities
I miss the opportunity to wear malisciously-resplendant clothing (in velvets and glitters) for the rock and roll events that there used to be so much more of...for I am a shameless, glistenening freak.
How FOND those MEMORIES are
...of wild nights illuminated by sunsets stretching into radiant sunrises
the moments between dusk and dawn a shimmering and surreal parentheses,
punctuated by the laughter and song of my beloveds;
before they decided to hasten the Malthusian hypothesis to fruition
- Diving and Snorkeling
Bridge of Flags
Favorite thing: The state flags along this bridge represent each of the 50 United States, and were presented by Festival Fairbanks 84 and the Fairbanks Downtown Association, January 3, 1984, in commemoration of 25 years of Alaska statehood. The bridge spans the Chena River and connects the north and south banks of downtown Fairbanks on Illinois Street.
Walking across this bridge reminded me of that morning when I was in the 7th grade and our teacher announced to the class that a 49th state had been added to the Union. That meant we would get a new flag with 49 stars instead of 48. It was not long after that a 50th star was added for Hawaii.
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
Monument to E. T. Barnette, founder of Fairbanks
Favorite thing: This monument is in honor of E. T. Barnette, an entrepreneur from Ohio who is credited with founding the City of Fairbanks. Low water levels on the Chena River were too much for a passing riverboat, and passenger Barnett, with his $20,000 in goods for starting a trading post, were thrown off at the site of this monument, now in downtown Fairbanks beside the Log Cabin Visitors Center.
Although his plans were to go further upriver, Barnette decided to start a trading post on this spot. A year later, gold miner Felix Pedro struck gold only 16 miles away - and Fairbanks quickly became a huge outfitting town. Before being surpassed by Anchorage, it was the largest city in the Alaska Territory.
The monument was placed by the Alaska Centennial Commission in 1967. It reads:
CAPTAIN E. T. BARNETTE, A PASSENGER
ON THE RIVERBOAT LAVELLE YOUNG
DEBARKED NEAR THIS SITE ON
AUGUST 26, 1901, AND ESTABLISHED A
TRADING POST WHICH, IN 1902,
BECAME KNOWN AS FAIRBANKS
- Historical Travel
A City of Flowers
Favorite thing: When I think of Fairbanks, less than 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle, I think of dark winter nights and bitter cold. But in summer Fairbanks is a city of mild temperatures and almost endless days. The very long summer daylight hours cause flowers to grow in profusion. These nasturtiums were growing in front of a public building downtown. They are representative of dozens, if not hundreds, of similar plantings one will see throughout the city.
Incidentally, nasturtiums are edible and make a colorful addition to a summer salad, but I didn't sample any from this planting.
"The Unknown First Family" Statue
Favorite thing: Although Captain E. T. Barnette is credited with establishing the city of Fairbanks, the Tanana Valley has been inhabited by indigenous people for thousands of years. This statue appropriately gives homage to the unknown first people to discover the area. It is located in Golden Heart Park, bewteen the Chena River and the Log Cabin Visitors Center. This statue/monument is surrounded by a beautiful fountain and flowers in summer, and is one of the best known and loved landmarks in Fairbanks.
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Favorite thing: Jogging in the forrest and meeting the moose? Yes, this happened to me copule of weeks ago while I was running at UAF trails.
There's nothing to be afraid of what comes to mooses and I don't see wild animals here as a danger. Polar bears in North Alaska can be 'not-so-coo' to meet, but in Fairbanks all the potential risks comes from people.
Fondest memory: So say hi to moose.
Favorite thing: UAF (and Military) keeps Fairbanks alive. Big University gives lot for the town, which is located in the middle of the nowhere.
I didn't choose UAF for any particular reason, the only reason was Alaska.
But I have been satisfied to university after all. Nice campus area with many good facilities offers a good atmosphere to studying and you don't have to left this area very often.
Fondest memory: When visitors come to Fairbanks they usually hear about university area and also visit there, even it is not located in downtown.
I'd love to recommend all the visitors the museum, botanical garden and bookstore. And all the sport lovers... recreation center, my another home:)
Favorite thing: Nenana is a small town with population 500 just south of Fairbanks. The photo shows the steel bridge crossing the Tanana River near Nenana. It was a bustling town almost a hundred years ago, when used as the base for building of Alaska Railroad.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
- Museum Visits
Highway 3 back to Denali
Favorite thing: The Alaskan roads and highways are in remarkably good shape considering the severe climate. Not much traffic except for occasional trucks and motor coaches filled to the brim with cruiseship passengers getting their glimpse of the great Alaskan interior.
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: Worth a trip to Alaska in itself. As we were driving around Fairbanks, generally getting ourselves lost as we looked for a place to lunch, we passed a sign for the Cramer's Field Migratory Refuge. Looked as though it had possibilities, though we lunched first.
On our return we parked the car and started along the path past various wetlands--saw enormous numbers of interesting waterfowl, but nothing we hadn't already seen. Then all of a sudden we heard the most outlandish trumpeting noises. Several sandhill cranes were flying overhead making the most riotous sounds imaginable. They circled and landed in a far off flock of birds. As we trained the binoculars we saw that the entire group were sandhill cranes.
We headed in their direction marveling at these huge four foot birds. We saw several males engage in their odd jousting domination dance. And we saw several more land and take-off--quite a feet given their size and gangliness.
Favorite thing: Visit the Museum at the University of Anchorage, Fairbanks.
Fondest memory: Staying at my brother-in-laws place north of Fairbanks, with no running water,electricity or outhouse for 2 weeks in June/July 2001. My wife found out that the mosquito is the Alaska State Bird. No mosquito's in August 2002.
- Family Travel
angrbotha's General Tip
Fondest memory: Fairbanks is a great place. Some things that i miss the most when i am away are:
1. The Midnight Sun and the Noontime moon. Isn't it funny when people try to tell you that the position of the sun is dependent on the time of day, not time of year?
2. Knowing how warm it is by the amount of daylight. i'm just saying. it being warm and dark out at the same time is completely unnatural.
3. No Sales Tax. I don't know how lower 48ers do it. Items should be marked with how much you will end up paying. i always seem to have Exactly how much something costs, and when you suddenly add whatever percentage taxes are, it certainly messes me up.
4. The Outdoors. lots of trees and wildlife. if i look out my window and see a moose looking back, then everything is as it should be.
5. The Snow. i know it sounds crazy, but trust me. it just isn't winter until you've had a week of 50 below weather and enough snow that you can walk onto your roof from the ground.
Do the stereotypical touristy...
Favorite thing: Do the stereotypical touristy stuff. You'll kick yourself if you leave without eating at the Alaska Salmon Bake, or ride the Discovery III riverboat, or drive up the Dalton Highway at least to the Yukon River if not the Arctic Circle.
Fondest memory: I don't know if this qualifies as a fond memory, but my 1998 trip with my wife to the Arctic Circle ended with an overnight stay at a truck stop because one of Alaska's 'end-of-the-road' types decided to claim an intervening stretch of highway as his personal property, with us freeloading motorists not permitted to use it. Our car was in no way suited to the rutted back trail that was the only alternative to the closed stretch of road, so we hitched a ride with some Anchorage-ites who had a Ford Explorer. That day we vowed to get a 4WD truck, and we did, the next summer -- just in time to drive it down to Georgia when my wife was transferred.
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