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a bridge over a body of water

Fairbanks is the second-largest city in Alaska and the largest city in the deep, vast Alaskan Interior, far away from the state’s coasts. Founded as a gold mining town, Fairbanks today serves as a hub of the oil industry and is also one of the main gateways for tourists visiting Alaska. Many of Alaska’s natural wonders are located near Fairbanks, and the city itself has a large number of attractions for every type of tourist.

If you’re planning to visit Alaska, Fairbanks is a must-stop on your itinerary. Here is a brief guide to some of the top tourist attractions in Fairbanks.

Tourist Attractions of Fairbanks, Alaska

One of the first stops you should make in Fairbanks is the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors’ Center, a central node for tourists. Located on Dunkel Street, the Center gives you an overview of the history of Fairbanks and the surrounding area, and also has a theater where you can view short films about the culture, history, and wildlife of the Alaskan Interior. The Center also has free maps of the city and recommendations on museums to visit, restaurants to eat at, and more.

Car enthusiasts will enjoy a sojourn to the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, one of the leading car museums in the U.S. The Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum boasts over 100 exhibits, ranging from cars built in the 1890’s to the 1950’s. The Museum also hosts races with some of their classic cars during the summer months.

A common sight in Fairbanks is auroras, also known as the Northern Lights, a natural phenomenon that causes the night sky to come alive in a panoply of brilliant colors. While auroras can be seen in the city limits, the best place to see the Northern Lights is in a rural area, far away from the noise pollution generated by buildings and cars. Many tour operators in Fairbanks offer trips to cabins in the nearby mountains, allowing you to see the Northern Lights in all of their splendor.

Reindeer are a common sight in Alaska, and anyone who knows about Santa Claus is no doubt curious about seeing reindeer up close. The Reindeer Running Ranch allows visitors to observe wild reindeer up close in their natural habitat. While the Reindeer Running Ranch requires reservations, it’s worth it to be able to see these adorable creatures in a safe and convenient environment.

Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska, which hosts the Museum of the North, one of the most comprehensive museums on Alaskan art and culture. At the Museum of the North, you can view exhibits on over 2,000 years of Alaska’s history, ranging from Native Alaskan culture, geology, climate, wildlife, dinosaurs, and much more.

The Angel Rocks Hiking Trail is one of the most popular trails in the Fairbanks area, offering a scenic view of the surrounding mountains. Just shy of four miles long, the trail takes several hours to complete and is accessible to even amateur hikers. There are also tougher trails that are geared towards more experienced hikers. Be sure to bring appropriate footwear so you can be comfortable on your hike.

The Chena River State Recreation Area is a common spot for hiking, camping, fishing, and other outdoors activities in the Fairbanks area. Featuring numerous trails for every level of hiking experience, you can also take kayaking tours of the Chena River itself. Chena Hot Springs is also located nearby and draws many tourists to its thermal baths, which are reputed to improve health.

Other notable attractions within Fairbanks itself are the Palace Theatre and the HooDoo Brewing Company. The Palace Theatre offers a number of shows relating to the history of Fairbanks, though the small size means you will need to book your tickets well in advance. The HooDoo Brewing Company is one of Alaska’s most popular brewing companies and offers tours of its facilities along with beer samples.

Finally, be sure to visit the Aurora Ice Museum and Pioneer Park during your stay in Fairbanks. The Aurora Ice Museum features ice sculptures by noted Alaskan artists and also offers ice sculpting demonstrations. Pioneer Park is a theme park laid out in the style of an old gold mining boomtown and also boasts authentic log cabins that have been relocated from across Alaska, as well as museums and a replica of a Native Alaskan village.


Fairbanks may seem like a small town, but it has a lot to offer. As one of Alaska’s most important cities, Fairbanks is steeped in history, having played a pivotal role in the gold rushes of the early 20th century and serving as an important hub for oil extraction. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, hiking, kayaking, or more, Fairbanks has plenty of tourist attractions that will interest you during your visit to Alaska.

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