As the northernmost city of the U.S., Fairbanks is not a destination for the faint-hearted. Summertime brings endless daylight hours and above-freezing temperatures, but the deep freezes of late fall and winter are the only times to catch the stunning movements of the Aurora Borealis. In early spring, you can watch the epic Yukon Quest dog-sled race as competitors cross the finish line, and when the weather warms up, a paddle down the Chena River will take you right through town.
Icy Attractions In Fairbanks
- An hour and a half east of Fairbanks, the Ice Museum features an array of eye-catching ice carvings, from a 15-foot bar to ice beds -- all lined with thick blankets, of course. The best part? After touring the chilly structure, you can defrost your limbs in the nearby Chena Hot Springs.
- Taking place over the span of five weeks, the World Ice Art Championships pits master ice sculptors against one another to do their best in two categories, abstract and realistic. The result is a daily wonderland of towering yet intricate pieces, lit by colorful lights at night for an even more striking effect.
- From late August to April, the Aurora Borealis casts enormous magnetic activity across the night sky, culminating in rivers of colored light that have enchanted humans for ages. Travelers can see the dancing lights from many vantage points around Fairbanks, from roadsides to hilltops.
- The enormous Denali National Park and Preserve is home to a wide range of animals, including wolves, caribou, sheep, bears and moose. All of these animals can be seen on the bus tours that run through the park, though the gorgeous scenery of Mount McKinley should be enough to give visitors an eyeful.