There’s no city like Fairbanks—the only hub in Alaska’s interior. It’s here that my eyes were opened to the 49th state’s greatest adventures, from dog sledding along the tundra to chasing the northern lights across the horizon.
The seasons greatly determine what kind of activities I like to do here—after all, there’s quite a difference between just a few hours of sunlight and near complete darkness, not to mention the below-freezing weather in winter vs. balmier summer days and nights. But whenever you visit, there's a guaranteed grand 3-day adventure in your future. Here’s how to begin.
Expect snow from late September through April, but delightfully warm summers.
If you only have time to do one thing, make it the train to Denali.
If you're visiting between late August and late April, you’ve got a decision: How many nights do you want to spend aurora chasing? If you’ve got just two or three nights in Fairbanks, you may want to keep them all open to increase your chances of seeing those elusive ribbons.
Many tours combine a visit to Chena with northern lights viewing. Visit with a guide and be escorted to a spot to see those ribbons of green, white, and purple. If hot springs aren’t your thing, try Aurora Husky Lodge, about 30 miles south of the city—it's got warm drinks, hospitality, and aurora views.