How to Meet Locals in Fairbanks
This town is home to locals who combine a sense of city living with an off-the-beaten-path edge. Inhabiting Alaska’s interior region takes some real grit, though Fairbanks residents still have access to the resources of a larger city (albeit without the overcrowding). The only place in interior Alaska that merits the term “city” serves as serves as a catalyst for Arctic-bound adventurers, cross-continental cyclists, and local bush pilots.
Restaurants, Bars & Coffeehouses
- Stop into Hot Licks Ice Cream shop and sample a few of the seasonal flavors made in-house, and chat with the friendly young locals often working their first summer jobs.
- College Coffeehouse is the family-owned local hot spot for a strong cup of coffee (roasted from the North Pole Coffee Company) and family-friendly local bands playing on open-mic nights every Thursday.
- The Blue Loon is the epicenter of local culture in Fairbanks, with live music, movies, dining, and dancing. There is always something happening here. Be sure to try the sweet potato fries.
- Zach's Restaurant is a hotel-based restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner that attracts locals and travelers alike. For breakfast, feast on a hearty Alaskan buffet. A lunch favorite is the slow roast pork taquitos. And for dinner, don't miss the steaks, salmon, or blackened Pacific cod.
Local Attractions & Transportation
- Take a “Time Out at Noon.” Fairbanks puts on a free concert every Thursday throughout the summer in Pioneer Park. Sprawl out on a patch of grass next to a local taking a lunch break.
- Hit up Growden Park and catch one of the Alaska Gold Panner’s baseball games. They play a game at 10:30 p.m. during the night of summer solstice on June 21.
- “Golden Days” summer celebration in July. This weeklong event celebrates the rich history of the Fairbanks Gold Rush and includes pancake feeds, a local parade, and an eclectic street fair.
- Take a flight on Ravn Alaska, the state’s regional air carrier. You can get to Fairbanks from Anchorage.This is the regional airline locals use for commuting to work, recreating, and visits to family.
- Visit the Tanana Valley Farmers Market and meet the faces behind the Alaska-grown produce. It’s a fun place to stop by, relax, and stroll around for a change of pace during your visit. Chat with local artists showcasing handmade art. If you learn anything from Alaskans while you visit, it’s that we pride ourselves on locally grown produce.
- First Friday art shows take place during the evening of the first Friday of every month. Artists present their work to the public and offer free refreshments and drinks throughout the night. Participating local galleries include: Alaska House Art Gallery, Co-Op Arts, River City Café and Espresso, 2 Street Gallery. This is a community-focused event that brings all types of residents and visitors together.
- Hang out on the deck at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge. Take a swing at the ambitious golf contest where you try to hit your ball across the river to make a hole in one.