Fairbanks Points of Interest
Explore these highlights of a modern city which also take you deep into the wild, and to the literal and figurative places at which they meet. Fairbanks is both the bustling urban heart of Alaska and a tiny speck of pavement dwarfed by vast tracts of open land surrounding it at every turn.
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline is a man-made symbol of Alaska’s abundant natural resources resting mostly in complete isolation atop the Alaskan tundra. A viewing point gets you up close to a stretch that runs just north of Fairbanks for a chance to admire this modern marvel bisecting 800 miles of wilderness.
The unofficial end to another engineering marvel—the Alaska Highway— is marked in downtown Fairbanks at Milepost Circle, also part of the Chena Riverwalk. If you traveled north via this route, you should definitely stop for a photo opportunity to mark the end of the road. If not, it’s still worth a stop to check the distances from major cities inscribed on the sides.
Chena Hot Springs Road is a narrow band of black pavement stretching sixty miles into wilderness for a glimpse of the boreal forest and rolling hills that frame the city on all sides. At the end—a luxurious hot springs that has attracted visitors for a century.
The Cold Climate Housing Research Center addresses the problematic point at which modern-day dwellings intersect with the frigid and harsh climate of Alaska. The challenge is to keep the heat in, and the cold or driving wind and rain out. The research here informs building practices across the state.
These and other points of interest in the Fairbanks community illustrate the ways in which Fairbanksans make their lives within the natural world, still reliant on and striking a balance with it, each and every day.
Points of Interest
Wildlife viewing opportunities in Alaska’s second largest city. Look for migratory birds, moose, salmon & more.
In Summer (May — September), The Denali Star Train services Anchorage, Wasilla, Talkeetna, Denali and Fairbanks. In Winter (October — April) the Aurora Winter Train operates as a flag top train between Anchorage and Fairbanks. It stops here heading North on Saturday, and South on Sunday.
The Chena Riverwalk makes for a relaxing self-paced stroll along the Chena River and through the most scenic parks and plazas of historic downtown. It’s best when flowers are in full bloom (July-August). The path stretches approximately 3.5 miles between Pioneer Park and Airport Way, with longer options available. Or — park at Immaculate Conception Church or in the Downtown Transportation Center for a shorter jaunt.
Once a month, residents turn out for city-wide gallery openings featuring work by local artists in watercolor, acrylic, oil, sculpture, pen and ink, photography, and mixed media. The art scene in Fairbanks is rich relative to the city’s size, and at no point does it shine through more vividly than on First Fridays.
This is the site of the original airfield in Fairbanks, from which the first airplane to leave the ground in Alaska took flight in 1913. Today, residents often use the grassy open areas to fly kites, exercise their dogs, or have a picnic. School children walk between the library and elementary school that border the park to the east and west. Wildlife sightings are always a possibility, particularly for birds and moose.
The Cold Climate Housing Research Center serves the need for safe, affordable, sustainable housing in Alaska. This need is particularly strong in rural Alaska, where shipping in modern building supplies by air can be cost prohibitive. Many families are forced to live in housing that is drafty, inefficient, or even shifting dangerously on a thawing permafrost foundation. Building and insulation methods that work in the lower 48 don’t always ...more
Bobby Wilken, Owner and Brewmaster, walks visitors behind the counter and through the process from raw grains (stacked in the back corner) to finished beer, which takes three weeks from start to completion. Visitors get a close-up view of the mill, production vessels, and stainless steel storage and fermentation tanks through which the beer must pass. Bobby, an approachable and passionate businessman, breaks down the significance of each step ...more