If you can handle visiting the coldest city in the U.S., then there are many reasons to visit Fairbanks, Alaska – most of which is the northern lights
Fairbanks in Alaska is the United States’ northernmost “big” city. It is the largest and coldest city in the interior of Alaska (the state’s other cities – Anchorage and Juneau are on the coast). Alaska is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is a state with a plethora on offer for outdoor enthusiasts.
One of the main draws this far north to Fairbanks is its utterly stunning displays of the Northern Lights. It is one of the best places to see the Aurora. Juneau is a truly stunning city filled with glaciers and breaching whales – it is a capital city in the United States like none other.
History And Funding Of Fairbanks
Native peoples like the Athabascan peoples have used the area for thousands of years, although no known settlement has been found on the site of Fairbanks. Native activities in the area may have been mostly seasonal hunting and fishing. The temperatures here are so frigid that berry gathering may not have been feasible.
- Population: City Proper 32,000 – Borough 95,000
Fairbanks was founded in 1901 by Captian E. T. Barnette. He was convinced by other frontiersmen in the area of the patient for gold and set up a trading post there. Soon teams of golden prospectors congregated in and around his trading post of Fairbanks.
- Founded: In 1901 By Captian E. T. Barnette
- Name: Named After Charles W. Fairbanks – A Republican Senator From Indiana Who When on To Become The 26th Vice President Under Teddy Roosevelt
Weather and Transportation
If one is going to Fairbanks in the winter, it is very cold there (the oldest city in the United States). The climate is classified as humid continental closely bordering on a subarctic climate. It has long cold winters and short warm summers.
- Coldest: Fairbanks Is the Coldest City In The United States
When it comes to transportation, it serves as the hub for Interior Alaska. It has extensive road, rail, and air connections to the rest of Alaska and beyond. At the time of the city’s founding, there was no road and the only way to reach the site was by steamboat on the Chena River. The road connecting to Fairbanks was not paved until 1957.
- Transportation Hub: Fairbanks Is A Transportation Hub For Interior Alaska
Fairbanks is a remote city with all the amenities one needs and is the ideal base to explore deep within Alaska.
Why Visit Fairbanks?
Fairbanks offers much to see and explore for those seeking to explore the vastness of the interior of Alaska. One can see impressive mountain ranges, pristine rivers, abundant wildlife, together with a poignant solitude (visitors don’t need to share it with many other people).
Explore Fairbanks remarks of the town:
“At 65 degrees north latitude, the sky takes on a capricious life of its own—a canvas for the aurora borealis, the midnight sun and sunsets and sunrises that last forever.”
There are plenty of outdoor things to see and do in Fairbanks, and what to do depends very much on the season. In summer go hiking, rafting, wildlife viewing, on an ATV tour, and more. In the winter watch the Northern Lights, go snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, and try one’s best not to freeze.
There are many tours companies offering tours into the interior of Alaska around Fairbanks. One example for those wanting to see Alaska’s wild side is with Rod’s AK Guide Service.
In winter, they offer ice fishing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, Alaska Yukon Moose Hunting. Dog Sledding tours can be a teaser 30-minute ride or a hands-on 2-hour mushing experience or even 4 hours.
Fishing tours include a heated cabin, a local guide, a grilled reindeer sausage, and one’s own catch cooked up fresh. Imagine ice fishing under the aurora.
The Northern Lights In Fairbanks
One of the main attractions is the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. The Aurora season runs from August 21 to April 21 and almost always appears when the sky is relatively dark and clear. In this season the Northern Lights are visible 4 out of 5 days on average when the sky is dark and clear enough.
- Aurora Season: From August 21 to April 21
- 80%: The Nights The Aurora is Visible In The Season on Clear Dark Nights
The Explore Fairbanks Website has a real-time Aurora tracker to estimate the chances of seeing the Northern Lights. At the time of writing the temperature in Fairbanks was -13°F/-25°C and the chances of seeing the Northern Lights was “average”.
Alternatively, come in the summer month and see the Midnight Sun – the season runs from April 22 to August 20. In the height of summer Fairbanks experiences 24 hours of sunlight for 70 days lasting from May 17 to July 27.
Visit Weeki Wachee, Home To The World’s Only ‘Real’ Mermaids!
About The Author
Aaron Spray (698 Articles Published)
Aaron is a first-hand traveler who has visited more than 70 countries around the world. He is passionate about traveling and opening up the world for other intrepid explorers.