Best Fun Things to Do in Fairbanks AK 2024 1
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Best Fun Things to Do in Fairbanks AK 2024

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Greetings, Internet Stranger! I’m Stella Jane, author of the travel guide Get Lost, and welcome to fun things to do in Fairbanks AK. Fairbanks Alaska is known for being one of the most northern places to visit in the United States. You can drive to the North Pole here.

Also there are wonderful tours of the Northern Lights and hot springs, which you can book right here.

However, you don’t need to get out of Fairbanks to find a day of amusement. Fairbanks has museums, boat rides, adorable dogs, entertaining shows, and Thai food galore! Join me for a day of the most fun things to do in Fairbanks AK, and I’ll show you what I mean!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: Fun Things to Do in Fairbanks AK

#1 TOP PICK

Best Fun Things to Do in Fairbanks AK 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
NORTHERN LIGHTS TOUR
✔️ Amazing nature experience
✔️ Also visit Chema Hot Springs

#2 PICK

Best Fun Things to Do in Fairbanks AK 2024 3

SNOWMOBILE ADVENTURE
✔️ Bucket list experience
✔️ Hot chocolate included

#3 PICK

Best Fun Things to Do in Fairbanks AK 2024 4

ALL OTHER FAIRBANKS TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

fun things to do in fairbanks ak

Fun Things to Do in Fairbanks AK

Morning: Museum of the North

In many ways, Fairbanks is a typical small town. However, it’s also home to the University of Alaska, which means that it has some incredible educational resources. And one of the best resources, especially for tourists is the Museum of the North.

There are many ways to explore this fascinating museum, which will teach you all about Alaska’s unique history. You can explore it on your own, or you can appreciate it as part of this excellent guided tour.

Check rates and availability by going right here.

Either way, get ready for…

Three Fun Facts: Museum of the North

fun things to do in fairbanks ak
1) Who lives in the North?

If you’re from the Lower 48, like I am, or if you’re not American at all, you might think of Native Alaskans as being a monolithic group. This is not true at all. There are many different groups of Native Alaskans who speak different languages and have different customs.

The Native people who live in the interior of Alaska are generally Athapaskans. However, Athapaskans aren’t a monolithic group either. Eleven different Athapaskan languages are spoken in Alaska alone, and some Athapaskans live in Canada. Athapaskans refer to themselves as Dine, or a similar word, depending on the language.

The Museum of the North has many Athapaskan artifacts, from dresses made out of moose hide to trays made out of spruce. You can see the incredible skill that goes into making these objects. (And we’ll actually learn more about how these objects are made later in the day.)

fun things to do in fairbanks ak
2) What about the animals of the North?

There were so many cute animals at the Museum of the North! I even got to buy earrings made of moose teeth at the museum store. (They look exactly like what you’d expect moose teeth to look like.) However, sadly, none of these adorable animals were alive.

I honestly don’t know whether this display of marmots was more cute or disturbing. There are three different types of marmots on display. The first is the Hoary Marmot, and I have to say that I don’t think it’s nice to call anyone a Hoar. These marmots live all over the northern part of North America, in places like Wyoming.

Then there’s the Alaska Marmot, which only lives in Alaska, according to Captain Obvious. Finally we have the woodchuck, which lives every which where. I asked it how much wood it could chuck if it could chuck wood, but it didn’t answer. Rude!

Perhaps you’re looking for something a little more impressive than three mounted marmots. Fine. Say hello to my little friends.

most fun things to do in fairbanks ak

You’re welcome.

fun things to do in fairbanks ak
3) What about art of the North?

There’s a ton of work by local artists at the Museum of the North. One of the most noteworthy is called The Great Alaska Outhouse Experience.

fun things to do in fairbanks ak

This is not an active outhouse, so don’t get too excited. In parts of rural Alaska, they still have outhouses instead of outdoor plumbing. So this piece, by Craig N. Buchanan, allows you to sit inside an outhouse and think about what outhousing in the winter in Alaska would be like.

The outhouse itself is decorated with all sorts of found objects like lanterns, Cognac bottles, and a Joseph Vogler poster. (Vogler was the founder of the Alaska Independence Party. See! You can learn a lot from an outhouse!)

fun things to do in fairbanks ak

And then we have this adorable Statue of Liberty doll by Native Alaskan Cup’ik artist Rosalie Paniyak. I love how she made the Statue of Liberty so different, yet clearly recognizable as the icon. And it makes you reflect about whether or not this country has really provided liberty for all.

fun things to do in fairbanks ak

Fun Things to do in Fairbanks AK

Afternoon: Riverboat Discovery

The Riverboat Discovery tour is a great way to learn about Fairbanks, all from on board a beautiful steam boat. There are snacks and refreshments, tons of fun activities, and a really cute way to meet dogs. I can’t think of a more fun way to spend an afternoon in Fairbanks, but it’s a popular activity, so you’ll want to buy tickets in advance here.

Then get ready for…

Approximately Top 5: Riverboat Discovery

best things to do in fairbanks ak
1) Lunch!

Before we get on the riverboat, you’re going to want to get some lunch. I was fairly surprised to learn that Fairbanks, Alaska is considered the Thai food capital of the United States. Seriously, they have an astonishing number of Thai restaurants per capita. So why not pick up some Pad Thai for lunch?

If you like it spicy, I strongly recommend Simply Thai. There’s no seating, but I just found a bench and enjoyed my spicy Thai Food in the great Alaskan outdoors, just like Teddy Roosevelt intended. (Simply Thai will make their food not spicy if you request.)

fun things to do in fairbanks ak

If you’re looking for something with indoor seating in downtown Fairbanks, try Noodle House, which actually makes their noodles in house. Yes, there’s a big market for artisanal Thai noodles in Fairbanks, Alaska, just go with it!

fun things to do in fairbanks ak
2) Seaplane in Action

Fairbanks is a rather remote city. In fact, it is the northernmost large city in the United States. Therefore it’s been a little challenging to get to, historically speaking. (Though I had no problem flying back home to New York City from Fairbanks, and I only needed one layover in Minneapolis.)

That’s why it was so cool to see this yellow seaplane in action. Small planes are BIG in Alaska, but I had never seen a tiny seaplane swoop and dive and do tricks on command before. That pilot must be waiting at just the right time to perform for each riverboat cruise that goes by.

Just because Fairbanks is remote, doesn’t mean that important people don’t visit from time to time. Our pilot took care to mention the day back in 1984 when Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan met here to discuss world politics and poping and what not. I’m not sure why they chose Fairbanks, but it’s as good a place as any to meet the Pope.

fun things to do in fairbanks ak
3) Husky Time!

This next spot on the riverboat cruise was possibly the most fun. We got to stop at a husky kennel called Trail Breaker Kennel and learn all about these amazing animals. This kennel was founded by David and Susan Monson, who have actually raced in the famous Iditarod. And now their racing kennel trains some of the fastest dogs in the world.

Susan sadly passed away from cancer several years ago, but her widower and their kids carry on her legacy. And on the tour, they have the huskies race for you, and it’s unbelievable to see how fast they go!

I really wanted to learn more about these animals, and if you do too, you can check out the children’s book Granite that the Monsons wrote about one husky. It’ll be a real fast read…because it’s for kids.

fun things to do in fairbanks ak
4) Athabaskan Camp

At the end of the boat ride, we’re going to stop at a replica of an Native Alaskan Athabascan camp. Here, you’ll be able to see a smokehouse where Athabascan women traditionally would have smoked fish so it could be preserved for those long Alaskan winters.

During the summer, Athabascans would have to catch thousands of salmon. (If you’ve been to Alaska during the summer, this isn’t hard to imagine because the salmon truly go bonkers. I think I saw thousands of salmon just on my lonesome on this trip.)

Each family would have had their own methods, including a special blend of brine ingredients, so each could prepare the salmon the way that they loved. Sounds delicious to me!

fun things to do in fairbanks ak

You’ll also get to see a display of traditional Athabaskan clothing. Obviously, fur clothing was needed to keep them warm during the freezing winter. However, this coat didn’t need to use so many different kinds of fur. Women would use fur from animals that were difficult to catch as a display of what a skilled hunter their man was.

I love the beauty of this coat, but I don’t want to see women nowadays bragging about what great hunters their boyfriends are on Tiktok. That’s a trend that could get real annoying real fast.

fun things to do in fairbanks ak
5) AMINALS!

There were so many more animals at this camp than I was expecting. For example, I had never been so close to a caribou before. At first, I was wondering why I looked at these majestic beasts and thought of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer because caribou aren’t reindeer are they?

Reader, they are. Caribou and reindeer are the same animal, except caribou are wild and reindeer are domesticated. Consider my mind blown.

fun things to do in fairbanks ak

But even cuter than the caribou-reindeer were these huskies! We got to watch them jump up and run around as their trainer explained their ways to us.

He said that huskies aren’t very expensive because people mostly don’t want them as fancy house pets or something. These fellows are too old to race, so they hang out, teaching younger huskies to behave themselves and playing with tourists like ours truly. Seems like not a terrible life for a dog!

Also, someone asked the trainer why they weren’t fluffy, and he said that you don’t want racing huskies to be fluffy because it would slow them down. Makes sense to me!

fun things to do in fairbanks ak

Fun Things to do in Fairbanks AK

Evening: Dinner and a Show at Pioneer Park

Pioneer Park is a charming park in Fairbanks that features buildings and other artifacts from the Gold Rush era. Honestly, sometimes I feel like everyone in Alaska would just like to go back to the Gold Rush days. It would probably give tourism a boost.

However, we won’t have that much time to explore Pioneer Park, since we’ll be having dinner on our day of fun things to do in Fairbanks AK at the famous Salmon Bake in Pioneer Park and then going to see the Golden Heart Review at the Palace Theatre. (The show is also in the park, just a short walk from the restaurant.)

The restaurant/show offers round trip transportation for an extremely reasonable fee from several hotels in Fairbanks, including Pike’s Landing.

fun things to do in fairbanks ak

First, you get a big salad with whatever dressing you like. (I do suggest their blueberry vinaigrette because they make it there, even though the color makes it look kind of like my salad was murdered in this picture.) It also comes with a roll and honey butter.

They had several drinks as an option, both alcoholic and non, but I chose the sangria because I wanted to try Alaskan sangria just once, just to say I had. (Naturally it had blueberries in it.)

fun things to do in fairbanks ak

Now you have several options for your main course. Even though the restaurant is called Salmon Bake, you don’t have to have the salmon. However, I did because it says salmon on the sign, and I’m an extremely obedient person. All the food was warm and tasty and I appreciated the classy touch of lemon on the side.

fun things to do in fairbanks ak

Of course, I had to finish up with the sweet, creamy chocolate “moose”. No, that’s not a typo, but I have it on good authority that no moose were harmed in the making of this dessert.

fun things to do in fairbanks ak

Finally, it will be time for the Golden Heart Review! Just keep in mind that this show only runs in the summer months, but that’s true of so very many things in Alaska.

This musical comedy lasts for about an hour, and it will teach you all about the history of Fairbanks, and why the purchase of Alaska from Russia was called Seward’s Folly. (That’s a true story.)

However, it won’t all be history and fun facts. There will be a comic sketch showing how Alaskans dress in different types of weather, a lot of silly showgirl costumes, tons of original songs, and more! It will be a perfect end to our perfect day of fun things to do in Fairbanks AK!

fun things to do in fairbanks ak

Fun Things to Do in Fairbanks AK

Where to Stay

If you want to really enjoy your day of fun things to do in Fairbanks AK, you’ll need a great hotel. I recommend Pike’s Waterfront Lodge. The staff is quite friendly, and the bar serves good drinks. Plus, it will be easy to find an Uber to pick you up here and take you anywhere you want to go.

My room was very comfortable and cozy, and there was easy access to coffee and ice first thing in the morning, which is all I really care about.

You can go ahead and book a room at this hotel by clicking here.

If you’d rather book a room in another hotel in Fairbanks, just click here. This search engine will help you explore other excellent options for your day of the most fun things to do in Fairbanks AK.

That’s the most fun things to do in Fairbanks AK

What do you think are the most fun things to do in Fairbanks AK? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Fairbanks? Any questions about anything in this post? Please email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com and let me know!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: Fun Things to Do in Fairbanks AK

#1 TOP PICK

Best Fun Things to Do in Fairbanks AK 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
NORTHERN LIGHTS TOUR
✔️ Amazing nature experience
✔️ Also visit Chema Hot Springs

#2 PICK

Best Fun Things to Do in Fairbanks AK 2024 3

SNOWMOBILE ADVENTURE
✔️ Bucket list experience
✔️ Hot chocolate included

#3 PICK

Best Fun Things to Do in Fairbanks AK 2024 4

ALL OTHER FAIRBANKS TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours with the most fun things to do in Fairbanks AK.

Add on the best Icy Strait Point things to do. Check out the best things to do in Sitka Alaska. Add on 24 hours in Anchorage. Enjoy a day of what to do Skagway Alaska. Experience what to do Seward Alaska. Go for the best Talkeetna AK things to do. Have fun on a what to do in Denali AK day.

Best Fun Things to Do in Fairbanks AK 2024 8

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