Fairbanks, Alaska

See what my favorite places are in Fairbanks, Alaska!

Fairbanks is an interesting place. It’s one of the major cities in Alaska despite the fact that it has an extreme climate. Yeah, it’s a dry cold but the -40 degrees is still -40 degrees. Our new car wasn’t winterized properly so the windshield washer fluid froze last time when we went up there. It took more than two days in southcentral Alaska to thaw it out. But each time I visit, Fairbanks grows on me. It’s a vibrant community with lots of passionate and interesting people. There are a lot of independent and boutique businesses that I like to revisit each time I go there. 

Here are some of my favorite places in Fairbanks, Alaska that you should consider including in your itinerary.  

Tea: Sipping Streams 

Sipping Streams
Sipping Streams

As a tea enthusiast, I was naturally drawn to Sipping Streams. The proprietor, Jenny Tse, is an energetic and passionate tea expert. The amount of knowledge and experience she has is astonishing. I was so fascinated talking with her, we must have spent more than 30 minutes together talking about tea and travel. She’s visited many places that I’ve been to (thanks to tea) and it was so fun to talk about travel after not being able to travel for so long. Make sure to pick up her award-winning teas from her store or other places around Fairbanks.  

Afternoon tea & snack: Little Owl Cafe 

Head to Little Owl Cafe for an afternoon snack and tea. I love this cute cafe with its wide selection of tea, coffee, and baked goods. I absolutely loved the lemon lavender bundt cake! They also have an excellent breakfast menu. 

Food: international cuisine 

Soba restaurant

Fairbanks is surprisingly diverse, especially in their food scene. I ate my way around Fairbanks and it’s still one of my favorite things to do there. There’s no shortage of good Thai food, including Thai food trucks. Soba, a Moldovan restaurant, is still one of the best culinary experiences I’ve had in Alaska. That might be because I loved my time in Moldova and never went to any Moldovan restaurant outside of Moldova, but still, their food is delicious. 

Birding: Creamer’s Field 

Creamer's Field: sandhill cranes

Alaska is a dream destination for migratory bird watchers. One of the most fascinating birds is the sandhill crane. In Korean culture, a crane is a symbol of luck and longevity. Although for us, that’s a red-crowned crane, any kind of crane is special to me. In Anchorage, we see sandhill cranes in spring but usually a few at a time. Once I saw a huge gathering of sandhill cranes in the sky right before they flew south for winter. But I never saw a big flock of sandhill cranes together up close. So we had to check out Creamer’s Field in Fairbanks. 

Officially named Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge, it’s a 2,200-acre bird sanctuary. It’s an annual stop for migratory birds like sandhill cranes, loons, Canada geese, and more. It was amazing to see them all together in the field. If you’re a birder, don’t miss Creamer’s Field, especially in summer to catch sandhill cranes before they make their journey south. 

Museum: Museum of the North 

Museum of the North

I can’t get enough of museums wherever I go. So naturally, I headed to the Museum of the North in Fairbanks. Learn all about the natural history of Alaska and rich Alaska Native culture. If you’re new to Alaska, the Museum of the North can teach you a lot about Alaska. My favorite place in this museum is The Place Where You Go To Listen. Unfortunately, it was closed due to maintenance this time but my last visit was transformative. The Place Where You Go to Listen is a unique sound and light environment created by Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams. The museum now has a full-size bowhead whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling! 

Honorable mention: Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

Wildlife: LARS (Large Animal Research Station) 

LARS in Fairbanks, Alaska

Musk ox! I haven’t yet seen this magnificent animal in the wild but there are a few places in Alaska where you can see them. LARS, Large Animal Research Station, is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks but they also serve scientists from other institutions and organizations in the United States and from around the world. They have musk ox and reindeer. I was glued to the fence in front of the musk ox to see them roam around the field. It’s such an amazing ancient creature. Make time to join one of their tours. Tour times are at 10 am, noon, and 2 pm. 

Dog Sledding: Trailbreaker Kennel 

Trail Breaker Kennel

All sled dog kennels are special in their own way, but I really enjoyed getting to know Trail Breaker Kennel and Susan Butcher’s legacy. The scenery of their route along the frozen Chena River is absolutely stunning. It’s an experience that you won’t forget. 

I’m sure this list will grow as I visit Fairbanks in the future. Check back to see what other places you should include in your Fairbanks itinerary!

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