*Side note: Many of the restaurants, hotels, etc. in Fairbanks are relatively behind when it comes to websites/social media, making it difficult to research ahead of time - but also adding to the adventure! These are all spots we’ve been to that we can vouch are good. There isn’t a whole lot to choose from when it comes to dining options (and restaurants are pricey), so we recommend stopping at a local grocery store and grabbing some healthy snacks/essentials to keep on hand!
Venue: In our opinion, this is the best coffee in Fairbanks. The baristas are friendly, the shop is clean and modern, and their lattes are exactly what we needed in 12 degree weather! It’s right in the heart of the downtown, too! (@venuefairbanks)
Alaska Coffee Roasting Company: We loved this coffee shop because of their extensive menu and their drool-worthy baked goods. It’s the perfect spot when you need an afternoon pick-me-up and a warm chocolate chip cookie! (@alaskacoffee)
Bucko’s: This drive-through coffee shop is an easy stop when you’re on your way to sight see, and the people behind the counter couldn’t be sweeter. Not to mention the coffee is really good! (@buckoscoffee.ak)
The Cookie Jar: This cozy little diner is a local favorite and a must for breakfast in Fairbanks. The breakfasts are deliciously hearty, but the real winner here is their cinnamon roll. Split it - it’s huge. (The Cookie Jar on Instagram)
Sam’s Sourdough Cafe: There’s no frills about this rugged diner (chances are you’ll drive right by it), but the food is tasty and affordable. You can even order reindeer sausage with your eggs! (Sam’s Sourdough Cafe on Instagram)
Wolf Run Restaurant: If you’re all about the cozy, log-cabin vibes, you have to come here - even if just for dessert (get the peanut butter pie)! We also loved their handful of Mediterranean options… a welcome change from the steak and salmon dinners you get everywhere else! (Dinner only - they open at 4pm) (Wolf Run Restaurant on Instagram)
Bobby’s pick: Kofta Sandwich
Alli’s pick: Falafel Wrap
The Pump House: This “Alaskan Style” fine dining restaurant serves only the freshest ingredients possible, in a warm and inviting environment. This is the spot to order fresh Alaskan Salmon, Halibut, Crab, and even Elk Meatloaf! We recommend making a reservation in advance, just to be safe (they’re on Open Table). (The Pumphouse on Instagram)
Lemongrass Thai Cuisine: Who would’ve thought that you could find authentic (and AMAZING) Thai food in Fairbanks, Alaska?! It’s true! This family-run establishment serves every kind of typical Thai dish, and has an “Alaskan Favorite Menu” (kind of an Alaskan-seafood-Thai-fusion twist) as well! It’s a popular spot, so make a reservation in advance to avoid the wait! (@lemongrass.alaska)
Bobby’s pick: Chicken Pad Thai
Alli’s pick: Pumpkin Red Curry
Silver Gulch: Termed “America’s Most Northern Brewery”, this is a fun spot to sit at the bar, enjoy a cold, locally-brewed beer, and make some new friends! Skip their restaurant, though - the food here isn’t their specialty. (Silver Gulch on Instagram)
Tracker’s Bar and Grill: Located in the Princess Riverside Lodge, this is a fun spot to grab afternoon drinks with a picturesque view of the Chena River. If you’re feeling really crazy, we suggest ordering the Tundra Mud Pie while you’re at it! ;) (Tracker’s Bar and Grill on Instagram)
Blue Loon: This “club” is pretty rustic (and redneck), but that’s why we love it. Check the calendar in advance, as they’re always hosting different music groups, movie nights, comedy shows, and more. It’s laid-back and quirky, and if you’re looking to laugh and drink with the locals, this is the spot to do so! (@theblueloon)
Pike’s Waterfront Lodge: This wilderness lodge is minutes from the airport and steps from the gorgeous Chena River. Our first night there we saw the Northern Lights from our balcony (See the cover photo on this guide above!), so needless to say, we have epic memories from this spot. The rooms are pretty basic, but cozy. It’s a great first stop on your Fairbanks adventure! (@pikeslodge)
Borealis Basecamp: We’ll be the first to say that this place is a splurge (around $600/night). But please… if you splurge on anything during your trip, and you can swing it, splurge on this. You sleep in a fiberglass domes that look like igloos - and provide PRIME viewing opportunities of the Aurora Borealis! It was the highlight of our trip! Note - due to the randomness of the Auroras, we’d suggest staying here 2-3 nights. Also, avoid being here on a full moon. Plan your trip around the magical Auroras. We promise you won’t regret it! (@borealisbasecamp)
Chena Hot Springs: This famous hot springs and resort is about an hour drive from Fairbanks, and not only is the scenery beautiful, but it’s an absolute blast. The lodging isn’t anything fancy, but it’s a great spot to chase the northern lights. (@chenahotsprings)
*Our activities are all winter-focused, since that’s when we were there. If you’re heading to Fairbanks in the Spring/Summer, you can find some ideas here.
Dog Mushing: Hands down, one of the best things we did while we were in fairbanks was go dog mushing with Last Frontier Mushing Co-op. They taught us everything - from how the dogs are raised, to how to harness them, to how they steer and train them! Then they took us on an hour long ride through the forest that we didn’t want to end. PLEASE go dog mushing when you are in Fairbanks, and please go with them. They’re the best deal, for the best price, and the love and care they have for their pups is beautiful.
Northern Lights: Whether you embark on a tour or go on your own, the northern lights is something everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. Most likely you’ll be standing outside in sub-zero temperatures in the middle of the night in order to see this glorious spectacle, so dress EXTRA warm!
Snowmobiling: We went on a snowmobiling tour while we were at Chena Hot Springs, and it was bananas (in a good way). They’re easy to maneuver, the ride itself is breathtaking, and the guides are funny and informative. Plus it’s a great photo opp. Learn more about their winter activities here.
George Horner Ice Park: From February 14-March 31, you can visit the spectacle that is “Ice Alaska”. This is where the best ice sculptors in the country compete and show off their insane works of art. Some of the sculptures are interactive - from slides, to homes, to rides! (The Ice Park on Instagram)
We wouldn’t. It’s hard enough to get a dog to Alaska!