Welcome to Alaska’s magical interior. The state’s second-largest city experiences over 20 hours of sunlight a day during the summer, earning it the nickname “Land of the Midnight Sun.” When you visit Fairbanks, you’ll discover a laid-back town surrounded by nature and filled with cultural attractions.
Ride a sternwheeler along the Chena River, or spend an afternoon meeting mushers and huskies. Walk in the footsteps of Athabascans, or learn about natural history at the Museum of the North. Pan for gold in local creeks and dive into the area’s Gold Rush history.
Choose from one of five itineraries that visit Fairbanks on an Alaska Cruisetour with Celebrity Cruises®. Depending on which itinerary you choose, you’ll stay in the city for one or two nights, giving you even more time to explore Alaska’s magnificent interior.
Discover the rich traditions of the indigenous Athabascans, who have lived in these parts of Alaska for thousands of years. Learn how they used local resources to survive in the extreme climate on a guided tour.
One of the most Alaskan ways to experience the Chena River is on a sternwheeler. There’s no rush once you get on board, where you’ll be welcomed by Fairbanks in the near distance and river views on the other side. Relax and enjoy a full-steam-ahead afternoon along the Chena.
Spend an afternoon in a 19th century Gold Rush town at Pioneer Park, where replicas of log cabins and saloon-style storefronts transport you to another world. A train travels the entire theme park, so you can hop from attraction to attraction. Explore a replica of a Native American community, discover how prospectors mined for gold, and pan for gold yourself.
Aside from the included activities above, you can experience even more of Fairbanks with these optional land excursions.
Take to the skies on an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime adventure across the Arctic Circle. From the air, you’ll see Alaska’s stunning landscapes unfold beneath you. Land amongst the snow-capped peaks of the Brooks Mountain Range and explore the remote community of Wiseman.
Dinner and a show with a classically Alaskan spin await at The Palace Theatre in Fairbanks. Indulge in an all-you-can-eat salmon bake with local beers on draft. The show, called “Golden Heart Review,” showcases life in Fairbanks and all the quirks of living in the last frontier.
Discover natural and historical treasures at Alaska’s only research museum. See how art has evolved in Alaska over a 2,000-year period, witness the largest display of gold in the state, and learn how World War II impacted local communities at this fascinating site.
One of the top attractions for animal lovers and adventurers is the Trailbreaker Kennel on the banks of the Chena River. Founded by Iditarod champion Susan Butcher and her husband in 1976, Trailbreaker Kennel offers tours of the kennel, dog sled rides, and educational programming on how they train huskies for these historic races. Take photos with the huskies and meet professional dog mushers along the way.
Chena’s Alaskan Grill
Nestled within River’s Edge Resort, you’ll find Chena’s Alaskan Grill, a refined dining experience featuring contemporary spins on classic Alaskan fare. Mains like grilled filet mignon, chicken crab kiev, and Alaskan salmon are all menu staples. Enjoy your meal while admiring the river views on the outdoor patio.
The Pump House
Savor locally sourced Alaskan dishes in a historic atmosphere at The Pump House. Marvel at the antique furnishings while dining on freshly-caught Alaskan seafood, a unique elk meatloaf, or maple-glazed scallops wrapped in bacon. Watch as passengers wave by on tour boats from the quaint patio, which overlooks the Chena River.
Soothing noodle soups, curries, and traditional Northern Thai dishes are on the menu at Lemongrass, which has infused Alaska-grown ingredients and local seafood into their dishes. Try something off the “Alaska Favorites” menu, like sockeye salmon or ginger-halibut, or classics like pad thai.
Native Alaskans and Athabascan communities have lived in what’s now known as Fairbanks for thousands of years as hunters and gatherers. By 1903, Fairbanks joined the ranks of other Gold Rush towns as thousands flocked to Alaska’s remote interior for their shot at gold. Fairbanks grew in size after The New Deal was passed and World War II ended. Today, Fairbanks is home to 100,000 residents and features a charming downtown and no shortage of cultural centers and events to celebrate Alaska’s proud history.
You’ll travel to Fairbanks on a deluxe motorcoach or via the Wilderness Express train through Alaska’s interior. All transportation to and from Fairbanks is included with your Cruisetour.
Deluxe transportation in Fairbanks to included excursions comes with the Cruisetour. You’ll get information about transportation to optional land excursions from your Tour Director.
Fairbanks residents take great pride in items that are made locally. Head to the Tanana Valley Farmers Market for fresh Alaskan produce, homemade jams and jellies, baked goods, art, handmade goods, jewelry, and more. Find Alaskan gemstones at Taylor’s Gold & Stones, and Alaskan-made kitchen bowls at the quirky Great Alaskan Bowl Company. Shop for souvenirs at the Alaska Geographic Bookstore inside the visitor center, which has everything from Alaska-themed stuffed animals to books on Alaskan history.
You’ll use the U.S. dollar when you visit Fairbanks. Credit cards are widely accepted, but be sure to ask smaller establishments if they prefer cash. A 15% to 20% tip is customary at restaurants, bars, and for tour operators to thank them for their service.
Fairbanks is the embodiment of the pure Alaskan spirit, with its gold rush roots, hardy locals, and famed midnight sun. Born of a turn-of-the-century trader who found himself stranded in what is present-day downtown, Fairbanks was founded when gold was discovered nearby and the trading post blossomed into a thriving city that outlasted its gold rush boom. Today, locals pride themselves on their independence and endurance, many being descended from Native Peoples and the gold rush prospectors whose self-sufficiency was the driving force of the town’s conception. Hugging the northern bank of the Chena River that converges with the unyielding Tanana, the Chena sternwheelers that navigate Fairbanks’s waters afford breathtaking views of the city and countryside, while also offering a glimpse into Alaska’s rich interior traditions. Exploring Fairbanks means participating in the day-to-day experiences that have contributed to Fairbanks referring to itself as ‘extremely Alaska’. Immerse yourself in the same Hot Springs where turn of the century gold miners found reprieve from the near-freezing creeks where they panned for gold. Or pan for gold yourself in one of the many creeks that still turn up flakes of gold. Admire the enduring native art treasures on display at the Museum of the North, whose shimmering contours reflect the mountain ranges that encircle it. With the locals playing late into the night, like the midnight sun baseball game held every solstice, your options to explore are as lengthy as the long summer nights. And as the gateway to the Arctic, Fairbanks is rich with the history of Alaska’s pioneers, and offers a window into their authentic Alaskan way of life that still exists today.