Fairbanks is the hub of interior Alaska, both logistically and historically, and a good base from which to explore the vast expanse of the state’s “Interior” as well as its “Far North” region along the Arctic Circle. The city is situated just to the north of where the Alaska Highway ends, with the Denali National Park lying a little way to its southeast and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve a similar distance to its east. This is also Alaska’s third largest city (after Anchorage and Juneau), with a population of a little over 30,000.
Places to visit in Fairbanks include Pioneer Park, where you can explore turn-of-the-century frontier cabins, and pioneer and aviation museums, and shops, all linked by train; the University of Alaska Museum of the North, devoted to the natural history of Alaska, with exhibits depicting indigenous wildlife and Native American culture; and the Rose Berry Alaska Art Gallery, where you can view local and regional art.
Also at Fairbanks, you can take a cruise down the Tanana and Chena rivers on board a sternwheeler, pan for gold, fly fish in one of the nearby streams, or play golf at America’s farthest north golf course. There is good skiing here as well, both alpine and nordic, and snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmachining and dog sledding.
The city also hosts a string of lively events every year, notable among them a pair of sled dog races, the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race and the GCI Open North American Championship Sled Dog Race. There is also an ice carving and sculpting competition held here every year, the World Ice Art Championships.
Keep in mind, too, that if you visit the area during summer, between late May and July, you’ll experience the phenomenon of “the midnight sun” - 20 hours of daylight. In winter, between late November and January, it’ll be just the opposite, with a mere 4 hours of daylight.
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