Fairbanks Travel Guide, Alaska
Fairbanks’s birth had an element of chance as it was founded on the place where the boat that was taking E. T. Barnette up the Tanana got stuck. Barnette had decided to get rich by starting a gold-mining boomtown and got lucky when an Italian prospector struck gold in the hills around the new trading post.
The word spread out and hundreds of miners headed toward Fairbanks. Barnette's town was a success and he had made it big. The town's future was ensured when Wickersham moved the federal courthouse to Fairbanks from Eagle. The houses where he lived can still be seen at Pioneer Park.
Mining and gold are still seen as part of Fairbanks and the people are independent spirits and proud that they are Alaskan and their city is the second-largest city in Alaska, a touristy cross between Kansas and Siberia. It is without doubt a typical Alaskan city: a bit secluded, bizarre and inflexible, but this is what an outsider would say and those who, visiting for the first time, expect to see their own projection and expectation when they get to the city. The locals and those who can take Fairbanks for what it is see it as a calm, relaxed, fun, unpretentious and friendly city and these characteristics should be bared in mind when you set off to visit Fairbanks.
Fairbanks is definitely a city where watching TV is not considered a top hobby and the main way to relax as there are plenty of opportunities to go outside and enjoy nature going canoeing, biking, hiking and taking some nice slow river-float trips. These will keep you healthy and fit not even mentioning how much you will enjoy it.
Downtown offers just as much fun walking and exploring the sites on your own or using the information provided by the visitor center. Any way you are sure to get to the Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception on of the most interesting and authentic buildings in town. Dating 1904 it has some incredible decorations inside and stained-glass windows. Another church worth visiting is the one founded by explorer Hudson Stuck named St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, but the waterfront plaza called Golden Heart Park is the top attraction and community events are often held here.
As you walk around you can follow the local gold mining history and the city’s development in the galleries to be found in the former city offices.
Museums in Fairbanks are quite unique and show what’s typical of Alaska: cold and ice. The Fairbanks Community Museum is an authentic one with historical exhibits while The Ice Museum satisfies visitors that come in summer and want to feel and experience an Alaskan winter. There are large ice displays, a big-screen putting the visitor in the picture of the annual World Ice Art Championships, and a freezer you can enter to feel -20°F.
Those interested in another thing typical for Alaska should head to the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race where they will get plenty of information about mushing.
We have mentioned the words authentic places and top attractions, but the Aurora Borealis is something beyond words. You have to be there to feel it, watching it on pictures and on TV does not even come close to what you will experience when you see it live. It is a really a moving show of wild strand of bright colors that can only be seen on a dark night sky. Can you imagine people considering such phenomenon a routine? The locals do, but who wouldn’t want to live with such a routine?
It will be a pity to miss it so plan your vacation in the fall or winter to have better chances to see it as then the sky gets dark. Those who don’t fancy cold winters can come in September and they will get to experience all Alaska’s beauties and escape its somewhat unpleasant weather. Visitors coming in winter can enjoy such sports as dog mushing and snowmobiling at Chena Hot Springs Resort.
Fairbanks is definitely not a place to be overlooked when you plan your vacation!
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