With the launch of my new URL, theme, and blog name, I am also starting Travel Tuesdays! Whether it’s a city, a hike, a museum, or a road trip – every Tuesday I plan to share somewhere I’ve been in Alaska, in the United States, and hopefully one day – the world! I’m so excited about this opportunity to share my adventures, and hopefully hear from others about their own travels.
Where I am currently calling home and have come to know quite well in the past 15 months + 2 visits prior to moving. The city of Fairbanks is located in Interior Alaska about 6-7 hours from any shoreline or Canada. It’s essentially the northern most significant sized, incorporated city in Alaska (and in the United States). There are establishments farther North, such as Barrow and Prudhoe Bay, but they’re considered villages dominated by either Native Alaskans or people in the oil industry. If you’re looking for the last stop before the end of the world? Fairbanks is your place.
The city is not generally on people’s lists of places to visit when planning their epic vacation to Alaska. Fairbanks and the neighboring city of North Pole rest in a valley – The Tanana River Valley and it’s unlikely you’ll see very many mountains during your stay here. But that’s not to say it doesn’t offer it’s own set of charms, and as someone living here long term (2 years), I’ve discovered it’s the perfect gateway to the rest of beautiful Alaska.
Ranked according to my favorites! (Disclaimer: Apparently Fairbanks has the best Thai around, but I detest Thai food so I am not listing those. Refer to Trip Advisor’s Fairbanks Restaurant Reviews for the Thai restaurants or if I have any requests, I’ll ask my husband who has tried every place in town)
1. The Silver Gulch Brewery & Resturant – Great food, great beer, Alaskan atmosphere, a surprisingly nice-looking restaurant on the inside with a gift shop. $25 – $35 per meal. This is our go to.
4. The Turtle Club
5. Pike’s Landing
1. Ajimi – BEST sushi I have ever had. Hands down. I don’t mean that lightly. I’m a huge fan, and my Thai-loving, Sushi-hating husband tags along for their other dishes.
2. The Chowder House
3. Bad 2 Da Bone Barbecue
1. The Cookie Jar – I’m an at-home breakfast kinda-gal. I rather sleep in on Saturdays and Sundays, but if I do find the energy to go out, The Cookie Jar’s breakfasts are where it’s at. Try the cinnamon roll french toast. To die for.
2. Sunrise Bagel & Espresso
1. College Town Creamery – The gelato. Forget the fro-yo and the crepes. Just eat the homemade gelato.
2. The Fudge Pot
3. Hot Licks Homemade Ice Cream
This is a trickier one to answer since we’ve only stayed at two hotels, but I’ve gotten feedback from a couple friends who’ve stayed at hotels throughout Fairbanks as well. If you can get on post (military, ex-military), The Holiday Inn Express, is great. Very nice, very reasonably priced for Alaskan hotels, and close to all activities and/or amenities. SKIP the Alpine Lodge. Yes, it’s next to the airport but that’s about all it offers. Terrible breakfasts. Mediocre rooms. Mediocre food in the hotel restaurant. Friends have recommended Pike’s Waterfront Lodge and The Westmark. Hampton Inn & Suites is the #1 rated hotel in Fairbanks and if you’ve ever stayed at a Hampton Inn & Suites before – I assume it’s similar. This hotel is situated directly next to fast food and our strip mall with – Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Old Navy, Sports Authority, Famous Footwear, Sportsmans, and Barnes & Noble. Great if you’re looking to be next to “things”, probably a negative if you’re looking for a “getaway”.
If you find yourself in Fairbanks to visit family, because the military brings you here, or if it’s one of the stops on your Alaskan vacation – there’s Alaskan charm and beauty to be found in this seemingly boring town. It took me awhile to appreciate everything Fairbanks had to offer, but I’m pretty fond of all the memories I’ve made thanks to living here this past year.
Have you been thinking of coming to Alaska? Would Fairbanks make your list? If not, you’re bound to love the other places I’ve visited throughout Alaska that I can’t wait to share!