Summer in Fairbanks, Alaska is the best because the sun is out for the entire day! It will be 10pm and you think it’s a great idea to go out fishing or to the lake. It’s the land of the midnight sun and there are so many creative activities to come up with and do. My suggestion is to make your own list of things you want to do/ love to do and to enjoy every moment you get to bask in the glorious sun this summer. Please let me know what you love to do here in Fairbanks so that I can add it to my list to do as well! Here are my favorite food spots and things to do.
My Favorite Food Spots in the Summer
- Hot Licks Ice Cream
I highly recommend biking here if you can. The ice cream is locally made and they have delicious flavors such as their Blueberry, Grape nut, and anything with banana and or chocolate in it tastes great. The best part is the park for the kids located right next to them that has swings and a wildly dangerous (in my opinion) spinning wheel that you can watch kids get either flung off or wildly dizzy.
2. Pita Place
Close by Hot Licks Ice Cream, the Pita Place has Fairbanks best Falafels. Open only in the summertime, they have a great place to sit out to the side and enjoy your meal. My great and terrible memory from a few summers ago was my friends and I biked Farmer’s Loop Trail (about five miles) on a Monday to get there only to find out that they are only open Tues-Sat. So don’t make the same mistake we did.
3. Lane’s Quickie Tacos
Lane’s is open year round, but I just love their tacos so they are on my list. The Alaskan is my favorite taco. Lane’s just has a whole in the wall feel to it, but it’s always Lane and Star working there. They are super personable and have a great knack for remembering names and faces.
4. Jorgenson’s Ice Cream Corner
Jorgenson’s has the BEST frozen custard you will find in Fairbanks. The catch is they don’t have a set time they are open (as far as I know) in the summer. So you have to be diligent in checking and then make your way over as SOON as you hear the news. Just like Alaskan summers, they are here then gone before you know it.
5. Sunrise Bagel & Espresso
These shops are all over Fairbanks and open year round- but I love having their twisted ice cream in the summer. It’s inexpensive and delicious!
My favorite things to do in the summer here in the interior of Alaska
- Float the river.
Seth and my first apartment was in town just a minute away from where we would put in our raft. We had bought a raft off somebody for $40 bucks, and we used it 2-3 times a week that summer. It was the best purchase. We like to put in our raft by Graehl Park and float to the back of Pioneer Park and get out at their landing. This takes around an hour. If you were to float from Graehl Park to Pike’s Landing, plan for 2-3 hours.
Bring great snacks, life vests, a speaker for music and people you wouldn’t mind being around for 1-3 hours.
2. Hike the Trails
My advice is to join a Facebook group such as the Fairbanks Area Hiking Club Fan Page to see the most recent updates and the best places to hike around here are! A few of my favorites are Esther Dome, Murphy Dome, Angel Rocks.
3. Four wheel and dirt bike
In the summer it seems that we either have our dirt bikes or four wheeler loaded up in the truck ready to go ride. There are so many great trails to ride here, especially if you know a bit where to go. I recommend joining a Facebook group once again for even more suggestions on where to go and more updates on the latest happenings on the trails. In the past, we have loved heading to Esther Dome, Murphy Dome, Circle Trail and a ton of trails outside of Fairbanks as well such as in Delta.
4. Visit the greenhouses
I love gardening and I especially enjoy getting out to the greenhouses to see all the plants they have. Their greenhouses are filled with rows and rows of beautiful flowers. Some of the greenhouses even host First Friday Events. Risse’s Greenhouse on Chena Hot Springs Rd. is one of my favorites. I also love Holm Town Nursery and Plant Kingdom. You can’t go wrong visiting a greenhouse. Check their calendars for local advents and kids activities!
5. Midnight Sun Run
This year the Midnight Sun Run will be on June 20, 2020. This 10 K is for everyone! Don’t be too intimidated. While there are those who are came to win and run their best time- there are plenty of people there who came to dress up and show off their costumes. (There is also those who are doing a bit of both.) In my opinion, it’s Fairbanks biggest event! If you don’t end up in the Midnight Sun Run, come to cheer everyone else on.
6.Georgeson Botanical Garden
This is the botanical Garden located at near UAF. It’s beautiful and worth taking the kids around to see everything that’s growing.
7. Visit the Musk Ox Farm
While you are around UAF, go ahead and check out the Musk Oxen! Some of the cutest animals you ever did see. They also have reindeer and from time to time, other large animals. I also once went to Yoga with the Musk Ox, so watch the community calendar for that!
8. Head to the Lake!
There is Chena Lakes and Tanana Lakes Recreation Area that both have an alaskan “beach” you can lay out on. Chena Lakes has the better of the two locations for camping, barbecuing and fishing in the lake.
If you are willing to travel a bit more, Birch Lake and Harding Lake are worth the drive for camping and having fun out on the lake!
9. Rent out Paddleboards or Canoes!
Pioneer Park and Trax Outdoor Center both offer rentals. The military offers rentals as well. Be sure to shop around!
10. Go shooting at the Range.
There are a few shooting ranges here in Fairbanks, one popular one to go to would be the South Cushman Shooting Range.
11. Yard Sales!
Fairbank’s summers are full of yard and garage sales. These are a great time to find new books, thrift clothes, find winter gear for the family, stock up on new puzzles for the next time we are all quarantined inside of our homes, and a great way to support the local children’s lemonade stands! Find a pair of roller blades, buy a new plant- yard sales are full of endless possibilities and exploring. What’s the best thing that you have ever thrifted?
12. Keep an eye out for the next coming event happening here in Fairbanks
Continue checking the event calendar for which events are happening next! I personally love First Friday Events where you can find live music, great food and local art happening at local businesses.
I am not the one to tell you where to actually go to catch a fish in Fairbanks. My experience is sitting in our two person raft in the middle of Chena Lakes, jamming to music and eating chips and watermelon while taking turns casting a line into the water. Only once the whole summer did we have a bite. So ask another local where to actually catch a fish here. They will gladly tell you!