Fairbanks, Alaska Travel Guide


love Alaska sign in Fairbanks Alaska
Alaska, a place that never crossed my mind visiting yet it was one of the most fun trips I've had. My friend Monica invited me to go along with her and other of her friends whom had planned to go since last year. I said yes not knowing how I would make the trip work due to work schedule but YOLO.  Sharing the news with Ismael(my husband) made him wonder if he too wanted to go so he self invited himself and off we went.  Thankfully this trip happened before all the COVID-19 or mostly known Corona virus broke off in the USA; if you are traveling during these times...please use the indicated precautions and be safe.

We flew out on a Thursday afternoon and arrived to Fairbanks, Alaska at 2:30am.  I booked the cutest last minute Airbnb because there was no way I was going to sleep in the airport in such cold ass weather.  Did I mention it hits the negative degrees in Fairbanks...after all it is Alaska.  When we arrived it was -29F!
We all experienced a weird can't breath without coughing type of symptom.  Ismael called a transport (King Cab Alaska; Roy was our driver Cab# AR 134) Roy was super helpful and friendly.  We took the ride to our Airbnb located in the North Pole, Alaska; a quick 20 minute drive East.  The next morning Ismael would go get our beautiful rental for this magical trip.

Once at the Airbnb (around 3:15am) we warmed up, got super hyped about staying in such a dreamy winter wonderland cabin and began to plan what we were going to do since we only had Friday, Saturday, Sunday and half of Monday.  Me being the planner at heart began to share with the everyone what I had and we all accommodate to the plans easily.  At around 4am we finally went to sleep only to wake up 4 hours later; that surprisingly felt amazing.

So, Why Alaska?

Fairbanks, Alaska is one of the most popular places to go see the Northern Lights, the beautiful and breathtaking Aurora Borealis.  Seeing the Northern lights was never a dream I felt I needed to see; this was my friends Monica's. However now that I experienced it, I can truly say it is something everyone should experience.  Very thankful I was able to see and fully experience such world beauty. End of February is apparently the best time of year to see the lights.

 What to pack?

Winter vacations are fun, with the proper clothes and gear you too can have an amazing time. You must wear 3-4 layers.  First layer consist of thermal tights and long sleeve top.  Second layer, I added another pair of leggings/things and a long sleeve thin sweater. For my third layer, I wore snow pants, and a super warm hoodie/jacket.  For my last layer I wore a puffer jacket with hood that covered me all the way down to my knees; having a good quality top coat is essential.  Don't forget your wool socks and snow boots.

Snow Pants (super flattering, not baggy at bottom | Sz: W26/Small) // Male Snow Pants
Face Mask (didn't find it as useful, used my scarf more)
+ Wool Socks (works best at keeping heat in)
Snow Gloves
The North Face Pullover (kept me super warm as a second/third layer)
Long Puffer ( on SALE! I got mine even cheaper with a coupon | Sz: S)
Feet Warmers (placed them in the morning | daily)
Hand Warmers (kept one on each pocket every day, this saved my hands from freezing)
Snow Boots (mine were an old pair Ismael gifted me years ago. I linked similar ones)
+ Beanies!! (double Pom Pom |  white Pom Pom | Faux Fur Brown Hat | Faux Fur Ear warmer headband )
+ Long warm scarf

It is not as expensive as most people thought it would be. You probably already have the clothing to properly layer and all you may need is a good quality coat/jacket and some snow pants.  My suggestion is shop online around January/February for winter sales.  My favorite place is hands down Abercrombie and The North Face.  

Where we stayed

At the most magical airbnb! We wanted to book a little cozy cabin for the whole trip but things didn't workout or so I thought.  We stayed HERE for one night,  located in North Pole, Alaska so a quick 20 minute drive from Fairbanks. The remainder night we booked the hotel the other girls were staying at so we could spend as much time together etc; Best Western Plus Chena, it included breakfast and staff was welcoming with very clean environment. 

How we got around?

Ismael booked a jeep rental with a Alaska 4x4 Rental, they are a local company from Fairbanks. Overall the service was great, the jeep was in such great condition and the price was fair.  The only unfortunate thing is that they open at 9am and are unable to accommodate early/late arrivals.

What to do?

Day 1: 

We started off our day in Santa Clause House.  If you enjoy the magic of Christmas you will find the beauty in this; although to be fair it is basically an ornament/decor store with a mini food shop inside.   If you ever visit do not forget to send a Santa letter to a little one and why not yourself as well.  I read a couple of the kids letters and it felt magical.  Places as this, you truly have to make it magical on your own and loose the expectations.

Afterwards we headed to do dog mushing with FireWalker Alaskan Malamute, located in North Pole.  I research and chose this family owned business because they were the only ones I could find that had a chainless kennel and the only ones with the original sledding dog of Alaska, the Malamute.  You could just see the love they have for their dogs.  In no moment did we felt as if the dogs were being mistreated; we heard some bad stuff from other travelers.

Hunger kicked in after all those activities so we went to get tamales! While researching my trip I found a small hut/shop that sold tamales! Out of all places we would find Tamales in the North Pole, Alaska.  Doña Pompa is the owner of Outlaw Tamales who was feature in Univision; check out her video click here.  She was adorable!! we chatted with her and even asked for a photo! She was so sweet, she gifted us some buñuelos.  Her tamales weren't spicy but she had the salsa that made them ufff so yumm!  If you are ever around please visit her, you will not regret it.

With a full belly we headed to Chena Hot Springs; they have multiple activities to do.  We chose the Aurora Ice Museum; buy tickets ahead of time as it is a guided tour.  You can also buy a cocktail at the ice bar but ensure to pay prior to entering.  Can you believe it felt warmer inside the museum lol!

 Afterwards we headed to the Hot Springs.  I was struggling to get inside the hot water!! It was burning my legs LOL but once inside it was sooo nice.  It is a natural hot spring that in my opinion is a must! Maye loved it! our hair and eyelashes were frozen? so fucking cool seriously.
Tip: Don't stay that long in the Hot Springs and cause your blood pressure to rise like mine and thus get lightheaded, heart palpitations etc. LOL. 

Tired, hungry AF and moody haha we decided to wait a little and then start our drive back to Fairbanks as Chena Hot Springs was an hour and half drive.  Someone told a friend of mine that they saw the Auroras on their was back at night so we were hoping for this to happen to us as well; some people pay tours to see the Aurora but since we had a car we did not felt the need to do so.

On our drive back magic happened........
( The mail box has the address for your kiddos to send Santa a letter!! )
( I had so much fun! an experience I will forever remember)
( They were soo fluffy, adorable and full of personality)
 ( With Doña Pompa, such a sweets and humble señora)
 ( When we first pulled up to her she said "Me vieron en Univision!?" to which I replied "no en Instagram! lol

( The cocktail was actually pretty good) 

The Northern Lights...

Magic always happens when we least expect it.  Driving back I continued to look out the window waiting to see the beautiful Auroras.  I noticed a long streak like a white rainbow cloud in the sky.  Could that be it? I told the girls but they said they couldn't see anything and that it wasn't it.  We continued to drive and I kept seeing it.  I then asked myself well.. if that is not it, then what the fuck is it that because that is not normal?? haha I paused then yelled!! THEY ARE! THEY ARE  and in matter of second we became a beautiful fucked up mess of girls screaming, Maye yelling "donde donde?", fingers freezing trying to get photos and shock feeling that it was actually it.

Maye pulled over in the a one way highway and there.. in front of us they were...the beautiful Aurora Borealis, the famous Northern Light everyone talks about.  

TIP: I had my iPhone, a DSLR camera, we had a go pro, another camera a none were able to capture the aurora.  The only phones of my friends whom did where the iPhone 11 and an Android one(I think).  With that said, I highly suggest using an iPhone 11 if you have one or researching which other phone captures it. 

TIP:  Download the Aurora app.  This tells you the lights forecast for the night; I found it very useful.  I shot a time-lapse( video in my Chiimpu instagram) using the Night Cap App

We continued our drive and stopped again as Ismael saw the most vibrant light right in front of us.  Here is where we were able to see them with he naked eye; the beautiful green color.  We continued to drive and went up to the Murphy Dome.  When we arrive there wasn't much light activity so we waited but around midnight decided to head back and try again the next night.

Taking the wrong turn turned out to be the best accidental decision of that night.  We got stuck for 2 hours and right when we were getting the jeep out the lights appeared before us! That memory I will forget hold close to my heart! the lights were movings and I could see it with my naked eye! no cameras needed! Reason why I say everything happens for a reason! we needed to get stuck in order to see that beauty!

Our first night was the only night we were able to see them as the skies were not clear on the second and it snowed the rest of the nights.

Day 2

On this day we did a little bit of shopping, went to see the famous Love Alaska, walked across a frozen river, went to the University of Alaska Temperature sign explored downtown Fairbanks, obviously visited Venue a local cute coffee shop in downtown Fairbanks.  We got hungry headed to The Crepery, super yummy crepes within walking distance from Venue.  Afterwards we headed to see the famous Antler Arch, went to a gift shop and just chilled. 

 In the little notebook where I write all the cool things to do at a travel place I recalled writing something about a swing.  I found this swing while doing a hashtag research on Instagram #fairbanksalaska.  Everyone was up to finding the swing so we headed there with no reassurance we would find the darn swing!

We found it and it was colddd AF!! super windy as it was located on top of a mountain overlooking mountains and Fairbanks.  Would completely recommend you guys visit it!It is completely free.  Swing Location:click here.  After wards we headed to the Ice Art Park, where my toes froze up yet we slid on an ice slide with a broken sled borrowed from the front lady. LOL.  Afterwards we went to have dinner but ended up spending almost two hours in the parking lot taking shots of Patron while singing our lungs out.  I seriously loved every minute of this trip!

ice art park Fairbanks

Day 3

Sunday we decided to sleep in a little bit more.  It was snowing and we knew seeing the Auroras was out of the window for our last night in Fairbanks.  I had the brilliant idea to get in our bikinis in cold ass weather and get some cool photos in front of the University of Alaska Temperature sign!! The girls agreed and off we went.  We laughed sooo much!

After putting our 4 layers back on we went to see the famous Alaska Pipeline, used to transport oil from across Alaska; 800 Miles long, 48 inches in diameter, it cost $8 Billion dollars to built in 1977; largest privately funded project of that time.

We then headed to a dispensary, then one of the coolest place, Hoo Doo Brewing Company.  Their beer was one of the best I've tried.  Our favorite was, "Gose".  We went outside by the fire pits and just shared an awesome time chatting and laughing.  

On the weekend Santa is at the Santa House.  Half tipsy I told Ismael if we could drive to The North Pole and see if we could catch Santa to get a video of him for our nieces! We made it just in time.  My nieces were so happy, it melted my heart.  We found the North Pole sign took more photos, I accidentally grabbed my friends boobs, haha.  Then we headed to have pizza and play pool.

Hasta la próxima Alaska

Our last morning Ismael and I booked a reindeer walk activity with Running Reindeer Ranch.  We learned a lot about these full of personality animals, we walked with them, took some photos, and finished up with some freshly baked cookies and a warm drink.  It was an activity that for sure you will not find anywhere else.  Funny note, Jane the owner is a nurse.  Not to forget one of her staff members asked if we were the ones who drove a white jeep and got stuck in the snow?! Turns out it was her and her boyfriend that got us out of the snow the night we saw the beautiful auroras!

After the reindeer activity all we wanted was to chill and relax.  We headed to La Velles Tap House to enjoy a beer; we invited the girls and finished up the trip laughing about all the crazy things that happened to us and how we all had such an amazing time.  Alaska you were beautiful, you treated us kindly, gave us unique experiences and shared your beautiful auroras with us.  Till next time.  


With Love,

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