Posted in Things To Do In Alaska

It’s no surprise that a city renowned for its natural beauty is full of free entertainment. But it’s not all about the great outdoors. Check out the wide variety of free and fun things to do in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the summer – many of which are near the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel.

Arts & Entertainment

Fairbanks has a rich history and vibrant culture. Here’s how to explore the scene on your visit.

Visit the Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau to get tips on what to see and do.
© State of Alaska/Michael DeYoung

1.  Check out the Ballroom Dance Club of Fairbanks. Social dances are $5 for members, but the first dance of the season (usually in September) is free.

2.  The musically inclined will enjoy free concerts in Pioneer Park. There are multiple dates throughout the summer in Fairbanks.

3.  Learn about contemporary Alaska art by exploring local art galleries or picking up the free “Art Tours” pamphlet from the convention and visitors bureau. It’s filled with artistic things to do in Fairbanks.


Who doesn’t love a day spent window shopping and perusing the aisles? Visit Fairbanks’ local shops for unique, local finds.

The Knotty Ship in Salcha features unique Alaska gifts and a wildlife museum
Photo credit: The Knotty Shop

4.  Check out the wildlife museum at the Knotty Shop while you shop for Alaska souvenirs.

5.  Shop with the Fairbanks, Alaska locals at the summer farmers market beside the Tanana Valley fairgrounds.

6.  Visit Santa at his residence in North Pole, Alaska, located just outside of town. The Santa Claus House sells Christmas items year-round and you can take pictures in front of the murals on the outside of the building.

7.  Watch Alaska crafts being made, specifically birch bowls, at The Great Alaskan Bowl Company.


Need your sports fix while visiting Interior Alaska? Biking, hiking and running, oh my!

Fairbanks is full of activity options and set on the beautiful Chena River.
© State of Alaska/Michael DeYoung

8.  Cyclists will love the Ester Dome Singletrack Happy Valley Trail with 9.5 miles of trails maintained by the Fairbanks Cycle Club.

9.  Paved trails make rollerblading on Farmers Loop or along the Chena River a pleasure.

10. Practice rugby with Fairbanks’ own Northern Warriors (or just watch) in January through September.

11. Hiking is an incredibly popular thing to do in Fairbanks. Some of the best trails include Angel Rocks, Eagle Summit, Granite Tors and Chena Dome.

12. If you’re a cross-country runner, don’t miss the 460-acre Birch Hill Park just a few miles north of Fairbanks.


A Fairbanks, Alaska summer is known for its beautiful scenery, so get out and enjoy it!

Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights in winter, Fairbanks, Alaska
© State of Alaska/Chris McLennan

13. Fairbanks is one of the world’s best places to see the aurora borealis (northern lights). Your best viewing times are between September and April. View more tips on viewing the aurora borealis.

14. Enjoy the view at the Hagelbarger Turnout off Steese Highway where you can catch a glimpse of Denali on a clear day.

15. Berry picking galore. Visit Murphy and Ester domes in July and August for all the free berries you can carry. If this is your first time, the visitor center offers a free guide to what’s edible.

16. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Large Animal Research Station is home to musk oxen and reindeer. The facility offers tours with free admission for children under five years old.

17. Nature trails are a great way to learn more about the world around you while getting a mild amount of exercise. Visit Two Rivers Elementary for a 1K trail designed by the fifth-grade class.

18. While the Georgeson Botanical Gardens requires a $5 admission, they offer free classes for kids throughout the summer.


If you’d prefer to have the adventure planned for you, tours are a great option!

Murphy's Dome is a popular recreational site just outside of Fairbanks
Murphy’s Dome Area: Photo credit: Wil Lawson

19. For the science-lover in your life, the Geophysical Institute offers free tours during the summer. Contact them for exact details and to make a reservation.

20. Learn more about the armed forces with a base tour. Contact Fort Wainwright or Eielson Air Force Base for more information.

21. Explore Fairbanks at your own pace with a driving tour. Favorites include Chena Hot Springs Road, Murphy Dome Road and Cripple Creek Road.

22. The University of Alaska Fairbanks offers free walking tours of the campus from June through August. Reservations are required.

23. Interested in guided tour packages? Choose from several guided Fairbanks, Alaska, summer tours.

Other fun things to do in Fairbanks

Fairbanks is a diverse city with lots to do. Check out these other activities.

Gold panning at Gold Dredge No. 8 outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. The camp is one of the most visited mining tours in the state.
© State of Alaska/Matt Hage

24. Visit Pioneer Park for a taste of the gold rush in Alaska. The park is free, though some museums require admission.

25. For the Alaska pioneer experience, try your hand at gold panning. Read this guide first and check with the Bureau of Land Management to find an approved area.

See current specials at the Westmark Fairbanks.