Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center#1 in Best Things To Do in Fairbanks
The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center is a great first stop to pick up maps and information on things to do in Fairbanks. In addition to exhibits on the natural history of the region and the cultural history of Alaska natives, the center offers a free film on Alaska's history and nature. What's more, on the first Friday of every month, the center hosts a free reception featuring the work of an Alaskan artist from the interior region. This is also where you'll find the city's famous Antler Arch, a piece constructed with more than 100 moose and caribou antlers collected from all over interior Alaska.
Most recent visitors said this free museum was an ideal first stop for learning about Alaskan life, with a good mix of history and culture. Many found the central downtown location convenient, and families particularly enjoyed the interactive displays for kids. Some visitors were disappointed that the informative movie only runs once per day, but all travelers complimented the friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Located on the banks of the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks, the cultural center is open every day from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the summer and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter. Admission is free and includes access to the center's films, exhibits and daily events and programs. Complimentary parking is provided on-site, or travelers can take the blue or red MACS Transit bus line to the property. Visit the center's website to view a calendar of exhibits and special events.
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#2 Aurora Borealis Tours
The aurora borealis – commonly called the northern lights – are one of the most popular attractions in Fairbanks. The region is situated under the "aurora oval", and from late September to early April, visitors flock to the region to view the spectacular light show. The city lights of Fairbanks tend to wash out the northern lights, so most tours head north on the Dalton Highway into the countryside for optimal viewing.
A number of tour companies, including Ben Boyd's Alaskan Northern Lights Tour and Northern Alaska Tour Company, offer a variety of experiences, from an eight-hour evening viewing tour to a flightseeing and driving tour package that heads to the Arctic Circle. Those who prefer to plan their own trip can drive north to the Aurora Borealis Lodge to take a self-guided driving tour or even book a room for several nights of viewing.
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