Fairbanks is the largest city of what is known as Alaska’s “interior”. Population is around 90,000 people; 30,000 of which are in the actual city while the rest are scattered in cabins in the surrounding forests. That’s not really accurate to say because a big part of the city itself is forests that are inhabited by cabins (no joke – some of them are not connected to electricity or water).
Fairbanks is located in the central Tanana Valley. Stretched beyond the northern area of the city border, is a chain of hills that rises gradually until it reaches the White Mountains and the Yukon River. In the south you”ll find the Tanana River, and further south of the river is the Tanana Flats – an area of marsh and bog that stretches for more than 100 miles (approximately 160 km) until it rises into the Alaska Range. On clear days the Alaska Range is visible from Fairbanks. To the east and west are low valleys and ridges of hills up to 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level.
University of Alaska Fairbanks
The main attraction in Fairbanks is the local university (University of Alaska Fairbanks or UAF), an acclaimed academic campus, especially in the natural sciences fields. The university is one of the leaders in researching the physical aspect of the northern lights, and has graduated some leading researchers in the fields of climate change and ecology. Beyond the university there isn’t much to see and aside from a couple shopping centers, the city doesn’t have much to offer.
There are a few local tourist attractions such as cruising the river in a steam boat reminiscent of the gold rush era, a tour of the local gold mine or actual gold mining in one of the authorized spots near the city. Once you get a little farther from the city there is a little more to see, but in our opinion it still can’t compete with the views south of here, in the Alaska Range area and along the beaches.