We visited Fairbanks with the sole purpose of seeing the Northern Lights. We essentially planned around a clear (no clouds) and dark night (new moon) and obsessively monitored the UoA forecaster. Our planning and timing paid off. At around 11pm, we drove up to Ester Dome and by midnight, we were rewarded with an amazing light show.
It was incredible to see, and the images do not do it any justice. It was awe inspiring and almost a spiritual moment for me. It’s just stunning, and I highly recommend making the effort to see the lights. So worth it.
Where To Stay:
Once we saw the lights, we felt no need to actually stay in Fairbanks any longer. There just isn’t much to do… so we left and drove right on back to Anchorage, checked ourselves into the Sheraton and slept blissfully.
Where To Eat:
Despite not spending much time in Fairbanks, I feel like we gave the food a valiant try. I also feel that because Fairbanks is a college town (and bigger than some of the other places we visited), the food options were a lot better and more varied. We were amazed by the quality of the Thai food at Lemon Grass. It was such a good relief from all the American food we had been eating. The seafood curries feature Alaskan seafood and locally grown vegetables! How incredible is that? And the curries were delicious. My drunken noodles were flavorful and so good.
We also went to Jung Korean for some comforting Korean food – real banchan, bibimbap and galbi with lots of gojuchang. YUM. It made me so happy.
Fairbanks is definitely one of the best places in the entire world to view the Aurora Borealis. However, during the day time, there isn’t much to do except for recharge until it’s dark enough for more sky gazing. We did visit the above-ground section of the Alaska pipeline, and even contemplated driving out to the Chena Hot Springs. But once we caught the lights, there was nothing keeping us there, so we quickly left the next morning.
I’ll be wrapping up this travel series from Anchorage and will include some Alaska travel tips. Stay tuned!