Fairbanks - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Fairbanks


Like many other cities in the Alaska, Fairbanks' 110-year history is full of explorers, gold prospectors, swindlers, and other colourful characters associated with the Gold Rush that populated much of the state. Now Alaska's second-largest city with more than 35,000 residents, Fairbanks nonetheless maintains a quirky small-town attitude that is both wary and welcoming to the roughly 350,000 tourists that make their way here each year.

The city of Fairbanks is spread across the flat base of the Tanana Valley and straddling the Chena River. There are no architectural gems in the low-rise buildings that make up the downtown area, and the skyline is far from dramatic, populated by Wal-Mart and McDonald's instead of castles or cathedrals. Within one or two hours visitors will be well-acclimated and have no trouble getting around in Fairbanks, which is best done by car (although there is an infrequent bus service).

There are several attractions in Fairbanks worth visiting however, including museums dedicated to uniquely Alaskan activities like ice carving and dog sledding, as well as one designed solely to show summer visitors just how cold the weather in Fairbanks can get. Children in Fairbanks will love the rides at the low-key Pioneer Park amusement park, including the Whiskey Island Railroad and the carousel.

While the city offers some urban diversions, the most popular activities and attractions in Fairbanks take advantage of the abundance of natural beauty surrounding the city. Riverboat tours stop in Athabascan Indian fishing villages, dog sledding tours add a sense of adventure to city excursions, and the Chena Hot Springs Resort is only 60 miles (96km) out of town. Of course the most spectacular attraction in Fairbanks is the unforgettable sight of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). Fairbanks is considered one of the best places to see the Northern Lights, a phenomenon that occurs with some regularity in the dark months from September to April.

Whether it's sunny and warm or cold and dark you're after, a holiday in Fairbanks always has something to appeal to the adventurous traveller.

Information & Facts

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

One of the most popular tourist attractions, the El Dorado Gold Mine tour is conducted on a train that takes visitors through a permafrost tunnel, educating them about gold mining in the early 1900s. Still functioning as a placer mine, visitors can also take a walking tour and talk to Alaska miners while trying their hands at panning for gold for a guaranteed payday.

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