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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Fairbanks, Alaska in 2024

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Fairbanks, Alaska in 2024

What's the best time to visit Fairbanks, Alaska?

The best time to visit Fairbanks, Alaska, is during the summer months of June to August for warm weather and vibrant outdoor activities. Winter offers a magical experience with snow sports and the Northern Lights from August to April. Year-round attractions include Denali National Park and seasonal events like the World Ice Art Championship, catering to diverse interests.

Before making Alaska your next stop on your bucket list, it’s always good to research your options. The city has a lot to offer and a lot to see, but it’s imperative to know the best time to visit.

Most know that Alaska can be frigid and the days are short, so it’s necessary to know what the weather is like throughout the year, the cheapest prices, and the best time to see the attractions to have the best trip to this adventurous place.

We’ll show you the best time to visit Fairbanks along with the least busy, cheapest, and worst times to go and what we recommend doing in each season; let us be your guide!

The Best Time to Visit Fairbanks Alaska

Multiple people relaxing in the Chena Hot Springs in Fairbanks, taken during the best time to visit

Fairbanks, Alaska, USA 6-20-21 People relaxing in the Chena Hot Springs/Jacob Boosma/Shutterstock

The overall best time to visit Fairbanks, Alaska is in the summer, from June until August. Temperatures don’t usually get too hot, and humidity is not much of a problem. And May is the driest time of the year.

Inland temperatures can reach the 90s, but the average temperature averages in the 70s or low 80s. Temperatures in the coastal communities rarely go above the 60s.

The temperatures begin to cool in August and September, and the days become much shorter, but with that comes a beautiful display of fall colors in the tundra and forest landscapes. Winter in Fairbanks begins in October and runs through March.

It can become extremely cold in Alaska, and snow covers much of the State during this time. Temperatures can range from a high of 20s to a low of -30 degrees, but the winter months are perfect for winter activities and visiting the snow-covered mountains.

Spring and fall in Fairbanks can bring a wide range of weather events —  snow, blizzards, rain, and sunny skies. During the spring months, the weather is warm, but the nights are cold.

But overall, the best time to visit Fairbanks will depend on what you plan on doing and the type of weather you like. If you love warm weather and sunny skies, the best time to visit will be during the summer months — May through July and perhaps the first part of August.

If you love the frozen tundra feeling and don’t mind the cold, the winter months are your best time. Also, if you love winter sports — dogsledding, or snowmobiling — the winter months are the best option.

If you’re more into city life, enjoying the outdoor festivals, and watching the wildlife roam, then the summer and spring months are best for you.

Fairbanks holds two annual winter events in February — The Alaska Quest Dogsled Event and The World Ice Art Championship. During Christmas time, you can visit St. Nicholas at the “North Pole” and watch him and his elves prepare for the holidays.

Fairbanks experiences hotter summers than many parts of Alaska. The summertime offers plenty of events and activities for the whole family to enjoy. Ride the Midnight Sun ATV tours way past dark, or take a stroll through the Georgeson Botanical Garden.

If you’re looking for bargains and great food, visit the area farmers markets or enjoy the Midnight Sun Festival with up to 30,000 others. This summer event is a 12-hour celebration with live music, performances, food, and souvenirs for your enjoyment.

You can also try out some gold panning and see if you can become the next millionaire, love on some sled puppies, and cheer for your favorite BBQ cook-off contestant.

If you visit Fairbanks, there are two attractions you must put on your bucket list — Denali National Park and the Northern Lights.

Plan a relaxing but exciting four-hour train ride through the forest areas of Anchorage and the tundra regions located northward. On a clear day, you can see the magnificent Denali, the largest mountain in North America, and perhaps catch a glimpse of wildlife along the way.

Let’s not forget the spectacular Northern Lights, known as the aurora borealis, a colorful display of lights that move about in the dark sky.

The best time to see this display is between August and April, when the days are shorter and the nights are longer. Yes, it will be cold at night, but the experience is worth it.

Cheapest Time to Visit Fairbanks Alaska

Green Northern Lights seen over a snow-covered house on a winter day during the overall cheapest time to visit Fairbanks


The cheapest time to visit Fairbanks may or may not be determined by the weather or times of the year like in other places. Some people are drawn to Alaska during the winter because of the numerous available winter activities, so visiting in the winter may not be cheaper.

Of course, others travel to Fairbanks in the summer because that’s the warmest time of the year, and they can enjoy the outdoor and city festivals and events. The cheapest time may be the spring and fall months, but that may not be a guarantee.

The cheapest time to visit will depend on the cost of flights and hotels. If you can find discounts through various club memberships or student, military, senior, and corporate means, that would help you save on your trip.

Compare prices from various airlines. Airline prices are usually cheaper in the winter, so that’s something to remember. If you plan to visit in the summer, it’s best to research and compare airline prices and hotel rates in advance to get the cheapest rates.

To help save on attractions and events happening in Fairbanks, purchase tickets well in advance — and if possible, purchase group rates. The best way to save money on travel expenses is to look into airline and hotel packages instead of purchasing them individually.

It’s also a good idea to purchase tickets through companies like Expedia and Cheap Flights. Some companies allow you to make monthly payments on airline tickets and even airline and hotel packages.

Least Busy Time to Visit Fairbanks Alaska

Historic Pioneer Park on the river in the winter with a clear sky, taken during the best time to visit Fairbanks Alaska

Gary Whitton/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit Fairbanks is hard to pinpoint. The cold winter months could keep large crowds away but will attract snow lovers. As a result, April and September are probably the least busy times of the year.

April and September are probably the cheapest times to visit too.  Airline tickets run less, car rentals will cost less, and some attractions may offer discounts during this time.

The best way to score deals on flights during the least busy time is to purchase in advance and compare airline prices. The winter months may also be cheap, but winter activities may cost more.

Worst Time to Visit Fairbanks Alaska

Old white church pictured from across a frozen plain during the winter, the overall worst time to visit Fairbanks, with smoke rising up into the sky from a stack


The worst time to visit Fairbanks is when the weather is bad. Avoid visiting when the weather is extremely cold when there are possible blizzards and during the rainy season which is late August and September.

It will be necessary to check the weather before you plan your trip. April can also be the worst time to visit. The snow has melted, and it’s too early for the summer events.

Fairbanks by Month: Climate & Activities

Red and white seaplane taking off from the water in Fairbanks during the summer, the best time to visit the city


Still unsure about the best time to visit Fairbanks? Take a look at our summary of the weather and climate by month below:


January in Fairbanks is very cold, with temperatures ranging from -11 to 12°F (-24 to -11°C). This month is ideal for viewing the spectacular Northern Lights, participating in the winter fun at the World Ice Art Championships, and enjoying dog sledding through the snowy landscapes.


February continues with frigid weather, perfect for attending the famous Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, exploring the ice sculptures at the Ice Alaska Park, and experiencing the magical Chena Hot Springs.


As spring approaches in March, temperatures in Fairbanks range from 1 to 27°F (-17 to -3°C). March is great for late-season aurora viewing, attending the Open North American Championship sled dog race, and enjoying the Ice Art Championships if they extend into March.


Spring temperatures in April range from 16 to 43°F (-9 to 6°C). It’s an ideal time for cross-country skiing as the weather starts to warm, visiting the University of Alaska Museum of the North, and enjoying the onset of the longer daylight hours.


May sees temperatures warming up from 34 to 61°F (1 to 16°C). Explore the Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge, enjoy bird watching as migratory birds return, and experience the Midnight Sun Festival towards the end of the month.


Summer arrives with temperatures between 46 to 72°F (8 to 22°C). June offers opportunities for hiking in the nearby Denali National Park, attending the Midnight Sun Festival, and enjoying outdoor activities like fishing and rafting under the extended daylight hours.


July maintains mild temperatures from 54 to 73°F (12 to 23°C). It’s a popular month for exploring the Pioneer Park, enjoying the Golden Days Parade celebrating Fairbanks’ gold rush history, and taking riverboat tours on the Chena River.


Temperatures in August range from 46 to 68°F (8 to 20°C). Visit the Santa Claus House in nearby North Pole, Alaska, explore the Georgeson Botanical Garden, and enjoy the Tanana Valley State Fair for local foods and entertainment.


As fall begins, temperatures range from 36 to 55°F (2 to 13°C). September is perfect for enjoying the fall colors, particularly in Denali National Park, experiencing the early starts of the aurora season, and fishing for Arctic grayling.


October sees cooler temperatures from 21 to 38°F (-6 to 3°C). Enjoy the increasingly frequent Northern Lights displays, explore the local art galleries and museums, and experience the first snowfalls of the season.


Fall temperatures in November range from 5 to 21°F (-15 to -6°C). This month is ideal for winter sports like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, enjoying the beginning of the holiday season, and cozying up in local cafes.


Winter brings cold temperatures ranging from -4 to 12°F (-20 to -11°C). December offers the magical winter experience with Christmas celebrations, viewing the Northern Lights, and participating in winter activities like ice fishing and dog sledding.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gold rush town with a water cannon and old-time mining equipment in front for a piece on the best time to go to Fairbanks Alaska

FAIRBANKS, ALASKA, USA – AUGUST 2, 2018: Gold Ruch Town in Pioneer Park. The city park commemorates early Alaskan history with multiple museums and historic displays on site/Pecold/Shutterstock

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting Fairbanks, Alaska:

How do I get from Fairbanks to Denali National Park?

There are several ways you can get to Denali. Fairbanks is about a four-hour train ride from Denali. It takes 2.5 hours by car or van.

In the summertime, the train ride to Denali leaves around 8 am and arrives in Denali around noon in the summer. The tour van leaves the station around 7:30 am and gets to Denali around 10: a.m. Or, you can drive yourself, it takes about 2.5 hours.

How long should I stay in Fairbanks?

At least one full day, but to experience everything Fairbanks has, especially if you visit during the summer months, we recommend a two-day stay.

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights are a spectacular display of bright illuminating lights in the night sky.

When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?

The best time is when it’s darkest the longest. This also means it will be colder outside so dress warm.

What are the best places to stay in Fairbanks?

The best place to stay is an area called Chena River because of its peaceful and picturesque scenery.

What’s the best way to get around Fairbanks?

The best way is by car. If you don’t want to rent a vehicle, you can always use a car-sharing service like Uber or Lyft.

So, When’s the Best Time to Visit Fairbanks?

Overall, the best time to visit Fairbanks will be determined by what activities you plan. If you love snow and snow activities, the winter and fall months are for you. If you love the summer months and the nice weather, May through August is the best time to visit.

Do your research, compare prices, find the best deals, and find out when certain activities and attractions happen, and you’ll have the best vacation Alaska can offer. Happy travels!