Fairbanks, Alaska is indeed an Aurora City. People travel from all over the world to chase the aurora in Fairbanks and the far north. Spanning all four seasons and nine months of the year, Aurora Season runs August 21 through April 21. Fairbanks is a world-famous aurora viewing city because of its location directly under the Auroral Oval, a ring-shaped region hovering over the far north where northern lights activity is concentrated. Furthermore, Fairbanks’ distance from coastal weather and minimal light pollution (due to low population density), consistently contribute to clear, dark skies and optimum aurora viewing.
In many ways, Fairbanks is synonymous with the northern lights. In what other city can you find subdivisions, power plants, construction companies, veterinary clinics, publications, restaurants, street names, lodges, tours and so much more all named for the aurora borealis? It’s not a coincidence that the Geophysical Institute (one of the world’s foremost aurora research centers) is located at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. And one doesn’t have to wonder why the Poker Flats rocket range, where scientists shoot rockets into active auroras to collect data, is stationed just 27 miles north of the city’s center. Just as it isn’t a surprise that the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports current aurora forecasts on their front page or that the Explore Fairbanks website has a one-of-a-kind real-time Aurora Tracker.
Likewise, dwellings in the Fairbanks area have been built with the express purpose of aurora viewing in mind, including picturesque lodges and log cabins, remote yurts, well-appointed viewing spaces and posh igloos. Many Fairbanks accommodations will give patrons a “wake-up” call when the aurora appears. Also, local entrepreneurs have crafted a multitude of exciting ways travelers can simultaneously see the lights and enjoy quintessentially Alaskan activities. In this charmed Aurora City, you can combine late night dog mushing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, flightseeing and more with aurora viewing.