Fairbanks, originally a gold rush boom town, is located in the interior of Alaska and is referred to as the Golden Heart of Alaska. The population of Fairbanks city proper is 32,469 (2014 census), but within the North Star Borough there are about 100,000 hearty souls, making it the largest metropolitan area in Alaska, after Anchorage. Its history dates back to 1902 when gold was struck here and brought hordes of miners. Today, there is still some gold to be found in the hills around Fairbanks, but the Alaska Railroad, the Alaska Highway and the Alaska pipeline are what brought growth and development to Fairbanks.
The midnight sun and the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, are two natural phenomenon that occur here and bring visitors year-round. The city experiences 24 hours of near darkness during the winter months and 24 hours a day of sunlight during the summer. The most popular attraction is the World Ice Art Championships where sculptors from over 30 different countries compete each year, and the event attracts tens of thousands of spectators. Fairbanks is also home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks and military installations which include Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base, which all help to bring the average age here to just 27.
The Milken Report on Successful Aging listed Fairbanks as a Best City to retire due to its health care, community engagement, and volunteerism among older adults.
Watch this short Youtube video prepared by Explore Fairbanks:
Zillow reports the median home value to be $236,795 in early 2020.
What is Special about Fairbanks
Fairbanks is home of the midnight sun and the Aurora Borealis which offers some the most beautiful skies in the world. Although winters are long and cold, Fairbanks has a lot to do with snowmobiling, curling, and ice fishing, and is the hub for cross-country skiing in Alaska.
What is Not Special about Fairbanks
It's known as the coldest city in the U.S., and getting use to months of constant darkness and months of daylight may not be easy; cost of living here is high.
Who Will Like Retirement in Fairbanks
Those who enjoy winter sports, watching wildlife, and volunteering may enjoy living here. There are golf courses, a river for kayaking and a 2,200 acre bird sanctuary. Fairbanks has museums, a hospital, a library, and an airport. The University of Alaska offers community classes through the school's Cooperative Extension Service and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. The scenery is beautiful with Denali National Park nearby.
Local Economy is Driven by
Although Fairbanks is located in the center of the state, passengers on cruise ships make thier way to Fairbanks and tourism helps to drive the economy, as does public administration.
Climate and Physical Environment
Winters here are long and cold lasting from mid-October to mid-April and temperatures averaging -12 degrees in January. July's average is 67 degrees. Fairbanks gets about 70 inches of snow annually.
Restaurants & Cultural Scene
Restaurants in Fairbanks offer ethnic dining with local meat and fish dishes that include Alaskan salmon and Yukon gold potatoes. And where else can you order reindeer sausage? There are also distilleries and microbreweries here.
Although Fairbanks offers an array of outdoor activities, the cultural opportunities include Pioneer Park, a 44-acre city park that commemorates early Alaskan history with museums and historic displays, and The University of Alaska Museum of the North presents collections and exhibits of the the cultural heritage of Alaska. Opera Fairbanks is an active arts organization that presents programs and events.
The crime rate in Fairbanks is high, with theft accounting for most of the incidents.
Fairbanks Memorial Hospital services the area.
Fairbanks has an international airport, and the Alaska Railroad offers some service but moreso in the summer for tourists.
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