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Climate and lifestyle

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An Areal  view of Fairbanks
Photo credit: Todd Paris, UAF marketing and communications

Most of the year Fairbanks enjoys sunny skies and well-defined seasons. Hot summer days are balanced by cool winter nights. The Brooks Range protects the Interior from Arctic winds while the Alaska Range keeps the wet, humid coastal weather at bay. Fairbanks is considered a valley surrounded by hills.  It is a relatively dry climate, with rivers and streams surrounding our city, including the Chena River which runs through Fairbanks. Click here for the average monthly temperature.

We’ll let you in on a secret - the summers are wonderful and the winters are actually less intimidating than their reputation! Each season brings a change to our lifestyle. The people who live in and around the Fairbanks area take adventure to  a whole new level.  Check out the Community Events going on throughout the year that you can attend, as well as recreational activities!

Fairbanksans love spring! Spring marks the return of the geese and swans, and the literal bursting of tree buds overnight! It’s a marvelous time to watch the
aurora borealis (northern lights), and enjoy winter sports on warm sunny days. Spring is also the time for gardeners to get all their   plants ready for our long sunny days of summer.

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A wide variety of flowers grow during summers long daylight hours
Photo credit: Todd Paris, UAF marketing and communications

In summer, Fairbanksans are known to be extremely outdoor oriented. We take full advantage of the long warm summer days. Some people even say that summer is the main reason they enjoy Alaska's Interior so much. The Chena river runs through the middle of Fairbanks so it is easy to go boating, Kayaking, canoeing, etc. when you chose to. There is also near by lakes such as Chena Lake Recreation Area, near North Pole, where parents can take their kids to go swimming, fishing, and camping. We have many Garden enthusiasts' who plant a variety of vegetables and flowers at their homes and some even sell their produce at the local farmers market.  The Flowers in Alaska are noticeably more vibrant in color due to the 18 + hours of daylight throughout the summer. Since the sun sets long after 9:30 pm most of the summer, that means more time in the day for people here to be outdoors!

During fall, Fairbanks is awash with golden leaves and brilliant, crisp sunny days. Berry pickers can be found on most hillsides. Fall is also the time when school starts and families begin to adjust to darker nights from what they have been used to in the summer. This is a wonderful time for hiking, camping, hunting, and soaking in hot springs.

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Walking trail in Autumn
Photo credit: Beth Deutsche
Enjoy idyllic winter weather with a dip in a local hot spring!
Photo credit: David Hayter

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A cow moose snacks on a choke cherry tree at the UAF Campus
Photo credit: Todd Paris, UAF marketing and communications


When winter finally comes , Fairbanksans don’t close up shop, we just change our gear. Our parkas, gloves, boots and scarves all become a fashion statement! Bundled up we take part in a variety of community events and activities.  Whether it’s skiing, snow boarding, snow machining, or just enjoying a night out, Fairbanks, knows how to keep warm. December through  February, are the coldest, but the
weather doesn't typically slow our daily commute. To combat potentially slick winter driving conditions, many Fairbanksans choose to drive all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive vehicles with studded tires (though 2-wheel drive vehicles equipped with seasonal snow tires work just fine). To prevent cars from not starting in the cold weather months and save gas, Fairbanksans plug in their cars at or below 20 degreed F. As with all activities taking place outside during our cold winter months, it is a good idea to dress for the weather and to take other safety precautions such as packing a car emergency kit—especially if you plan to drive a long distance in a less-populated area.

Quote from Yolanda F. Quote from Yolanda F.
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