Best Places to Live

Fairbanks, AK

Population: 33
LIV
SCORE
580
iStock/lorentrager

As one of the northernmost cities in the US, Fairbanks sparks a whole lot of curiosity for residents of the Lower 48. The northern lights, awe-inspiring wildlife and striking midnight sun are all a normal part of life for residents Fairbanks. But Fairbanks is so much more than a collection of natural wonders: it’s also home to a fantastic art scene, great coffee and a close-knit community. The city scored well in the infrastructure, housing and amenities categories, with housing options at every price point and plenty of things to do and see during your downtime.

Local Obsession: Coffee! Fairbanks was one of the first cities in the U.S. to adopt artisanal coffee culture, and its cafe scene is still miles ahead of most other cities.

Climate Described in 6 Words Or Less: Northern lights, midnight sun, watercolor skies.

Top Industries and Employers: Fairbanks is home to Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base, which are large employers in the community. Gold mining is also still alive and well in Fairbanks, and you’ll find lots of locals employed in mining or pipeline industries. Another major employer is the nearby Banner Health System.

Local Dream Job: Dog sled tour guide at Paws for Adventure — Fairbanks is known as the world’s mushing capital, and there is no better way to experience the trails than aboard a dog sled!  

Quintessential Meal: Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, of course.

Favorite Weekend Activity: Snowmachining (also known as snowmobiling to those of us in the lower 48.)

After-Work Meetup Spot: Lavelle’s Taphouse

Best Brewery/Local Beer: HooDoo Brewing Company

Beloved Bookstore: Forget-Me-Not Books

Free Way to Have Fun: Admiring the amazing views and wildlife sightings on the local hiking trails.

Truly Hidden Gem: Chena Hot Springs literally has it all - a resort, hot springs, dog sledding, an ice museum. You name it, they have it! 

- Claire Hannum

Read More:

Moving to Alaska? Here’s Everything You Need to Know.

8 Things to Do in Alaska

The Best Places to Live in Alaska

“I love living in Fairbanks for the community. The friendships I’ve made up here are some of the best I’ve ever had. Everyone I know of would go out of their way to help a stranger if the need arose. The sense of community and belonging runs deep.”

Elizabeth Depue
Office Manager at Lavelle’s Bistro

Fairbanks, AK Ranking Data

Civic
49
Demographics
39
Economy
56
Education
56
Health
56
Housing
64
Infrastructure
81