Fun Festivals, Northern Lights and Hot Springs

Anchorage, Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs

Day 1 Anchorage
Time your arrival in Anchorage for a few days before the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins, usually the first weekend in March. A quick consultation with staff at Visit Anchorage’s log cabin visitor center downtown will point you to any of a wide range of Fur Rendezvous events happening citywide. The festival features a different selection of events each day as well as ongoing activities, like snow sculptures and a winter carnival complete with rides. Events include the Running of the Reindeer, the Miners and Trappers Ball, snowshoe softball, arts exhibitions and much more.

Day 2 Anchorage
Between another day of Fur Rendezvous events, be sure to visit the Anchorage Museum at Rasmusen Center. The museum was renovated and expanded in recent years and features stunning displays of Alaska Native clothing, tools and art items in its permanent collection; iconic Alaska art; fun, hands-on activities for kids; and a constantly rotating schedule of visiting exhibitions. Winter is the best season to be able to take your time and explore the museum’s collections due to lighter crowds.

Day 3 Anchorage
This Saturday marks the ceremonial start to the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Fourth Avenue in downtown Anchorage. Teams line up for blocks as they await their turn to leave the starting chute, cheered on by enthusiastic spectators. All the people and activity bring a lively atmosphere to the entire downtown area, and it’s a great day to wander and explore the shops and restaurants in the after the mushers are on their way to Nome, 1,000 miles to the north.

fun festivals, northern lights and hot springs

Day 4 Fairbanks
Board the Alaska Railroad and head north to Fairbanks, a stunning, quiet and relaxing 12-hour journey through the winter landscape. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and be sure to tell the front desk staff you’d like to be woken up if northern lights are visible during the night.

Day 5 Fairbanks
For more Alaska culture and art, check out the University of Alaska Museum of the North on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In the late afternoon and evening, spend a few hours wandering through the ice park at the World Ice Art Championships. The event lasts for more than a month each year and features the work of the world’s top ice artists, who travel to Fairbanks to create towering sculptures that glitter at night and shine during the day. The ice park also features a fun kids park with slides, castles and other play areas – all made of ice.

Day 6 Chena Hot Springs Resort
Head out to Chena Hot Springs Resort for a night or two of hot springs soaking, skiing, dog mushing and northern lights viewing. The resort, located about 50 miles north of Fairbanks, is an excellent place to see the lights, and offers tours and excursions to guests to enhance the experience. The resort also features an ice museum sculpted by one of the most decorated ice artists in the world, Steve Brice. After thoroughly soaking away your woes, fly home from Fairbanks.