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Start Your Review of Fairbanks, AK

Comfortable, But Winters Are Getting Harder
I have lived in the Fairbanks area for about 25 years and have become very comfortable with the community and the lifestyle here. That said, retirement is fast approaching and I am finding it harder and harder to enjoy or even tolerate the winter months. When I was young, winter was an adventure. In middle age it was just something to deal with. Now, it seems like it really is becoming a pain. I'm not sure if I really want to deal with it as an older person and am actively looking into retiring to a warmer climate.



Interested in Fairbanks
Comments about Fairbanks, both positive and negative, are of interest to me. Was in Fairbanks this past March [and north on Cleary Summit] and fell in love with the general area. Seriously considering relocating, though unable to make a move at this time [housing market].

Realize that being somewhere on vacation and living somewhere are two entirely different things. Having said that, it has turned out that places I've decided to visit are places I eventually lived, anywhere from 10-21+ years.

In the meantime, hope to return to Alaska to see more of this amazing state, and hopefully to see those amazing night skies again.



Think Twice!
I came to Alaska 15 years ago on an adventure and first lived in Juneau, which I LOVED and then moved to Eagle River, which I loved and now live in Fairbanks! I do not like it here and am just waiting for the right time to sell my home and leave! The quality of life is terrible in my opinion, unless of course making money is the only thing important to you! There is a lot of drinking and domestic violence everyday! There is a large drunk Native population that one can see staggering all over town every day of the week! There are really no neighborhoods where kids can play out in safely! Ther eis no sense of Community unless you fit in to one of the niches which are very tight! You have the snobs and liberals from the University, the 'locals' who really don't want Chechakos moving in, the Military which is tight knit and closed off, the rednecks who carry guns and shoot anything that gets in their way and the dope smokers who age from in their teens to old...and I mean old! It's almost like people are living in a cage up here or under a rock! If you want to shop you really need to drive 380 miles to Anchorage or use the internet! The winters are long, dark and cold and forget the outside's too darn cold to do much! and the summers are so infected with mosquitos in the summer and gnats in the Fall that you really can not go outside unless you spray a can of Deet on yourself, your loved ones and your pets! And it rains a lot and then if it IS sunny there are forest fires which make it unhealthy to go outside or do anything physical! And if you are a single female who is intelligent, attractive and have no 'excess baggage,' there are so few eligible single men me!!! They do not bathe, or shave or take are of their teeth! I think it's OK to move here if you are here to open a business and can get the heck out for a good portion of the year. Or if you want to be stationed here for a short amount of time, but I DO NOT suggest a permanent stay! Living here ages the body, the soul and the spirit! And not in a good way!!



Plug-in your vehicle!
You need to plug-in your vehicle for almost half of the year here. Also you need a remote auto-start if yo don't have what it takes to handle a hard seat at -40F. Be sure to use zero weight oil and multiple viscosity oil for the drivetrain also. Go to Alaskan Tent and Tarp and get a grille cover for your car as driving 50mph has the windchill factor of -88 hitting your radiator when the ambient temperature is at -40F. Even more so if you're a leadfoot.

Summers are like heaven on earth: the irises are fleeting, the tourists abound and there's actual thunder here along with a once or twice a year heavy rainfall. I miss the summers there, especially the Solstice street party when it's in the +90 degree range. When I rode a Harley to work, the Northern Schools Federal Credit Union time&temp sign said +95F and when my ex-girlfriend from Kentucky was here for Xmas, it was easily below 0 and at times -10 to -20 at times. Drove the Jeep Wrangler TJ on the Chena River near Pike's Landing in December and scared her: she's from Louisville,Kentucky (I still miss her at times...) and also saw hoarfrost that looked like flowers when it got below zero at my old job.

I was able to do all of the cold/winter stuff when I PLUGGED IN THE VEHICLE. Do that & you'll be fine there along with some heavy-duty winter clothing.



Improbable Town in the Wilderness
Fairbanks is an amazing town because of the amazing people, great university, and so many things to do I have to pick and choose carefully or I will be on the go constantly. Through the years I have lived here, one word always comes to mind in describing my community: improbable. From ballet, to music, figure skating, hockey, soccer, theater, brewery, to decent year-round tennis, I am never lacking for things to do. The only reason I'm on sperlings is because of the cold, dark winters, which have always been intriguing to me until lately. Other than that, I would live here forever.



good town, good people
Have lived here for 39 years. Weather in the summer is awesome, weather in the winter is awful (long and cold).

The people here are friendly and generous.



Eyes Open
I have lived in Fairbanks for 30 years and am now looking at moving for a change in career. Fairbanks is not an especially bad place, but be careful. Cost of living is very high, the weather in the winter is harsh, causing housing and automotive problems. Fuel and gas are both very expensive. Fairbanks is a university town, and as such is home to a significant population of young white prople with dreadlocks and other liberal green earth types. we call them earth muffins. If you find a muffin who is over 30 or 40 years old, they are ususally good people as they have enough living to understand reality as well as their "ideals", but the young ignorant ones can be a pain. Drugs in Fairbanks are bad, as is alcoholism. The lack of any activities in the winter kinda causes that. Fairbanks is the air hub going to all of the northern villages, so drugs/alcohol going there come through faribanks first. Crime is noticeable, but tolerable if you are aware. Fairbanks is not a "leave your doors unlocked" place, however, most of the crime is drug/alcohol related. Be careful of where you live. Very little gang activity, but we do have occasional flare ups as we have 2 military installations within 30 miles. Lots of mosquitos and light in the summer, and cold and snow in the winter. Rural life here is very hard, but rewarding if you can cut it and keep prepared. construction wages are very high in the summer (like $30.00 or better an hour), but everyone gets laid off in the winter and it gets a little tight. Lots of North Slope oilfield work right now. Fairbanks is not for the timid or weak, and has a lot of problems, but is far from the worst place you can live. Lots of politics. Someone once called Fairbanks a "dirty little river town", and that really does sum it up rather well. By the way, with the military bases the pop goes up to over 70,ooo people (and the nearby rural folk). Another good point is that "wilderness" is only a 10-15 minute drive away. Also, the average guns per household in Fairbanks is 7. Great place for hunters/fishermen/sportsmen. Good Luck



Feb 2nd 2009, it's cold
It's about 30 below zero today, in 5 months it could be in the upper 80's with 24 hr daylight, it must be a great place to live, more people are moving here then are leaving and tourist pay good money to come here. I, like most people here, love it.



Fairbanks, Alaska
Fairbanks is a beautiful city. The Arts and Entertainment are plentiful! And they have to be when it's a chilly -20 below! Though the winters are quite harsh, the summers are too die for! It is one of the most gorgeous places I've ever lived.
I lived in Anchorage before Fairbanks and the difference is significant. The summers in Fairbanks are usually clear, sunny, warm and the flowers / gardens grow like crazy! Anchorage can be sunny, but not nearly as much as in Fairbanks, AK.
I am originally from Northwest Arkansas so, moving to Alaska 7 years ago, I was sure we'd eventually move back down to the "lower 48". But, to my surprise, I think we'll be here for many more years to come.
The dark and very cold winters are very trying. Everyone here in Fairbanks swears by The Happy Light. Not seeing the sun for 6 months at a time can make taking a vacation not just a want but a need for sanity's sake.
The Northern Lights are dancing across the sky above our home more than 20 days a year. The wildlife is plentiful...Moose, Caribou, Bear, Dall Sheep,
and more fowl than I even care to write about. In my heart the positives far outnumber the negatives. A family just needs to be creative to make the winters pass by quickly.

Faibanks, AK will always have my vote!
(and I'm writing this in the heart of Winter...Jan 23,2008)



I haven't lived inside city limits, but I lived within 5 miles so close enough to call it. I started out in the hills just north of town, I can't really comment on the scenery, I'm not into that type of thing, but we had moose walking through our back yard, the biggest problem with that is most places north of town have a 1000-2000 gallon holding tank instead of a well where city water is not available, it was at 8 cents a gallon to get it hauled in when we moved to the other side of town almost 2 years ago so it's probably 9 or 10 cents now, the much cheaper alternative is to haul it yourself in 300-400 gallon tanks that are made by a local company and go in the back of a pickup truck. alot of people take their snowmobiles, ATVs, and even their sleds out to the pipeline and ride down the service road(you're not really supposed to, but that's not enforced) and there are trails everywhere, and there are a few ski resorts nearby. for local sports we have the alaska Nanooks(hockey, basketball, they win the national championship in rifle most years, volleyball, and probably something else i forgot) the Fairbanks Ice Dogs hockey team, the Alaska goldpanners of Fairbanks and the AIA fire in the alaska baseball league, and we have a new arena football team, the fairbanks grizzlies, we have fights at the carlson center, and all the ticket prices are reasonable. Fairbanks isn't a bad place to live by any means, but I still would rather live in anchorage

if you need a job there are a zillion jobs available in retail and fast food, it may not be great, but Wal Mart pays enough to live on($10.50) and Fred Meyer is supposed to have a great benefits package(but they start lower than wal mart on hourly wage)

crime in fairbanks isn't really much of an issue, there are a few murders each year that they just call a missing persons case, but drugs and alcohol are a factor in most crimes, and fights are kept to knives, so if you just don't hang with the wrong crowd you'll be fine. I've walked or biked around the "bad" part of town many times(even lived in the best western there for a couple weeks while we were house hunting), and never even seen a crime(except for drug deals)

cost of living was a bit of a shock, but I had been sheltered by the uber low cost of living in kankakee IL Compared to the rest of the country, Kankakee (zip 60901)'s cost of living is 18.57% Lower than the U.S. average and it's really not too bad here with the lack of taxes



Warm weather and cost of living - retired
Alaska, there is no place like it! I grew up in Fairbanks, remember walking to school and it being 55 below zero, what a great place to grow up! Summers were oh so warm, of course we did have lots of mesquitos, remember when the plane use to fly over town spraying for the mesquitoes, was late in the evening and we all were usually in bed. Daylight all summer, that is nice, but winters are cold, altho seems to be warming up, but it is still dark all winter, usually you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark and summer light all the time! We have beautiful gardens, flowers and lots of blueberries, cranberries (in fall) and lots of other good things to make jelly and jam out of in the summer. Winter their is skiing, hockey, basketball, curling, snowmaching and we all try to keep busy! Summer is alot of fun, lakes, rivers, fishing (the best in the world), yard work, camping and etc.We are very fortunate to have an Army base here and an Airforce base not to far out of Fairbanks. We still have moose walking in our yards and often bedding down for the night or nights in the winter and spring (then usually with baby or 2. I did live in Anchorage for several years, definately a very up to date town, has grown really fast, lots and lots of things to do and modern. Fairbanks is 350 road miles to Anchorage, and we are the second largest town in the state, but the distance takes usually 7 to 8 hours to drive, but it is a lovely drive! Fairbanks is the Golden Heart of the State. Those of you who might want to venture up, take it all in, river running right thru our town, big on boating the rivers and its fun! In the summer we have the Yukon Eight Hundred boat race, Golden Days, Midnight sun, sun all night! Lots to do, fishing great to, enjoy our town and check out the Haul Road, mining camps, the hot springs and even up circle (top of the world), catch a ride to some of our native villages, Fort Yukon, Tanana and lots more. Truly I could go on and on, it is a marvelous state and I can say that I have been from Nome, to Wrangell Alaska, so check us out, we are great people, and we do love our State and we have one heck of a Governor, Sarah Palin,we are the Last Fronteer and darn proud of it! Growing up in a Territory was neat and some still think we should still be a Territory, lots of rebels in Alaska! I will truly never leave Alaska, but will venture outside and check it out and look forward to some warmer weather, my family and my dearest friends are here, and I shall miss them terriably,but thank goodness for internet, and phones, oh how time flys, don't really see it till you start thinking back, I was a Senior in High School when we became a State , wow! Anyway, I know I will return!



Housing, Taxes, Politics
I have lived in Fairbanks since 1976. I was just a child then. I now run a number of small businesses. Fairbanks used to have plenty of opportunities for young entrepreneurs but those times are changing.

Housing costs have doubled in the past 4 years which is actually tollerable but what isn't is the associated property taxes which is currently at 19 mils +. Property owners have the entire weight of tax responsibility on their shoulders as there are no other taxes at this time...but that is all about to change as well.

The local gov't has recently imposed a new business license tax and is in the process of trying to pass a business "gross recepts" tax. Yes I said GROSS RECEIPTS tax. So if a business makes 100k in a year in sales but it costs them 90k in expenses they will still be taxed on the 100k. The federal gov't doesn't even do that. Fairbanks gov't is penalizing those that create housing and jobs. This is anti-productive and is causing me to consider selling everything and moving out.

Have you seen the Alaska news lately. The alleged gov't corruption is running rampant from former Fairbanks Mayor James Hayes misuse of grant monies, to the recent purchase of property at less than market value from Senator Lisa Murkowski, to the recent raid of 4 decade Senator Ted Stephens home on possible bribery charges.

Like I said I am considering moving after 31 years in Fairbanks. If you are considering being a business owner and property owner I would consider another place if I were you. If you are here to live off of the welfare system you will do just fine.


Disgusted In Alaska



Fairbnks is a beautiful, not-as-expensive as some place to live. Come here.



Just Like Any Other Town...But with a GOLDEN & BIG
I have lived in Alaska for 27 years now, moving from Idaho when I was only 7. I LOVED Idaho & didn't want to leave! I was 7 & the only thing I knew about Alaska...(or I had heard) Was that there was GOLD IN THEM THERE HILLS!
My brother & I just knew that when we got off the plane, we would start picking GOLD off the ground right away! So it was OK that we moved, as we knew we would be back to Idaho as soon as we spent a day pickin' GOLD off the ground, we would be RICH! WELL......we flew into Valdez & when we landed we couldn't believe our eyes!....NO GOLD! We were stuck there in Valdez Alaska with nothin'! But we soon learned that Alaska had much more to offer us kids than GOLD! We lake-river-ocean-fish, hunt, hike, go boating, play around the Glaciers & swim in the ocean & lakes. 1 year later we moved to Juneau.....What do you know NO GOLD....Well just not layin around anyways!
But it was fun, and a little bigger than Valdez (except you only could get there by boat or plane...there are no roads in). Then 8 years later we moved to Fairbanks, I thought to myself..."Ole Johnny Horton said When it's spring time in Alaska its 40 below".....AND that’s when he flew into Fairbanks to the Eskimo saloon! Well....I got here & it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen besides my home town in Idaho! It was the end of summer going into the fall the leaves color was changing. I had never seen such a sight! (Not even the blooms in Our nations capitol)
Soon after we arrived my father sat us down & told us of the dangers of the cold & that we better be prepared. We always had a box in the back of the truck with winter gear, blankets, food, among other emergency items. When the cold got here, I was stunned that it didn't bother me! It is no different then any other place, when its winter time, you dress up....Layers is always good (That is only when you are outside or in the car...Just in case, Our homes, work, & recreation areas are always nice & warm!) Yea it is true that we only have a few hours of sunlight in the winter but it fades in & out. (June 21st is the Longest day of the year....we have daylight all day! Then every day till December 21st we loose around 4-7 min. of daylight till we only have around 2 or 3 hours of DUSK! Then starting the 22 of Dec. we start gaining 4-7 min. a day of sunlight until we reach the 21st of June so we end up with around 2 months of almost 24 hour sunlight! So you see it just doesn't turn off & on here. It is a Gradual, Wond



I love it here!
I have lived in Faibanks for about four years now. It was a drastic change from Yakima and Tieton, Washington, but I came to think of Fairbanks as my home. I don't know how to explain it, but somehow the people here are so different than the people everywhere else. Sure, Fairbanks has its bad things, too, but if you look at the good instead of the bad, you will find that the people here are friendly and they look out for each other.
Contrary to what many people believe, this is not the North Pole, and we do not live in igloos. I have never even seen an igloo. We are not all Native Alaskans or Eskimos. There are many white, black, and Asian people here, as well as Natives. Fairbanks is unlike any other place. In the long, cold winters, it is as if the people of Fairbanks come together as one giant family.
There are many things to do, such as attending concerts and theatrical performances, skiing/snowboarding, both indoor and outdoor miniature golf, hiking/backpacking, boating, martial arts, gymnastics, bicycling, mushing, snowmobiling, etc. In the summertime, I often see a hot-air balloon. Fairbanks is a lot like any other US city in the way of places to shop and such. It's not a city out in the middle of nowhere, like so many people think it is. It's a thriving place or industry, not a rinky-dink, podunk, rundown, old town. It's a great place to live, though you have to know how to deal with the cold weather. Last winter it got as cold as -55 degrees Fahrenheit. As long as you dress for the weather and anticipate extreme cold, you should be fine. The weather is somewhat unpredictable, as it may be +30 one day and -40 the next. Usually such extreme temperature changes do not happen that fast, but it has been known to happen and is not really uncommon.

Overall, I love this place, and I hope you will too if you decide to visit the Golden Heart of Alaska.


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