As Alaska's second-largest city, Fairbanks is naturally a popular gathering place. A vibrant blend of history and cultures, the city is a sophisticated star, thanks in part to more than 3,800 hotel rooms and 150,000 square feet of meeting space, not to mention some signature Fairbanks event venues.
Though it's the northernmost major meeting destination in the country, Fairbanks is easy to reach via the newly expanded Fairbanks International Airport (FAI). The airport offers domestic and international flights, while the convenient and comfortable Alaska Railroad connects Fairbanks to Anchorage.
Located downtown on the banks of the Chena River, the Carlson Center is the largest of Fairbanks' convention venues. In fact, it's Interior Alaska's largest event facility and the only one with trade show decorating capabilities. Not surprisingly, it has been the venue of choice for the Harlem Globetrotters, acts such as Tim McGraw and Elton John, and the inauguration ceremony of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in 2006. With three versatile meeting rooms, the center has 10,000 square feet of event space as well as an arena with 35,000 square feet of additional exhibit space, or room for over 6,000 guests. The entire center provides catering services for groups of 100 to 1,000 people, and equipment rentals can be arranged.
Resorts and hotel venues in Fairbanks offer plenty of options for meeting facilities with accommodations. The 325-room Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge and 400-room Westmark Fairbanks Hotel & Conference Center are among the largest in the area. The secluded River's Edge Resort has 98 rooms and six meeting rooms as well as a courtyard. In all, it is capable of hosting up to 220 guests, all in a charming riverfront setting.
Chena Hot Springs Resort is the ultimate example of how business can in fact be mixed with pleasure. Famed for its therapeutic mineral waters and 200 days of Aurora Borealis, the resort is less than an hour outside of downtown Fairbanks. Distance is not a problem, however, as the Chena Shuttle can pick guests up from any location in Fairbanks and ferry them to the resort on what has been voted one of the most scenic drives in the Interior. The resort has eight meeting rooms to accommodate 15 to 200 guests. In between meetings, guests can relax and recharge at the healing hot springs, take a tour of the grounds via snow machine or, in the summer, horseback ride.
Venues such as the University of Alaska Museum of the North offer unique options for receptions, award ceremonies and dinners. This architecturally stunning facility features captivating exhibits on Alaskan culture and wildlife and rental spaces to accommodate up to 800 guests. At Pioneer Park, voted the best place in Fairbanks to bring friends and family, groups can find meeting facilities large and small, including the Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts with 15,000 square feet of event space. Groups with adventurous palates can also enjoy some of the local flavors–including fresh seafood and wild game–at restaurants such as the Pump House Restaurant & Saloon and Silver Gulch Restaurant, both of which accommodate private events.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user : JeffreyAllen1975