While Fairbanks, Alaska might not be the first city to come to mind when thinking of ideal team travel destinations, it definitely will be after your team’s upcoming visit to the Hez Ray Sports Complex. As the northernmost U.S. state, Alaska is unlike anywhere else in the county. Alaska is home to boundless natural beauty, unique native customs and cultures, and an eclectic mix of can’t-miss attractions; all of which can be found in Fairbanks, right near the Hez Ray Sports Complex.

Much like the state in which it’s located, the Hez Ray Sports Complex is a particularly unique facility. The complex is located on a sprawling, 80-acre property and boasts a wide variety of venues and amenities. This makes the Hez Ray Sports Complex likely to be another one of the many highlights of your team’s trip to Fairbanks. It features three outdoor hockey rinks, the Kiwanis Football Field, four softball field, a staggering 21 soccer fields, an outdoor walking and jogging track, and the multipurpose Big Dipper Ice Arena.

As impressive as the Hez Ray Sports Complex is, don’t plan on spending much of your downtime there. Once the competition wraps up for the day, you and your team will want to make the most of your visit by checking out some of these fantastic attractions and restaurants.

Things to Do

Pioneer Park

If you’re looking for a great way to kick off your team’s stay in Fairbanks, head to Pioneer Park. Built to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the United States’ purchase of Alaska from Russia, Pioneer Park provides visitors with a fun and informative glimpse into the state’s storied past. Historically-significant cabins and buildings dotted throughout Pioneer Park’s 44-acre property will make it feel as if you and your team have stepped back in time the moment you walk through the entrance.

In addition to these historic structures, Pioneer Park also offers a variety of fantastic museums and other fun attractions, as well as great shopping and dining options. The museums located in Pioneer Park include the Pioneer Air Museum, Tanana Valley Railroad Museum, Pioneer Museum, and many more. Since it’s open year-round and admission is free, a visit to Pioneer Park is quite a convenient and cost-effective way for you and your team to spend an afternoon in Fairbanks. 2300 Airport Way, Fairbanks, AK 99701

Aurora Ice Museum

Located just minutes from the Hez Ray Sports Complex, the Chena Hot Springs Resort is home to the Aurora Ice Museum, one of the city’s most popular attractions. This fascinating frozen attraction is the largest year-round ice environment is the world. Built from over 1,000 tons of ice and snow, you and your team probably haven’t seen anything quite like the Aurora Ice Museum before.

Once inside, you’ll see dazzling, color-changing ice crystal chandeliers, a two-story observation tower, life-size knights jousting on horseback, a polar bear bedroom, a Christmas tree, and much more; all of which carved entirely from ice by world champion ice carvers Steve and Heather Brice. Although you probably didn’t forget to bring your warmest winter jacket, there’s no need to worry if you do; parkas are available free of charge to wear during your tour of the Aurora Ice Museum. 56 Chena Hot Springs Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99711

Fairbanks Children’s Museum

It can be a real challenge to keep a team of young children entertained for an hour or two, let alone an entire afternoon. With a visit to the Fairbanks Children’s Museum that won’t be an issue. This kid-friendly facility is full of interactive exhibits and other creative outlets that are designed to stimulate the very “serious” business of play.

Activities offered at the Fairbanks Children’s Museum include water play, role-playing, building and construction, arts and crafts, and more. If you’re planning on visiting the museum with a group of 10 children or more, plan your visit ahead of time to take advantage of special discounted admission rates. 302 Cushman St, Fairbanks, AK 99701

Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center

A unique Fairbanks attraction that’s as informative as it is beautiful, the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center is a destination for all things Alaska. There you can find various brochures and maps, information regarding local walking and driving tours, and more. If you have any questions or are looking for something specific, the center’s friendly and knowledgeable staff is likely to have all the answers you need.

While at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center, be sure to check out How We Live: The People and the Land. This 9,000-square-foot exhibit hall features engaging displays and dioramas about Interior Alaska’s people, wildlife, landscapes, seasons, and more, in addition to films and programs that tell the story of Alaska’s natural and cultural history. Best of all, it’s free! 101 Dunkel St, Fairbanks, AK 99701

Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

If there are any kids on your team with an appreciation for all things automobile, make sure to visit the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum during your stay in Fairbanks. This popular museum features a remarkable collection of over 80 vintage vehicles. The collection includes beautifully restored horseless carriages, steamers, electric cars, speedsters, cyclecars, and many other elegant classics.

For a unique souvenir photograph that you’ll all cherish for years to come, stop by the museum’s Sourdough Roadhouse display. There you and your team can dress up in period clothing and even climb into an authentic 1911 automobile. 212 Wedgewood Dr, Fairbanks, AK 99701

University of Alaska Museum of the North

At the University of Alaska Museum of the North, you and your team can discover everything from Alaskan culture to natural wonders to native wildlife all in one fascinating facility that’s a must-see during your team’s trip to the Hez Ray Sports Complex. The wide variety of exhibits and attractions housed in the Museum of the North make it a great place for you and your team to get acquainted with the vast and diverse state of Alaska. From an exhibit on hibernation research conducted at the University of Alaska to an animated film about bowhead whales, the state’s largest collection of gold, a mummified steppe bison, and more, there isn’t much about Alaska that isn’t covered by the exhibits at the Museum of the North.

If there’s one exhibit at the museum that’s a definite must-see, it’s The Place Where You Go to Listen. This captivating exhibit is an ever-changing sound and light environment created by Pulitzer and Grammy Award-winning composer John Luther Adams. The exhibit’s visual and auditory spectacles are manipulated by a variety of natural phenomenon, including the real-time position of the sun and moon, as well as earthquakes and the activity of the aurora borealis. 907 Yukon Dr, Fairbanks, AK 99775

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Places to Eat

Big Daddy’s BarB-Q

If you regularly tune into Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, the ever-popular Food Network show hosted by iconic food fanatic Guy Fieri, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the episode featuring Big Daddy’s BarB-Q. Touted as a restaurant that serves the “Northernmost Southern Barbeque,” you won’t feel like you’re in Alaska anymore the moment you sink your teeth into their savory offerings.

The menu at Big Daddy’s BarB-Q features everything you’d expect to find at a quintessential barbeque joint, along with some creative culinary creations masterminded by award-winning chef and owner Harold Groetsema. They’ve got brisket, pulled pork, chicken, ribs, sausage, and more, as well as plenty of tasty sides like baked beans, collard greens, mac and cheese, French fries, and potato salad. No matter what you decide to order, one thing’s certain: no one on your team will be leaving Big Daddy’s BarB-Q hungry. 107 Wickersham St, Fairbanks, AK 99701

Thai House Restaurant

A staple in Fairbanks since 1989, Thai House Restaurant is the place where locals go when they’re looking to get their fix of Southeast Asian cuisine. After your team is done competing at the Hez Ray Sports Complex for the day, do as the locals do and grab a bite to eat at Thai House Restaurant. After all, it’s only a short, eight-minute drive from the complex.

There you can enjoy everything from authentic Thai curries to exotic noodle dishes like drunken noodles, made with hot chili, garlic sauce, egg, basil leaves, and a variety of fresh vegetables. Their always flavorful, sometimes spicy food is the perfect way to warm up on a cold day in Fairbanks. 412 5th Ave, Fairbanks, AK 99701

Cookie Jar Restaurant

You probably wouldn’t expect to find dishes like country fried steak and chicken parmesan on the menu at an eatery with a name like the Cookie Jar Restaurant but like pretty much everything else in Alaska, they’re doing things a little bit differently.

When it first opened its doors over 30 years ago, the Cookie Jar Restaurant was a humble bakery offering freshly baked cookies, cinnamon rolls, and muffins with a homemade touch. Since then, they’ve expanded their offerings to include a variety of hearty homestyle dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, such as corned beef hash, burgers, meatloaf, and more. That’s what makes the Cookie Jar Restaurant such a great, team-friendly dining option any time of day! 1006 Cadillac Ct, Fairbanks, AK 99701

Pita Place

If you’re in the mood for a taste of the Middle East during your stay in Fairbanks, stop by Pita Place. Located just minutes from the Hez Ray Sports Complex, Pita Place is a quaint roadside stand that specializes in authentic Middle Eastern cuisine.

Although their menu is somewhat limited, everything on it is made using only fresh, wholesome ingredients. They offer everything from pitas filled with crave-worthy falafel to flaky walnut baklava. On extra cold days, their Turkish coffee is a favorite among Fairbanks locals looking for a delicious way to warm themselves up. 3300 College Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99709

Your team’s upcoming trip to the Hez Ray Sports Complex might very well be one of the best ones you’ve gone on yet. After spending some downtime in Fairbanks you’ll find that this charming Alaskan city is home to a surprising amount of unique, kid-friendly attractions, an eclectic mix of fantastic restaurants, and more. Once your trip has come to an end, you might even find yourselves eager to make a return trip to Fairbanks again real soon!