Pike’s Waterfront Lodge Review – Fantastic Fairbanks Hotel

Pike’s Waterfront Lodge is my favorite hotel in Fairbanks. I lived in Fairbanks for four years and have worked in the travel industry for more than 20 years, so I have seen a lot of hotels! Fairbanks has plenty of good options but Pike’s is my favorite because of it’s lovely riverside location, excellent restaurant next door and lots of little touches that make this locally owned and operated hotel special.

Comfortable, clean rooms, an Alaska decor lobby that has breakfast in the morning, ice cream in the afternoon and drinks in the evening along with board games is a highlight. You’ll also love being by the river, a wonderful restaurant next door and an easy and free airport and train depot shuttle. The front desk staff is exceptionally helpful and friendly.

They also have a steam room sauna, big library of Alaska books and fire pits out on the deck.

Pike’s is busy year round, make sure to book as far ahead as possible if you want to stay here.

A person wearing a winter coat and hat in front of a frozen winter and a sign that says Love Alaska. There are some bare trees and it's a sunny day
Me behind Pike’s next to the frozen Chena River and the Love Alaska sign

Pike’s Waterfront Lodge Rooms

A King Size bed with a wooden headboard and 4 white pillows. There are two lamps on each side of the bed and the wall behind is light green
Chena view King room at Pike’s

The most important thing in any hotel, of course, is sleeping! Pike’s has very clean and comfortable rooms with comfortable beds. The rooms are not fancy, but they are excellent for a good night’s sleep.

Rooms have microwaves and small refrigerators which is something I always value in a hotel.

I recommend splurging for the rooms on the river side with a balcony overlooking the Chena River. If you’re staying in winter and the Northern Lights come out this is a great place to see them right from your room.

A frozen river and snowy forest behind Pike's Waterfront lodge, taken from a third floor room with a a balcony. It's a cloudy day at dawn and you can see a snowy deck and building below.
View from a 3rd floor Chena view room at Pike’s. The deck below is where the fire pits are

If those rooms aren’t available or you want to keep it as inexpensive as possible, other rooms are still super comfortable and you can enjoy all the fun features of this property.

Pike’s Waterfront Lodge has 8 wheelchair accessible rooms with roll in showers. There is an elevator for rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floor.

Another thing I love about this hotel is that you can buy a few microwave meals and snacks in the gift shop, in case you want to stock your fridge for a few late night snacks.

Cabin Suites

Pike’s also has log cabins on the property, they are only available during the summer months for guests.

Each cabin has a sitting room and a bedroom as well as a kitchenette and private bathroom. They also have private decks.

Pike’s Waterfront Lodge Location

A google maps screenshot showing the location of Pike's Waterfront Lodge along the Chena River near the Fairbanks airport.
Pike’s is very close to Fairbanks International Airport, and about a 15 minute drive from downtown Fairbanks

Pike’s is in a very convenient location for the airport, it’s just 5 minutes away and they have a free airport and train depot shuttle.

It’s also very close to the Riverboat Discovery, a popular Fairbanks experience and has a $5 shuttle to get there.

The riverside location makes for an ideal Fairbanks stay. You can check out the river and also enjoy a meal outside on the deck next door at Pike’s Landing on beautiful summer days. In winter, you’re right next to the frozen river.

There is a deck with outdoor fire pits (and you can get smores supplies from the front desk).

The only downside about the location is that it’s not walking distance to downtown, you’ll need to have a car or use one of the options below to get downtown. See below for more information about getting around Fairbanks if your’e staying at Pike’s.

The lobby of Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks. The lobby has an Alaskan decor with colorful lamps, log railings and comfortable couches with art from around Alaska on the walls
The lobby at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge

Getting around Fairbanks from Pike’s

I recommend renting a car for your visit to Fairbanks, it makes exploring the area a lot easier! That said, you can absolutely get around without a car as long as you’re flexible and not too tightly scheduled.

Fairbanks has a bus system and taxis as well as ride shares. Expect to wait a long time for any of these options.

Pike’s Waterfront Lodge offers a free shuttle back and forth the airport and the train depot. They also have a $5 shuttle to the Riverboat Discovery which is super convenient. There is also a car service that will take you to different parts of town and is also very convenient, especially if you’re visiting in winter and don’t want to deal with winter driving.

If you are driving a rental car, there is plenty of parking at Pike’s with plug ins for winter.

Food at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge


Pike’s Waterfront Lodge includes a breakfast buffet served in the lobby, which is really convenient. The lobby is decorated in a historic lodge style and there’s plenty of room to eat. You can even sit by the fire on cold days. It’s wonderful to be able to get breakfast without having to leave the hotel.

Lunch and Dinner

Pike’s Landing next door to the hotel is one of the best restaurants in Fairbanks. A cozy log building with delicious Alaskan cuisine including seafood and American classics like burgers, it’s cozy in winter and fun in summer.

On summer days, Pike’s really shines with its outdoor deck next to the river where you can enjoy a meal or a drink and watch the river and boat traffic go by.

The lobby of Pike’s Waterfront Lodge has a daily afternoon ice cream social and has a bar for drinks in the afternoon and evening.

The lobby has comfortable chairs, fireplaces and board games. There is an expansive library of Alaskan books on the second floor.

A wooden bookcase with Alaskan art as well as board games and a tv showing basketball
Board games and sports in the lobby

Final thoughts

As you can tell, I’m a big fan of this locally owned and operated hotel with comfortable rooms and fantastic service. The only thing I don’t love about this hotel is that there a lot of lights on at night, which is not ideal for seeing a faint Aurora. It’s a bit unfair to mention this, since lighting is important to help people navigate the property at night and if the Northern Lights are bright, it’s not an issue. You can get around this by going outside near the river and looking out across the river away from lights, or driving out of town or taking a tour that takes you to dark locations. Of course this is only a concern during Aurora season (September through March).

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Jennie Flaming
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite. I lived in Alaska for many years and I still spend lots of time there every year visiting friends and working as a tour director. I've been a guide for many years in both Alaska and Washington, am a field editor for the Milepost and host the Alaska Uncovered Podcast about Alaska Travel as well as the Washington State Hiking Podcast. I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you here!