Where to see the Northern Lights in North America

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One of Mother Nature’s most spectacular displays, the Northern Lights, put even the grandest fireworks shows to shame. Brilliant streaks of greens, blues, purples and pinks shine across the night sky in the far north, thanks to solar particles reacting with gases in the atmosphere.

Luckily, you don’t need to understand the science behind this phenomenon to enjoy the show – you’ll just need to head north between September and March. Best of all, you don’t even need to cross an ocean to see them! These top picks for where to see the Northern Lights in North America won’t disappoint – and if you don’t believe us, just check out the photos below.

Churchill, Manitoba

With a perfect location under the aurora oval, the town of Churchill in Manitoba touts itself as one of the top three locations in the world for viewing the Northern Lights. While there’s aurora activity more than 300 nights a year in Churchill, the months of January, February and March provide the clearest skies for the best views.

Where to see the Northern Lights in North America
The Northern Lights above Churchill, Manitoba (Image: Travel Manitoba)
Where to see the Northern Lights in North America
The Northern Lights above Churchill, Manitoba (Image: Travel Manitoba)
Where to see the Northern Lights in North America
The Northern Lights above Churchill, Manitoba (Image: Travel Manitoba)

Anchorage, Alaska

The sun sticks around extra long in the summer months, so your best bets for long, dark nights to watch the hues of the Northern Lights will be between September and April. In town, opt for Point Woronzof Park for clear views of the sky. Or opt for a 20-minute drive north to the town of Eagle River to the Eagle River Nature Center, a favorite for aurora viewing.

Where to see the Northern Lights in North America
The Northern Lights above Anchorage, Alaska (Image: Roy Neese/Visit Anchorage)
Where to see the Northern Lights in North America
The Northern Lights above Anchorage, Alaska (Image: Roy Neese/Visit Anchorage)
Where to see the Northern Lights in North America
The Northern Lights above Anchorage, Alaska (Image: Roy Neese/Visit Anchorage)
Where to see the Northern Lights in North America
The Northern Lights above Anchorage, Alaska (Image: Roy Neese/Visit Anchorage)

Jasper, Alberta

While the Northern Lights are viewable throughout northern Alberta, Jasper is one of the most accessible locales for aurora viewing in the territory. The skies here are particularly dark, making it perfect for stargazing and aurora viewing. In fact, Jasper loves its dark skies so much, it dedicates a festival to them – the Jasper Dark Sky Festival – every October.

Where to see the Northern Lights in North America
The Northern Lights in Alberta (Image: Travel Alberta)

(Main image: Roy Neese/Visit Anchorage)

Where to see the Northern Lights in North America was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Marissa Willman
Author: Marissa Willman (786 posts)

Marissa Willman earned a bachelor's degree in journalism before downsizing her life into two suitcases for a teaching gig in South Korea. Seoul was her home base for two years of wanderlusting throughout six countries in Asia. In 2011, Marissa swapped teaching for travel writing and now calls Southern California home.