Canada is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights, as it’s home to a variety of territories and cities with limited light pollution. These spots offer some of the highest chances of witnessing the natural phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis. They also appeal to travellers seeking rural escapes, pampering hotels and those truly unique holiday moments.
With more than 400 million annual visitors to RatesToTravelinfo, we’ve ventured up to the Great White North to discover the best places in Canada to see the Northern Lights. From the Yukon capital city of Whitehorse to the unpopulated territory of Yellowknife, this is your comprehensive list to Canada’s Northern Lights, including tips and hotels.
Why You Should Stay in Whitehorse
If you’re looking for ease of access and city conveniences, Yukon’s capital, Whitehorse, might be your best bet. The city centre is right next to Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport and features a charming downtown area with cafes, restaurants and boutiques. You can join a Northern Lights tour in the city or stay outside, where rural landscapes offer some of the best Northern Lights viewings possible.
Tips for Seeing the Northern Lights in Whitehorse
- Drive the route towards Fish Lake or Chadburn Lake Road for some of the best views.
- The magic window for viewings is between 10pm and 3am.
- Soak in 47-degree-Celsius mineral water while watching the Northern Lights at Takhini Hot Pools.
Top Hotels in Whitehorse
Located just outside Whitehorse, Northern Lights Resort & Spa is surrounded by a seemingly endless expanse of snow and ice that makes the perfect pitch-black environment for viewing the Aurora Borealis. The Alpine Chalets are modern log cabins with kitchenettes, fireplaces, queen-size beds and leather loungers.
However, for never-ending sky views, we recommend staying in one of the Aurora Glass Chalets with floor-to-ceiling windows. Food is another reason to stay here, thanks to the regional fare served with Canadian beer and wine. There’s also an on-site day spa offering pampering massages and body treatments, including hot stone therapies.
- Magic Trails Dog Sledding Tours (650 metres)
- Miles Canyon (16.5 kilometres)
- Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre (22 kilometres)
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 151 – USD 183
Guest Rating: 10
Address: Lot 1178 Gentian Lane, Whitehorse, Canada
HotelsCombined visitors love the Northern Lights views at Hidden Valley Bed and Breakfast, which has multiple viewpoints around the property. The pet-friendly bed and breakfast also offers a delicious complimentary breakfast and has laundry facilities and private hiking trails. Don’t miss witnessing the Aurora Borealis while soaking in the six-person outdoor hot tub.
The individually designed and decorated rooms have large windows and plush bedding, including the Ivory Room, which also has antique furnishings. Stay in the Red Room for a queen-size bed and views of the Takhini River Valley or splurge on the Cappuccino Suite for a king-size bed, pull-out sofa and three-way views of the entire property, including the Northern Lights.
- Mountain View Golf Club (12.1 kilometres)
- Yukon Arts Centre (15 kilometres)
- MacBride Museum of Yukon History (17 kilometres)
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 145 – USD 544
Guest Rating: 8.8
Address: 40 Couch Road, Whitehorse, Canada
Why You Should Stay in Dawson City
You might recognise Dawson City from those old Wild West movies. The riverside town was synonymous with the Gold Rush era and has preserved many of its frontier buildings. Close to the Alaskan border, Dawson City often finds itself beneath a sky of shifting green and red lights between August and April. You can also join a Northern Lights viewing tour to venture out into the wilderness.
Tips for Seeing the Northern Lights in Dawson City
Top Hotels in Dawson City
Nestled in the heart of Dawson City, the budget-friendly Aurora Inn Dawson recalls the city’s frontier past with its timber building and welcoming hospitality. There are 20 rooms to choose from, including cosy rooms with queen-size beds or two or three single beds. Upgrade to a King Suite for a king-size bed and in-room Jacuzzi.
The on-site restaurant is a popular dining spot in Dawson City, known for its wood-fired barbecue dishes, fresh fruit smoothies, oh-so-tempting chicken wings and outdoor seating. Located on 5th Avenue, it’s a short stroll from the Klondike River, Minto Park and the Dawson City Museum.
- Red Feather Saloon (500 metres)
- Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall (600 metres)
- Jack London Museum (500 metres)
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 111 – USD 143
Guest Rating: 8.8
Address: 5th Avenue And Harper Street, Dawson, Canada
You’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time to the Gold Rush era when you enter Canada’s Best Value Inn – Downtown Hotel Dawson City. The building resembles an old saloon, but the pet-friendly inn offers some delightful modern comforts, including a delicious breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi, business centre, a bar and free airport shuttles.
The contemporary rooms are either furnished with two queen-size beds or one king-size bed. They also feature high-speed internet, coffeemakers, flat-screen TVs, work desks and mini fridges (upon request). The on-site Sourtoe Cocktail Clue is named after Yukon’s famous Sourtoe Cocktail, which was once made using a preserved toe for a garnish.
- S. Keno National Historic Site (160 metres)
- Palace Grand Theatre (200 metres)
- Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall (190 metres)
Star Rating: 2*
Price: USD 122 – USD 159
Guest Rating: 7.1
Address: 1026 Second Avenue, Dawson, Canada
Why You Should Stay in Iqaluit
Located on the expansive Baffin Island in Frobisher Bay, Iqaluit is unlike most capital cities in that it’s very spread out and lightly populated. Fortunately, this makes it one of the best cities for seeing the Northern Lights, thanks to a lack of light pollution. Most of the locals are used to seeing the night sky illuminated between October and April, when the city averages about four hours of daylight per day.
Tips for Seeing the Northern Lights in Iqaluit
- Join a Northern Lights tour to see the phenomenon while in a helicopter or dog sledding.
- Visit the Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre to learn about tours and local viewing spots.
- Head to the Trail Lookout to witness the lights dancing over the frosty Frobisher Bay.
Top Hotels in Iqaluit
Part of Iqaluit city, The Frobisher Inn is a cosy place to stay between adventures out into the vast Canadian wilderness. The entry-level Superior Room has one queen-size bed or two double beds, along with a fridge, work desk and microwave. Stay in a Deluxe Room for a heavenly king-size bed, adjoining sitting area, bay or city views and the option to include a fireplace.
If you want more space, you can upgrade to a Junior Suite, which boasts a kitchenette and a separate living room and dining area. On-site dining showcases Canadian specialties, such as omelettes and blueberry pancakes, at The Frob Kitchen & Eatery. Dine at the Storehouse Bar & Grill for pub classics and live music or stay active in the on-site fitness centre.
- Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum (1.3 kilometres)
- Astro Theatre (280 metres)
- Trail Lookout (1.9 kilometres)
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 220 – USD 248
Guest Rating: 7.5
Address: The Astro Hill Terrace, Iqaluit, Canada
Capital Suites Iqaluit is located in the heart of the capital city and boasts an on-site convenience store, a fitness centre, laundry and complimentary Wi-Fi. The eco-friendly hotel also has a lot of green initiatives, which have earned it a 4 Green Key rating. It also offers signature Aurora Beds with Sealy Posturepedic pillow-top mattresses and hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial pillows and duvets.
The Standard Room is the most affordable, yet comes with an ergonomic work desk, queen-size bed, mini fridge, blackout blinds and a flat-screen TV. Stay in the One Bedroom Suite for the added luxury of a full-size kitchen, dining table and separate living room. Families or large groups of friends might prefer the Three Bedroom Suite with its six-seat dining table and vaulted ceilings.
- Carvings Nunavut Inc. (110 metres)
- Iqaluit Aquatic Centre (550 metres)
- Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum (800 metres)
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 219 – USD 279
Guest Rating: 8.2
Address: Building 807 Aviq Street, Iqaluit, Canada
Why You Should Stay in Churchill
Located in the far north of Manitoba on Hudson Bay, Churchill offers the ideal rural environment for Northern Lights viewing. It has arguably one of the longest periods for viewings in the world (300 days a year according to some locals), thanks to its prime location in the auroral zone. It’s also considered a polar bear capital of the world, so keep an eye out for these majestic creatures.
Tips for Seeing the Northern Lights in Churchill
- Enjoy 360-degree views of the Northern Lights using the custom-built Aurora Pod inside heated Aurora Domes at Natural Habitat Adventures.
- Save money by seeing the Northern Lights at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre.
- Dine under the Northern Lights at the remote Dan’s Diner with Frontiers North Adventures.
Top Hotels in Churchill
Located a two-minute walk from the Churchill train station, IceBerg Inn Churchill is a private A-frame chalet where you can witness the Northern Lights right outside your front door. A rustic and cosy atmosphere flows throughout the chalet, particularly in the dining room, which has a cathedral ceiling, full kitchen, plush lounges and various trinkets on the walls.
Upstairs you’ll find a sleeping loft with two single beds and desk chairs. The other room has a comfortable double bed and a window overlooking the township. The chalet’s central location is about two minutes’ walk from the popular Tundra Inn Dining Room & Pub, where you can enjoy home-cooked meals and live music.
- Eskimo Museum (500 metres)
- Tundra Buggy Adventure (260 metres)
- Great White Bear Tours Inc. (80 metres)
Star Rating: No Rating
Price: USD 73 – USD 108
Guest Rating: No Rating
Address: 184 Kelsey Blvd, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
The highly-rated Tundra Inn is a popular watering hole for locals and visitors, thanks to its charming pub with home-cooked dinners, live music and cold beer. The family-run hotel has a guest lounge with communal computers and serves a complimentary continental breakfast every morning. It also employs sustainable practices, such as energy-efficient light bulbs and a strict no-Styrofoam policy.
All of the 31 rooms include double or queen-size beds, free train or airport pickups, cable TV, coffeemakers and complimentary Wi-Fi. Children under 12 are allowed to stay for free and you can have up to four guests staying in each room.
- Tundra Buggy Adventure (300 metres)
- Eskimo Museum (450 metres)
- Wapusk General Store (750 metres)
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 118 – USD 231
Guest Rating: 9
Address: 34 Franklin Street, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
Why You Should Stay in Jasper
The alpine town of Jasper is the perfect base for experiencing the Northern Lights in Jasper National Park, one of the world’s largest accessible dark sky preserves. Between October and May, Jasper is one of the best places to watch the green and red lights dancing over the Canadian Rockies. It’s also home to various tour companies and enticing bakeries and restaurants.
Tips for Seeing the Northern Lights in Jasper
- Time your visit for the annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival in October to combine the Northern Lights with guest speakers, live music and group excursions.
- Visit the Jasper Planetarium for Aurora Borealis viewing events.
- You can enjoy panoramic views with little mountain interruption at the Maligne Canyon lookout.
Top Hotels in Jasper
Jasper Inn & Suites creates a home away from home in the Great White North with its cosy, pet-friendly rooms and suites. The Standard Two Double has two double beds, a mini fridge, flat-screen TV, work desk and balcony. We love the Studio Queen Room with its kitchenette and separate living room, but we’re also partial to the Loft Queen Suite with its fireplace and loft bedroom.
If you’re really craving luxury, splurge on the Cavell Penthouse Suite, which boasts a full kitchen, fireplace, balcony, large living room and loft bedroom. You can warm up in the on-site sauna and steam rooms or with a dip in the indoor pool and hot tub. The hotel also has a business centre and a restaurant serving Canadian and international cuisine.
- Jasper Museum (850 metres)
- Two Brothers Totem Pole (1 kilometre)
- Jasper Fitness & Aquatic Centre (800 metres)
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 97 – USD 338
Guest Rating: 7.3
Address: 98 Geikie Street, Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Overlooking the crystalline lakes of Jasper National Park, the opulent Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is a wilderness retreat with its own golf course and boathouse. The Signature Cabins are pure winter luxury, housing you in a cosy log cabin with multiple bedrooms, mountain or lake views, a fireplace and spa bath. Some cabins also have outdoor fire pits or putting greens.
Travelling on a budget? Stay in a guest room or suite, such as the Fairmont Room with a king-size bed or the Fairmont Lakeview Room with a private patio. Pamper yourself silly with a massage or body treatment at Fairmont Spa or indulge in wild game and fresh seafood at Moose’s Nook Chophouse. You can also enjoy lake views and Jasper Brewing Company beer at The Emerald Lounge.
- Mountain Galleries (450 metres)
- Lac Beauvert lookout (1.8 kilometres)
- Old Fort Point hiking trail start point (2.3 kilometres)
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 176 – USD 1,062
Guest Rating: 7.4
Address: Old Lodge Road, Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Why You Should Stay in Yellowknife
Yellowknife’s limited light pollution, flat landscape and location in the auroral zone are the three key ingredients to it having one of the highest likelihoods of Northern Lights viewings. According to locals, the chances are about 90 percent between November and April. The city has a small downtown area with bars, restaurants and shops.
Tips for Seeing the Northern Lights in Yellowknife
- Venture out to Great Slave Lake to view the lights over the mirror-esque water.
- Admire professional photographs of the Aurora Borealis at Chasing Light Studio & Gallery.
- Ask locals about the best locations for Northern Lights viewings, such as Pilots Monument, Tin Can Hill and Parker Park.
Top Hotels in Yellowknife
Looking for affordable accommodation in Yellowknife? The budget-friendly rooms at Quality Inn & Suites Yellowknife have pillow-top mattresses, LCD TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, coffeemakers and ergonomic work desks. They also keep you within metres from the restaurants, boutiques and galleries along the town’s main street, Franklin Avenue.
The pet-friendly hotel also boasts a convenience store, a restaurant serving breakfast and dinner, a well-equipped business centre and a barbershop. Business travellers will appreciate the flexible meeting room, while all guests can relax with a book in the library or work out in the fitness centre.
- Northern Images (130 metres)
- Tree of Peace Friendship Centre (350 metres)
- Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (750 metres)
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 173 – USD 189
Guest Rating: 6.3
Address: PO Box 490, Yellowknife, Canada
The Explorer Hotel Yellowknife is all about adventures around Yellowknife, offering easy access to Aurora Borealis viewings, dog sledding and fishing. However, it’s also a cosy retreat with a fitness centre, Starbucks and a polar bear exhibit. Business travellers will appreciate the two work centres and high-tech conference rooms.
Accommodation ranges from Superior and Deluxe rooms with queen-size or king-size beds and pillow-top mattresses to Signature Suites with fireplaces, telescopes, kitchenettes and separate living rooms. Don’t forget to visit Trader’s Grill for premium steaks and fresh seafood or Trapline Lounge for cocktails and cheese boards by the fireplace.
- Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (600 metres)
- Northern Images (260 metres)
- Gallery of the Midnight Sun (1.3 kilometres)
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 170 – USD 205
Guest Rating: 8.2
Address: 4825 49th Avenue, Yellowknife, Canada
Where Will You See the Northern Lights?
Canada is undoubtedly one of the world’s premier destinations to witness the magic of the Northern Lights. In fact, it might be harder to choose a place to visit than actually seeing this natural marvel. There are some enticing accommodation options out there too, many of which have cosy on-site restaurants, rooms with fireplaces and rural locations where the Aurora Borealis lights up the night sky in brilliant greens and reds.
Where do you want to see the Northern Lights in Canada? Let us know in the comments below.