Essential No. 4: Aurora Borealis

The planet’s best light show is in Fairbanks, Alaska

Sunset's new essentials aurora borealis
Photo: Brown Cannon III

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Think of it as the ultimate holiday lights display―a spectacle so soul stirring that “people see the lights and start cheering,” says Karen Lundquist of the Fairbanks Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The celestial shimmers of the aurora borealis―aka the northern lights―have turned Fairbanks into the prized 21st-century winter destination, drawing jumbo jet–loads of aurora-fanatic Japanese and an increasing number of Americans and Europeans. Why Fairbanks? It has the requisite northern latitude plus long, mostly clear winter nights.

And it has a growing northern lights infrastructure, with aurora package tours, aurora-oriented resorts―even hotels that make aurora wake-up calls so guests can rush outside to see a sight they’ll never forget.

Seeing the light
Visit for information about northern lights viewing in Fairbanks.

In the blogs
Read more about aurora-viewing in Fairbanks.

Do you have a new western essential―a food, drink, place, or experience you can’t live without? Email us:


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