On December 21, solstice events from Alaska to New Mexico commemorate the start of winter, so head out and experience the season in a new light. (Events are free unless noted.)
Fairbanks, AK. Bluegrass music, ice cream social, 3 hours and 22 minutes of sunlight. Also Dec 4, 11, 18. www.downtownfairbanks.com or 907/452-8671.
Mill Valley, CA. Stargazing, storytelling, and bonfire at Muir Woods National Monument. www.nps.gov/muwo or 415/388-2596.
Near Malibu, CA. Grotto waterfall and ocean views on the Sierra Club's 7-mile (round-trip) moderate hike up Solstice Canyon. firstname.lastname@example.org or 310/394-7354.
Towaoc, CO. Pictographs tour by Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. $20. www.utemountainute.com/tribalpark.htm or 970/565-3751 ext. 330.
Near Los Alamos, NM. Dawn hike to Tyuonyi Pueblo in Bandelier National Monument. $10 per vehicle. www.nps.gov/band or 505/672-3861 ext. 517. ― Michael Tennesen