Where to celebrate the longest night of the year

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 otherwise 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. hikersaandb@earthlink.net 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

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