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Yellowknife Travel Guide & Photo Gallery

Yellowknife was previously famous for its gold and diamond mines. In recent years, it has also become a winter tourist mecca thanks to its prime location to view the northern lights, with plane-loads of visitors from Asia coming here.

When to go?

The best months to view the aurora are January to March and mid-August / early September. A lot of the tourist literature boasts the aurora can be seen 240 days a year. I suppose midnight sun in the summer account for most of the non-viewable days.

For more information

  • Aurora forecast
  • Weather forecast
  • Canadian Space Agency live cam view
  • Package tour?

    For a hassle-free experience, book a package with one of the aurora viewing operators ahead of time. They provide hotel, transfers to the aurora viewing site out of town, and also winter clothing rental services to make your life easier. From the moment you land in Yellowknife to your departure at the airport, you are well taken care of. However, do consider using different operators for aurora viewing so you can try out a variety of locations.

    Hotel choice

    There aren't too many hotels in this city of 20,000 people. The best-located ones in the centre of town are Quality Inn, Discovery Inn, Day's Inn, The Explorer Hotel, and Chateau Nova. The main daytime sightseeing spots and supermarket at YK Centre are all walkable from these hotels.

    Flying in

    You will most likely fly into Yellowknife from either Vancouver (seasonal flight) or Calgary. The airport is only a 10-minute drive into town so if you arrive before 8pm, you will likely be able to make that night's aurora viewing. Your tour company will pick you up at the airport and bus you to town. Make sure you tell them you want to start the aurora viewing upon arrival so in case your flight arrives late, they can hopefully still make it happen.

    Google Maps

    The 2 main daytime sightseeing areas are the Old and New Towns, which are walkable from each other even in the winter if you wear heavy winter clothing. The main thoroughfare connecting the two is Franklin Avenue.

    Wallpaper of Canadian bank notes provided by : The Bank of Canada