Catch the Northern Lights and Midnight Sun in Anchorage, Alaska

Green and pink northern lights in starry night sky above trees.

Along with glaciers and wildlife, the northern lights top the list of Alaska must-sees. It is possible to see the northern lights from Anchorage. The lights dance year-round but are only visible in inky-black skies. If you cruise Alaska during the peak of summer, the blaze of the midnight sun outshines the aurora.

If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of these dazzling lights during your Alaska cruise, your best chance is in September, especially mid-month when the aurora is more active around the fall equinox. This also happens to be a fantastic month to visit Anchorage. Snow dusts the mountains, and vibrant gold trees carpet the hills. Plus, there aren’t pesky mosquitos and the crowds thin.

Tips to catch the Northern Lights

  • Stay ready for prime conditions with the Aurora Index alert
  • According to legend, calling or whistling to the lights drives them away
  • After 11 p.m. is the best time for viewing, so stay up late.

The Midnight Sun

Enjoy a different natural delight in Anchorage during summer—the Midnight Sun. Between March and September, Anchorage basks in more hours of daily sunlight than anywhere in the lower 49.

Soak up the extra rays. Hike or bike the Tony Knowles coastal trail, one of Alaska’s most popular paths. Explore the rugged Knik Valley on an ATV. Take photos of mountains, crystal waterfalls and brilliant-blue glaciers on a wilderness experience.

For an overnighter in Anchorage, check out this 28-day Ultimate Alaska itinerary. Go fishing or golfing. Experience dining on an outdoor terrace in the late evening with the sun still shining bright. The streetlights don’t even turn on, and you’ll notice people out at all hours walking their dogs!

Fun fact: Because of the summer sunshine, vegetables grow gigantic in Alaska. Also, gardeners dubbed Anchorage “the Hanging Basket Capital of the World.” You’ll notice bursts of blooms all around the city.

Have you ever seen the northern lights on a cruise? Do you prefer the Midnight Sun? Share which one you love most in the comments below.

Article by Amanda Halm


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