Best time to travel to Manitoba

Northern Lights in Manitoba

Did you know that Churchill in northern Manitoba has the most intense auroral activity on Earth?

Best time: January–March

Northern Lights
Northern Lights

Northern lights or aurora borealis is a jaw-dropping celestial show that nature puts on during geomagnetic storms. In other words, the display happens when solar flares collide with the Earth's atmosphere. The phenomenon is the most vivid and consistent within the aurora belt which encompasses the latitudes between 60 and 75 degrees. So the northern town of Churchill set directly below the belt belongs to the world's few top spots that can capture the most stunning polar lights.

How to capture northern lights in Churchill

The town of Churchill lies on the shores of Hudson Bay and is easily reached by air from Winnipeg. Meanwhile, the capital city is served by regular flights from the US. Such a convenience only adds up to the advantages of the destination. Besides, Churchill boasts the extended season stretching for 300 days per year, while the peak time throughout Manitoba is January through March. You can take in the dancing lights from a heated viewing dome, choose the covered viewing lounge and open-air deck at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, or take a guided photo tour. Remember to grab a camera with a wide-angle lens.

Other places to hunt aurora borealis

If you're not into traveling that far north, Manitoba has some options farther south too. Visit a mining city of Flin Flon situated on the border with Saskatchewan. Another winning spot is the town of The Pas at the confluence of the Saskatchewan River and the Pasquia River. After all, northern lights may be seen as far south as Winnipeg and sometimes even further. Read more here.

Practical info

What is the best time to witness the northern lights in Manitoba?

The northern lights are most vivid in Manitoba between January and March, which is the peak season. Even though Churchill has a longer viewing season of approximately 300 days, winter is the most suitable time to pay a visit as the skies are clearer, the nights are longer, and the northern lights are less likely to be obstructed. Show more

How can Churchill be reached by air?

Winnipeg is the starting point for reaching Churchill, Manitoba, and is accessible via multiple daily flights from major airlines. Once at Churchill Airport, it's easy to reach the city center or hotels through rental cars or shuttle rides to enjoy the town's unobstructed views of the northern lights. Show more

What are the other places in Manitoba to watch northern lights?

Although Churchill is the ideal location to witness the northern lights due to its proximity to the aurora belt and clear skies, other places in Manitoba can also offer stunning views. These places include Winnipeg, where the northern lights are visible as far south as the city, Flin Flon, a mining town on the Saskatchewan border, and The Pas, located at the confluence of the Saskatchewan and Pasquia rivers. Show more

How far south can the northern lights be seen in Manitoba?

The northern lights can be observed in Manitoba as far south as Winnipeg and other locations, under optimal viewing conditions, with clear skies, and away from light pollution. However, the town of Churchill lies directly beneath the aurora belt, making it an ideal location to catch the brightest and most consistent northern lights displays. Show more

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Last updated:
Authors: Olha Savych