Yellowknife Aurora Borealis Time Accommodation And Cuisine

If you’re interested in observing the beautiful Yellowknife Aurora, there are some important things to keep in mind. First, make sure the weather is clear. This will give you the best chance of seeing the Yellowknife Aurora. It’s also important to avoid areas with a lot of light pollution. This can make it difficult to see the auroras even if the weather is good. Second, keep an eye on solar activity and the KP Index. This will help you determine the best time to observe the Yellowknife Aurora. The higher the KP Index, the better your chances of seeing the auroras. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of experiencing the breathtaking beauty of the auroras.

Key Factors Affecting Yellowknife Aurora Observation

Yellowknife Weather

Check the weather conditions using the app “the weather network”. Even if the aurora is active, it will be futile if the sky is covered in clouds and nothing is visible. Use the app “Windy” for real-time and scheduled forecasts of high clouds, mid-level clouds, and low clouds within the next 10 days.

Yellowknife Aurora

Yellowknife Light Environment

Avoid areas with light pollution, such as urban areas, and crowded aurora viewing spots. Flashlights and car lights can significantly diminish the quality of your aurora photos. Be cautious of campsites located in urban areas that may be affected by light pollution, resulting in excessive light interference. Make sure to inquire about the campsite location before joining a tour.

Solar Sunspot Intensity and Magnetic Activity Index (KP Index)

Use the “Aurora” app and visit the website “spaceweatherlive” to monitor the solar sunspot intensity and magnetic activity index (KP Index).

Aurora Season in Yellowknife

Yellowknife actually experiences 24 hours of daylight during summer, which is why the auroras cannot be seen at that time.

Yellowknife Aurora

Mid-August to the end of September

Pleasant temperatures and clear weather make it ideal for aurora viewing. You can capture stunning photos of auroras with wedding dresses, take group photos, and even capture reflections of auroras on the lake surface!

This period, from late October to November, is usually cloudy and snowy, making it unfavorable for observing the aurora. We recommend avoiding travel during this time to avoid wasting money.

Starting from mid-December to the end, the snowfall decreases, making it conducive for aurora viewing. Additionally, the lakes freeze, allowing for ice activities.

In January and February, low temperatures freeze moisture in the air, preventing snowfall and leading to clear skies perfect for observing auroras. Temperatures can drop to around -30 to -40 degrees Celsius.

In March, temperatures begin to rise with an average temperature of around -15 degrees Celsius. Early March hosts a sled dog race, and the ice castle is on display throughout the month.

Yellowknife Aurora Photography Tips

Professional Camera + Wide Aperture Lens

It’s difficult for mobile phones to capture Yellowknife stunning aurora shots. Lenses with an aperture of f/4 or higher might not be able to capture the perfect aurora. Although the time-lapse feature on Huawei or iPhone 12 and above can capture auroras to some extent, the quality will be limited to what’s stored on the phone.

If you’re looking to capture some stunning photos of the Yellowknife aurora, the best approach is to team up with an experienced traveler, National Geographic photographer, and guide who is an expert in chasing auroras. The use of Hasselblad and Leica cameras and the #aurora hashtag on Instagram can help your photos stand out even more.

Must Have Tripod

A tripod is an absolute must! Capturing auroras requires long exposures, and without a tripod, both phones and cameras will result in blurry photos.

Spare Batteries

In extreme cold weather, batteries drain quickly. It’s essential to have spare batteries and keep them close to your body to maintain their charge.

Caution ! Temperature Differences

Avoid bringing your camera indoors during a shoot. Temperature differences can cause the lens to frost or ice over, which would affect subsequent shots.

Ways to Experience Aurora Viewing

Combining the Chasing Lights and Campsite Observation methods increases the chances of witnessing the aurora in its full glory and capturing stunning photos in various landscapes.

Chasing Lights

Local guides offer car tours to scenic lakeside and wilderness viewing spots. In Yellowknife, as long as the sky is clear, you can see the aurora from anywhere as long as you avoid light pollution from the city. You can embark on an aurora viewing adventure by bus or smaller vehicles. The level of comfort and privacy will depend on the price you pay.


If it’s cloudy or snowy, chasing lights may improve your chances of seeing the aurora.


Select a polar adventure vehicle to chase the aurora lights. During winter, the benefits of using a polar adventure vehicle become apparent. Unlike regular buses, this vehicle does not wait at bus stops for the aurora to appear. Instead, it explores the polar ice fields, offering guests the opportunity to experience the aurora in the wild, without any interruptions.


Access to indoor facilities is limited. The vehicle has limited space, which can feel cramped when wearing thick clothing. For a comfortable experience, opt for a full-sized modified polar adventure vehicle, which offers spacious interiors and warmth throughout the journey!

Yellowknife Accommodation

Yellowknife is divided into three areas: New Town (Uptown), Downtown, and Old Town. The main road, Franklin Ave, runs through all three areas.

Yellowknife New Town

Super 8: $199. Located next to Walmart, across from the large supermarket Independent. Convenient but limited restaurant options.

Yellowknife Old Town

Bayside Inn: Offers lake views in the Old Town area, great value for money. In winter, you can walk onto the Great Slave Lake to view the aurora.

Yellowknife Downtown

Nova: $240. Upscale but expensive.
Explorer: $270. Well-known but outdated facilities.
Nova Inn: $184. Similar to a budget hotel, with a Chinese restaurant on the third floor, catering to Chinese tourists’ taste buds.
Capital Suites
Jenny B&B: $170. Within walking distance of Downtown, allows for cooking.

Yellowknife Accommodations Tips

It is advisable to avoid Quality Inn due to the presence of drunkards and loiterers in the surrounding area. This location may not be suitable for females, and it’s best to steer clear of it. Additionally, some accommodations might be located in remote areas and may not be reliable for travel, especially during extremely low temperatures ranging from -30 to -40 degrees. Therefore, before booking your stay, it’s recommended to inquire with the tour company if they provide transportation services. Alternatively, you can use ride-hailing services such as “Yōngchē Guó,” which can conveniently get you to your doorstep in just five minutes.

Yellowknife Cuisine

Bullock’s Bistro
Undoubtedly the top choice! This famous hotspot in Yellowknife is a must-visit. They specialize in delicious Great Slave Lake Arctic Char, so make sure to make a reservation in advance or be prepared to wait for about an hour in the cold.

Cai’s Kitchen
If you’re looking for authentic Chinese cuisine in Yellowknife, this is the place to go! During the tourist season, they also offer wild game dishes, making it truly the best Chinese restaurant in Yellowknife.

Trader’s Grill
Located in one of the best hotels in Yellowknife, the Explorer Hotel, this restaurant offers a great ambiance. Their specialties include various types of wild game such as reindeer, bison, and wild boar. Their Sunday brunch is highly recommended.

Zehabesha Restaurant
An Ethiopian restaurant that serves a variety of traditional dishes, their specialty platter allows you to experience all the flavors of Ethiopian cuisine. If you enjoy trying new foods, give their goat curry a try!

The Woodyard Brewhouse & Eatery
This is the go-to restaurant for locals on weekends, hands down! They offer the best craft beer and delicious Western-style dishes. It’s definitely worth a visit! Please note that the bar and restaurant are not open to individuals under the age of 19.

A Taste of Saigon
One of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Yellowknife, they serve fantastic beef noodle soup with piping hot broth. Their spring rolls and grilled meat rice dishes are highly recommended.

Yellowknife Aurora

7 Yellowknife Travel Essentials

  1. Cold-resistant clothing for temperatures below -30 degrees Celsius is a must-have for winter travel in Yellowknife. From December to February, temperatures as low as -30 to -40 degrees Celsius are common. Renting a full set of Canada Goose clothing for $100/3 days is the most reliable option!
  2. Additionally, waterproof and insulated boots are essential. Avoid wearing UGG boots as they are not waterproof and you’ll feel extremely cold. Renting insulated, waterproof snow boots from the clothing rental service is a great alternative, offering protection up to -40 degrees Celsius. They are a better choice than UGG boots!
  3. Thick hats, gloves, neck warmers, and sunglasses are all important accessories. This is especially true if you plan to participate in activities like snowmobiling or dog sledding, where the wind can feel like a knife cutting through your face.
  4. It’s a good idea to bring some hand warmers, but please note that they are not allowed in carry-on luggage at the airport. Don’t pack them in your checked baggage either, as they may be confiscated.
  5. A thermos or insulated travel mug is an essential item that Chinese travelers always carry with them.
  6. For capturing the aurora, a DSLR camera, tripod, and spare batteries are necessary. The cold weather drains batteries quickly, so it’s advisable to have multiple backups.
  7. A portable charger or power bank is handy as your phone may lose battery quickly in outdoor conditions. Keeping it charged with a power bank ensures you have a reliable power source.

Remember to stay warm and prepared during your winter travels in Yellowknife!

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