This winter, it will be easier than ever to visit Canada. All you need to do is head to New York City.
Destination Canada, which dubs the nation the “Home of Winter,” is bringing one of the most iconic winter experiences to NYC’s Grand Central Terminal to give travelers a taste of what they can see when visiting their neighbors to the north.
From Dec. 9-11, the tourism company is hosting the “Into the Northern Lights: An Immersive Experience,” which is a spectacular man-made version of the aurora borealis inside the station.
“For the first time ever, travelers will be able to take a stroll in the northern lights thanks to an interactive floor-to-ceiling, mirrored light display that creates a breathtaking audio and visual experience emulating the awe of this natural phenomenon at Grand Central Terminal,” a spokesperson for the tourism organization said in a statement.
The best part? No tickets are needed to experience the spectacle. All you need to do is come by or stop over on your daily commute. (Masks will be required per MTA guidelines. Proof of vaccination is also required.)
To make it even more exciting, Destination Canada is sending one lucky winner and their guest on a trip to Canada (worth up to $20,000 in value) to experience a once-in-a-lifetime winter vacation. The prize includes flights, accommodations, and all activities and experiences. For details on how and when to enter, visit us-keepexploring.canada.travel.
Of course, if you’re feeling inspired by what you saw, you can plan a trip yourself. Canada is ready to welcome Americans back with open arms, and would-be visitors are encouraged to head to canadahomeofwinter.com to plan their own escape to see the northern lights in real life.
“Canada is home to most of the world’s best aurora-viewing locations. The combination of northern latitude and low light pollution make it one of the best places on the planet for viewing the aurora borealis or northern lights,” reps for Destination Canada said. “Between 80-90% of the accessible land inside the auroral oval, the region with the greatest geomagnetic activity and the brightest and most frequent northern lights displays, is in Canada.”
As for the best spots to view the lights, Destination Canada suggested looking at two unique locations: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and Whitehorse, Yukon, both of which are also home to large Indigenous populations who have lived on the land for generations.
“Yellowknife, Northwest Territories has been dubbed the Aurora Capital of North America thanks to its prime location directly under the aurora oval,” the spokesperson noted. “While the northern lights are incredibly unpredictable, viewers have a 95% chance of seeing the lights here, a better chance than anywhere else in the world.”
As for Whitehorse, Yukon, Destination Canada noted it has “famously dark skies and boasts one of the longest northern lights seasons in the world.”
Not sure when you should travel for your northern lights trip? Destination Canada suggests using Aurora Forecast and Astronomy North to see when the lights may peak. However, its high season tends to fall between mid-August and mid-April, so try to put in for those vacation days then. See more about the New York City experience and plan your getaway here.