Manitoba Winter Explorer Guide: 10 ways to see the northern lights this winter

Posted November 08, 2021

A visit to Manitoba means travelling through Treaty 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Territory and through communities who are signatories to Treaties 6 and 10. It encompasses the original lands of the Anishinaabeg, Anish-Ininiwak, Dakota, Dene, Ininiwak and Nehethowuk and the homeland of the Métis. To learn more about Manitoba's Treaty areas, click here.

Northern Lights can be seen across the province, with Churchill being considered one of the best places in the world to see them with its prime location directly beneath the aurora dome. There are a variety of ways to partake in this natural wonder all over Manitoba.

From an operating research centre

The Churchill Northern Studies Centre, situated 30 minutes outside of the town of Churchill, provides ideal conditions for viewing the night sky. When the northern lights come out, the lights in the centre are shut off to prevent light pollution. There are a few options for viewing the aurora borealis, from the heated dome at the top of the Centre to the outdoor observation deck. Photographers may prefer to shoot from the ground level to get foreground subjects in their photos.

From a Tundra Buggy

Frontiers North Adventures also offers a Northern Lights and Winter Nights Adventure that departs from Winnipeg, where most northern lights viewing happens from their oh-so-cozy Thanadelthur Lounge, which is situated away from town on the other side of the frozen Churchill River, far from any light pollution.

From the world’s most exclusive restaurant

A Frontier’s North itinerary als includes a visit to Dan's Diner, a mobile Tundra Buggy dining hall hidden in the wilderness and under the northern lights, where guests enjoy a world-class meal featuring regional and local fare.

From an Aurora Pod and Aurora Dome

Book your northern lights trip with Natural Habitat Adventures and get exclusive access to the warm and comfortable Aurora Pod, which has been specially designed for viewing the Aurora Borealis with 360-degree views of the sky via innovative glass construction and cushioned seats. A Nat Hab trip will also bring you to the Churchill Hotel's prized Aurora Domes, where you can spend the night relaxing in the lounge or heading up to one of two viewing domes to see the lights.

From a wilderness setting

Best suited for the DIY traveller, Nanuk Operations offers Nights Under Lights, a guided evening photography outing for the chance to shoot the aurora with the backdrop of a yurt tucked deep in the boreal forest. All guests get a clear view of the lights from the yurt's large, wrap-around deck, and can head indoors to warm up near the fire with a night cap in hand.

From a phone call

For the budget conscious and truly adventurous, add your name to Discover Churchill’s call list. If the lights are out before midnight, they’ll call you and pick you up where you’re staying for a two-four hour tour where expert photographer Alex DeVries will take you to some of his favourite Aurora viewing locations.

From a dogsled yard

You’ll hear Wapusk Adventures long before you see it thanks to the dozens of sled dogs who make their home at this cozy retreat nestled in the forests near Churchill. Visit with these boisterous canines and take in the lights outside, while warming up inside a fire-warmed tipi.

From a national park
Riding Mountain National Park

Riding Mountain is known for its regular aurora activity in the depths of winter. Book a stay at a hotel in Wasagaming, Elkhorn Resort or a winterized Parks Canada oTENTik and watch the night sky light up.

From a fishing lodge
Flin Flon

Book a stay at Baker’s Narrows Lodge, located outside Flin Flon where the northern lights will be highly visible. Book an ice fishing package for a multi-night stay and hook a catch while taking advantage of the north’s wide open skies.

From the city

It’s possible to see the northern lights as far south as Winnipeg when the conditions are just right. Download an aurora forecasting app and keep an eye out for clear nights with a high chance of discovery. We recommend heading outside the perimeter to ensure your view isn’t impacted by the lights of the city.