Dazzling Northern Lights. Dogsledding and snowshoeing. Romance in a cozy cabin on a snow-clad shore. Can you fit it all into the shortest month of the year? There’s no better time or place to celebrate an anniversary, propose marriage or just cuddle with a loved one. As the curtain rises on cloudless nights and the heavens fill with waves of glowing light, the setting is perfect for love. Our Aurora-tour operators can help you plan an adorable holiday.

Yellowknife was founded on gold, but today, diamonds are the city’s best friend. We’re the hub of Canada’s booming diamond industry, with three rich mines digging millions of diamonds from the nearby Barrenlands. Visitors can buy Northwest Territories gems at local shops or watch rough stones transform into gleaming jewels at a downtown centre. Seal your relationship with a sparkling Yellowknife diamond, considered among the purest in the world.    

There’s nothing so invigorating as strapping on snowshoes and hearing the resonant crunch of fresh snow on a silent winter morning. Trek a trail through stately spruce at a luxury wilderness lodge. Follow snowmobile tracks across a frozen lake in the pink light of mid-day. Or take the road less travelled, blazing a path through trackless drifts for a total nature experience. Guided snowshoe tours are available.

Gentle, dumb, and bad at flying, ptarmigans are Yellowknife’s best-loved birds. They’re like herds of waddling snowballs, attracting even larger herds of delighted photographers. Look for these fuzzy-footed creatures perched in low bushes in Old Town, or causing traffic jams as they scuttle across busy streets. Alas, when the snow melts, ptarmigan lose their brilliant white plumage, reverting to a mottled brown and heading out of town.

With seven months of snow, Yellowknife is heaven for cross-country skiers. Glide over groomed trails or make your own way over frozen lakes wrapped in silent, snowy serenity. The city boasts an impressive web of track-set trails for everyone from casual wanderers to seasoned Nordic athletes. Out of town, the Northern Lights wash over snowy paths and well-packed snowmobile trails. Pack some hot cocoa, strap on your skis, and go.

For a true Canadian experience, go for a “joy glide” on an outdoor rink in the heart of the Northern wilds. There’s a groomed ice surface on Frame Lake beside City Hall, or head down to Yellowknife's houseboat bay and carve figure hights on the ice rink by the Snow King's castle.

While in Yellowknife, don’t miss the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. One of Canada’s premier museums, it highlights Arctic history, art and science in a range of intriguing, interactive galleries. Also, be sure to tour the Legislative Assembly Building, showcasing the distinctive Indigenous and pioneer culture of the Northwest Territories.  Wanna stay indoors? Browse our art galleries, buy Northern books, and dine on the catch of the day in one of the more than 30 restaurants in Yellowknife.    

Wanna hear the call of the wild? Then hitch up a team of loyal huskies and go “mushing” through our winter wonderland. Dogsled tours will carry you through silent forests, over ice-locked lakes, and beneath the haunting Aurora. If you want, you can take the reins: Shout “gee” to turn left, “haw” to turn right, “whoa” to stop, and “mush” to go. Prefer the passenger seat? Curl up in a comfy canvas-enclosed cariole and watch the frosty world slide by.

By January, Great Slave Lake is locked tight as a drum. That’s when anglers get giddy. If you’re keen on winter fishing, guides will lead you to a cozy fishing shack at the outskirts of town, or welcome you aboard a Bombardier or Sno-Bear – tracked vehicles ideal for over-the-snow fishing excursions. All winter long our waters abound with world-class trout, pike and whitefish, some tipping the scales at 20 kilos or more. Pulling one up through the ice is a thrill like no other.

You’ve seen the show Ice Road Truckers – but our ice roads aren’t just for big-rigs. With Yellowknife’s winter comes a network of frozen highways to places previously out of reach. Head out on the road to Dettah, a broad gleaming boulevard that cuts across frigid Yellowknife Bay. Or, if you’re well-prepared, travel the Ingraham Trail to the Tibbett-to-Contwoyto winter road, where the real ice-road truckers roll. Tour operators will gladly take you for a spin (not literally!).  

In winter, our northern waters freeze solid – meaning the world opens up for snowmobiling. “Sledheads” will find Yellowknife a perfect place to go for a rip. You can buzz across powdery lakes, follow frozen rivers, or zigzag down forested trails. There’s a good chance you’ll witness winter critters: foxes, wolves, lynx and more. Several operators offer snowmobile tours, and they’ll even teach novices how to drive one. Winter clothing is included: cold-proof boots, puffy parkas, cozy mitts and of course a helmet.

In a secret valley just across Back Bay from Yellowknife’s Old Town, a frozen wonder forms each winter. Mineral-rich waters seep down the steep, dark cliffs of Jackfish Draw, evolving into fangs of ice, glittering white pillars, and surreal caves. Explore these crystal grottos and take photos of the surrounding eerie landscape. Local guides will lead the way.