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Chase the midnight sun

Fairbanks, Alaska

140 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Fairbanks, Alaska experiences 70 straight days of civil twilight (the brightest phase of twilight) from mid-May through late-July. During this period, it’s not unusual for people to bike, hike, or golf in the middle of the night. The city also hosts a number of official events for those wanting to bask in the endless sunshine: The Midnight Sun Fun 10K is held at 10 p.m. on June 22 and on June 23, there is a 12-hour street fair downtown with vendors selling Alaskan goods, stalls with varied international foods, and live performances across four stages. Sports fans can go to the 114th annual Midnight Sun baseball game, where the first pitch is thrown out at 10 p.m. The game is played through the night without the use of artificial lights.

Stonehenge, England

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-known prehistoric monuments in Europe, Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, is believed to date back to 3000 B.C. The positioning of the stones aligns with the midwinter sunset and midsummer sunrise. Thousands of people gather at the Neolithic structures on June 20 or 21 each year to watch the first rays rise above the Heel Stone at dawn. This is one of the rare occasions that English Heritage opens up the stones for public access. Attendees can revel in the light and proximity to the landmark with all-night dancing, yoga, and meditation.

Orkney, Scotland

Orkney is made up of 70 islands off the northern coast of Scotland (only 20 of which are inhabited). There are flights from various cities in England and Scotland, in addition to ferries from June to September. Beginning at 8 p.m. on June 21 this year, the Summer Solstice celebration will take place on the largest island, Mainland. Golf originated in 15th-century Scotland, and the country remains a mecca for enthusiasts from around the world. As Orkney experiences up to 19 hours of sunshine, Orkney Golf Course, near Kirkwall, allows players to tee off late into the night during the summer months.  

Reykjavík, Iceland

Iceland is known as the Land of the Midnight Sun. Twenty-four hours of daylight are celebrated with the Secret Solstice music festival in the Laugardalur area of Reykjavík from June 21 to 23. This year’s lineup includes Black Eyed Peas, Rita Ora, and Robert Plant. If you’d prefer to see more of the country’s rugged coastline, consider doing so on horseback: Íslandshestar hosts five-day advanced Midnight Sun tours across the northernmost part of Iceland where guests ride at nighttime, following a route through villages, plains, and more.

Leksand, Sweden

Midsummer has been a time of celebration in Sweden since the 6th century, when agrarian farmers saw it as the season of fertility. June 21 is now an official national holiday and the city of Leksand on the shores of Lake Sijan is particularly famed for its Midsummer Festival. About 20,000 people visit each year to dance around the maypole to traditional music while costume-wearing locals float down the river in boats. As there are less than three hours of darkness during the height of summer, hikers can take advantage of Leksand’s abundant trail systems late into the night. The Siljansleden trail goes on for 217 miles—though you can pick shorter routes around the lake—while the Alviken walking trail is 4.3 miles across meadows and moorland.