The farther north you go in the summertime, the longer the days and the cooler the weather. These five cities not only have late sunsets and mild temperatures in the summer, but also a lot more to offer.
Summer is the logical season to visit Alaska and the natural wonders outside Anchorage are the main reason to go. The city of 300,000 is the perfect launching point for trips to five national parks, all within a five-hour drive or 90-minute seaplane hop. Whether it's mountains, glaciers or moose sightings you seek, you'll find them at Denali, Kenai Fjords, Wrangell-St. Elias, Katmai or Lake Clark national parks.
Once you return to Anchorage, you can spend time climbing its own mountain (3,510-foot Flattop), visiting the Alaska Native Heritage Center and indulging at any of the ctiy's eight breweries.
What's New: A close encounter with brown bears in Lake Clark National Park is the highlight of a new seaplane tour from Anchorage.
Summer Solstice Sunset: 11:42 p.m.
Stockholm is a patchwork of 14 islands connected by 57 bridges. Whether you explore it on foot or in an amphibious bus, you'll discover a city full of museums, seafood restaurants, music, fashion, parks and beaches; it's among the world's cleanest and greenest capitals. “Must-sees" include Drottningholm Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Royal Palace (600 rooms), Skansen (the world's oldest open-air museum), the Vasa Museum (built around a 1628 royal warship) and Abba The Museum. And the Stockholm Culture Festival hosts 600 free events of every type citywide during August 16–21.
What's New: The Winery Hotel, the world's first hotel incorporating an urban winery, opened in January.
Summer Solstice Sunset: 10:08 p.m.
St. John's, Newfoundland
The earth meets the sea in dramatic fashion in St. John's, poised on the easternmost tip of North America. You can witness this from fjords and bluffs on the East Coast Trail, with its lighthouses, caribou herds, seabird sanctuaries, and passing icebergs and whales. You'll see it on Signal Hill at historic Cabot Tower and the Johnson Geo Center, a geology and space museum. And you'll experience more nature at the MUN Botanical Garden, where moose often wander into the 110-acre gardens and nature reserve.
What's New: The Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival celebrates its 40th year with dozens of performances August 5–7.
Summer Solstice Sunset: 9:02 p.m.
The world's northernmost capital has become a tourism mecca and the launching point for visitors eager to explore Iceland's mountains, canyons, glaciers, black-sand beaches, volcanoes and geothermal pools (most famously the Blue Lagoon). Reykjavik itself has many attractions, including Whales of Iceland and Aurora Reykjavik: The Northern Lights Center, which both opened in 2015. And the midnight summer sunsets, besides adding to the time you can explore, have an effect on Reykjavik's thriving nightlife. Most bars don't fill up until the wee hours and don't close until after 4 a.m.
What's New: Eighteen festivals crowd the August and September calendar, celebrating everything from Russian films and bacon to tango and tattoo art.
Summer Solstice Sunset: 12:04 a.m.
Vancouver, British Columbia
The most popular summer attractions in the international city of Vancouver are tied to the forests and bodies of water that surround it. Walkers can cross the swaying Capilano Suspension Bridge over a rainforest gorge and stroll the seawall around forested Stanley Park, one of the world's finest city parks. Nature lovers can ride gondolas up Grouse Mountain or Whistler Blackcomb — the 2010 Winter Olympics venue — for hiking and zip-line rides. And then you can refuel in a city bursting with Asian and seafood restaurants and wine bars.
What's New: “Picasso: The Artist and His Muses" (60+ Picasso works) shows through October 2 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Summer Solstice Sunset: 9:22 p.m.
If you go
United Airlines flies to four of these five cities — Reykjavik is served by Star Alliance partner Lufthansa. Visit united.com or use the United app to plan your trip North for cooler weather and longer days.