We always have ideas for weekend getaways, thanks to IgoUgo travelers’ advice, but this weekend brings one of the more generalized recommendations we’ve ever made: try somewhere in or near the Northern Hemisphere. Want something more specific? As seen in USA TODAY, here are IgoUgo’s 10 favorite places to spend June 21, the longest day of the year for the northern half of the world.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Be among the first in the US to see the sun rise from atop Cadillac Mountain; it’s an easy hike or drive to the top for 360-degree views of first light.
Celebrate the Catalans’ annual Festival de Sant Joan on June 23. Music and dancing go on all night, but the festival is best known for its bonfires, which are associated with pagan celebrations of the solstice and are thought to add to the sun's power.
Kick off summer with a different denomination of sun worshipping: visit the ancient sun temple of Helipolis. Discovered in 2006, the temple was part of ancient Egypt’s center of sun worship.
Machu Picchu is, of course, the area’s most important attraction and home to the Temple of the Sun. During the solstice, the sun shines directly on the temple’s ceremonial stone for a memorable experience. Cusco is also home to Inti Raymi, a weeklong Inca solstice celebration and one of South America’s largest festivals.
Just over 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Fairbanks celebrates the Midnight Sun with baseball games, festivals, races, and dancing, all still going strong at the sunny stroke of midnight.
Billing itself as Europe’s northernmost town, Hammerfest is well within the Arctic Circle, making sunlight a near constant during the summer months. Magnificent sunrises at the top of the world don’t get much better than this.
Summer is high season in Iceland, but in past years, visiting during the solstice was cost-prohibitive; this year the exchange rate is dramatically more favorable. The weather is also favorable, with sunshine nearly 24 hours a day—all the better for enjoying Reykjavik’s legendary nightlife.
Seattle’s funkiest neighborhood plays host to the 38th annual Fremont Fair this weekend in celebration of the summer solstice. The event is free, but all donations go toward programs for those in need.
The rich Native American culture of Sedona makes it a perfect place to celebrate the summer sun. The Sun Dance is an important Native American ritual often performed around the time of the summer solstice, but for a more stationary (yet moving!) experience, watch the sun rise over Sedona’s otherworldly red-rock formations.
Join the thousands of partygoers and modern-day druids who celebrate the solstice at Stonehenge every year. Many believe the site's precise alignment with the sun during the solstice is too perfect to be accidental, and many scholars believe Stonehenge was built as a monument to the sun. What better place to give thanks for summer?