LOCAL NEWS

24 things to do in Seattle for the holidays

Nov 26, 2021, 12:13 PM | Updated: Dec 3, 2021, 10:01 am
holidays, seattle, christmas lights...
The Menashe home in 2014. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Looking for something to get you into the holiday spirit? Look no further — there’s plenty to do in and around the greater Seattle region to help spread that holiday cheer.

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Seattle

Candy Cane Lane
Dec. 5 – Jan. 1
Park Road NE & NE Ravenna Blvd
More information

If you enjoy looking at old Seattle homes decorated in thousands of twinkling lights, you’ll want to brave the traffic for this tradition. Neighbors have been hosting Candy Cane Lane since 1949. It’s free to drive through, and you’re invited to bring non-perishable food for a food drive.

Macy’s Holiday Star
Nov. 26 – Dec. 30
4th Avenue and Pine Street
More information

The holiday star has been on display for decades on the side of the Macy’s building in downtown Seattle. New building owners promise to display the star in true holiday tradition, as they did in 2020. Bring a tripod to snap a picture for the ‘gram and check out the tree lighting at Westlake Plaza on Nov. 26.

Woodland Park Zoo’s Wild Lanterns
Nov. 12 – Jan. 30, 4 – 8:30 p.m.
500 Phinney Ave N
More information

The zoo brings to life large animals from around the world in its new Wild Lanterns festival. Of course, you can still grab some hot cocoa and walk the zoo’s WildLights Trail. Stop in for a Tianyu Art Performance or mingle with an ambassador animal.

Christmas Ships
Nov. 25 – Dec. 23
Various locations around the Puget Sound
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The Argosy Cruise ship travels all across the Puget Sound during the holiday season, dressed up in hundreds of lights with a choir or quartet on board. Be part of the fun on board, or stand on shore with your family and friends to wave. There are two parades on Lake Union, which include several boats dressed up in holiday décor.

Junction Hometown Holidays
Nov. 26 – Dec. 24
4210 SW Oregon St
More information

West Seattle’s Junction is bustling for the entire holiday season with shopping and a holiday art walk. Elvis hosts the tree lighting and night shopping on Dec. 4, you can donate a gently used coat during the Coat Drive the next day, and then meet Santa when he visits the farmers’ market on Dec. 19.

Holiday Magic at Pacific Place
Nov. 18 – Dec. 24
600 Pine St
More information

Stop in for some shopping, holiday music, and to visit Santa at the Holiday Magic Village. You’ll probably run into Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, too. Reservations are required for photo sessions.

Nutcracker at the Pacific Northwest Ballet
Nov. 26 – Dec. 28
301 Mercer St
More information

The Nutcracker at McCaw Hall for the holidays is a tradition that will create a lasting memory. Watch the magic unfold on stage as Clara and her nutcracker light up imaginations.

Green Lake Pathway of Lights
Dec. 11, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Green Lake Community Center
More information

Hundreds of lanterns will illuminate the pathway around Green Lake on Dec. 11. Bundle up the family, pack a thermos, decorate the wagon with lights, and a enjoy a stroll around the lake.

Winterfest at Seattle Center
Nov. 26 – Dec. 31
305 Harrison St
More information

Take the kids to see ice sculptures every Saturday. They make a great backdrop for photos. Check out the winter train and village display inside the Armory. While you’re there, catch a live performance and grab a bite to eat. Of course, the entire grounds will be decorated in twinkling lights.

Eastside

Snowflake Lane in Bellevue
Nov. 26 – Dec. 24
227 Bellevue Way NE
More information

Get a good spot on Bellevue Way and wait for the snow to swirl around downtown. The nightly holiday parade starts at 7 p.m. with toy drummers, dancers, festive music, and holiday floats.

Issaquah Reindeer Festival
Dec. 1 – 30
Cougar Mountain Zoo
More information

Santa stops in at the Cougar Mountain Zoo every day in December to check on his reindeer. Get a photo with Jolly St. Nick and his sleigh. The Reindeer Festival admission is free with zoo admission.

Molbak’s Annual Festival of Poinsettias
November and December
13625 NE 175th St, Woodinville
More information

Even if you’re not a fan of flowers or foliage, a trip to Woodinville to see the poinsettias is worth it. Check out the giant red tree made of poinsettias and all the different varieties of poinsettias.

Santa Train in Snoqualmie
Nov. 27 – Dec. 19
38625 SE King Street
More information

All aboard the Santa train! Climb aboard one of two trains with Santa and his elves — the Yuletide Express, or the Santa Limited. On the Yuletide Express, you’ll get a 25-minute ride from the Snoqualmie Depot west to Snoqualmie Falls. Each child gets a small gift from Santa. On the Santa Limited (which is already sold out), passengers travel 2 hours from North Bend to the Railway History Campus for a tour of exhibits.

Village of Lights in Leavenworth
Dec. 3 – Dec. 23
Leavenworth, WA
More information

Leavenworth is maybe a little further than “the Eastside” as you know it, but it’s worth the drive up snowy Highway 2. This year is a little different — there’s no flipping of the switch every Saturday and Sunday since the lights will shine bright every day of the week. Pop into the toy shop and get your picture taken with holiday characters.

South Sound

Zoolights at Point Defiance
Nov. 26 – Jan. 2
Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma
More information

The new baby armadillo is reason enough to visit Point Defiance Zoo, but Zoolights is a tradition and cornerstone of the holidays for many locals. Take a selfie in front of the lit-up butterfly wings or just wander around, looking at the giant octopus or Narrows Bridge wrapped in over 800,000 tiny lights.

Downtown for the Holidays in Olympia
Nov. 28 – Dec. 30
5th and Washington, Olympia
More information

Enjoy live music, twinkling lights, and the winter refreshment station. Cozy up with your friends and family in a horse-drawn carriage, or stop in for some hand-crafted gifts made by local artists.

Christmas at the Mansion
Nov. 26
312 Spring Street, Puyallup
More information

Visiting a mansion built in the 1890s is already a magical experience, but when it’s decorated for the holidays, it’s a delight that’ll create lasting memories. Take a tour and imagine you’re living a Victorian Christmas.

North Pole at the Fair in Puyallup
Nov. 26 – December
110 9th Ave SW
More information

Take the kids to the North Pole at the Fair to burn off some holiday steam. This pint-size holiday village is set up for kids to stretch their imaginations.

Vashon Island Winterfest
Dec. 4
Vashon Island Highway between SW 171st & SW 178th 
More information

Find the perfect vantage point along Vashon Island Highway or meet at the Vashon Theater to take in the (walking) Santa Parade. The tree lighting takes place at 6 p.m. at the Vashon Village.

North Sound

Lights of Christmas in Stanwood
Nov. 26 – Jan. 8
20800 Marine Dr, Stanwood
More information

An annual tradition in the North Sound gives the whole family an opportunity to enjoy the season. This will again be a drive-thru Christmas. Listen to holiday music and wave to Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Country Christmas in Port Gamble
Dec. 11 – 12
Port Gamble, WA
More information

Head to the Peninsula for a day in Port Gamble and enjoy the tree lighting and fireworks. Stop in to Santa’s workshop and take a wagon ride before enjoying dinner and a little holiday shopping. While you’re in Port Gamble, breathe in the fresh salt air and admire the historic homes.

Home for the Holidays in Snohomish
Nov. 12 – Dec. 21
Snohomish, WA
More information

Snohomish was basically designed for a month-long celebration in December. Drop off a gift at one of the beautifully decorated giving trees, shop in several stores in the historic district, or browse the window displays ahead of the contest. Santa arrives on Nov. 27 — stop in to say hello at the Riverfront Gazebo. Chase the Grinch out of town or try to find all of Santa’s reindeer.

Fairhaven Winterfest in Bellingham
Nov. 26 – Dec. 18
Fairhaven in Bellingham, WA
More information

If strolling through Fairhaven decked in thousands of lights isn’t enough, stick around for the light bike parade or visit Father Christmas and Mrs. Claus. The Holiday Market features local businesses and holiday treats.

Winterfest in Lake Stevens
Dec. 4
North Cove Park
More information

Come for the food trucks and holiday wares from local businesses, and stay for the annual tree lighting and holiday music. Members of Miss Aquafest court will pass out the limited-edition city ornament.

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24 things to do in Seattle for the holidays