24 things to do in the Seattle area for the holidays

Nov 23, 2022, 2:04 PM

Santa Claus Seattle...

Santa Claus will be appearing throughout the Seattle area over the holiday season. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Pantling/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 area to spread cheer for the holidays.

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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 old Macy’s building in downtown Seattle. Bring a selfie stick to snap a picture for the ‘gram, and check out the tree lighting ceremony featuring Gee & Ursula at Westlake Plaza on Nov. 25.

Woodland Park Zoo’s Wild Lanterns
Nov. 11 – Jan. 22, 4 – 9 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
More information

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 the 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. 11
4210 SW Oregon St
More information

West Seattle’s Junction is bustling for the entire holiday season with shopping and a holiday art walk. Santa will appear at the tree lighting ceremony and night shopping on Dec. 3, or you can donate a gently used coat during the Cocoa, Coat Drive and Garland Sale on Dec. 11.

Fleurs De Villes Noel at Pacific Place
Dec. 10 – 18
600 Pine St
More information

The Fleurs de Villes Noel is a fresh floral celebration of the holiday season. The festive collection of floral art is free and open to the public, featuring 17 floral pop-ups by 15 of Seattle’s favorite florists.

Nutcracker at the Pacific Northwest Ballet
Nov. 25 – 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. 10, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Green Lake Community Center
More information

Hundreds of lanterns will illuminate the pathway around Green Lake on Dec. 10. Bundle up the family, pack a thermos, decorate the wagon with lights, and enjoy a stroll around the lake.

Winterfest at Seattle Center
Nov. 25 – Dec. 31
305 Harrison St
More information

Take the kids to see 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 with twinkling lights.


Snowflake Lane in Bellevue
Nov. 25 – 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 – 23 & Dec. 26 – 30
Cougar Mountain Zoo
More information

Santa stops in at the Cougar Mountain Zoo every day in December (aside from Dec. 23 – 30 because of his duties at the North Pole) 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
Nov. 19 – Dec. 4
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
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 receives 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. Make sure to book your tickets early for 2023. Tickets generally go on sale in early September.

Village of Lights in Leavenworth
Nov. 25 – Dec. 24
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. Enjoy live entertainment with choirs, carolers, bands, and groups at the Gazebo in the heart of town. Or, you can pop into the toy shop and get your picture taken with holiday characters.

South Sound

Zoolights at Point Defiance
Nov. 25 – Jan. 2
Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma
More information

Zoolights at the Point Defiance Zoo 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
Beginning Nov. 27
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 – Dec. 30
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. 12 – 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. 3
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 6:30 p.m. at the Vashon Village.

North Sound

Lights of Christmas in Stanwood
Nov. 25 – Dec. 31
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. 10 – 11
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.

Winterfest in Snohomish
Dec. 9 – 11
Snohomish, WA
More information

Snohomish is hosting a weekend full of fun events for everyone to enjoy. It all begins with a gingerbread house party on Dec. 9, , and live music throughout the weekend.

Fairhaven Winterfest in Bellingham
Nov. 18 – 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.

Edmonds Holiday Market
Dec. 3, 17 & 19
Edmonds Holiday Market
More information

Stroll, browse, snack, shop, then do it all over again, smack dab in the middle of all the festive action in downtown Edmonds. Plus, half of the fun is tasting all the delicious food. You can also hop a ride on the Holiday Trolley downtown and meet Emily the Elf!

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24 things to do in the Seattle area for the holidays