Seattle is a top 10 US city for Christmas celebrations, analysis states

Dec 24, 2023, 8:31 AM

Image: A Santa Claus display can be seen ahead of the opening of the Seattle Christmas Market in No...

A Santa Claus display can be seen ahead of the opening of the Seattle Christmas Market in November. (Image courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Image courtesy of KIRO 7)

For those who love Christmas, Seattle is one of the best cities in the U.S. to live in or visit, according to one recent study.

In its new analysis, personal finance company WalletHub states the best Christmas destinations “provide a variety of opportunities to get into the holiday spirit without a hefty price tag.” Putting those factors together, the company “compared the 100 biggest cities in the U.S. based on 28 key indicators.”

When it was all said and done, Seattle finished at No. 7 overall, ahead of New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Boston and many more U.S. cities.

Portland, Oregon, came in at No. 21 sandwiched between Minnesota’s Twin Cities of Minneapolis (No. 20) and St. Paul (23).

How the rankings were determined

In its analysis, WalletHub, which bills itself as “a company that empowers consumers to lead financially healthy lives” and touts its services and tools, compared the 100 biggest U.S. cities based on five categories their analysts deemed most important when identifying “the most festive and affordable cities for Christmas celebrations.” Those categories are traditions and fun, observance, generosity,  shopping and costs.

Last-second shopping: What’s open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Washington?

Many of the key indicators WalletHub analyzed fell in the traditions and fun category. Among those indicators examined included the ranking on top 25 destinations for Christmas “based on advance hotel reservations made on” The company also looked at Christmas tree farms, ice skating rinks, bakeries, restaurants and nightlife options per capita.

WalletHub weighed observance most heavily and considered just two metrics: share of Christian Population and churches per capita.

In the generosity category, the company analyzed food banks and online giving per capita, the share of income donated to charity, the share of the population collecting and distributing food and clothes for the needy and Christmas spirit based on the company’s “Most Caring Cities” ranking released earlier in December.

For shopping, outlets and shopping centers, toy stores and hobby shops, candy stores and chocolatiers per capita were among the indicators examined and ranked.

Finally, when looking at costs, WalletHub considered the cost of a three-star hotel room, restaurant meal costs, the number of affordable, high-quality restaurants and even the average price for two tickets to the theater.

Most notably, Seattle finished at No. 1 in the U.S. in the generosity category. In an email to MyNorthwest, WalletHub reported Seattle was ranked No. 1 in the food banks and online giving per capita indicators. Seattle also finished in the Top 20 in the share of income donated to charity.

Shining bright: Where to find the biggest display of Christmas lights in Washington

The state of Washington’s largest city also finished in the Top 15 in the traditions and fun (No. 9) and shopping (No. 13) categories. Seattle’s traditions rankings includes finishing No. 16 in Christmas tree farms per capita, according to WalletHub’s email to MyNorthwest.

Also, despite finishing No. 1 in the number of affordable, high-quality restaurants indicator WalletHub reported, Seattle ranked No. 97 out of 100 in the costs category.

Seattle also finished low in the observance category, placing at No. 80.

The No. 1 city and more results

Atlanta finished as the No. 1 city for Christmas, WalletHub reported. The firm noted the Georgia city’s  “superb shopping and activity opportunities.” The city finished in the Top 10 in three categories: shopping (No. 5), generosity (5) and traditions and fun (8).

“Atlanta has plenty of options to help you prepare for Christmas celebrations, including a high number of bakeries and places to buy holiday decorations,” the company wrote in its report.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, came in as the No. 2 city for Christmas. WalletHub called out the city’s “ample opportunities to get into the holiday spirit,” its holiday markers and craft fairs and reported the city’s “many options for gift purchases at its numerous candy and card shops.”

Holiday playlist: 5 songs from local artists to celebrate with

Pittsburgh also finished in the Top 10 in three categories: observance (No. 3), generosity (7) and shopping (9).

Rounding out the Top 5 are Orlando, Florida, Las Vegas and San Francisco. Las Vegas finished No. 1 in the shopping category.

Birmingham, Alabama, which finished at No. 1o overall, ranked No. 1 in the observance category. New York City (No. 15 overall) ranked No. 1 in the traditions and fun category.

Looking at the end of the list, Hialeah, Florida, finished last at No. 100. The bottom 10 cities featured three cities in California, two in Texas and two in Nevada.

MyNorthwest Lifestyle

Image: Comedian Richard Lewis attends an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Dec. 25, 2012....

Associated Press

Comedian Richard Lewis, who recently starred on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ dies at 76

Acclaimed comedian Richard Lewis, known for exploring his neuroses in frantic, stream-of-consciousness diatribes, has died.

14 hours ago

Image: Beyoncé performs at a Get Out the Vote concert for Democratic presidential candidate Hillar...

Angela Poe Russell, KIRO Newsradio

Angela Poe Russell: Beyoncé’s controversial country hit is glossing over the bigger issue

Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, and Carrie Underwood haven’t had a No. 1 single on their own. It just feels like something is off. And, it is.

22 hours ago

Image: A Washington's Lottery sign is on display....

Steve Coogan

Good news in Washington: Lost cat found, winning lottery ticket discovered

A Tacoma family got its lost cat back after four years. In Lynnwood, a woman got a surprise when she remembered a lottery ticket she bought.

3 days ago

lily gladstone...

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press

‘Oppenheimer,’ Lily Gladstone win at 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards

Gladstone won Saturday and the crowd erupted. Stone, too, stood and vigorously applauded. Her win would be a first for Native Americans.

4 days ago

Unstoppable performance...

Paul Holden, KIRO Newsradio

Weekend revelry roundup: The events will be ‘Unstoppable’

Friday is here yet again and before you send that text to cancel your plans, check out some of the stuff that's going on around Seattle.

6 days ago

Kenneth Kellogg (Malcolm X, center) with members of the Seattle Opera ensemble of "X: The Life and ...

Heather Bosch

Complex civil rights leader the focus of Seattle Opera performance

The opera touches on key moments of Malcolm's life, including family tragedy, crime, and a stint in prison where Malcolm joined the Nation of Islam and began using X as his last name.

6 days ago

Seattle is a top 10 US city for Christmas celebrations, analysis states