November is a rough month for us here in Seattle. When the sun bothers to shine at all, night still arrives just after 4:00pm. And, it rains constantly. I always manage to power through though, because just after November is December! In Seattle, that means lots of lights up everywhere, shopping in the city, and drinking lots of Starbucks holiday beverages in festive red cups. And, there’s suddenly so much to do in Seattle that you barely even notice the rain anymore. Hurray for holidays in Seattle! To keep you and your family entertained in December, here are some of our favorite Christmas Events in Seattle. Updated for the 2018!
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Visit the Teddy Bear Suite in the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle. Your kids will be in awe from the moment you walk into the Fairmont lobby, as it’s decorated with gorgeous trees, wreaths, and gingerbread. After a short ride up the elevator, you’ll be ushered into a suite of rooms with teddy bears of every shape and size. Your kids will love hugging lots of new friends and parents will have a great time snapping lots of pictures of the kids in this beautiful setting. On your way out, grab a candy cane and consider making a donation–the Teddy Bear Suite raises money for Seattle Children’s Hospital. The Teddy Bear Suite is open daily (including Christmas!) during the holiday season.
While at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, stop by the Festival of Trees display in the lobby. Over 20 festively decorated trees honor heroic young patients from Seattle Children’s Hospital. The proceed to the lower lobby to visit the life-sized gingerbread house. Just make sure your sweet tooth doesn’t get the best of you so others can enjoy the candy creation as well! Donations to benefit the Seattle Children’s Hospital are accepted for these attractions as well.
Another must-do Christmas event in Seattle is at the downtown City Centre building, where you can visit an amazing Gingerbread Village. The theme varies every year. Past themes have included “25 years of Cheer: A Celebration of Seattle” and “May the Holidays be With You: Star Wars.”
Each year local architects and the culinary staff at the Sheraton try to out-do each other with wondrous creations. You’ll mostly wonder how on earth they made such amazing things out of gingerbread and candy! If you’re moved to make a donation, money raised goes to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. The Gingerbread Village is open 24 hours per day during the holiday season.
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While you’re in downtown, swing by Westlake Park for a ride on the Holiday Carousel. This wooden carousel offers lots of beautiful animals for your kids to ride. As with the Teddy Bear Suite and the Gingerbread Village, proceeds from the Holiday Carousel go to charity. And, don’t miss the chance to look at the big Christmas tree in front of Westlake Center!
If you’re not interested in coming into the city, how about celebrating the holidays at the zoo? Both Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo and Tacoma’s Point Defiance Zoo decorate their grounds with thousands of lights and open up at night so you can come see the zoos in a whole new way! Both WildLights at the Woodland Park Zoo and Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo start the end of November and run through December.
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How about some ice skating to celebrate the holiday season? In Seattle, head over to the ice rink at Seattle Center, located on the ground floor of Fisher Pavilion. Skating fun is open throughout the holiday season (Closed Christmas Day, hours vary by day). Skate rentals available.
Seattle Center has a whole host of other great holiday activities as well. Winterfest is a month-long party right under the Space Needle, running from the day after Thanksgiving through to New Year’s Eve. Your child (and you too, honestly) will love checking out the huge Winter Train and Village, and maybe even taking a turn at the controls! While you’re doing this, you’re likely to have some great music to listen to, as many local schools and other groups come and perform throughout Winterfest on the stage in the Seattle Center Armory (formerly called the Center House). If you’re in the mood for some theater or ballet, Seattle Center offers lots of choices where the Seattle Children’s Theatre is putting on performances of The Velveteen Rabbit (November 1-December 30, 2018) and George Balanchine’s The NutcrackerTM is being danced at McCaw Hall!
Want to celebrate the holidays while on the move? Argosy Cruises celebrates with the Christmas Ship Festival, with lots of lights and caroling, in 45 communities around the Puget Sound during the holiday season. Book either a ticket on one of the boats in the festival or watch from shore! If a train is more your speed, head up to North Bend and take a ride on the Santa Train weekends from Thanksgiving to Christmas or visit Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad’s Polar Express Train. Both are complete with cocoa and visits from Santa Claus himself!
Another local favorite is The Lights of Christmas at Warm Beach Camp. Check out the 15 acres of over 1 million Christmas lights, pony rides, and ride the train. Enjoy lots of entertainment, pet animals, some snacks, and just generally have a great time!
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What are your favorite Christmas events in Seattle? Share your tips with us in the comments!
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Special thanks to Tiffany Vaughn for updating this article for 2018.
Lead Photo by: Bigstock/f11photo