A Guide to Holiday Fun in Seattle and Bellevue
Seattle takes its winter holidays seriously. From an enormous decorated tree downtown to an impressive fireworks display at the Space Needle on New Year’s Eve, there’s plenty to keep the entire family entertained in the Emerald City even if the weather outside is frightful.
Now in its 23rd year, the Gingerbread Village is one of the most cherished holiday traditions in the city. Housed inside the Sheraton Seattle Hotel and made entirely of candy, the village is a complex creation whose construction occupies a team of bakers and architects each year.
Snowflake Lane involves some serious holiday pageantry. Each night at 7 p.m. on the nose, just outside of The Westin Bellevue's front doors, there’s a parade of live toy-soldier drummers, music, animated snow characters, glittering lights and “snow” falling on spectators.
This annual tree-lighting celebration, which takes place on November 27, is the kick-off of the holiday season in the area. Santa Claus makes an appearance in the Macy’s Holiday Parade alongside marching bands, costumed characters and floats. Then there’s the star-lighting ceremony on the side of Macy’s at 5 p.m.
Argosy Cruises’ signature holiday event involves a two-hour cruise aboard these well-appointed boats, a choir singing carols, full bar, kids’ activities and a meet-and-greet with Santa Claus, who reads “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
The fireworks show at the Space Needle is the ultimate way to cap off the holiday season. At midnight, fireworks explode from the base of the needle, illuminating Seattle’s iconic attraction. It’s visible from various points in the city, so you don’t need to be close by to view it. A clear view of the Space Needle is enough.
The Pacific Northwest Ballet’s stunning annual performance of the Nutcracker is celebrated across the region. The 2015 edition, running from November 27 to December 28, will present a new spin on the 19th Century Tchaikovsky classic at grand McCaw Hall at Seattle Center.
Each year, the Bellevue Botanical Gardens unleashes its Garden d’Lights, with more than a half million holiday lights illuminated from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. every night from the end of November to early January. This brilliant light display is sure to impress.
For another excellent holiday lights display, head to the Woodland Park Zoo between November 27 and January 3. Visit the zoo animals at night, enjoy caroling and even play in a bit of (fake but still fun) snow.
Organized by the Downtown Bellevue Association, Magic Season incorporates seven weeks of holiday events centered around downtown Bellevue, including live music, ice skating and other holiday-related activities geared towards the whole family.
Photos with Santa at Nordstrom in downtown Seattle are a fixture in the childhoods of many a Seattleite. Nordstrom offers a magical and all-inclusive experience, with appearances by African American, Asian American and ASL-fluent Santas.