8 Fantastic Family Holiday Events In Seattle

Goldberg Jones Everyday Dads Leave a Comment

We received our yearly allotment of snow a bit early to have a white Christmas, but there are still plenty of ways to get into the holiday spirit in Seattle and the surrounding area. And besides, we can always head to the nearby mountains if we need to scratch our snow itch.

Most of us have quite a bit going on this time of year. The kids are out of school, there’s shopping to do, and the festivities won’t plan themselves. It tends to get stressful. Sometimes we need to remember to take a moment to relax and truly enjoy the season. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite local holiday activities for the whole family.


Nestled in the Cascade Mountains to the East of Seattle, the picturesque Bavarian village of Leavenworth transforms into a winter wonderland. Through the New Year, the town strings up millions of Christmas lights to dazzle visitors young and old alike.

With concerts and various activities scheduled for each Saturday and Sunday through December, there’s something for every member of the family. From holiday concerts and caroling to tubing, skiing, and snowmobiling (not to mention dog sled races), there are plenty of ways to occupy your time. It’s a great destination for a pre-holiday weekend getaway with the family.

Christmas Ships

Proximity to water is a big perk of living in Seattle, and we use the Puget Sound to our advantage during the holiday season. Through December 23rd, the Argosy Christmas Ship Festival delights residents around the area.

An annual tradition for more than 60 years, the fleet sails to waterfront communities across the Sound. Decked out with holiday lights and decorations, and with an onboard choir belting out classic carols, this is a joy for those on the boats and those gathered on the shore.

Wild Waves And Enchanted Village

What’s better than riding a roller coaster? This time of year it’s riding a roller coaster covered in Christmas lights. You can experience just that through December at the Holiday with Lights celebration at the Wild Waves and Enchanted Village theme parks. And don’t worry if your idea of holiday fun doesn’t involve adrenaline coursing through your veins.

There are plenty of other attractions to choose from. This includes visits to Toyland, writing letters to Santa Claus, and singing along with favorites Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman every evening. And even if there’s no snow on the ground, you can get a fix in a tent that simulates snowfall.


Exotic creatures and wild animals are the primary attractions at our local zoos, but this time of year there’s even more to enjoy. Running through January 1, both Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle and Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma host zoo lights events.

With hundreds of thousands of lights on display, you can ride on a carousel (or a camel), marvel at the holiday displays, and still hang out with all of your favorite year-round animal residents. (I really hope they put reindeer antlers on the polar bears, though I’m not volunteering for that particular job.)

Winterfest At Seattle Center

You don’t have to travel outside of the city to find holiday cheer, all you need to do is visit Seattle Center. There’s plenty of fun to be had for every member of the clan at Winterfest. The Armory features an elaborate model train with a delightful turn-of-the-century village, as well as a slate of performances by students from various local schools.

If you feel like braving the elements, visit the ice skating rink at Fisher Pavilion or check out local artisans as they create elaborate ice sculptures. The Seattle Children’s Museum features exhibits about holiday celebrations from a variety of cultures around the world, and the Center grounds are decked out with festive lights. And, of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas in Seattle without the Nutcracker at the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Christmas Lights

It’s just not the holidays without spending at least a little time cruising through the streets, checking out Christmas lights. You’ve got deliberate displays, like Fantasy Lights in Spanaway or Garden D’Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden.

But one of the truly special things about this time of year is how average everyday folks go through the extra effort to thrill and delight their neighbors. Every town has that one neighborhood that goes for it every year and shouts their holiday spirit loud. Just make sure to be courteous and keep the people who live there in mind when you visit these spots.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree

We can list any number of reasons why we love living in the Pacific Northwest. Chief among these, however, is ready access to nature and outdoor activities. Within a few hours, we can climb mountains, go skiing, hike picturesque trails, visit the ocean, and more.

During the holiday season, this provides us with the chance to cut down our own Christmas tree. Sure, it’s easier to visit one of the many lots around town a pick on up there. But there’s something uniquely wonderful about gathering the family, heading into the woods and picking out your own Christmas tree. Even if it’s really only a dedicated tree farm.

Seattle SantaCon

Admittedly, SantaCon skews more to the adult side of things. A Santa Claus-themed pub crawl through the watering holes of downtown Seattle, see if your parents will watch the kids the night of December 17.

If dozens and dozens of festive folks dressed like the personification of Christmas, drinking booze and sharing merriment sounds like a good time, this may be worth marking on the calendar.

These are just a few of our favorite, mostly family-friendly holiday attractions in the area. There are countless concerts, performances, and other events to choose from. Every town and neighborhood have their own unique attractions. Sound off in the comments below and let us know about your favorites that we might have missed.

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