By Kristin Kruger
Today is 12/12/12. Tomorrow marks the start of the 12 days of Christmas. Can I stretch it and gloat that the 12th man witnessed an incredible 58-0 shutout last weekend? In any case, the stars have aligned and I have been inspired to write about the top 12 things (in my opinion) not to miss in Seattle this holiday season. Have more to add to the list? Please share them in the comments below – I’d love to hear them!
1. Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity at the Moore Theatre
If you haven’t seen Black Nativity yet, go purchase your tickets today. Seriously. I satisfied a curiosity three years ago and was hooked. Now it has become my favorite holiday tradition. Powerful gospel vocals. Lithe, spirited dancers. The raw talent on stage is, in a word, incredible.
2. The Nutcracker
Simply magical. The music, the dancers, the story of The Nutcracker transports me back to my childhood and the enchantment that the holidays hold. When was the last time you saw The Nutcracker?
3. Wine Tasting in Woodinville
Um, yeah. What is better than escaping the chill by bellying up to the bar in a warm, oak-barrel- and letting someone pour you a full-bodied syrah? I can’t think of much. Some of my favorite places to frequent are Woodinville’s William Church Winery & Matthew’s Cellars tasting rooms.
4. Snowboarding (yes, skiing too)
Since I’ve lived in Seattle, not a winter has gone by that I haven’t hit the hills. For the most convenient lifts, hit up the Summit at Snoqualmie – only about 45 minutes to an hour from downtown Seattle, Summit East is my favorite. Seeking longer runs? Try Crystal Mountain to the south or Stevens Pass to the north.
5. Pacific Place Snow
If you can’t make it to the mountains, you can still find yourself in a winter wonderland at 6 PM every night in Pacific Place. Gather in the atrium to catch snowflakes on your tongue. Best part is there’s no need to shovel the driveway afterward. Tip: give a donation and pick up a sparkling snowflake wand while you’re there. All proceeds benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital.
6. Seasonal Microbrews
Pacific Northwest microbrews are delicious year-round, but I particularly enjoy me some warm, hoppy flavors to ward off the cold-weather season. Some brews to keep your eyes out for: Elysian Bifrost Winter Ale; Pike Brewing Auld Acquaintance Hoppy Holiday Ale; Boundary Bay Cabin Fever; Fremont Brewery Abominable Winter Ale; and Hale’s Wee Heavy Winter Ale
7. Seattle Men’s Chorus
Festive and hilarious, the Seattle Men’s Chorus is a must-see for the holidays – a fabulous, if not somewhat untraditional, holiday tradition in Seattle. Song, dance and witty one-liners. ‘Nuff said.
8. Mac ‘n’ Cheese
So this is not really a “holiday” treat but there’s no better time of the year to indulge in this ultimate comfort food. Of course, I’m going to point to Beecher’s as the Seattle mac ‘n’ cheese authority. I also suggest checking out what The Kingfish Café has to offer.
9. Winterfest Ice Skating Rink
Another take-me-back-to-my-childhood activity. Bonus: the ice rink is at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion, situated right next to the newly renovated Armory and all the delicious goodness they’ve stored inside. Grab some Ceres roasted nuts before you head out to the rink.
10. Whiskey Drinks
Is it my imagination, or does my list have a lot of alcoholic beverages on it? Well, if ‘tis the season to imbibe, then so be it. Winter is one of the few times of the year that I indulge in whiskey cocktails to warm up from the inside. A bar with a warm ambiance helps a lot too. Check out Canon in Seattle or Lot No. 3 in Bellevue.
11. Polar Bear Plunge
I must confess. I haven’t done this – yet. The Polar Bear Plunge has sparked my interest for the past seven winters that I’ve lived here but I’ve always backed out at the last minute. I’m keeping it on this list to encourage myself that it could be fun… one of these years…
12. Holiday Lights
Perhaps the easiest thing to take advantage of in downtown Seattle, but it also exudes the most holiday spirit. A walk around downtown Seattle gives you a feel for the electricity in the air. Need more? Ride the Ducks offers a guided lights tour throughout the season. Evergreen Escapes does too – with beer.
Here’s wishing you and yours a happy holiday season.