Argosy Christmas Ship Courtesy Argosy Cruises

For Families

From holiday lights to meetings with off-duty reindeer, add these kid- and parent-pleasing events to your winter itinerary.

Karin Vandraiss

FAMILY FAVORITES

Pacific Place Snow

Experience twice daily “snow shows” at Pacific Place in downtown Seattle, where flurries fall inside the atrium for five minutes of winter wonder, capped off by an appearance by the big man himself.

November 24–December 24

Elf The Musical

Inspired by the modern holiday classic of an endearingly naïve elf finding his way around the Big Apple, Elf The Musical comes to The Paramount Theatre to spread Christmas cheer for all to hear.

December 5–10

Jingle Bell Run

Even the littlest runners can get in on the fun at Seattle’s Jingle Bell Run. All are welcome to run, jog, or walk to support the Arthritis Foundation—bells on shoelaces and ugly sweaters are highly encouraged!

December 10

Teddy Bear Suite

Don’t miss Fairmont Olympic Hotel’s Teddy Bear Suite, a set of seasonally decorated rooms overflowing with teddy bears ready to be cuddled. It’s the ideal place for a family photo op. Entry is free, but all donations benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital.

November 23–December 26

 

ANIMAL FESTIVITIES

Swanson’s Reindeer Festival

Every year, Swanson’s Nursery in north Seattle transforms into a winter wonderland for its annual Reindeer Festival, where visitors can shop, marvel at the model train village, take photos with Santa, and even meet reindeers Dasher and Blitzen, who are visiting until Christmas Eve.

November 11–December 4

Woodland Park Zoo WildLights

Bundle up for Woodland Park Zoo’s WildLights to see more than 600,000 LEDs illuminated in animal shapes throughout the zoo. Kids can explore select exhibits or have an indoor snowball fight in the Snowmazium, and parents can take turns popping into the winter warm-up section for a mulled wine or spiked hot cider.

November 24–January 1

Seattle Aquarium Diving Santa

Even aquatic creatures share the holiday spirit in Seattle. Little ones will get a kick when a scuba diving Santa descends into the Window on Washington Waters exhibit at Seattle Aquarium. There are photo ops galore, plus the musical stylings of family-friendly acts like kindie rocker Caspar Babypants.

November 25–December 24, Saturdays–Mondays

Pioneer Square Howlidays

In town with your pooch—or just love hanging out with furry pals? Don’t skip the sixth annual Pioneer Square Howlidays, where your four-legged BFF can mingle in the pop-up puppy park, snag plenty of treats, and participate in the holiday costume contest (extra points for matching outfits).

December 9

 

SEASONAL CELEBRATIONS

Holiday Lights

Start the season off with a Seattle tradition more than six decades old—head downtown for the annual Macy’s Holiday Parade, then watch the Westlake Center Tree and the 161-foot Macy’s Holiday Star light up later that day. Be sure to stick around for post-ceremony fireworks, weather permitting. Also not to miss: the holiday carousel at Westlake Park, which costs only $3 to ride with all proceeds benefitting Treehouse.

November 24, 9am (parade), 4:30pm (tree lighting), 5pm (star lighting)

Festival of Trees

The Fairmont Olympic Hotel celebrates its 40th annual Festival of Trees with an array of towering trees on display, all uniquely decorated by professional designers. Each stunning tree is available for purchase, with proceeds benefitting Seattle Children’s Hospital.

November 18–29

Winterfest

Kiddos begging to get out on the ice? Seattle Center’s Winterfest is a mix of free and affordable holiday activities, including indoor ice skating. There’s plenty to do post-skate, from watching carvers sculpt ice masterpieces and marveling at the winter train set, to catching carolers singing your favorite holiday tunes.

November 24–January 1

Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship ™ Festival

This Seattle festival has been a seasonal staple since 1949—for the uninitiated, the Spirit of Seattle and several additional boats are adorned in twinkling lights and sail to more than 60 waterfront communities throughout the season. Visitors and locals alike can enjoy the show from the shore, or partake in all the fun onboard. The ships feature choir performances, holiday crafts just for the kids, and an appearance from Santa.

November 24–December 23

Magic in the Market

Pike Place Market will be chock-full of holiday merriment at this year’s Magic in the Market celebration, with cookie decorating for kids 12 and younger, handmade stockings and gifts for sale, live performances, Santa pictures, and a countdown to the holiday tree and Market lighting.

November 25

 

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