There are so many - almost too many - holiday fun activities around Seattle during the month of December. I am dedicating this blog to free or low cost activities and sights to celebrate the season.
Winterfest at Seattle Center is the perfect spot to get into the festive spirit. A favorite of families with toddlers and young children - enjoy the elaborate train set with village scenes, stay for a performance of local student groups and even catch an ice sculpting demonstration - all free. All of this takes place inside the warm and dry Amory building and you can make it a real adventure and take a roundtrip ride on the monorail. A seasonal ice rink is on site and offers ice walkers for new skaters - with skate rentals and a fee for each skating sessions.
Downtown Seattle Delights
Downtown Seattle offers so many choices for you family to celebrate the season besides shopping.
A long time tradition for many families is a visit to the Fairmont Hotel's Teddy Bear Suite. Step into this hotel suite (donations encouraged for Seattle Children's Hospital) to find the suite taken over by teddy bears of all shapes and sizes. Plenty of bears available to hug and even spots to curl up and read one of their teddy bear themed books. The hotel is beautifully decorated and has a giant Christmas tree in the lobby - perfect for a family photo.
Stop by the atrium of Pacific Place where it snows nightly along with a laser - Light up the Night - 3D laser show.
The Holiday Carousel is ready for riders and is located in Westlake Park. Proceeds benefit Treehouse, a local charity providing foster children school supplies, birthday presents and other important childhood resources.
Gingerbread and Harry Potter delight at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel. The 24th annual holiday gingerbread display is Harry Potter themed and will make even your teens get into the holiday spirit. Local architecture firms partner with the hotel bakers to create this over the top tribute to the wizarding world.
Bellevue - Shines and Snows
Not to be outdone by Seattle, Bellevue has become a fun family holiday destination too. Bundle up and enjoy the nightly Snowflake Lane family show along Bellevue Way. Be entertained by dancers, drummers, polar bears and reindeer characters along with holiday music, light show and snow!
Another part of Bellevue's Magic Season is Family Ice Skating at Ashwood Park by the main library. This temporary ice rink hosts "Learn How to Skate" nights and offers skating for the entire family - all with paid admission.
Holiday Garden Delights
Swanson's Nursery - Seattle - Not only does this nursery have beautiful pre-cut Christmas trees, garland and plenty of decorations for the tree, they also host two of Santa's reindeer. Stop by an visit and pose for pictures with one of Santa's reindeer resting up for the big night. See the How the Grinch Stole Christmas themed model train village and you might even get a glimpse at another special visitor - Curley the camel ! Free
Bellevue Botanical Garden - Garden d'Lights features over half a million tiny colorful lights that transform the Bellevue Botanical Garden into a blossoming nighttime winter wonderland. Dress warm and wander along the garden paths enjoying this amazing light display and appreciate the 1000's of volunteer hours it takes each year to plan and design. Pick up a treasure map at the front booth and help your child spot the slug, spider and other light critters hidden throughout the garden. Admittance Fee - Free on select evenings
Molbaks Poinsettia Festival - Woodinville - For our family, a holiday tradition is a walk through this Woodinville nursery to enjoy everything holiday - trees, decorations, carolers strolling the aisles, Danish kringle samples and, of course, the huge display of poinsettias. This year there are 22 different varieties of poinsettias from jingle bell rock, classic Christmas beauty to princettia pink and premium ice crystals -plus a 10' tall Christmas tree made entirely of poinsettias - a classic spot for family photo. Free