Nothing gets us in the holiday mood quite like a festive light display. Whether you’re excited to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or simply trying to ward off the long dark nights of a PNW winter, you’ll love these holiday light displays in Seattle. The best part is that many of them are free!
Read on for where you can find the most festive holiday light displays in Seattle this season:
1. Astra Lumina: A Night Walk Amongst The Stars
When: December 8 to January 7
Where: Seattle Chinese Garden
Astra Lumina: A Night Walk Amongst The Stars is coming to Seattle starting on December 8! The Seattle Chinese Garden will be transformed with light displays, projections, and music for an awe-inspiring night walk. Get tickets here for select dates in December and January.
2. WildLanterns at the Zoo
When: November 10 through January 14
Where: Woodland Park Zoo
Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo is already lit up at night for winter cheer! You can go to the zoo almost any evening after 4:00 p.m. (except for Mondays) to see animal and nature-themed lanterns and more festive light displays. This is a particularly kid-friendly activity but it’s truly fun for all ages. See more details and get tickets on the zoo website.
3. Tree Lighting Celebration at Westlake Park
When: November 24
Where: Westlake Park in downtown Seattle
If your thoughts immediately turn to Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, you’ll want to head over to Westlake Park in downtown Seattle to catch the annual tree lighting ceremony. The free event starts at 3:30 p.m. with live music, but make sure you’re there by 5:00 p.m. to get a good view of the tree lighting that is followed by fireworks.
4. Luminous Light Sculptures at Westlake Park
When: November 24 through January 9
Where: Westlake Park
Westlake Park in downtown Seattle comes alive for the holidays with giant festive light sculptures. They’ll be lit up every day rain or shine, and it’s free to enjoy. See more info on the downtown Seattle website.
5. Magic in the Market
When: November 25
Where: Pike Place Market
In addition to live entertainment, shopping, and free photos with Santa, Magic in the Market will have a lighting ceremony at 5:00 p.m. The exterior of Pike Place Market will be lit up with festive holiday lights. Read all about Magic in the Market. And if you miss the event, you can visit Pike Place Market all throughout the holiday season to see the lights.
6. Seattle Center Winterfest
When: November 24 to December 31
Where: Seattle Center
On the Friday after Thanksgiving you can head to Seattle Center for the opening day of their season-long Winterfest celebration. There will be a countdown to the lighting of their Campus Luminata at 5:00 p.m., followed by more festive light shows throughout Seattle Center. See more details about Seattle Center Winterfest.
7. Christmas Ship Festival
When: November 24 to December 23
Where: multiple locations
You can view the lit-up Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship Festival from the shore or even participate on one of the boats. The official Christmas ship is the Spirit of Seattle, which will be lit up with hundreds of festive lights for its grand finale on Lake Union on December 23. Read all about the various festival events on the Argosy Cruises website.
8. Pathway of Lights at Green Lake
When: December 9
Where: Green Lake
Make the dark winter season feel more festive with a stroll around Green Lake during the annual Pathway of Lights event that is free for all. The walking path and docks will be decked out with thousands of candles. There will also be hot drinks and holiday music.
9. Garden d’Lights
When: November 25 to December 31
Where: Bellevue Botanical Garden
If you’ve checked off all the holiday light displays in Seattle, you can make the short drive over to neighboring Bellevue for their Garden d’Lights display in the Bellevue Botanical Garden. Tickets are $8 (children age 10 and under are free) and the display is all outdoors, rain or shine. Note that it is closed on Christmas Day. Get more info on the Garden d’Lights event webpage.
10. Holiday Magic by the Washington State Fair
When: Dec: 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, and 20-23
Where: Puyallup, WA
If you want to make a day trip out of it, you can head to Puyallup—where the famous Washington State Fair takes place—to see the fairgrounds transformed for the holidays. In addition to festive light displays there will be food, a holiday market, and ice skating. There will also be a tree lighting ceremony on December 1. See more details and get tickets on the fair website.
11. Seattle neighborhood holiday light displays
Finally, a free and easy way to enjoy holiday lights is to simply drive or stroll around Seattle neighborhoods that are known for going all-out this time of year. We recommend exploring Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood (especially near Kerry Park), Crown Hill (look for Olympic Manor and the Nutcracker House in particular), and the famous Candy Cane Lane in Ravenna.