It’s finally the best time of the year in Seattle! Starting the day after Thanksgiving, the Emerald City becomes alive with festive lights, Christmas trees, holiday markets, and events that run that gamut from classic to quirky. Some of these events are even free! Read on for the complete guide to the best things to do in Seattle during the holidays.
1. Get festive at Kringle’s Filling Station
This immersive holiday attraction in Seattle is a great way to enjoy quality time with family and friends during the busy holiday season. From November 25, 2022 to January 1, 2023 there will be Christmas ski ball and other festive games, hot cocoa and treats, karaoke, photo opportunities and more. Get tickets for Kringle’s Filling Station before it sells out!
2. Explore Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
Take a pause from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to immerse yourself in some art. This exhibition allows you to step into Van Gogh’s life and artwork like never before. Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience still has tickets available for select dates in November and December.
3. Experience a Candlelight Concert Holiday Special
At this romantic experience, you’ll enjoy holiday music played by a talented string quartet while surrounded by candles in Seattle’s stunning Lotte Hotel. Tickets are still available now for the Candlelight Concert Holiday Special on December 21 and 22.
4. Shop and see Santa at Magic in the Market
On Saturday, November 26 you can see Pike Place Market get lit up for the holidays! Read all about Magic in the Market.
5. Join the Seattle tree lighting celebration
Head to Westlake Park in downtown Seattle the day after Thanksgiving to experience live music, a tree lighting ceremony, and fireworks! Get all the details about this year’s Seattle tree lighting celebration.
6. Visit Leavenworth for maximum Christmas cheer
Leavenworth is known nationwide as Washington’s most beloved Christmas town. You’ll be able to enjoy over-the-top lights and decorations, holiday shopping, and events at this year’s Christmastown.
5. Attend a Menorah lighting event
Seattle has a menorah lighting at University Village on Tuesday, December 20, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. It is hosted by the Chabad of Seattle and will have a live performance. Find the menorah outside of Piatti.
You could also opt to make the short drive over to Kirkland for the Grand Menorah Lighting at Kirkland Marina Park on Sunday, December 18, 2022. This celebration runs from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
6. See the zoo lit up at WildLanterns
WildLanterns is one of Seattle’s most beloved winter traditions. This lantern festival is happening now at the Woodland Park Zoo. Read all about this year’s WildLanterns before you go.
7. Shop for gifts at a holiday market
It’s a great idea to try to shop for holiday gifts from small, local businesses. Luckily Seattle makes that easy with lots of holiday markets that pop up throughout November and December. Read our guide to this year’s best Seattle holiday markets.
8. Visit a Seattle ice skating rink
Ready to bundle up and ice skate to the tune of holiday classics? There are a few ice skating rinks in Seattle and the surrounding area that you can choose from.
9. Join Seattle’s Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition
On Friday, December 2, 2022 Pike Place Market will host Seattle’s annual Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition. This festive caroling event runs from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and raises money for The Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank.
10. Experience Winterfest at Seattle Center
Winterfest is a beloved Seattle holiday tradition that runs from November 25 to December 31 at Seattle Center. Check out the opening day celebration on November 25th and return as much as you’d like to enjoy the the winter train and village display, the Armory Stage live entertainment lineup, the daily 6:00 p.m. light show, and more.
11. Make a donation to Seattle Festival of Trees
The Seattle Festival of Trees is an annual holiday event for a good cause. All the money raised goes towards Uncompensated Care, Seattle Children’s, and the Seattle Children’s Autism Center. From November 18 to November 30, 2022 you can go view the decorated trees on display for free at Seattle’s historic Fairmont Olympic Hotel (donations welcome).
12. Spread cheer during two days of Seattle SantaCon
Seattle SantaCon 2022 is back this December for two full days of festivities. On December 10th and 17th you can join other Santas for a costume contest, drink specials, live entertainment, and more (ages 21+ only).
13. Visit Holiday Magic at the Fair
The Washington State Fair is transforming its grounds in Puyallup for its annual Holiday Magic event. Visit on select dates throughout December for an ice rink, holiday displays, a market, food, and more.
16. See Seattle’s Nutcracker Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet is performing the Nutcracker from November 25 through December 27. This holiday classic is magic for all ages.
17. Stroll down Green Lake Pathway of Lights
Green Lake is hosting its annual Pathway of Lights event on Saturday, December 10, 2022. From 4:30 to 7:30 p.m you can stroll along the candlelit path around Green Lake while enjoying holiday music and refreshments.
18. Partake in Downtown Seattle’s Holiday Lights & Delights
Starting with the tree lighting event in Westlake Park that we mentioned earlier on this list, downtown Seattle will be hosting a series of free events as part of its annual Holiday Lights & Delights festivities. This will include a seasonal ice skating rink, a caroling event with cookies and hot cocoa, and more. See the full schedule of events on the downtown Seattle website.
19. Go for a cruise on the Seattle Christmas Ship Festival
Whether you book a ride on one of the boats or simply enjoy the festivities from the shore, Seattle’s Christmas Ship Festival is an annual highlight that’s not to be missed. See more info and the full schedule of events on the Argosy Cruises website.
20. Enjoy free fun at Holiday in the Park
On Thursday, December 8, 2022 you can head over to Volunteer Park in Capitol Hill for the free Holiday in the Park event. There will be live music, free cookies and cocoa, a children’s craft booth, and glowing luminaries from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
21. Tour Seattle neighborhoods’ holiday displays
If you’re looking for holiday displays in Seattle, some of the best neighborhoods to check out are Upper Queen Anne, Crown Hill, and Ravenna.
22-25. Treat yourself to an extra-festive cocktail
Several popular Seattle bars are decking the halls for the holidays and hosting festive events:
- Tinseltown at Shelter Lounge in Green Lake is a must-see for the over-the-top holiday decorations. They will be throwing fun themed parties now through New Year’s Day.
- Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails has a rooftop curling rink for the holiday season. Make a reservation during Frolik dinner hours to enjoy their curling package.
- Miracle on 2nd at Rob Roy is a holiday bar pop-up that opens on November 25.
- Sippin Santa at Navy Strength is another Seattle holiday bar pop-up t that also opens on November 25.
25-35. Catch a live holiday show in Seattle
Whether you’re in the mood for a comedy or a classic, Seattle has an amazing lineup of live holiday shows coming up this season:
- A Christmas Carol by ACT Theatre in Seattle runs from November 25 to December 24.
- Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Seattle Rep is a comedic take that runs from November 25 to December 23.
- Q Brothers Christmas Carol by Q Brothers Collective is a hip-hop version that runs from November 25 to December 23.
- A John Waters Christmas by Seattle Theatre Group is a “Christmasly-incorrect” show at the Neptune on Wednesday, November 30.
- Land Of The Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker at The Triple Door is returning for 29 performances between December 7 and 30.
- Naughty or Nice Burlesque by W Seattle has multiple dates throughout December.
- The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show at The Moore Theatre is a holiday drag show running from December 21 to 24.
- Holiday concerts at Seattle Symphony are running all throughout December.
- A(n Improvised) Christmas Carol by Unexpected Productions at Pike Place Market is running Thursday through Sunday from November 25th to December 23rd.