Holiday Happenings That Illuminate Seattle + Make the Season Merry and Bright

Seattle is a city that likes to celebrate the good things in life–any season of year (and no special occasion needed). Events and festivals pack the schedule year-round, and the indoor ambience at cafes, bars and restaurants (think white twinkly lights strung from rafters and exposed brick walls) tend to be cozy and inviting, even in the dead of summer. 

Yet when winter does finally roll around, Seattle seems to emit even more of an enchanting glow. Holiday happenings in November, December and well into January help ring in the season and the New Year. Residents and visitors alike delight in joyous gatherings of food and drink that feature music and merriment, fireworks and family-friendly fun.

In addition, while local venues stage holiday-focused events in cozy spaces, popular attractions open their doors during unlikely hours. For example, the Woodland Park Zoo opens its gate at nighttime and gets illuminated with a bounty of lights. And as part of a beloved annual tradition, the city's omnipresent waterways fill with glowing boats during the annual Christmas Ship Parade. New Year's Eve brings even more pizzazz, as the city shoots off fireworks from tall buildings and barges, lights bonfires along beaches and releases enchanting paper lanterns from shores around the city.  

Woodland Park Zoo
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

WildLights kicks off at Woodland Park Zoo November 24 and continues through January 1, bringing back Seattle's wildest winter holiday lights festival presented by Sound Credit Union (5:30-8:30 p.m. nightly). Wild animals and wild places get...  Read More

Salish Lodge and Spa
Photo courtesy of Salish Lodge & Spa

A scenic 30-minute drive from Seattle brings you to the charmingly rustic Salish Lodge & Spa, which offers Old-World ambience and modern elegance. Get out and enjoy nature near the lodge, whether hiking around the rushing cascades or trying...  Read More

Macy's Holiday Parade

Macy's is always a strong presence in Seattle's holiday celebrations, and this wonderful parade only cements its association. This year's Macy's Holiday Parade takes place on Friday, November 24 (stepping off promptly at 9 a.m. on the corner of...  Read More

The 5th Avenue Theatre proves a perfect holiday outing that all your loved ones can enjoy together; this winter "Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn" plays from November 24 through December 31 during the West Coast premiere of this recent Broadway hit....  Read More

Pike Place Market
Photo courtesy of Magic in the Market/Richmond Public Relations

In celebration of the holiday season and its more than 500 merchants who create uniquely handcrafted gifts, Pike Place Market invites guests to Magic in the Market on Saturday, November 25 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Festivities include complimentary...  Read More

New Year's Eve at the Space Needle
Photo courtesy of Courtesy Space Needle

For 20-plus years, New Year's Eve fireworks at the 605-foot-tall Space Needle have illuminated the city. In 2017, join KEXP and the Space Needle for T-Mobile New Year's at the Needle on Saturday, December 31, featuring a fireworks display with a...  Read More

Dating to the late 19th century, this grand venue has been restored to the glory it knew as a movie theater in the 1920s, making it a perfect destination for a special holiday-time outing. Choose from a variety of performances throughout the...  Read More

The Triple Door
Photo courtesy of Angela Sterling

From December 7 though 28, an award-winning wintertime spectacle "Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker" returns to delight holiday revelers at The Triple Door, presented by Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann. (For more info about the...  Read More

Gingerbread Village at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel
Photo courtesy of Sheraton Seattle

Sheraton Seattle Hotel is a contemporary urban retreat in the heart of downtown, and every winter, its team brings one of the city's most beloved holiday traditions to the city. This year, the much-discussed Gingerbread Village wows visitors and...  Read More

Christmas Ship Festival
Photo courtesy of Argosy Cruises

Mark your calendars for November 24 through December 23! Once again, Seattle celebrates the season in maritime fashion. The Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship festival has been a Pacific Northwest holiday tradition since 1949. Each night, a nautical...  Read More


Meet Corinne Whiting

Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's...  More About Corinne