Merry & Bright: The City’s Best Tree Lightings & Hanukkah Events

The holidays are almost here, and what better way to get into the spirit of the season than to attend a tree or menorah lighting… or two or three. From cozy neighborhood get-togethers to city-wide spectacles, we’ve rounded up a handful of events worth braving the weather. So bundle up your crew and head out into the frosty evenings to enjoy these bright events.

salish lodge and spa holiday tree

photo: Salish Lodge & Spa 

Tree Lightings

Westlake Center Tree Lighting
This is the main tree lighting ceremony in downtown Seattle! Get there early to stake out a spot, because the crowds will be full and festive. The ceremony kicks off at 5 p.m. with music and dancing from local choirs and performers on the Westlake Center balcony and ends with the lighting of the Westlake Center holiday tree and Macy’s Star. Take a ride on the holiday carousel while you wait; it closes during the lighting ceremony, though, so be aware of the time. And we hear the big guy in red himself will be making an appearance.

When: Nov. 28, 2014 at 5 p.m.
Where: Westlake Center Plaza, 400 Pine St., Seattle, Wa 98101

Macy’s Star Lighting & Fireworks
In conjunction with Westlake Center’s celebration, see the famous 161-foot high, 3,600-bulb Macy’s Holiday Star light up the streets of downtown Seattle to welcome the holiday season. Be sure to stick around for the fireworks show which will take place after the ceremony (weather permitting).

When: Nov. 28, 2014 at 5 p.m.
Where: Westlake Center Plaza, 400 Pine St., Seattle, Wa 98101

westlake tree 2013

photo: Holidays in Seattle Facebook page

Santa Arrival & Tree Lighting at Redmond Town Center
Shop ’til you drop on Black Friday at RTC from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. After you find something fabulous for everyone on your shopping list, twirl on the skating rink, ride the holiday train and horse carousel, enjoy live entertainment, and visit with Santa. From 5 p.m.-7 p.m., the Christian Smith Standards Quartet will fill Center Court with the sounds of holiday favorites, while Santa illuminates the 42-foot-tall tree.

When: Nov. 28, 2014 from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. (shopping and activities from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.)
Where: Redmond Town Center, 7525 166th Ave. N.E., Redmond, Wa 98052

Santa’s Grand Arrival & Tree Lighting Ceremony
Santa will be making his grand arrival at The Bellevue Collection during this special Santa Arrival Parade and tree lighting ceremony. Bundle up the kiddos and watch Santa make his way along the parade route from N.E 8th at the Bellevue Place and Lincoln Square sky bridge, along Bellevue Way and past Macy’s, then back to the Hyatt Bellevue Hotel. Following the parade, Santa will light the 30-foot holiday tree at Bellevue Place Wintergarden and everyone is invited to enjoy a special meet and greet with the characters from Snowflake Lane, holiday music and cookies and cocoa. Don’t forget your camera—the photo opps are sure to be plentiful here!

When: Nov. 28, 2014 at 7 p.m. (tree lighting will take place at approximately 7:30 p.m.).
Where: The Bellevue Collection, 575 Bellevue Square, Bellevue, Wa 98004

Photo # 9887IMG160091

 photo: The Bellevue Collection

Tree Lighting Ceremony at Alderbrook
If you’re planning on being near Alderbrook Resort & Spa over Thanksgiving weekend, be sure to catch the Resort’s tree lighting ceremony on Friday. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be sailing into Hood Canal for the holiday festivities and you can watch as the jolly man in the red suit ceremoniously kicks off a “Winter Wonderland” by flipping the switch on more than ten miles of lights adorning the Resort, including a 35-foot holiday tree and an oversized gingerbread house! In addition to the tree lighting, enjoy complimentary hot cocoa, photos with Santa and a spectacular fireworks show.

When: Nov. 28, 2014 at 5:15 p.m.
Where: Alderbrook Resort & Spa, 10 E. Alderbrook Dr., Union, Wa 98592

alderbrook_tree lighting

photo: Alderbrook Resort & Spa

Edmonds Tree Lighting 
Welcome the holiday season at the annual downtown Edmonds tree lighting. The merriment will include delicious holiday snacks like cider, hot cocoa and cookies along with caroling through the streets of downtown Edmonds. And don’t miss getting your picture taken with Santa at the Edmonds Conference Center.

When: Nov. 29, 2014 from 4:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.; Christmas stroll starts at 3 p.m.
Where: Downtown Edmonds, Fifth Ave. N. & Bell St., Edmonds, Wa 98020

Kirkland Winterfest Holiday Tree Lighting & Music Festival
Plan on making a day of it at this year’s Winterfest extravaganza in Kirkland. Bundle up the kids and celebrate with an afternoon of holiday performances, carols, kids’ activities, games, refreshments and food. And be sure to stick around for the arrival of Santa and the annual tree lighting ceremony marking the beginning of the Winterfest Celebration.

When: Nov. 30, 2014 from 2 p.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Downtown Kirkland, Kirkland Ave. between City Dock & Main St. and Lake St. S.

Kirkland Holiday Tree Lighting

photo: Winterfest

A Victorian Country Christmas Festival Tree Lighting
Kick off this year’s Victorian Country Christmas extravaganza with the first-ever tree lighting of a larger-than-life holiday tree. The 185-foot Extreme Christmas Tree will light up the sky with 9,600 lights. In addition to the tree lighting ceremony, enjoy holiday festivities including the arrival of Santa in a horse-drawn carriage, free hot cider and cookies, and holiday music featuring musicians from PLU. Good to know: Activities will take place on the south end of the Pavilion, between the Gold and Blue Gates. Ticket admission is required to attend the tree lighting ceremony.

When: Dec. 3, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.
Where: Washington State Fair Events Center, 110 9th Ave. S.W., Puyallup, Wa 98371

Ivar’s Clam Lights Tree Lighting – Renton 
Put on your warmest hats, scarves and coats and head to Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park for this momentous holiday spectacular. See thousands of twinkling lights, holiday scenes and Ivar’s famous Dancing Clams. Plus, enjoy live holiday entertainment, a covered wagon ride and a community sing-a-long and be sure to stay and watch the Argosy Christmas Ship and parade of boats cruise into the park starting at 7:20 p.m.

When: Dec. 5, 2014 from 6:15 p.m.–9 p.m. (7 p.m. official lighting by Renton’s mayor)
Where: Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, 1201 Lake Washington Blvd. N., Renton, Wa 98056

clam lights-renton

 photo: Kristina Moy

Mercer Island Holiday Tree Lighting & Firehouse Munch
Meet at Mercerdale Park to take in the community tree lighting ceremony; carol with friends and family; and enjoy music and activities before parading to the local Firehouse to enjoy tasty treats, children’s entertainment, arts and crafts and pics with Santa. Don’t forget to bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots drive.

When: Dec. 5, from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Where: Mercerdale Park, 77th Ave. S.E. & S.E. 32nd St., Mercer Island, Wa, 98040

Salish Lodge & Spa Tree Lighting Ceremony
If you’re looking for a picturesque tree lighting ceremony, look no further than Snoqualmie Falls. Celebrate the holiday season with the lighting of Salish Lodge & Spa’s 20-foot tree and enjoy live entertainment, hot chocolate, tea and holiday cookies starting at 3:30 p.m. Plan on arriving early to shop for holiday gifts and seasonal goodies at The Country Store or take in the Lodge’s first-ever holiday afternoon tea from 1:30 p.m.-4 p.m. 10% of the proceeds from the tea will benefit Camp Korey.

When: Dec. 6, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. (tree lighting will take place at 4:30 p.m.)
Where: Salish Lodge & Spa, 6501 Railroad Ave. S.E., Snoqualmie, Wa 98065

Salish Lodge Tree

photo: Salish Lodge & Spa

Redmond Tree Lighting & Luminary Walk 
This annual event will begin at City Hall Plaza with kids’ activities, musical entertainment and refreshments along with a festive community tree lighting. After the tree is lit, join in on the Luminary Walk between City Hall Plaza and the Redmond Town Center where you’ll be greeted with holiday treats, more crafts for the kids, and plenty of holiday entertainment.

When: Dec. 6, 2014 from 4 p.m.–8 p.m.
Where: City Hall Plaza, 15670 N.E. 85th St., Redmond, Wa 98052

Country Village Shops Tree Lighting & Santa Arrival – Bothell
Experience the magical arrival of Santa aboard his Christmas float at Country Village Shops. A traditional tree lighting ceremony will follow Santa’s arrival, heralded by the Village’s own Town Crier. While you wait for the festivities to start, munch on tasty holiday treats at Santa’s Workshop or complimentary hot roasted chestnuts, enjoy pony and train rides (weather permitting) and holiday-themed music, and be sure to check out the whimsical gingerbread house display and the Village’s animated light display featuring a 40′ sea serpent, fiddling pig, giant dragonfly, marching ducks and more. Everyone will have a chance to greet Santa after the tree lighting and receive a candy cane.

Dec. 6, 2014 from 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Santa arrives at 7 p.m.
Where: Country Village Shops, 23718 7th Ave. S.E., Bothell, Wa 98021

country village shops tree lighting

photo: Country Village Shops

West Seattle Junction Holiday Party & Tree Lighting
Each year, Westseattleites gather for this annual holiday event in the Junction. In addition to the lighting of the community tree, there will be a progressive party hosted by Junction businesses. Enjoy nibbles, drinks, games, and deals all wrapped up with holiday flair before and after the tree ceremony.

When: Dec. 6, 2014 from 4 p.m.-8 p.m.; tree lighting takes places at 5 p.m.
Where: West Seattle Junction & Plaza Park, 42nd Ave. S.W. & Alaska St., Seattle, Wa 98116

Menorah Lightings & Hanukkah Events

Explore Hanukkah at the Festivals of Light Exhibit
Kids can explore the traditions of Hanukkah through special performances, playtime and crafts at the Seattle Children’s Museum starting on Dec. 12, 2014. Museum staff will be on-hand to teach kids how to play dreidel games, visitors will be able to create their own dreidel during their exploration and Orkestyr Farfeleh will be playing Hanukkah tunes on Dec. 14, 2014 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

When: Dec. 12-18, 2014 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; weekends from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Seattle Children’s’ Museum, 305 Harrison St., Seattle, Wa 98109

Hanukkah Under The Stars 
Celebrate Hanukkah with the J community! This festive and fun Hanukkah party will feature the wildly popular kindie band Recess Monkey (returning by popular demand!), delicious food vendors, Hanukkah trivia, games, crafts and more.

When: Dec. 13, 2014, 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Where: Stroum Jewish Community Center, 3801 E. Mercer Way, Mercer Island, Wa


photo: Marcy Grantor

Celebrate Chanukah with the Shalom Klezmer Band
It just couldn’t be Chanukah without the Shalom Klezmer Band! Come to Temple B’nai Torah to sing Chanukah songs, dance, and spin dreidels while the band plays lively Klezmer music. The talented Mirel family and band will bring joy to kids and parents alike. RSVP required.

When: Dec. 18, 2014 from 10:30 a.m.-noon
Where: Temple B’nai Torah, 15727 N.E. 4th St., Bellevue, Wa 98008

Chanukah Party
Celebrate Chanukah with freshly-made latkes, a candle lighting ceremony, children’s activities, and a potluck meal. Bring your menorah and join your friends and family for this fun Secular Jewish Circle of Puget Sound event.

When: Dec. 20, 2014 from 5:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
Where: For directions, contact 206-528-1944 or info@secularjewishcircle.org

chanukah candles

photo: Marcy Grantor

The Big Spin
Mark your calendars for this super-fun Hanukkah event put on by the The Mitzvah Mamas, a Jewish guild that supports Seattle Children’s Hospital uncompensated care fund. This blow out Hanukkah Party on wheels will feature a night of old school skating and fun at the roller rink, plus great activities that you’ve come to know and love like Candy Menorah making and That Lucky Bracelet, face painting by the fabulous Jacqueline Brulott and delicious food from Napkin Friends (think latke sandwiches!). Psst! Reserve your tickets early and save on admission prices.

When: Dec. 21, 2014 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Where: Skate King, 2301 140th Ave. N.E., Bellevue, Wa 98005

We know there are lots of places to catch holiday lightings this season. Where is your family’s favorite spot? Let us know in a comment below.

—Kristina Moy