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 for. So bundle up your crew and head out into the frosty evenings to enjoy these bright events.
photo: Holidays in Seattle Facebook page
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 4 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 The DSA Holiday Carousel while you wait; it closes during the lighting ceremony, though, so be aware of the time. Psst! We hear the big guy in red will be making an appearance, too.
When: Nov. 27, 2015 at 4 p.m. (tree lighting and fireworks will take place around 5:25 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. 27, 2015 at 5 p.m.
Where: Westlake Center Plaza, 400 Pine St., Seattle, Wa 98101
photo: feministjulie via flickr
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 around on the outdoor skating rink, ride the holiday train and horse carousel, visit with Cougar Mountain Zoo reindeer, enjoy live entertainment and tell Santa your Christmas wish list. From 5 p.m.-7 p.m., the Christian Smith Jazz Standards Quartet will fill Center Court with the sounds of holiday favorites, while Santa illuminates the 42-foot-tall tree.
When: Nov. 27, 2015 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
photo: Redmond Town Center
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. 27, 2015 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: 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 fabulous 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. In addition to the tree lighting, enjoy complimentary hot cocoa, photos with Santa and a spectacular fireworks show. This is one tree lighting your kids will never forget!
When: Nov. 27, 2015 at 4 p.m. (open to both hotel and non-hotel guests)
Where: Alderbrook Resort & Spa, 10 E. Alderbrook Dr., Union, Wa 98592
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 at Centennial Plaza followed by a holiday program, tree lighting and caroling through the streets of downtown Edmonds. Psst! After the tree lighting, kids can walk with Santa to the Edmonds Conference Center and get their picture taken for free.
When: Nov. 28, 2015 from 3:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m. (program starts at 4:30 p.m.)
Where: Centennial Plaza, corner of 5th & Bell St., Edmonds, Wa 98020
Santa Arrival & Tree Lighting at Molbak’s
Take your crew to Molbak’s to see the arrival of Santa in his Mack truck sleigh and watch him light the 70-foot Christmas tree. While you’re there, sing traditional carols and enjoy a warm beverage and a snack. Psst! Be sure to marvel at the twinkling lights and check out the sea of poinsettias.
When: Nov. 29, 2015 from 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Molbak’s Garden + Home, 13625 N.E. 175th St., Woodinville, Wa 98072
photo: Becca C. via Yelp
Kirkland Winterfest Holiday Tree Lighting & Music Festival
Plan on making a day of it at this year’s Winterfest extravaganza in Kirkland. Bundle up your crew and celebrate with an afternoon of holiday performances, carols, kids’ activities, games, bon fires and food. Plus, take a horse-drawn carriage ride and be sure to stick around for the arrival of Santa and the annual tree lighting ceremony marking the beginning of the Winterfest Celebration. Psst! The Argosy Christmas Ship will be making an appearance during the tree lighting from 5 p.m.-5:20 p.m.
When: Nov. 29, 2015 from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. (tree lighting with Argosy Christmas Ship at 5 p.m.)
Where: Marina Park, 25 Lakeshore Plaza Dr., Kirkland, Wa 98033
A Victorian Country Christmas Festival Tree Lighting
Kick off this year’s Victorian Country Christmas extravaganza with the second annual tree lighting of a larger-than-life holiday tree. The 185-foot Extreme Christmas Tree will light up the sky with 4,494 lights revealing a show-stopping surprise ending. 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.
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. 2, 2015 at 5:15 p.m.
Where: Washington State Fair Events Center, 110 9th Ave. S.W., Puyallup, Wa 98371
Cost: $12/Adults; $10/Seniors & Students;$9/Military with ID; 5 & under Free
photo: Nevada City Chamber of Commerce
Very Merry Sammamish Tree Lighting
This year’s annual tree lighting at Sammamish City Hall and Plaza will be bigger and brighter than ever. The festivities kick off at 5:30 p.m. with the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree and appearances by Santa Claus, ice princesses and winter fairies and continue with tons of activities for the kids including a petting zoo, face painting, crafts, live holiday entertainment, storytelling and delish treats. Bundle up for the weather and plan on making a night of it.
When: Dec. 4, 2015 from 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m.
Where: Sammamish City Hall & Plaza, 801 228th Ave. S.E., Sammamish, Wa 98075
Cost: Free (food extra)
Ivar’s Clam Lights Tree Lighting
Bundle up in 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 and see the Argosy Christmas Ship and parade of boats cruise into the park starting at 8 p.m.
When: Dec. 4, 2015 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
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. Psst! Don’t forget to bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots drive.
When: Dec. 4, 2015 from 6:30 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 second annual Holiday Afternoon Tea from 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Psst… 10% of the proceeds from Salish Honey sales in The Country Store will be donated to Camp Korey.
When: Dec. 5, 2015 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
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 Holiday Market and festive community tree lighting. After the tree is lit, join in on the Luminary Walk between City Hall Plaza and Redmond Town Center and take in the light displays, music and entertainment along the way. When you reach RTC, you’ll be greeted with holiday treats, crafts for the kids and holiday entertainment, plus $5 bites and free samples from RTC restaurants and the holiday carousel and ice skating rink.
When: Dec. 5, 2015 from 4 p.m.–8 p.m. (tree lighting at 5 p.m.)
Where: City Hall Plaza, 15670 N.E. 85th St., Redmond, Wa 98052
Bothell Country Village Shops Tree Lighting & Santa Arrival
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. Plus, 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. 5, 2015 from 10 a.m.–8 p.m. (Santa arrives at 7 p.m. followed by the tree lighting)
Where: Country Village Shops, 23718 7th Ave. S.E., Bothell, Wa 98021
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 and free cookies and hot cocoa, 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. 5, 2015 from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. (tree lighting 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. 6, 2015. Museum staff will be on-hand to teach kids how to play dreidel games and all visitors can create their own dreidel during their exploration. Plus, Orkestyr Farfeleh will be playing Hanukkah tunes on Dec. 6 from 2:30 p.m.-3 p.m.
When: Dec. 6-11, 2015 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
photo: Marcy Grantor
Hanukkah Under The Stars
Celebrate Hanukkah with the J community! This festive and fun Hanukkah party will feature an acrobatics celebration from The School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA), a musical performance by Shul of Rock and science experiment demonstrations from Pacific Science Center. There will also be games, crafts and face painting for the younger kids and The Museum of Flight will host a planetarium experience for older kids. A candle lighting to celebrate the seventh night of Hanukkah will take place during the evening.
When: Dec. 12, 2015, 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.; RSVP required
Where: Stroum Jewish Community Center, 3801 E. Mercer Way, Mercer Island, Wa 98040
Sha’arei Tikvah Celebrations for All Chanukah Celebration
This community-wide celebration wil be led by Rabbi David Lipper, Cantor David Serkin-Poole, Rabbi Aaron Meyer and special guests. Families of all ages are invited to spin dreidels, sing songs and eat latkes. Advance registration is encouraged; register online.
When: Dec. 13, 2015 from 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m
Where: Temple B’nai Torah, 15727 N.E. 4th St., Bellevue, Wa 98008
photo: Marcy Grantor
At this super-fun Hanukkah party, celebrate with freshly-made latkes, candle lighting, traditional holiday songs, Hanukkah carnival games for the kiddies and a potluck meal. Bring your menorah and join the fun!
When: Dec. 12, 2015 from 6 p.m.–9 p.m.
Where: For directions, contact 206-528-1944 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We know there are lots of places to catch holiday tree lightings and Hanukkah events this season. Did we miss your family’s favorite spot? Tell us in the Comments below.
— Kristina Moy