Candy Cane Lane: The Sweetest Spot in Seattle to See Christmas Lights

The holidays in Seattle wouldn’t be complete without a jaunt over to University Park to visit the venerable Candy Cane Lane. With lights, music, and moving objects, this sweet neighborhood is a hit among kiddos and parents alike. And the best part? It’s free! Read on for the 411 on this decked out Seattle neighborhood.


A Seattle institution since 1949, Candy Cane Lane (otherwise known as NE Park Road, just off the main drag of Ravenna Blvd at the cross street of 21st Ave NE just north of U Village) is actually a curved row of 23 adorably decorated houses – mostly 1920s-era Tudors that are so sweet they look like you could have plucked them right off a gingerbread house display.

Expect to see:
Sleighs, reindeer, blow up candy canes, mechanical decorations ‘round the traffic circle, and traffic back-ups. Decorations usually share a theme (past events have centered on holiday classics such as the Nutcracker) and now there’s a multi-cultural approach with the charming ‘peace’ ornamentation. A real, live Santa is also known to make surprise appearances, passing out – what else –candy canes!

candy cane lane

Where to eat:
The mecca of U Village offers aplenty, and it’s just five minutes away from Candy Cane Lane, so make an evening of it and head to the kid-friendly Veggie Grill or Blue C Sushi for a quick bite, followed by treats at Trophy Cupcakes, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, Red Mango or The Confectionary. Maybe take care of a ‘lil holiday shopping while you’re at it? Also nearby: Kidd Valley Burgers (milkshakes! Please don’t spill in daddy’s car!) and if all else fails, there’s a drive-thru McDonald’s on 25th.

Where to park:
Technically, you don’t need to park at all. Candy Cane Lane is a drive by thing, with cars idling and inching along slowly as passengers snap pictures through fogged-up windows. Yet, if you want to fully experience the music, lights (the rain and the wind), park on a side street, bundle up and get out of the car. Ravenna Park, just a half block away, has about a dozen parking spots, or you can snag parking on a nearby side street.

candy cane lane

When to go:
The Christmas Ships are always a fun outing. Check the 2013 schedule and find out when the ship parade will stop by Matthews Beach, Magnuson Park, or Madison Park, all within a few miles of Candy Cane Lane. Or go after a movie. Or when the relatives come into town. Or any rainy evening when the kids are acting up and need to be reminded of who’s on the lookout for those who have been naughty and who has been oh-so-nice.

The word on the boulevard is not to go before December 15 at 4 p.m. The neighbor elves are busy setting up everything for you in the meantime. Psst…Be sure to check the Ravenna Blog before you go, just to make sure the lights are on.

candy cane lane

Cost: Nada. It’s free! However, a canned food drive donation station usually sits at the end of the route and viewers can also leave donations at the nearby Boulevard Grocery (2007 N.E. Ravenna Blvd).

Dates: Mid-December through December 31, 2013 from 4 p.m.-11 p.m. (open until midnight on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). 

Candy Cane Lane

Got any tips or tricks for making the most out of your visit to Candy Cane Lane? Let us know in the comment section below!

Written by: Allison Ellis

Photo credit: Michiwurm via Flickr and Wendy M via Yelp

For more local holiday season events and activities click here!