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. From cozy neighborhood get-togethers to city-wide spectacles (complete with fireworks!), we’ve rounded up a handful of events worth braving the weather for. So bundle up the kiddies, read on and get ready to head out into the frosty evenings to enjoy these bright events.
photo: Downtown Seattle Association
Westlake Center Tree Lighting
This year’s tree lighting celebration will once again take place the day after Thanksgiving. Plan to get there early to stake out a spot, because the crowds will be full and festive. Music and faux snow is on the agenda and everyone in your crew can take a spin on the The DSA Holiday Carousel while they wait; it typically closes during the tree lighting, so be aware of the time. Psst! While you’re there be sure to check out the holiday market in Westlake Park.
When: Nov. 24, 2017 around 4:30 p.m.
Where: Westlake Center Plaza, 400 Pine St., Seattle, Wa 98101
Macy’s Star Lighting & Fireworks
In conjunction with Westlake Center’s tree lighting 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. 24, 2017 at 5 p.m.
Where: Westlake Center Plaza, 400 Pine St., Seattle, Wa 98101
photo: The Bellevue Collection
Santa’s Grand Arrival & Tree Lighting Ceremony
Santa will be making his grand arrival at The Bellevue Collection during Snowflake Lane’s 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. 24, 2017 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
Tree Lighting Ceremony at Alderbrook Resort & Spa
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 aboard the Lady Alderbrook 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. 24, 2017 at 4 p.m. (open to both hotel and non-hotel guests)
Where: Alderbrook Resort & Spa, 10 E. Alderbrook Dr., Union, Wa 98592
photo: Pike Place Market
Magic in the Market Holiday Celebration
Each year, the Pike Place Market gets in on the holiday action with its Magic in the Market event. This year, you and your crew can meet Santa under the Market’s iconic sign and take free photos with the jolly ol’ fella, plus decorate cookies in the Market Atrium Kitchen and listen to festive caroling choirs. Everyone will enjoy noshing on delish food from Market vendors while shopping for locally made gifts. At 5 p.m., Santa will lead a countdown to the lighting of the 20-foot holiday tree and lights throughout the Market.
When: Nov. 25, 2017 from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (tree lighting at 5 p.m.)
Where: Pike Place Market, 1st Ave. & Pike St., Seattle, Wa 98101
Edmonds Tree Lighting
Welcome the holiday season at this annual tree lighting ceremony in downtown Edmonds. The merriment will include delicious holiday snacks like cider, hot cocoa and cookies followed by the tree lighting and caroling through the streets of downtown Edmonds. Psst! After the tree lighting, kids can get their picture taken with Santa for free.
When: Nov. 25, 2017 from 3 p.m.-5:15 p.m.
Where: Centennial Plaza, corner of 5th & Bell St., Edmonds, Wa 98020
photo: Kirkland Winterfest
Kirkland Winterfest Holiday Tree Lighting & Family Festival
Plan on making a day of it at this year’s Winterfest extravaganza in downtown Kirkland. Bundle up the kiddies and celebrate with an afternoon of live holiday performances, carols, kids’ activities, games, refreshments and food throughout the downtown Kirkland area. Then, head to Peter Kirk Park to watch the arrival of Santa and the annual tree lighting ceremony marking the beginning of the Winterfest Celebration.
When: Nov. 25, 2017 from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (tree lighting at 5 p.m. at Peter Kirk Ballfied)
Where: Downtown Kirkland & Peter Kirk Park, 202 3rd St., Kirkland, Wa 98033
A Victorian Country Christmas Festival Tree Lighting
Kick off this year’s Victorian Country Christmas extravaganza with the fourth 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: Ticket admission is required to attend the tree lighting ceremony. Santa’s Village will feature animated displays, beautiful decor, entertainment and memorable photos with Santa.
When: Nov. 29 2017 at 6 p.m.
Where: Washington State Fair Events Center, 110 9th Ave. S.W., Puyallup, Wa 98371
Cost: $2 admission from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. with new toy donation for The Salvation Army
Celebrate Woodinville Winterfest & Tree Lighting
Take your crew to Woodinville to kick off the holiday season. Starting at 5:30 p.m., families can enjoy a holiday-themed parade with Santa and his elves followed by the community tree lighting and hot chocolate and goodies. If you’re hoping to get a pic with the Big Guy in Red, come back on Saturday for the city’s Winterfest event which will include a 5k race, Santa pics, local bites, a street fair and wine and beer garden. Psst…while you’re there, be sure to check out the sea of poinsettias and holiday decor at neighboring Molbak’s Garden + Home.
When: Dec. 1, 2017 from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. (Dec. 2 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m)
Where: DeYoung Park, 13680 N.E. 175th St., Woodinville, Wa 98072
photo: U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud via Flickr
Very Merry Sammamish Tree Lighting
This festive family event is a perfect way to kick off your holiday season. Enjoy a petting zoo, face painting, crafts, live entertainment and treats, plus the lighting of the annual Christmas tree and an appearance by St. Nick! Bundle up for the weather and plan on making a night of it. Psst…food will be available to purchase.
When: Dec. 1, 2017 from 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Where: Sammamish Commons Plaza at City Hall, 801 228th Ave. S.E., Sammamish, Wa 98075
Cost: Free (food extra)
photo: Kristina Moy
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 7 p.m.
When: Dec. 1, 2017 from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. (6:15 p.m. official lighting by Renton’s mayor)
Where: Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, 1201 Lake Washington Blvd. N., Renton, Wa 98056
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. 1, 2017 from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. (tree lighting and caroling from 6:30 p.m.-7 p.m.)
Where: Mercerdale Park, 77th Ave. S.E. & S.E. 32nd St., Mercer Island, Wa, 98040
photo: Adrian Berg via Flickr
Redmond Tree Lighting & Luminary Walk
This annual event will begin at Redmond City Hall with kids’ activities, musical entertainment and refreshments along with a Holiday Market (open noon-6 p.m.), a festive community tree lighting and fireworks! 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 and warm beverages along the way. When you reach RTC, you’ll be greeted with crafts for the kids and entertainment, plus the holiday carousel, ice skating rink and a live ice sculptor.
When: Dec. 2, 2017 from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. (tree lighting at 5 p.m. and fireworks at 6 p.m.)
Where: Redmond City Hall, 15670 N.E. 85th St., Redmond, Wa 98052
Bothell Country Village Shops Tree Lighting & Santa Arrival
Experience the magical arrival of Santa aboard his brand new 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 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.
When: Dec. 2, 2017 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 Night Market & Tree Lighting
Each year, West Seattleites gather for this annual holiday event in The Junction. In addition to the lighting of the community tree, holiday music and delish treats, there will be a holiday night market where you can have your pictures taken with Santa at the Santa house; make a wooden snowflake ornament for the tree; pick up your holiday wreath from Holy Rosary; and enjoy cocoa, cookies and eggnog. Psst…don’t forget to bring diapers for Westside Baby. (You’ll be able to drop them off at the Santa House in the market.)
When: Dec. 2, 2017 from 3 p.m.-7 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. 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. Check their Facebook page for updates, special performances and activities taking place throughout the week.
When: Dec. dates TBD. Open weekdays 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
Cost: $10.50-$11.50/person; under 1 Free
photo: Marcy Grantor
Celebrate Hanukkah with the J community! At two different locations (Northgate Mall and Crossroads Mall) families can make edible dreidels, decorate Hanukkah placemats, spin a giant dreidel, take pictures in the photo booth, get their face painted, win prizes, and so much more. RSVP online.
When: Dec. 3, 2017, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
Where: Northgate Mall, 401 N.E. Northgate Way, Seattle; Crossroads Mall, 15600 N.E. 8th St., Bellevue
Hanukkah Pajama Jam
Mark your calendars for this cozy community Hanukkah celebration with the J community! Put on your PJs and enjoy live music performed by Josh & Chava, a live presentation of a special Hanukkah story from the PJ Library, food trucks (think: Napkin Friends and Delfino’s Pizza), Krispy Kreme doughnuts, arts and crafts, gift bags, and more!
Good to Know: This year, SJCC will be collecting donations of new and gently used pajamas (size 2T-12) for Amara, an organization that works to ensure every child in foster care has the love and support of a committed family as quickly as possible and for as long as the child needs. Please consider helping them out with a donation of new pajamas.
When: Dec. 16, 2017 from 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Where: Stroum Jewish Community Center, 3801 E. Mercer Way, Mercer Island, Wa 98040
Cost: Free with donation of new pajamas
photo: Marcy Grantor
At this annual 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 a dish to share and join the fun!
Sha’arei Tikvah Chanukah Celebration
This community-wide celebration wil be led by David Lipper, Rabbi Aaron Meyer and special guests. People of all abilities and ages are invited to spin dreidels, sing songs and eat latkes. Advance registration is encouraged. Call 206-861-8784 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When: Dec. 17, 2017 from 3 p.m.-5 p.m
Where: Temple B’nai Torah, 15727 N.E. 4th St., Bellevue, Wa 98008
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