Seattle sure knows how to get into the Christmas spirit. With so many holiday things to do, the Emerald City pulls out all the stops when it comes to spreading winter cheer. Whatever level of merriment you and your little elves are looking for this season, downtown Seattle has you covered. Scroll down to learn more!

Editor’s note: Due to the ongoing pandemic, many of these downtown events have been canceled or moved to a virtual platform for 2020. Families can find more holiday events on our Seattle events calendar.

photo: Festival of Trees

Festival of Trees

Whether you're looking for ideas for your own tree this year or just want to gawk at some amazing showstoppers, start your holiday season off with this time-honored tradition now in its 42nd year! Since 1978, the talented members of the Dr. Forrest L. Flashman Guild have presented the Festival of Trees, a display of 21 beautifully decorated Christmas trees, each with its own unique theme and style. In addition to viewing the trees, visitors can read inspiring stories of courageous Seattle Children’s Hospital patients. This festival is only on display for 12 days this year, so make plans now before they're gone. Proceeds from the tree sales benefit the Seattle Children's Hospital Autism Center and Uncompensated Care program. 

Good to know: The Seattle Festival of Trees Celebration will take place on Sun., Nov. 24 from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. and will feature story tellers, choirs, homemade cookies, a patient lighting ceremony and an opening of the Teddy Bear Suite for attendees. Psst! Be sure to check out the kid-sized gingerbread house in the lobby, too.

2020 Update: The Festival of Trees has been moved to a window display this year. Enjoy this local favorite from a safe distance in the windows along 4th Ave. outside the Fairmont Olympic from Nov. 19-Dec. 2, 2020.

Location: Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University St., Seattle, WA 98101
Dates: Nov. 23-Dec. 4, 2019
Times: 24 hours 
Cost: Free to view; $3,800-$4,300 to purchase
Event details

photo: Enchant Christmas

Enchant Christmas

Back by popular demand, Enchant Christmas returns to T-Mobile Park with an all-new Christmas light maze called "Mischievous" and the big guy in red himself. From Nov. 22 to Dec. 29, T-Mobile Park will be transformed into an immersive holiday experience featuring the world’s largest light maze, a larger ice skating trail with a new route, live entertainment, holiday shops, craft workshops, a Kid's Zone with games and activities and even snow! If you're looking for a fun activity to add to your downtown adventure, Enchant Christmas will not disappoint. Best part? It will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for families looking for a bit more excitement and Christmas magic on Dec. 24 and 25.

Good to know: Enchant Christmas will be closed on Nov. 25-28 and Dec. 2 & 9.

2020 Update: This event has been canceled.

Location: T-Mobile Park, 1250 1st Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98134
Dates: Nov. 22-Dec. 29, 2019
Times: Nov. 22-Dec. 12: Mon.-Thurs., 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sun., 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Dec. 13-30: 4 p.m.-11 p.m.
Cost: $19.99 & up (3 & under Free)
Event details

Sheraton Grand Seattle Gingerbread Village

Hands down, one of the most beloved Seattle holiday traditions (now in its 27th year!) is the Sheraton Grand Seattle’s Annual Gingerbread Village. Each year, local architecture firms team up with the Sheraton Seattle culinary team to custom design, bake, and build out-of-this-world gingerbread displays as a fundraiser for the Northwest chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Onlookers of all ages can marvel at this year’s larger-than-life gingerbread creations made entirely out of candies and treats. Psst! Don't forget to vote for your favorite.

Good to know: This year’s theme, #ElfLife, comes from different tales of elves, from traditional Santa’s little helpers to a more modern twist like those of Elf on the Shelf

2020 Update: This event has been canceled.

Location: Sheraton Grand Seattle, 1400 6th Ave., Seattle, WA 98101
Dates: Nov. 23, 2019-Jan. 1, 2020
Times: Mon.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
Cost: Free ($5 suggested donation to support JDRF)
Event details

photo: Macy's

29th Annual Macy's Holiday Parade

We can't think of a better way to welcome the holiday season than watching inflatable floats, marching bands, costumed characters, pro sports teams, community drill teams and of course, Santa Claus travel through the streets of downtown Seattle. On the day after Thanksgiving, bundle up your crew and grab a curbside seat and a cup of hot cocoa for this annual parade. The parade will wind its way through the streets of Seattle to Macy’s doorstep. Psst! Once Santa arrives at Macy’s, he will dash over to his Seattle holiday post in Macy’s Santaland.

2020 Update: This event is canceled. Families can still visit Macy's Santaland virtually, starting Nov. 27, 2020.

Location: 7th & Pine St. to 5th Ave. to University St. & 4th Ave., Seattle WA 
Date: Nov. 29 2019
Time: 9 a.m.-10 a.m. (Macy's Santaland opens at 11 a.m.)
Cost: Free
Event details

photo: Danielle Fernandez

Teddy Bear Suite at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel

Big bears, lil’ bears, brown bears, white bears! This beary special holiday event is a must-see for kids of all ages. Located inside the elegant Fairmont Olympic Hotel, the Teddy Bear Suite is exactly that and so much more. See teddy bears galore along with beautiful holiday decorations and Christmas trees. The Teddy Bear Suite is also the perfect spot to grab a holiday photo of the kids (think: cute, cuddly holiday cards) or chillax and enjoy a teddy bear-themed book. Psst! After visiting the Teddy Bear Suite on the second floor, stop by the lower lobby to check out the hotel's magnificent gingerbread display made out of 4,000 real gingerbread bricks!

Good to know: ​Donations are appreciated to benefit uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Seattle Children's Autism Center.

2020 Update: The in-person Teddy Bear Suite has been canceled, but families can still see the teddies in their plush surroundings on the Fairmont Olympic Hotel's Facebook page starting Nov. 21, 2020.

Location:  Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University St., Seattle, WA 98101
Dates: Nov. 29-Dec. 26, 2019
Times: Daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (including Thanksgiving & Christmas)
Cost: Free (donations encouraged)
Event details

photo: Lumaze

Lumaze: Lost in Lights

Get ready to be dazzled at Seattle's brand-new indoor light festival. At Lumaze: Lost in Lights, families can laugh, stroll and play under the twinkle of a million lights as they explore a spectacular interactive light maze and search for Santa's lost presents. The gingerbread house playground will keep the kiddies entertained while parents kick back and enjoy seasonal beverages, delicious food and live music. And everyone in your crew will love the trackless train ride, the vendor market showcasing local artisans and boutique businesses and visiting with the big guy in red. It’s all the magic and wonder of an outdoor Christmas festival hosted inside a cozy and spacious venue at Pier 91.

Good to know: A parking shuttle will be available to and from designated event lots at Smith Cove.

2020 Update: This event has been canceled.

Location: Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91, 2001 W. Garfield St., Seattle, WA 98119
Dates: Nov. 29, 2019-Jan. 4, 2020
Times: Varies. View the calendar here.
Cost: $14.99 & up (3 & under Free)
Event details

photo: Pacific Place

New Holiday Happenings at Pacific Place

Downtown Seattle's newly transformed five-story shopping center is getting in on the holiday action this year with an untraditional take on the season’s iconic traditions. In addition to visiting with a strolling Santa, families can get up close and personal with ice sculptors and balloon artists, listen to Glee-inspired carolers, meet seasonal characters and entertainers and participate in a wreath making workshop. From Nov. 27 through Dec. 31, families will also find Instagram-worthy holiday-themed murals on Levels 1, 2 and 3, including a selfie spot for furry friends, larger-than-life wreaths and a crystal-lit tree. Got a crew of musical aficionados ? Head to Level 2 where they can interact with a 12-foot keyboard on the floor, inspired by the famous scene in Big. Visit this link for a full lineup of festive holiday happenings.

Good to know: Throughout the season, shoppers can take advantage of Pacific Place’s Perks to Park parking promotion. When shoppers spend $300 or more in single-day purchases at any of the center’s stores, services, restaurants or its AMC Pacific Place 11 theater during Nov. 29–Dec. 31, 2019, they will receive a complimentary parking pass for their visit. Available only during shopping center hours.

2020 Update: Although the above events are canceled for this year, Pacific Place will have 20 selfie stations set up for families to take photos (and enter a contest) when they visit. Families can also tune in for a virtual marshmallow and hot cocoa workshop on December 12, 2020.

Location: Pacific Place, 600 Pine St., Seattle, WA 98101
Dates: Nov. 29-Dec. 31, 2019
Times: Varies. Click here for Santa dates and times and the entertainment schedule.
Cost: Free
Event details

photo: Downtown Seattle Association

Westlake Center Tree Lighting Celebration

This year’s tree lighting celebration will once again take place the day after Thanksgiving, so get there early to stake out a spot, because the crowds will be full and festive. Music, snow flurries and festive activities are on the agenda and everything will kick off around 4:30 p.m. with the lighting of the Westlake Park holiday tree and a spectacular fireworks show lighting up the downtown Seattle sky. Psst! We hear the big guy in red will be making an appearance, so get those cameras ready!

Note: This year's festivities will not include the lighting of the Macy's holiday star. We've been told the new owners of the Macy's building hope to bring the star back in 2020. If you can't make it downtown to catch the tree lighting in person, no worries! You can view the tree lighting celebration on KIRO 7 during their 5 p.m. newscast or via Facebook Live at KIRO 7 profile.

Good to Know: The day after Thanksgiving marks the opening of festive attractions and events lasting more than a month in Westlake Park. DSA’s iconic holiday carousel whirls into action for the 33rd year and the Urban Craft Uprising Holiday Market, featuring rotating vendors each week, returns November through January.

2020 Update: Families can enjoy the Westlake tree lighting from the comfort of their homes year, and take in the downtown Holiday Lights & Delights from Nov. 27, 2020-Jan. 9, 2021.

Location: Westlake Center Plaza, 400 Pine St., Seattle, WA 98101
Date: Nov. 29, 2019
Time: 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
Event details

photo: Downtown Seattle Association

Holiday Carousel

Whirl and twirl your holiday cares away on this outdoor, old-fashioned carousel in Westlake Park. This whimsical ride is a great old (or new) holiday tradition for kids and a great trip down memory lane for mom and dad. After you ride the carousel, take a time-out from the hustle and bustle to enjoy a special holiday food truck during the lunch and dinner hours. The truck will be on site throughout the holiday season. Psst! If you’re looking for a fun Christmas Eve activity, the carousel will be open until 5 p.m. 

2020 Update: The holiday carousel will not run this year.

Location: Westlake Park, 401 Pine St., Seattle, WA 98109
Dates: Nov. 29, 2019-Jan. 1, 2020
Times: Sun.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.–9 p.m.; closed Christmas.
Special Holiday Hours: Nov. 29, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Dec. 24 & 31, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Cost: $4/person (suggested donation for Treehouse)
Event details

photo: Downtown Seattle Association

Urban Craft Uprising Holiday Market

Once again, the Urban Craft Uprising Holiday Market will return to Westlake Park on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting on Nov. 29. This year's market will showcase Urban Craft Uprising artisans offering unique and completely handmade gifts, with new vendors on-site each week.

2020 Update: Fans can shop this local favorite in a virtual setting this year, from Dec. 2-6, 2020.

Location: Westlake Center Plaza, 400 Pine St., Seattle, WA 98101
Dates: Weekends, Dec. 13-22, 2019
Times: Fri.-Sat., noon-7 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m.
Cost: Free
Event details

photo: Christopher Nelson

Seattle Center Winterfest

After you see the sights and sounds of Westlake Center, hop on the Monorail and head to the Seattle Center for lots of free and affordable holiday activities and entertainment. Glide into the holiday season at the Winterfest Ice Arena, drive a miniature locomotive through a turn-of-the-century village inside the Armory, watch ice sculpting demonstrations, listen to Dicken’s Carolers and see performances by more than 100 different student groups. Plus, enjoy a fireworks show and concert on New Year’s Eve or take a trip to the top of the newly renovated Space Needle to take in the Christmas lights from atop of Seattle’s premiere tower and to tell St. Nick what's on your Christmas list.

Holiday Extras: On Dec. 21, The Not-Its! will perform a free show inside the Armory from 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. On Dec. 31, families can groove into the new year from 8 p.m.-midnight. The band Left Turn on Blue will be playing on the Armory stage and the NYE Fountain of Light will take place from 10 p.m.-midnight, adding an outdoors dance party at the International Fountain! 

2020 Update: Although many of the traditional Winterfest activities have been canceled, families can still enjoy the lights of Winterfest at the Seattle Center Luminata, on display through the New Year. Kids can also enter the Winterfest Coloring Contest that runs from Nov. 27, 2020-Jan. 2, 2021.

Location: Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., Seattle, WA 98109
Dates: Nov. 29-Dec. 31, 2019. Winterfest Ice Rink open until Jan. 5, 2020 
Times: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. (check the website for specific activity times and entertainment schedules)
Cost: All activities are free except ice skating
Event details

photo: Pike Place Market

Magic in the Market

Each year, the Pike Place Market gets in on the holiday action with its Magic in the Market event. This year, you and your kid crew can meet Santa under the Market's iconic clock and take free photos with the jolly ol' fella and his reindeer, decorate cookies in the Market Atrium Kitchen and listen to festive live musical performances. Everyone will also enjoy noshing on delish food from Market vendors (think: hot chocolate, cider and donuts) while shopping for locally made gifts.

Holiday Extra: At 5 p.m., Santa will lead a countdown to the lighting of the 20-foot holiday tree and lights throughout the Market.

2020 Update: This event has been canceled.

Location: Pike Place Market, 1st Ave. & Pike St., Seattle, WA 98101
Date: Nov. 30, 2019
Time: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 
Cost: Free
Event details

photo: Barbie Hull Photography

Greet the Season at MOHAI

South Lake Union is going to be the place to be on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Celebrate the holiday season with MOHAI, The Center for Wooden Boats and the Historic Ships Wharf with a day filled with music, dance workshops and family-friendly crafts.

Holiday Extra: The Faye G. Allen Grand Atrium will play host to a miniature wonderland courtesy of the 4th division, Pacific Northwest Region of the National Model Railroad Association. Stop by Friday through Sunday (Nov. 29-Dec. 1) for a festive model train show sure to delight visitors of all ages!

2020 Update: This event has been canceled.

Location: Lake Union Park, 860 Terry Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109
Date: Nov. 30, 2019
Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Free with regular admission; MOHAI members Free. Park activities Free.
Event details

photo: Seattle Aquarium

Diving Santa

Did you know that when Santa isn’t supervising elves and delivering toys, he's scuba diving? Come see for yourself when he dives in the Seattle Aquarium’s Window on Washington Waters exhibit this holiday season. While you're there, enjoy live holiday music with some of your kids' fave entertainers (think: Caspar Babypants, Recess Monkey and Mikey Mike the Rad Scientist) story times with Santa, marine mammal meet and greets and more. View the full entertainment schedule online.

Update: This event has been canceled.

Location: Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101
DatesNov. 29–Dec. 2, Dec. 6–9, 13–16 & 20–24, 2019
Times: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (live musical performances at 1 p.m.). Diving Santa on Fridays & Mondays at noon; Saturdays & Sundays at noon and 3 p.m. On Dec. 24, the Aquarium will close at 3 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission or membership
Event details

photo: Providence O'Christmas Trees

Providence O’Christmas Trees Family Preview

Now in its 35th year, Providence O'Christmas Trees raises funds for the ministries of Providence Senior and Community Services through its three signature holiday events. At this year's Family Preview, spend the afternoon wrapped in the holiday spirit amidst 14 full size exquisitely designed trees that will be auctioned off at the Providence O’Christmas Trees Gala Dinner & Auction. For the kiddies, there will be pictures with Santa, festive entertainment (think: Caspar Babypants), arts and crafts, milk and cookies, special treats from community partners and raffle tickets for awesome kids' gift baskets. Psst! Don't forget to vote for your favorite tree. 

2020 Update: This event has been canceled.

Location: The Westin Seattle, 1900 5th Ave., Seattle, WA 98101
Date: Dec. 2, 2019
Time: 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
Cost: Free
Event details

photo: Jen Au for Seattle Art Museum

SAM Lights: A Winter Evening of Art, Music & Lights

Back by popular demand, SAM's magical light and luminary display returns to Olympic Sculpture Park. It’s a one night only deal on Thurs., Dec. 5 and it's where art lovers of all ages can walk the paths alight with luminaries, hundreds of lights and the looming shadows of their favorite outdoor installations in the background. Once you’ve walked the grounds, warm up inside the Pavilion and let your little artist play with blocks and create his or her own delightful artwork at the Kids’ Play Station. All that’s left is a little music to set the mood and some sips and bites to fill your tummies. Come dressed in your best light-inspired ensemble and become a part of the night!

2020 Update: This even has been canceled.

Location: Olympic Sculpture Park, 2901 Western Ave., Seattle, WA 98121
Dates: Dec. 5, 2019
Times: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
: Free
Event details

photo: Y Chan

Snow Day SLU Lights Display

Once again Snow Day SLU returns to Denny Park for the holiday season. Bundle up the kiddies, grab some hot cocoa and enjoy an immersive lights display from Dec. 6, 2019 to Jan. 19 2020. 

Good to know: On Dec. 6, Snow Day SLU will kick off its 2019 season with a Grand Opening Party. From 4 p.m.-9 p.m., enjoy a winter market, food trucks, live entertainment, interactive kids' activities, a giant snow globe photo booth, a beer garden and more!

2020 Update: This event is canceled.

Location: Denny Park, 100 Dexter Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109
Dates: Dec. 6, 2019-Jan. 19, 2020
Times: 4 p.m.-9 p.m.
Cost: Free
Event details

photo: Eli Rosenblatt

KEXP Deck the Dock 2019

On Dec. 8, join the Friends of Waterfront Seattle, KEXP and the Port of Seattle for KEXP Deck the Dock: A Family Holiday Dance Celebration. The indoor fun kicks off at 2 p.m. with music from Eli Rosenblatt and Mikey Mike The Rad Scientist and will be followed by an all ages dance party with KEXP DJ Abbie and delicious snacks and hot beverages. Click here to RSVP.

2020 Update: This event is canceled.

Location: Olympic Room, Pier 66 at Bell Harbor, 2211 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121
Date: Dec. 8, 2019
Time: 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: Free (RSVP required)
Event details

—Kristina Moy

To find more Christmas season events and activities in Seattle click here!


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