Many families have plenty to do on Christmas Day, so the idea of adding one more activity is enough to send them over the edge emotionally. But for those families who are new to Seattle, have few relatives in town or just want to do something a little different this year, we’ve put together a list of activities taking place on Christmas. So if you’re ready to shake up your Christmas Day routine, scroll down for 10 fun things to do on December 25.

photo: Richie D. via Yelp

1. Light up Your Life. Sure, you can drive around your own neighborhood to look at Christmas lights or head to a new decked out ‘hood, but if you want to see one classy display after the next in a fairly quiet atmosphere, check out Garden d’Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden. This ahh-mazing display of lights includes plants, flowers, birds, animals, a cascading waterfall and even an impressive dragon and other whimsical characters. The lights are on from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., so you can head out after Christmas and take it all in. Psst…tickets can be purchased online ahead of time.

Garden d’Lights
Bellevue Botanical Garden
2001 Main St.
Bellevue, Wa 98005

Admission: $5/Adults; 10 & under Free

photo: Sheraton Seattle

2. Go (Gingerbread) House Hunting. For 25 years, the Sheraton Seattle Hotel has presented their Gingerbread Village which benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Each year, gingerbread housing teams are created by pairing some of Seattle’s top architecture firms and the Sheraton’s culinary chefs to create some fantastic (and delicious-looking) buildings. This year’s theme is Seattle’s past and future and the viewing location has been moved across the street at City Centre, but is still as impressive as ever!

City Centre
1420 Fifth Ave., Ste 450
Seattle, Wa  98101

Admission: Free (donations gladly accepted)

photo: Dana D. via Yelp

3. See a Good Flick. As is the tradition, many good movies are released during Christmas weekend. This year, some of the best movies appropriate for families include Star Wars: The Last Jedi (which brings back some favorite characters and introduces some new ones in yet another chapter of this space adventure), The Greatest Showman (which stars Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum and the beginning of his famous circus and includes awesome music), The Man Who Invented Christmas (about Charles Dickens and how his novella, A Christmas Carol, was created) and Disney Pixar’s Coco (a story about Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration told in a delightful and fun tale.)

photo: Buca DiBeppo

4. Grab a Good Meal. While many restaurants are closed for the holiday, others will remain open including Buca DiBeppo which serves family-styled Italian meals in a fun atmosphere from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., the Lost Lake Café which offers a Christmas dinner special from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (but remains open 24 hours a day) and Ray’s Café on the water in Ballard which is open from 2 p.m.-8 p.m. For a fun twist, surprise the kids by visiting your local Denny’s or IHOP for dessert in their jammies. And consider bringing some flowers or small gift with you to give to your server to spread holiday cheer.

Buca Di Beppo
701 Westlake Ave. N.
Seattle, Wa 98109

Lost Lake Café
1505 10th Ave.
Seattle, Wa 98122

Ray’s Café
6049 Seaview Ave. N.W.
Seattle, Wa 98107

photo: Josh B. via Yelp

5. Lace up Your Skates. As part of Bellevue’s Magic Season, this pop up ice arena will remain open from 10 a.m.-8:00 p.m. on Christmas Day. This is our area’s largest open-air (and totally covered!) ice skating venue located at the newly renovated Bellevue Downtown Park. Open rain or shine, this might be the perfect activity to work off all those holiday goodies.

Bellevue Magic Season Ice Arena
Bellevue Downtown Park
10201 N.E. 4th St.
Bellevue, Wa

Admission: $14/Adults; $10/Kids (8 & under). Save $4 if you bring your own skates.

photo: Michelle C. via Yelp

6. Visit an Indoor Forest. The Fairmont Olympic Hotel goes all out and this year you can see some of the most lavish Christmas tree designs found anywhere in Seattle on display in the hotel’s beautiful lobbies. Embrace the true spirit of the holidays with Trees of Hope and make sure to check out the life-size gingerbread house and the Teddy Bear Suite (open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.).

Fairmont Olympic Hotel
411 University St.
Seattle, Wa 98101
(206) 621-1700

Admission: Free (donations are gladly accepted)

photo: Albert L. via Yelp

7. Go On a Christmas Cruise. Though the schedules are limited during Christmas, Washington State Ferries are in service. Pack up a Thermos of hot chocolate, bundle up the kiddies and get ready to see reflections of the city’s Christmas lights on the water. Depending on the destination, you might want to disembark or continue on for a round trip tour. Visit the Washington State Department of Transportation’s website for a list of our area’s local ferry docks, times of departure and fees.

Washington State Ferries

photo: Eddie H. via Yelp

8. Go for a Light Walk. Seattle’s own Ivar’s restaurants sponsor one the largest and free light displays in Renton. Ivar’s Clam Lights features a flat, paved trail that is about one mile in length and full of tens of thousands of Christmas lights on display at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park. The lights will be shining brightly from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. on Christmas Day, so bundle everyone up and head out for a nighttime holiday stroll.

Gene Coulon Beach Park
1201 Lake Washington Blvd. N.
Renton, Wa 98056

photo: Sherill Y. via Yelp

9. Hug a Bear. The Fairmont Olympic Hotel is also sponsoring the Teddy Bear Suite this year where one of the hotel’s largest suites has been decked out by local interior decorator Kevin Bradford creating a “teddy bear wonderland.” Donations raised go towards Seattle Children’s Hospital. The best part? The bears will be ready to play whenever you are on Christmas Day from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Fairmont Olympic Hotel
411 University St.
Seattle, Wa 98101


10. Take a Mini Road Trip. If you’re longing for a white Christmas, pack up the kiddies, gas up the family roadster and head towards the Cascade Mountains and plan for day or overnight trip to the Bavarian town of Leavenworth which just so happens to be festooned with over 500,000 lights and decorations from one end of the small town to the other. While much of the town will be closed up for the day, there are a number of local restaurants open for business. Visit the town’s official website for more information.


Know of another place that is open on Christmas Day? Tell us in the comments below. 


— Jeffrey Totey