Along with turkey dinner leftovers comes tons of holiday hoopla! Consider: an early morning parade, a popular winter celebration, a bright festival inspired by nature, a fun holiday production, a kickoff event with the big guy in red and a magnificent light display. If shopping isn’t your thing this weekend, take your crew to South Lake Union for Greet the Season. This all-day event will include holiday music, crafts and activities, plus Nutcracker performances, gingerbread house making and an appearance by the Argosy Christmas Ship.
photo: George White for Snowflake Lane
Macy’s Holiday Parade
Bundle up the gang and grab a curbside seat for this annual day after Thanksgiving parade. See giant inflatable floats, marching bands, drill teams, hundreds of costumed characters and of course, Santa Claus make their way down Pine St. to the doorstep of Macy’s. Fri, 9 a.m.–10 a.m. (Macy’s Santaland opens at 11 a.m.). Seattle. Free. All ages. Event details.
Seattle Center Winterfest
The Seattle Center is the place to be for lots of free and affordable holiday activities and entertainment. Visit the Winterfest Ice Rink, drive a miniature locomotive inside the Armory, watch ice sculpting demonstrations and enjoy live music and entertainment. Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.–8 p.m. (through Dec. 31). Seattle. Free ($2 to $7 for ice skating). All ages. Event details.
WildLights at the Zoo
Woodland Park Zoo’s spectacular winter lights festival returns this year with thousands of sparkling LED lights inspired by nature, wild animals and wild places. In addition to the festive displays, ride the zoo’s historic carousel, meet Santa and a few of his reindeer and enjoy festive snacks and entertainment. Fri.-Sun., 5:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. (through Jan. 3, 2016). Seattle. $6.95 to $9.95 (2 & under Free). Tickets required. All ages. Event details.
Santa’s Grand Arrival Parade & Tree Lighting Event (pictured)
Grab a curbside seat along Bellevue Way to watch Jingle Belle dancers, toy soldier drummers, princesses, holiday-themed floats and of course, Santa make their way through the streets of downtown Bellevue. After the parade, gather for the festive tree lighting ceremony at Bellevue Place Wintergarden and enjoy a special meet and greet with the characters from Snowflake Lane as well as holiday music, cookies and cocoa. Fri., 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. (Snowflake Lane open nightly through Dec. 24). Bellevue. Free. All ages. Event details.
‘Twas the Night…
It’s opening weekend of this must-see musical comedy (based on the famous holiday poem!). Kick off your holiday season with lots of LOL moments and a few new surprises. Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. & 5 p.m; (through Dec. 20). Kirkland. $15/person. Tickets required. Ages 4 & older. Event details.
After the sun goes down, the Bellevue Botanical Garden is transformed into a dazzling winter wonderland of twinkling lights. Grab the stroller and take the Littles on a holiday journey filled with three-dimensional flowers, shrubs, and animal characters. Insider Tip: Avoid the long lines at the gate by purchasing your tickets online. Sat. and Sun., 4:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. (through Jan. 2, 2016). Bellevue. $5 (10 & under Free). Tickets required. All ages. Event details.
How will you be kicking off the holiday season this weekend? Tell us in the Comments below.
— Kristina Moy