Along with turkey dinner leftovers comes tons of holiday hoopla! Consider: an early morning parade, a winter celebration under the Needle, a bright festival inspired by nature, a popular holiday production, a parade with the big guy in red, and a dazzling light display. If shopping isn’t your thing this weekend, take your crew to South Lake Union to Greet the Season. All day long, enjoy festive music, family-friendly crafts and activities, Nutcracker performances, cookie decorating, hot cider and the Argosy Christmas Ship Festival.

winterfest 2013

photo: Kristina Moy 


Macy’s Holiday Parade
Bundle up the kidlets 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 his 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 (pictured)
The Seattle Center is the place to be for lots of free and affordable holiday activities and entertainment. Take a few laps around the Winterfest Ice Rink, drive a miniature locomotive inside the Armory, watch ice sculpting demonstrations and enjoy live music and entertainment all weekend long. 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, see a few animal friends (including Santa’s reindeer), and enjoy festive snacks and entertainment. Fri.-Sun., 5:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. (through Jan. 4, 2015). Seattle. $6.50 to $9.75 (2 and under free). Tickets required. All ages. Event details.


Santa’s Grand Arrival Parade & Tree Lighting Event
Grab a curbside seat along Bellevue Way to watch Jingle Belle dancers, toy soldier drummers, princesses, holiday-themed floats and of course, Santa make his 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. 31). Bellevue. Free. All agesEvent 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., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. & 5 p.m; Sun., 2 p.m. & 5 p.m. (through Dec. 21). Kirkland. $15. Tickets required. Ages 4 & older. Event details.

Garden d’Lights
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 onlineSat.-Sun., 4:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. (through Jan. 3, 2015). Bellevue. $5 (10 and under free). Tickets required. All ages. Event details.

How will you be kicking off the holiday season this weekend? Let us know in a comment below.

—Kristina Moy