The biggest, best Christmas and holiday light displays in and around Seattle
Both Woodland Park Zoo (above) and Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma are popular holiday-light destinations.
From simple to spectacular, holiday light displays are one of the most festive and fun ways to celebrate the season. We’re focusing more on the spectacular, with a roundup of lights that would give Clark Griswold a run for his money. Some are free, others require admission or accept donations – you’ll find the details below. Don’t forget your camera!
Argosy Christmas Ships
Nearly every night through Dec. 23, the brightly lit Christmas Ship and its flotilla of lighted boats stop at a different waterfront community while a choir performs for everyone on board and on land to enjoy. Find a listing of scheduled stops, plus ticket information if you want to ride aboard the ship, online.
Olympic Manor Neighborhood
North of Ballard is the Olympic Manor neighborhood, where many homes are decorated with lights. It’s easy to navigate by car or on foot. N.W. 85th Street and 23rd Avenue N.W., Seattle. Free.
Greenwood Monkey Lights
Look for 150 glowing monkey silhouettes on businesses along Phinney and Greenwood Avenues in Seattle. Also noteworthy is a 17-foot-tall “Glow Cone” on the old air raid siren at N. 67th Street in front of the Phinney Neighborhood Association. Free.
West Seattle Lights
See a 25-minute synchronized light show (tune your radio to 101.9 FM) 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 5 to 10 p.m. weekends Nov. 23 through Dec. 30, and 5 p.m. to midnight Dec. 24, 25 and 31. There will be a scaled back Thanksgiving show, starting at 7 p.m. 3908 SW Charlestown St. Free, donations benefit West Seattle Food Bank and Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation.
See wild animals and places re-created in thousands of LED lights. Indoor and outdoor displays, some animals on view (including reindeer), and more. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. nightly Nov. 23 through Jan. 5 (closed Dec. 12, Dec. 24 and Dec. 25). Entry at west gate only. Woodland Park Zoo, 5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle. Tickets: $9.95 to $14.95
Candy Cane Lane
Neighbors on this charming street have been decorating with lights for some 60 years, with lovely displays on just about every house. Consider parking nearby and walking through to cut down on emissions (and to get a better view). Nightly through Jan. 1. N.E. Park Road, off of N.E. Ravenna Boulevard, Seattle. Free, non-perishable food donations welcomed.
DJ Disco Vinnie's house Stop by 6212 9th Ave NW between 6:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. and you will be treated to a choreographed light and sound display featuring more than 5000 lights fixed on a two-story Ballard house.
Bellevue Botanical Garden creates a winter garden with more than 500,000 mini-lights in three-dimensional plant and critter shapes. No pets. 4:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 24 through Dec. 30. Bellevue Botanical Garden, 12001 Main St., Bellevue. Tickets: Free Nov. 24 through Nov. 29, after that $5, free ages 10 and younger, available online (pre-purchase recommended).
Bellevue Magic Season: Snowflake and Celebration Lanes
It snows nightly on a parade of live toy soldiers and other characters, plus there is music and a light show. 7 p.m. Nov. 23 through Dec. 24. Sidewalks of Bellevue Way and Northeast Eighth Street, Bellevue. Free.
See the Keener family’s home decorated in more than 100,000 lights and other displays. Tune your radio to 91.7 FM for accompanying music. 6 to 10 p.m. through Nov. 23 through Dec. 31. 16504 112th Pl. N.E., Bothell (adjacent to Cedar Park Church). Free, donations welcomed for the food bank and Ben Towne Foundation.
The Lights of Christmas
Jaw-dropping light displays, live music and drama, pony and train rides, a nativity, Bruce the (talking) Spruce and more. Lodging available (reservations required). 5 to 10 p.m. Nov. 29-Dec. 2, 6-9, 13-16, 19-23, 26-29. Warm Beach Camp, 20800 Marine Drive, Stanwood. Tickets: $12-$16, kids under 4 are free. Pay what you can nights are Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 28 and 29.
Holiday Tour of Lights
Hop aboard the 20-minute Merrysville Express Rotary Train and see 30 winter scenes done in lights. There is also hot chocolate, s’mores and a bonfire. 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, Dec. 7-8, 12-15, 19-22. Cedarcrest Golf Course, 6810 84th St. NE, Marysville. Free, donations welcomed. Suggested $5 for adults, $3 for kids, or $20 for the whole family.
Ivar’s Clam Lights
Renton’s holiday light display shines 5 to 9 p.m. nightly Nov. 30 through Jan. 1. Gene Coulon Beach Park, 1201 Lake Washington Blvd. N., Renton. Free.
Maple Valley Lights
See a 25-minute synchronized light show (tune your radio to 101.9 FM) 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 5 to 10 p.m. weekends Thanksgiving through Dec. 30, and 5 p.m. to midnight Dec. 24, 25 and Dec. 31. 22629 S.E. 263rd Pl, Maple Valley. Free, all donations will benefit Maple Valley Food Bank and Vine Maple Place.
Wild Waves Holiday with Lights
Light displays, rides, Santa photos, entertainment and more. See online for schedule. Various hours and days Dec. 1 through 30.(closed Dec. 24-25). Wild Waves Theme Park, 36201 Enchanted Pkwy S., Federal Way. Tickets: $14.99, free ages 2 and younger.
See nearly 600,000 holiday lights, including depictions of animals and local landmarks. Warm up in the steamy aquarium, ride a camel or the antique carousel. 5 to 9 p.m. through Nov. 23 through Jan. 6. (closed Dec. 24). Tickets: $6-$12, free ages 2 and younger. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, 5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma.
Drive through 2.5 miles of animated displays at Spanaway Park. Tune your radio to FM 95.3 to hear holiday music performed by a local high school. 5:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 22 through Jan. 1. Spanaway Park, 14905 Bresemann Blvd. S., Spanaway. Tickets: $14 per vehicle.
Christmas Lighting Festival Leavenworth
Live entertainment, Santa, refreshments and more, plus nightly lighting of the downtown village. Activities Nov. 30 Dec. 1-2, 7-19, 14-16; lights stay up through mid-February. See schedule online. Leavenworth. Free.