To kick off our holiday season, our family decided to attend what has become a much-loved Bothell tradition, the Evergreen Christmas Lights. We braved the cold and were rewarded with a magical Christmas light show, enchanting train displays and a warm welcome.
Getting there and parking
About 30 minutes north of Seattle, Evergreen Christmas Lights is at the Evergreen Church in Bothell. Every December for the past 11 years, the church transforms into a winter wonderland. As we pulled into the parking lot, my kids shouted excitedly, “Look at that tunnel!” “Look at the trees!” “How many lights do you think there are?” I must admit, even I was excited to park and go look around. A note that while this event is held at a church, it felt welcoming to all. There was no pressure to do anything other than enjoy the lights, music and treats.
Perhaps one of the most exciting parts about this light show for parents is that not only is the show free of charge, but so is parking. Oh, and there are free warm cookies, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
The light show and places to warm up
At the edge of the parking lot, we were immediately greeted with warm hellos, candy canes and offered a family picture in one of the light tunnels. My kids loved walking through the tunnel and it evoked many oohs and aahs. Once we reached the main courtyard, we noticed a big screen on the church with a countdown, letting us know when the show would begin. We decided to head into the pavilion to warm up while we waited. Inside we found a beautiful rustic fireplace, a train display and various Christmas scenes, complete with Rudolph. Both my kids loved watching the trains, and my son proclaimed it was the best part of the night so far.
After warming up a bit, we headed back outside just in time for the light show to begin. Our entire family was immediately captivated by the music and the lights. My son stood completely still taking in the entire experience and my daughter jumped and danced through the show and kept excitedly pointing out all her favorite parts. My husband and I appreciated the creative addition of clips from movies like “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation“ and “A Charlie Brown Christmas“ that played on the big screen. About halfway through the show, my daughter proclaimed that she was freezing to death, so we took that as our cue to go inside the church to warm up again.
Freshly baked goodies and treats
As soon as you walk into the church you’re immediately hit with the smell of freshly baked cookies and offered one by a cheerful host. My kids also really wanted hot chocolate, so we made our way to their espresso stand (Cultures Coffee House). The drinks are not free, but well worth it when it is so cold out. The stand was offering hot chocolates, apple ciders and chai. Drinks in hand, we headed back out into the cold for more of the show.
Snow Zone or real snow?
While we were walking back out to the viewing area, my daughter yelled out, “Mom! It’s snowing!” Sure enough, snow flurries were falling all around us. I could not tell if this was part of their “Snow Zone,” where they promise snow flurries every 15 minutes, or if it was snowing. Either way, it was pretty magical.
As we exited the light show and headed back to the car, I asked my kids if we should make coming here a holiday tradition. I got a resounding “YES!”
New for 2024
This year the Church will also host a 20-min animated video telling the story of the first Christmas. It’s a good opportunity to get in from the cold and relax while watching a film.
Know before you go:
- The show runs nightly Dec. 61-24, 2023; 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
- The Evergreen Church is located at 3429 240th Street SE Bothell
- In addition, there are free, 30-minute music concerts. See website for days and times.
- Evergreen Lights is free to the public (no tickets needed). Fresh-baked cookies are also free.
- Parking is free. The parking lot is located off of 35th Avenue Southeast. Additional parking will be marked if that lot is full. The church asks that no one parks on 34th Street (behind the church).
- The show runs every 30 minutes, but you can stay as long as you’d like.
- Be sure to check out the Snow Zone that ensures snow is in the forecast every 15 minutes.
- Inside the church, there are bathrooms and baby changing stations.
- The event is free but a donation of Costco gift cards is appreciated to offset the cost of providing free cookies.