Seattle's Child

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Seattle-area holiday events, 2021

Tree lightings, performances, markets: Your guide to 2021 Seattle-area family holiday events.

Many holiday events are making a comeback for 2021.

Here’s what we know about what’s going on around Seattle, and what has changed. In many cases, advance ticket purchase is required. Also, COVID protocols generally require mask wearing and often proof of vaccination. Check your particular event for details.

Also, check back for more holiday events. We’ll be updating often. And you can always find much more in our Family Event Calendar.

[Related: Light displays in Seattle and nearby ]

Holiday events: Seattle

Downtown Seattle: The traditional day-after-Thanksgiving parade will not happen, but the Westlake Center tree lighting is back (both in-person and virtual) at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26. Also nearby: Holiday Lights and Delights, light sculptures in Westlake Park, where there also will be daily food trucks (and free hot cocoa and cookies on Saturdays).

“The Nutcracker”: After a year of streaming performances, the traditional holiday ballet is back for in-person shows at McCaw Hall. Details here.

Pike Place Market: What a fun place to visit during the holidays! The spirit of giving is in the air as merchants step up to help the Pike Place Market Foundation with the continuing recovery of the Market and its community. Donations will be matched on Giving Tuesday, and there’s a Giving Tree to provide gifts for seniors and others in and around the Market. There’s also a way to support the Market by shopping online.

Occidental Square: Happy Holidays Booths will operate from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays (Dec. 5, 12 and 19) with live music, merry characters, hot cocoa, treats and giveaways.

Candy Cane Lane is open through Jan. 1 in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood. There are two walk-through-only nights this year: Dec. 9 and 16. Event details here.

Kringle’s Filling Station is a fun, new family attraction in a former gas station on Aurora Avenue North. Here’s how our reviewers liked it.

holiday events 2020If Seatte’s Fairmont Olympic Hotel was among your holiday traditions, you can see the Festival of Trees through the windows again this year (through Dec. 1). If you’re in the market for a new, indulgent holiday experience, the Olympic is offering Holiday Afternoon Tea from noon-4 p.m. Dec. 19-24 and Dec. 26-28 with an array of finger sandwiches, sweets and scones.

Christmas ships: This is a uniquely Northwest holiday event. The boat parade takes a different route each night, and there are several ways to be part of the fun: From the main boat, the Spirit of Seattle, from another boat in the parade or in community festivities onshore. Here is the full schedule.

Pacific Place will feature Fleurs de Villes NOËL, a floral celebration of the holiday season from Dec. 17-27. See unique designs including floral mannequins, doorways and other installations, and a flower market on Saturday Dec. 18.

Sorry, no holiday carousel this year. It is a major fundraiser for Treehouse, the agency that does so much for kids in foster care. Here are ways families can help this year.

The popular Gingerbread Village at the Seattle Sheraton is still on hold. Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund hopes to resume it in 2022 (and always could use your support in the meantime.)

Holiday events: Eastside

Marina Park, Kirkland: Grand menorah lighting in Marina Park, 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28. This free event features music refreshments, gelt drop and a performance by JKids; with the Grand Menorah Lighting taking place at 4:15 p.m. After that, a holiday tree will be illuminated at 5 p.m. every December evening in Marina Park. (Kirkland’s traditional Winterfest celebration is on hold until 2022.)

Kirkland Winter Market: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, Kirkland Urban.

Snowflake Lane, the downtown Bellevue holiday spectacular, is back in all its traditional splendor. The free parade of dazzling lights, floats, snowfall and holiday characters takes place at 7 p.m. each evening (Nov. 26 through Dec. 24) on the sidewalks between Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square from Northeast Fourth to Northeast Eighth Streets. More information here.

Garden d’Lights, the Bellevue Botanical Garden event, also is back. It features over half a million sparkling lights in the shapes of plants, birds, animals and waterfalls. Hours are 4:30-9 p.m. daily (Nov. 27-Dec. 31). Tickets must be purchased online in advance for a particular day and time.

Issaquah Artisan Market: Take a fun excursion to Issaquah, support hardworking local artists and get great, unique gifts. Issaquah is emphasizing on Nov. 28. A holiday shop in the Historic Shell station at 232 Front Street, is open noon-6 p.m. Friday through Sunday through Dec. 31. There’s also a Pop-Up Shop in the Issaquah Depot Museum from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (Nov. 27-28) and again on Saturday, Dec. 11.

Holiday events: misc.

Burien Holiday Cookie Crawl: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, downtown Burien. Check in at Discover Burien, 611 S.W. 152nd St. The $20 ticket gets you a reusable bag and a map to nearby locations offering treats to go.

Destination Des Moines Winter Waterland annual tree lighting: 6-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, Big Catch Plaza. Santa, singing, treats, etc.

Federal Way holiday tree lighting: 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, Town Square Park. Music, cookies, hot chocolate and a visit from Santa.

Normandy Park Winterfest, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, Normandy Park Town Center. Tree lighting, music, food, crafts, free Santa hats and Santa’s grand “rock star” entrance. Also a COVID-19 vaccine clinic from 2:30-6:30 p.m.

Winter Porchlight Parade: The communities of Kenmore, Bothell, Lake Forest Park and Shoreline have joined to create a map of people’s home light displays.

A Victorian Country Christmas: This festive event takes over the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup from Dec. 1-5. It becomes a late-1800s Victorian village. You have to see it to believe it! Organizers say it is full of entertainment, shopping and the spirit of Christmas. There’s a singing nativity, Santa (of course!) and even a Winter Wine Garden. Later in the month, Holiday Magic is a walk-through event with light displays (and food stands) at the fairgrounds from Dec. 10 to Dec. 31.

Puyallup Holiday Market and Santa Parade: 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, downtown Puyallup (parade route down Meridian Avenue). Market opens at noon inside the Pioneer Park Pavilion, 303 S. Meridian, and the lighted parade begins at 5 p.m. with bands, floats, walking units and more. Masks required.

LoveOly WinterFest, Olympia, Nov. 28-Dec. 31. Olympia invites everyone “Downtown for the Holidays” with music, festive lights, horse-drawn carriages, storytelling and other performances at the Washington Center.

Christmas Regale, Fort Nisqually (in Point Defiance Park) 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4. Celebrate 19th-century-style, with ornament making, parlor games, coffee roasting, food tastings and Father Christmas. The holiday market will include toys and books celebrating Pacific Northwest heritage. Registration required; admission runs from free to $18; family rate available.

The Commons, Federal Way: Wander around the mall, but with a purpose! North Poll on Tour is a mallwide, season-long free experience in which families can visit sites including Polar Bear Play Park, Santa’s Stables, Elfployee Cafeteria and more. Look for hidden words, take family pictures, enter to win prizes — and visit Santa!

More holiday news in Seattle’s Child:

Holiday light displays around the Puget Sound area

How to adopt a family for the holidays

ZooLights 2021: Outdoor holiday fun at Tacoma’s Point Defiance

Parent review of WildLanterns

About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is the website editor for Seattle's Child. She is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 13-year-old girl.