Every year it’s the same old thing. We rush downtown to take a ride on the holiday carousel and check out the tree in Seattle’s Westlake Center. A few days later we rush back down to see Pike Place Market all dressed up. After that we may make a third trip to look at holiday trees, the teddy bear suite or gingerbread houses. Honestly it’s exhausting. This year I had a different idea and the folks at the Sheraton Seattle were happy to help.
What was this stroke of brilliance you ask? Staycation holiday style!
On a Friday afternoon the boys and I checked into the Sheraton in downtown Seattle. This hotel is smack dab in the center of the holiday action. Not only are they close to major shopping, including Macy’s, Westlake Center and Pacific Place, but they even have their own major holiday attraction—Gingerbread Lane. This holiday confection classic is in its 21st year and the lines attest to how beloved it truly is.
On a Friday night we were able to avoid the usual long lines that come with the weekend and browse Gingerbread Lane with some ease. By Saturday morning the line wrapped around the exhibit almost three times. Everyone wanted to get a look at this year’s nursery rhyme theme.
Architects and trade associations team up with the Sheraton’s pastry department to bring these childhood tales to life. Over 400 hours were put into this years display and it really shows. One of my favorites included Humpty Dumpty sitting on London Bridge, complete with red double-decker buses. Dek couldn’t get enough of the massive pirate ship that actually rocked back and forth as if sailing on the high seas.
Macy’s, presents and Santa, oh my!
Getting to see the Gingerbread Lane without all of the weekend insanity was one treat, but we were in for a bit more. Thanks to the close proximity of the Sheraton to all of Seattle’s downtown shopping, the boys and I were able to hop over to Macy’s to pick out their dad’s Christmas present. We also had time for a stop to see the big guy himself—Santa.
One thing you need to know about our family is that we aren’t 100 percent sure about this Santa guy. Dek is still feeling his way through it. Since I was not raised believing in Santa these are strange waters for me, but I’m trying to let Dek make up his own mind. Apparently he wasn’t ready to do that just yet.
Friday was the perfect, and I do mean perfect, night to go to see Santa at Macy’s. I’d assume any weeknight would be the same, but we had no line. Zero. Zip. Zilch. We could have walked right up to Santa. I say “could have” because Dek wouldn’t walk through the archway into Santa’s wonderland. Nope. He was not going to meet that strange guy in the red suit with a white beard. We compromised by having Dek stand next to a large toy soldier, within view of Santa and the door attendant. Ty and I went in to say hi to Santa. That started another round of problems. Ty would not sit or stand near Santa. This poor Santa; he was so patient and tried so hard, but finally we took a picture of me standing next to Santa with Tiernan in my arms. As far as first Santa experiences go this was definitely a memorable one.
A not-so-mad dash to bed
The boys and I wrapped up our night with a few pictures in front of the Westlake Center Christmas tree; the holiday tree of Seattle. We looked longingly at the carousel as it went round and round, but the line was too long and my boys were too tired to wait. Within five minutes we were back in our cozy hotel suite looking down at the lights on the street as we brushed our teeth and got into pajamas.
On a normal trip downtown at this point in the evening you would see us stuck in traffic and not even half way home. I’d be cursing under my breath that we were missing bedtime and oh boy was I going to pay for that later on. Not this time. No, instead I tucked Tiernan into his travel crib I had set up in one of the bathrooms. Dek snuggled into the King bed we were sharing and was out in a matter of minutes. All was quiet and for this mama, the world was good. I propped my feet up on the coffee table in the hotel suite sitting room, watched a bit of TV before tucking myself into one very cozy bed for the night.
A Suite for all seasons
Bright and early, before the birds even began to chirp, Ty was up and ready to play. He and I hung out in the sitting room of our suite while Dek snoozed well past seven, a first for him in a very long time. God bless blackout curtains! I love booking a suite whenever possible when I travel with my family. It is so much easier to let the kids play in the morning while we sleep, and mom and dad can stay up late at night and don’t have to hide in the bathroom (trust me, I have watched more than my fair share of movies on my laptop in hotel bathrooms while I wait for the boys to fall asleep.)
Our suite (room 2554) was in the Pike Place Tower of the Sheraton. It was relatively quiet, although we could hear a bit of street noise. It was nothing my trusty sound machine couldn’t drown out. With two bathrooms in the suite I was able to squeeze Tiernan’s travel crib into one, while Dek and I had access to the other. It was the perfect set up for our little trio of holiday merry makers.
Pool with a view
Once both boys were up and moving the only logical thing to do was hit the pool, and we weren’t the only family with that idea. The pool is at the top of the Union Tower in the hotel. We had to go back down to the lobby to catch a different elevator up. This is when I saw the line for Gingerbread Lane and I was so grateful we had seen it the night before.
The views of the city from the top floor were magnificent. I could see Mount Rainier trying to peek through the clouds, as well as Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The pool was over four feet deep so the boys and I stuck to the steps. Of course this didn’t stop Dek was jumping off the edge over and over again. Thank goodness for toddler swim lessons! All that exercise just fueled our already hungry tummies. With a bit of whining we left the pool to head out into the city again before packing up and heading home later that afternoon.
Plan your own holiday staycation
Seattle is just bursting with things to do this season; from ice-skating and trains at Seattle Center to the holiday carousel, Santa and Gingerbread Lane at the Sheraton. Planning a little overnight or weekend downtown isn’t as hard as you think. In fact, it may make the holidays just a little bit easier for you. No rushing back and forth, you can do all of your holiday activities in one weekend. Here’s a little itinerary to help you get started.
- Sheraton Seattle, 1400 Sixth Avenue, Seattle. Book the Macy’s Shopping Package for a fabulous room, pictures with Santa at Macy’s and a $100 gift card to shop for a few extra presents after saying “Hi” to the big guy before he heads back to the North Pole.
- Gingerbread Lane at the Sheraton Seattle will have your kids (and you) “oohing” and “ahhing” over these sweet nursery rhyme treats.
- Westlake Park: Enjoy a ride of the Holiday Carousel and take photos in front of the Christmas tree while sipping a hot cocoa from Starbucks.
- Pike Place Market: Shop until you drop in this eclectic array of stores. If you really want to have fun give everyone $5 to buy presents for someone in your group and see how far they can make it go.
- A few of our favorite spots to grab a bite downtown are The Crumpet Shop and Three Girls Bakery in Pike Place Market, and El Puerco Lleron below the Market. For all of our favorite Seattle eateries, check out our Seattle Restaurants page.
Many thanks to Starwood and Sheraton Seattle for hosting my family for one night with their Macy’s holiday package for the purposes of review. As always all opinions are my own; when they aren’t you will be the first to know.