Gear Up for the Holidays in Seattle

 In Holidays, Travel Tips, USA

Tackle this holiday season with gusto and a lot of fun (image © Seattle Center)

Why sit inside all holiday season when you can get out and enjoy some of the Seattle areas great events. They only come around once a year after all. We are never ones to sit around, so I am still hoping to squeeze in one or two more outings before we head back east for the holidays next week. What will you explore? Grab your kids, friends, family and neighbors to experience some of the fun.

Winterfest Ice Rink at Seattle Center: This was the first winter activity Mike and I did together after we moved to Seattle in 2006. I hadn’t been ice-skating in a few years and somehow had never managed to actually skate with Mike. We were like two kids again. It was a little hectic because of all the little people skating around with mini-walkers, but we still managed to have a great time. A free night of skating hosted by Starbucks sure didn’t hurt either.

  • Ice rink open now through January 1, 2012
  • Sunday – Thursday, 11am – 8pm, Friday – Saturday, 11am – 10pm
  • Special hours: Dec. 24 closes 4pm, Dec. 25 closed, Dec. 31 closes at 11:30pm
  • $7 for adults, $5 for children ages 6– 12, $2 children ages 5 and under (includes skate rental.) CASH ONLY.

There are loads of other great activities going on at Seattle Center. Be sure to leave plenty of time to explore them all.

Carrie Imler with Company dancers and PNB School students in Nutcracker. Photo © Angela Sterling

Pacific Northwest Ballet Presents the Nutcracker: What Christmas isn’t complete without at least hearing one song from the Nutcracker? I don’t get to listen nearly as often as I would like, let alone see it. Mike was over exposed as a child and cringes at the first note now. Last time I saw the Nutcracker performed was in Chicago. I have since seen many different productions put on by the Pacific Northwest Ballet. I know their performance of the Nutcracker would not disappoint. Last I checked tickets were still available. There were even some nice discounts for weekday shows. Go check it out, expose your kids to the arts and see what happens. You may find some little ballerinas in your living room tomorrow.

  • Performances now through December 27th
  • Prices and times vary.

Diving Santa at the Seattle Aquarium: Do you really need another excuse to go to the aquarium? You do? Well then head on down next weekend for your last chance to watch Santa take a dive in the Windows on Washington Waters tank. Live music will fill your ears while the bizarre sight of the man in red takes over your eyeballs. Even if you don’t believe in Santa this is surely a sight to see.

  • Santa takes a dive now through December 18th. Then he has to start packing the sleigh I guess.
  • Weekend dives at 12noon and 3pm
  • Cost is free with aquarium admission
  • Local youth and high school orchestras perform while Santa takes a swim

Wonderland featuring the Holiday Carousel: Dek and I got to check this carousel out the first weekend of December. The ride isn’t long, but for a 2 year old taking his first ride it sure was exciting.

  • Open now through January 1, 2012
  • Suggested donation of $2 per rider
  • Location: Westlake Park, 401 Pine Street, dowtown Seattle
  • Monday- Thursday 11am-9pm, Friday 11am-10pm, Saturday 10am-10pm, Sunday 10am-9pm (please check web site for special holiday closings and extended hours)

Toyland Village: 50 childhood toys are brought to life through light displays down at Seattle Waterfront Park.

  • Open now through January 1, 2012
  • Park closes at 10pm
  • Location: Waterfront Park, Piers 57-59, 1201 Alaskan Way, Seattle

Light up your night with a trip to d’Lights (image © Bellevue Botanical Garden)

EastSide/ Bellevue Attractions

Garden d’Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden: If we can get a healthy boy (he has a bit of a cold) in the next week we will certainly be headed to the gardens to view their fantastic light display. With over 500,000 lights transforming the garden, I can’t imagine it will be anything but enchanting. Stay tuned for photos and a full report!

  • Now through December 31, 2011
  • 5pm to 10pm (last entry at 9:30pm
  • $5 admission, children under 10 are free
  • Event Free Nights are December 12, 13 and 14, 2011 (first come first served until they run out of space in the garden)
  • Location:  12001 Main Street, Bellevue, WA 98005
  • Free parking after 5pm at Bellevue School District Offices at 12111 NE 1st St.

Sixth Annual Snowflake Lane: Wander down Bellevue Way and NE 8th Street every evening for lights, music and toy soldiers. Oh yeah, and snow. They make it snow every night. How crazy is that! We haven’t been able to get out there yet. It is a little past our bedtime, but I have a feeling we might be stretching bedtime this year to catch a glimpse. If you head down, let me know how it is.

  • Now through December 24, 2011 (New Years events start after that)
  • Free event
  • Shows at 7pm every night

The Magic Season Ice Arena: every year this event shuts down the parking lot at our swim class for a week or so. I don’t mind. I love to ice skate! As the areas only outdoor ice skating rink, I just can’t wait for Dek to be old enough to strap a pair of skates on and try it out. Mike thinks he is ready now, but I think we need at least another year of good balance before we throw blades into the mix.

  • Open now through January 8, 2012. Check web site for specific opening times.
  • Cost: $10 (includes skate rentals.) Credit Cards accepted
  • Location: NE 1st Street and 102nd Avenue NE, one block South of Bellevue Square.
  • Free 3 hour parking
  • Lessons on select nights (check web site for details)
  • Concessions stand on-site selling food
  • Stroller skating is available at select times on Thursdays. Yes, this means mom can strap a pair of skates on and take her baby in a stroller out on the ice. I do not question the sanity of this event. You shouldn’t either. Your head might hurt. It does let moms have a fun time too though and that I will never question.

Got a Seattle area event or holiday tradition? Share it below in the comments section. I always love to check out new places. 

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Showing 2 comments
  • Lisa

    I can’t believe that Santa dives at the aquarium – that is so cool!

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