With so much change and uncertainty in our world, now is the perfect time to renew beloved holiday traditions in your own backyard or find a new way to safely celebrate the season. Seattle, the Emerald City of the Pacific Northwest, is still the ideal winter destination that offers a wide variety of activities and events during the holidays – from heart-warming traditions and world-class shopping, to experiencing Seattle’s safe and inventive dining scene or enjoying a staycation in one of the city’s many stunning hotels. With months of pandemic-related closures threatening small businesses, now is the time to band together to — safely and responsibly — support the local businesses that make Seattle and King County unique.
“The holidays are always a magical time in Seattle, and this year, local visitors can provide some of that magic to the many hotels, restaurants and small businesses that have been so severely impacted by COVID-19,” said Tom Norwalk, Visit Seattle’s president and CEO. “We invite our guests to Do Something – stay in a downtown hotel, experience a holiday event safely, enjoy Seattle’s dining scene, or check off your holiday shopping at a local Seattle business – online or in person. Our local businesses need you now more than ever.”
New this year is Woodland Park Zoo’s WildLanterns, an immersive experience that expands throughout the entire footprint of the Zoo. This unique event will feature more than 300 larger-than-life lanterns of animals, flora and fauna. Guests will be required to wear masks and socially distance as they explore the Living Northwest, Jungle Lights, SeaMazium and African Safari light exhibits. These lanterns are each works of art, most of which were made in Washington state. Timed, advance purchase tickets are required from Nov. 13-Jan. 17.
After Thanksgiving, Pike Place Market kicks off the magic of the holidays and it is not to be missed. Visitors will feel the holiday spirit all day and night and can enjoy holiday lights starting November 28 through December. Visitors are invited to pick up a 2020 collectable holiday button by Market artist Graig Anderson, available at any craft table. Easy, convenient parking attached to the Market is available for only $10 all day before 9:30am. New this year, Pike Place Market Foundation has launched their Charitable Marketplace, featuring 100+ local businesses and products that all support Pike Place Market’s small business recovery program.
“There is no better place to be this holiday season than Pike Place Market,” said Amy Wallsmith, Director of Marketing & Program Development at Pike Place Market. “The Market is the best place to pick out one-of-a-kind handmade gifts, specialty foods and fresh ingredients. From jewelry to pottery and artisan goods to ready-made meals, shop for stocking stuffers, unique presents for under the tree and holiday meals. With hundreds of shops, find something for everyone on your list.”
One of Seattle’s most beloved traditions, the Westlake Center Tree Lighting, will be broadcast this year, airing on KIRO 7. New this year, the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) will transform Westlake Park into a brilliant destination with more than 80,000 lights shining from impressive installations of presents, arches, trees and more, for a spellbinding experience with countless photo opportunities. On Friday, Nov. 27 the 42-foot-tall holiday tree at Westlake Center will be lit, and down the block, the new Bon Marché Star will add its own glow to the festivities. A rotating selection of special items will be given away to guests who visit the park during the holiday season.
This year, the Space Needle will be hosting live video calls with Santa from the top of the Space Needle and holiday-themed photo opportunities will be available, all for the price of admission. Family-friendly snacks and beverages will also be available for purchase. At Chihuly Garden & Glass, fire up your holidays with various experiences and packages that include a hot shop show, stone fired pizza and wine. Both attractions have implemented “Elevating Clean,” which includes effective, science-backed cleaning technologies and protocols.
Some of Seattle’s classic holidays events are moving online this year to ensure the health of both guests and staff. Throughout the five weeks of the iconic Winterfest at Seattle Center, those in search of uplifting seasonal spirit or delightful diversion will find virtual performances, videos highlighting holiday traditions, and kid-centric activities. Urban Craft Uprising, Seattle’s largest indie craft show, will be fully online with no shortage of unique and special gifts. Join artists at Seattle Glassblowing Studio via livestream for a Virtual Ornament Experience as they create a customized ornament on your behalf. Wing Luke Museum is excited to bring guests Book-O-Rama, featuring live online art demonstrations, book readings with authors and illustrators, and special offers.
Pair any of the above events with a staycation at one of Seattle’s downtown hotels. With low rates and countless holiday packages, now is the time to get out of the house and enjoy a change of scenery in the lap of luxury.
Additional Holiday Resources:
Travel Advisories and Safety in Seattle: