Maple Leaf Lights
This display is pretty new, and the teen behind it stepped things up even more this year. Each night from Dec. 1 to Jan. 4, his expanded display will feature almost 80,000 lights synchronized to music. Even if it’s blustery and cold outside, you can enjoy this scene from the comfort of your own car.
Where: 845 N.E. 88th St., Seattle, WA 98115
Dates: Dec. 1, 2019–Jan. 4, 2020
Times: Sun.-Thurs., 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m.; ., 4:30 p.m.-10 p.m.
Menashe Family Lights
A West Seattle tradition, Menashe Family Lights boats over 340,000 lights plus blow-up characters, animated animals, a vintage manger scene, and a charming miniature train. No promises, but Santa and Mrs. Claus have made appearances in the past, and the couple will likely visit West Seattle again this year. There’s a lot to see here, so I’d recommend parking along the street and wandering on foot through this holiday display.
Location: 5605 Beach Dr. SW., Seattle, WA 98136
Dates: Dec. 1-31, 2019
Times: Dusk–10 p.m.
Ravenna’s Candy Cane Lane
With “Candy Cane Lane” for a street name, this neighborhood has a lot to live up to. And it succeeds. Since 1949, the twenty-three houses on Candy Cane Lane have made themselves famous with their lights, blow-up characters, sleighs, reindeer, and other holiday cheer.
Location: N.E. Park Rd., just off the main drag of Ravenna Blvd. at the cross street of 21st Ave. N.E.
Dates: Dec. 7, 2019–Jan. 1, 2020
Times: Mon.–Thurs., 4 p.m.–9:30 p.m.; ., 4 p.m.–11 p.m.
Olympic Manor Holiday Lights
The Olympic Manor neighborhood goes all out for Christmas. Walk or drive through the neighborhood and admire the fruits of some healthy “keeping up with the Joneses” holiday competition.
Location: Between N.W. 75th & N.W. 100th, Seattle, WA 98117
Times: 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Sheraton Grand Seattle Gingerbread Village
Gingerbread has never looked as grand as it does in the Sheraton’s holiday tradition. Twenty-seven years running, local architecture firms and the Sheratons Seattle culinary team join forces to construct fantastic, 6-foot-high gingerbread displays. Each creation is more of a gingerbread metropolis than a gingerbread house. I can’t wait to see their take on this year’s theme: #ElfLife. Vote for your favorite creation, and if you feel inclined, the Gingerbread Village raises donations for the Northwest chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Location: Sheraton Grand Seattle, 1400 6th Ave., Seattle, WA 98101
Dates: Nov. 23, 2019-Jan. 1, 2020
Times: Mon.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; ., 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
Teddy Bear Suite at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel
Another hotel’s holiday display, this one pulls out all the stops—with Teddy Bears. Christmas trees, holiday displays, and adorable Teddy Bears adorn the second floor. Donations are accepted, which benefit uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Seattle Children’s Autism Center.
Location: Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University St., Seattle, WA 98101
Dates: Nov. 29-Dec. 26, 2019
Times: Daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (including Thanksgiving & Christmas)
Holidays at Pacific Place
Downtown Seattle’s five-story shopping center has a full lineup of holiday events this year. Santa will stroll through the mall and hear kids’ Christmas lists, ice sculptors and balloon artists will show off their craft, carolers will deck the halls acoustically, and other seasonal characters will make occasional appearances. Pacific Place will also have holiday murals for selfies, a 12-foot floor keyboard for impromptu music-making, and a wreath-making workshop on Dec. 14.
Seattle Center Winterfest
The Seattle Center offers all sorts of free holiday activities and entertainment. You can drive a miniature locomotive through a turn-of-the-century village inside the Armory, watch ice sculpting demonstrations, hear Dicken’s Carolers, and see performances by more than a hundred different student groups throughout the holiday season. As a bonus, the Seattle Center will host its annual New Year’s Eve fireworks show and concert. Everything here is free except ice skating. Did I mention the ice skating?
Location: Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., Seattle, WA 98109
Dates: Nov. 29-Dec. 31, 2019. Winterfest Ice Rink open until Jan. 5, 2020
Times: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. (check the website for specific activity times and entertainment schedules)