Winter Holiday Events in and around Seattle Southside
The holiday season is full of magic, fun, and delight, no matter how old you are!
Whether you're a veritable Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation or a little bit of an Ebenezer Scrooge, there's a holiday event around Seattle Southside that will bring a smile to your face.
The largest mall in the Pacific Northwest, Westfield Southcenter Mall offers lots of shopping opportunities to help you find gifts for everyone on your list. Plus, the festive and fun decorations and Santa photos make for a classic holiday experience for all. Check out the nightly "snowfall" at the main south entrance every night at 5PM for a wintery treat, behold the Whimsical Wonders light display, and explore all the fun to be had around the mall.
Shop extra small this holiday season at the Normandy Park Cove Holiday Bazaar, featuring hyperlocal handicrafts by artisans and more. Plus, feast while you shop at locally-owned food trucks! Taking place from 9AM-3PM, you can find gifts here that can't be found anywhere else!
This special festive edition of the Des Moines Waterfront Farmer's Market features locally made food, gifts, arts, and crafts to make your home more merry and bright for the yuletide season. As an added bonus, you get to enjoy the gorgeous views from the Des Moines Marina! You can enjoy this free and festive event from 10AM-4PM.
This market, hosted by Spice Bridge Global Food Hall and the Food Innovation Network puts a special emphasis on the holiday table by bringing global flavors to your family. Join them from 3-7PM at Spice Bridge to enjoy food, crafts, and live music!
Shop Small South Park (December 16&17)
This local business extravaganza, taking place from 11AM-4PM at South Park Hall, will feature tons of super local small businesses and individual artisans selling their wares for that ultra-unique gift that can't be found anywhere else!
A new addition to the Winterfest lineup at Seattle Center, the Seattle Christmas Market aims to place a magical European-style Christmas village right in the middle of Seattle. Enjoy the Bavarian-style scenery, light displays, and Christmas Carousel as you shop for gifts. Take the Link Light Rail from Seattle Southside to the Monorail for quick and easy access to Seattle Center.
Merry and Bright
Tree Lighting Ceremonies (Dec. 1 at 5PM)
Feel the magic of the holidays and warm community spirit at local tree lighting ceremonies. These annual events are a great way for people to come together and kick off the holiday season. Family-friendly activities like caroling, crafts, bounce houses, and more are available to help keep everyone entertained, and rumor has it Santa himself may make an appearance! There are two local tree lighting ceremonies, both taking place on December 1st at 5PM: one in SeaTac at the community center and one in Des Moines at Big Catch Plaza.
Get wild with your holidays! Both major local zoos do holiday themed lighting displays every year. ZooLights at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (pictured above) uses twinkling holiday lights to create beautiful displays themed around wildlife and nature, with a major highlight every year being the recreation of Mt. Rainier in Christmas lights! WildLanterns at Woodland Park Zoo features beautiful large-scale lanterns shaped like wild animals, natural scenes, and more, sure to wow you no matter your age, including a giant walk-through shark!
See festively decorated boats set sail across the Sound to celebrate the season! This merry and bright presentation out of the Des Moines Marina has several viewing points along the coastline in Des Moines, including the Redondo Boardwalk, Saltwater State Park, and the fishing pier at the marina. Check the event page for expected times that the parade will pass each viewing spot.
See the bonsai under festive holiday lighting at the Pacific Bonsai Museum for a rare nighttime look at these beautiful botanical creations. Enjoy sipping on hot beverages and see the smaller bonsai in their protective winter enclosures. Be sure to bring along a flashlight to make exploring the nighttime paths easier on yourself!
Set fire to the old year to bring in the new! Attendees will write down their wishes, regrets, anything they want to send out with the end of the year, and place them on a boat, which will be burned at midnight in the style of a Scottish "Up Helly Aa" celebration to mark the end of the Yuletide season. This is a great new tradition in Des Moines that features bonfires, music, and fun!
Explore local businesses and taste your way through Burien as you nosh on a wide variety of delicious cookies. Tickets must be purchased in advance and they often sell out, so make sure to buy them early!
Why worry about the stress of cooking up your own holiday feasts when you can have professional chefs cook you up a feast you’ll never forget? Bonus: You don’t have to do the dishes afterwards! Local restaurants offer holiday feasts, buffets, and specials throughout the holiday season. Check out our Holiday Dining Guide for the full details on where to eat this holiday season. We’ll update this article as we get specifics, but you’re sure to find something delicious in Seattle Southside!
There are multiple ways to enjoy this maritime Yuletide delight, whether or not you’re a big fan of riding on a boat! Ride on the all-ages Christmas Ship along with carolers and a reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, while enjoying festive beverages and beautiful views of the shoreline. Some cruises will even be visited by Santa! Two of the events also include a grown-ups-only (21+) ugly Christmas sweater party on a boat that follows the Christmas Ship if you'd like something a bit more raucous without the kids. If you’d prefer to stay on dry land, you can cozy up beside a bonfire and watch the ship cruise by while being serenaded by the Christmas carolers on board thanks to a state-of-the-art speaker system. Check the schedule for tickets, times and locations.
Winterfest at Seattle Center (November 24-December 31)
There's tons to do at Seattle Center for the holidays, from special concerts to a holiday market, and beyond! View an adorable miniature village and train set decorated to look like a late 19th-century town in the full swing of holiday celebrations. This display has come out for every Winterfest for over 40 years! On the weekends, the stage in the armory is home to performances by dancers, musicians, and more to help get you in the holiday spirit. And at night, Seattle Center twinkles with thousands of festive lights.