11 FUN SEATTLE AREA HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES
My top 11 list for Holiday Fun activities encourage disconnecting from shopping and electronics and reconnecting with your favorite people. This list reflects mostly off-the-beaten path experience ideas; some of which are outside the City, which is partly why all of of us live here, right? If you have favorite experiences that are not listed here, please leave a comment below. We all love new inspiration! I hope this list inspires you to gather up your favorite people and head out on a holiday adventure this month!
1. New this year in downtown Seattle is the lovely-looking nighttime Christmas market, light maze and ice skating at Safeco Field, called Enchant Seattle. My family is going next week and I will write a review then, but I think it looks rather dreamy, albeit filled with lots of other holiday enthusiasts. Organizers are trying to control crowds by issuing limited numbers of tickets in specific timeframes. I recommend purchasing tickets online, ahead of time.
3. Grab breakfast, lunch or cocoa at the Cafe, marvel at the magnificent reindeer, visit Santa's beautifully decorated holiday yurt and this year's Pacific Northwest Wonderland themed-model train village at Swanson's Nursery. Try and go at night when the nursery is bathed in dreamy lights.
4. Pack a thermos of your favorite hot beverage, park your car and stroll through North Ballard's residential neighborhood, Olympic Manor. It is full of mid-century modern homes completely decked out in holiday lights.
6. Visit a tree farm for a big dose of Christmas spirit and fresh country air. You can either saw down your own personally selected tree or purchase one of the fresh-cut trees at the farm. This year, the trees are half as much as trees sold at City retailers. In my opinion, this quintessential destination experience needs to include not only trees, but also hot cider, fire pits, a holiday-themed shop and minimal crowds. This year’s recommendation is Long’s Christmas Tree Farm.
7. Help bring a smile to homeless youth by donating items that are on his/her holiday wish list. Our family and my friends Keelan and Theresa gave to Seattle-based Youth Care last year.
8. Take in holiday events at Suncadia Resort, 1.5 hours East of Seattle. There is something happening every weekend. Aside from the holiday hoopla, our family's favorite activities are: seeing the local herd visit the Nelson Dairy Farm daily for hay (go towards the end of the publicized feeding time, as the elk don't like crowds), tubing next to the winery restaurant and ice skating in the outside rink among the towering trees (complete with a snack shack and fire pit). Consider booking a room in the lodge, or the more affordable Best Western SnoCap Lodge in Cle Elum (they have down comforters, free breakfast and an indoor swimming pool and hot tub).
9. Snowshoe or hike (depending on conditions---you can call the Snoqualmie Forest Ranger) around Gold Creek Pond near Snoqualmie's Hyak Trails. A snow pass AND Discovery Pass are both required to park at Sno-Parks for the 2017-18 season. Our family has a tradition to head to the mountains for snowplay each year, the day after Christmas. A nice antidote to the frenzied activities on the 24th and 25th. Consider dining afterwards at the cozy Salish Lodge Attic restaurant, The Commonwealth at the Snoqualmie Ski Resort or the North Bend Bar and Grill.
10. Visit the quintessential German town of Leavenworth, 2.5 hours East of Seattle. Consider taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride, or tube at the hill in town. Consider booking a room at Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort or one of the many inns in town. If you go to Sleeping Lady, be sure to read my article for full itinerary recommendations.
11. Visit the Seattle-themed Gingerbread Village, designed, baked and decorated by local architects and bakers. Donations benefit the Northwest Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. This is the first year that the Village is displayed across the street from the downtown Sheraton, in the City Centre building. After you marvel at the ginger creations, walk to the Fairmont Olympic Hotel for cocktails, food and live piano in the lobby bar. If you don't have kids, head straight into the cozy bar if you wish. If you do have kids, the lobby bar is a terrific place to feel like adults, while your kids wiggle around on the couches and stroll around the gigantic lobby Christmas tree. Younger kids, or adults who are enamored by dreamy Christmas decorations wrapped in luxurious fabrics, should also check out the decorated Teddy Bear Suite, open daily until 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Donations benefit Seattle's Children Hospital.