The holiday season is always a magical time of year, but particularly so in the Pacific Northwest. Snow blankets the trees and mountaintops, and the cities truly go all out to celebrate. From festive lights to parades, from evenings with Santa to night markets filled with local crafts, there’s a holiday event for everyone to enjoy. We’ve put together a collection of some of our favorite Pacific Northwest holiday events to help you and your family enjoy this wonderful time of the year.
The world’s largest Christmas light maze takes over Safeco Field in downtown Seattle this Christmas. Santa has lost his reindeer, and it’s up to the maze explorers to help him find them before Christmas Eve! You’ll also find an ice-skating trail that takes you through the amazing light displays, you can visit Santa and Mrs. Clause, and peruse the vendors at the Christmas market. This magical experience runs from November 23, 2018, through December 30, 2018. For more information, visit enchantchristmas.com/seattle.
The Bavarian town of Leavenworth becomes the Village of Lights during the holiday season. Head there for the weekend of December 14, 2018, for the arrival of Santa, carolers, live music, and the lighting ceremony that begins at 4:45 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. You can also enjoy plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, including snowmobiling, skiing and snowboarding, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and more. For more information, visit leavenworth.org.
Enjoy the iconic symphonic triumph that is Handel’s Messiah as performed by the Seattle Symphony. The symphony will be joined by the Seattle Symphony Chorale along with three incredible soloists. This timeless December tradition is one that you won’t want to miss. For more information, visit seattlesymphony.org.
Experience the Oregon Zoo in a whole new light at the annual ZooLights holiday festival. A million and a half lights illuminate the zoo as you visit the elephants, and the little ones will particularly enjoy riding the lighted train. You can also expect to find local food carts, warm drinks, and live music in addition to the festive light displays. ZooLights runs through January 5, 2019. For more information, visit oregonzoo.org.
Photo by Meagan Baker.
The Christmas Ship Parade began in 1954 with a lone sailboat, and today the Christmas Ship Fleet averages 55 to 60 boats between the Columbia and Willamette River fleets. Each captain designs and builds their custom light displays, and all join together to sail down the rivers past the thousands of spectators. This is a festive tradition in the true spirit of the Pacific Northwest. For more information, visit christmasships.org.
December 13-16, 2018, marks the annual Portland Night Market, a gathering of local artisans, chefs, and craft beverage makers. Enjoy the holiday season by supporting local vendors and meeting some of the tastemakers that call Portland home. You can also expect live music and performances throughout the weekend. For more information, visit pdxnm.com.
This is your chance to meet Santa and his elves on one of the most magical adventures of the season. Enjoy the views of the snowy landscape and sing along to the Christmas carols as the train takes you to Christmas Town. The vintage feel of the train transports you back in time to holiday seasons of old. For more information, visit mthoodrr.com/train-to-christmas-town.
Celebrate the season by enjoying a special Starry Night Holiday Show with the Whistler Skating Club. Special guest Alexander Lawrence (Champion, BC Senior Men’s Division) will perform alongside local skaters. You can then join the after party for dinner and a turkey toss. For more information, visit whistler.com/christmas.