5 Best Ways to Experience the Holidays Like a Real Seattleite

Don't miss the events locals have been adding to their seasonal short list year after year
  • Seattle Christmas Ship Festival during the holiday season
This article appears in print in the December 2018 issue. Click here to subscribe.

Seattle really rolls out the red carpet for this most wonderful time of the year. Whether you are new to town or have been celebrating the holidays here for decades, these are the events locals have been adding to the seasonal short list year after year. 

1. See the lights. On Candy Cane Lane (Ravenna, NE Park Road, just off Ravenna Boulevard), every home drips with lights and festive decorations. Beat the line of cars by parking nearby and walking along this one-way, U-shaped street. Or head to Gas Works Park on December 23, the final night of the Christmas Ship Festival when the Christmas Ship—along with a huge parade of decorated boats—sails onto Lake Union. With lights from dozens of boats, a blazing bonfire onshore and a choir blasting holiday music, it’s a spectacular finale to this Seattle tradition.

2. Drink and be merry. You’ll score at parties with a bottle of coveted, small-batch, aged eggnog from Sun Liquor, available seasonally at Total Wine & More. For a night on the town, head to Rob Roy  for the December-long Advent calendar, which features a different boozy drink (many served in kitschy mugs) every evening.

3. Sing and reflect. Join in University Unitarian Church’s sing-along performance of Handel’s Messiah, traditionally on December 26. And to put you in the mood for it all—or to wind down from holiday mania—drop in on the Compline Choir each Sunday at 9:30 p.m. at Saint Mark’s Cathedral . Not only is this hour of ancient chant calming and meditative, it somehow has acquired impeccable hipster cachet.

4. Bring the kids. Take the tots to the annual Gingerbread Village at The Sheraton Grand Seattle (downtown, 1400 Sixth Ave.). (Pro tip: Go as early as 6:30 a.m. to avoid the lines.) Then swing by Westlake Center for a trip around the Holiday Carousel, an annual tradition for more than 30 years, and finish the day with a visit to the Teddy Bear Suite and dazzling Christmas tree display at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.

5. Shop local. The 14th annual Urban Craft Uprising Winter Show (12/1), at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall, and the Renegade Craft Fair (12/15‒12/16), at Magnuson Park’s Hangar 30, feature hundreds of local artisans selling everything from ceramics to jewelry to linens—you’re sure to find something for everyone on your list.

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