There’s nothing quite like celebrating Christmas in the state of Washington. From Seattle to Bellevue, there are copious cities and towns in Washington featuring magnificent holiday decorations. Stay at one of many Washington vacation rentals situated within easy driving distance of the following light displays. Take a look at the five best places to see Christmas lights in Washington.
1. Wildlights, Seattle
Using 600,000 LED lights, the Woodland Park Zoo creates a winter wonderland of Christmas lights for visitors to enjoy throughout the month of December. Most of the big light displays feature zoo animals, and the displays that line walkways build excitement in the youngest visitors. Children can ride the park’s carousel while parents sit back in the Holiday Beer and Wine Garden and enjoy a beverage.
While staying at your Seattle vacation rental, don’t forget to visit the iconic Seattle Space Needle and take in the hustle and bustle at the Pike Place Fish Market. In the evenings, take the adult members of your group to the tiny subterranean cabaret in Pike Place Market for a holiday show featuring can-can entertainment. Do some last minute holiday shopping at the Chinatown ID Holiday Festival, which features a selection of vendors offering handmade items, or stop by Lucky Dry Goods for some vintage clothing. Seattle has a thriving foodie scene, and you can enjoy a meal at Hitchcock Restaurant with its locally-sourced food, or head to Canlis to enjoy an Asian influenced meal in an elegant setting.
2. Lights of Christmas, Stanwood
A visit to Lights of Christmas in Stanwood gives you a chance to see the largest display of holiday lights in the Pacific Northwest. You’ll enjoy over a million twinkling bulbs and 15 acres of fun and fantasy at Warm Beach Camp. After seeing the lights, warm up with a cup of hot chocolate from one of the food vendors, and then take the kids to visit Santa. You’ll find an ornament and toy shop on-site where you can pick up last-minute gifts. Head over to the nativity scene, and stay for a while so your little ones can enjoy storytelling time and other fun Christmas activities. There are also pony rides and a Polar Express Train on-site.
During the day, you can take the family to the Outback Kangaroo Farm to learn more about these animals from Down Under, or send the thrill seekers in your group to Canopy Tours Northwest for an afternoon of zip lining. After enjoying the Christmas light displays, visit the Blue Fox Drive-In Theatre, which offers two movies for the price of one on weekend nights. Let the kids get competitive with a game of bowling followed by burgers and fries at Rocket Alley Bar and Grill.
3. Garden D’Lights, Bellevue
Located near the state’s capital, the town of Bellevue hosts the seasonal lighting display of Garden D’Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden. The gardens always offer a beautiful spectacle, but lights bring this attraction alive throughout the month of December and in early January. In the Aaron Education Center at the gardens, you can visit the Gingerbread Castle of Dreams for some baking inspiration and warm up with coffee or hot chocolate at the snack bar. On certain nights, there is also live musical entertainment.
In town, snow falls nightly on Bellevue Way and NE 8th as part of the Snowflake Lane and Celebration Lane. There, you’ll enjoy meeting toy soldiers and many other performers. Practice your spins at the Bellevue Ice Skating Arena, or take one of the Bellevue Gingerbread Workshops. Take the kids to the KidsQuest Children’s Museum for a little hands-on learning. In the evenings, check out the local food scene, or enjoy a healthy dinner at Black Bottle Postern, which serves food with locally-sourced ingredients.
4. Zoolights, Tacoma
Each year, the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium comes alive in a wash of Christmas lights. Kids enjoy all the three-dimensional animals, but the highlight is the lighting across the Mount Rainier and Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Everyone in the family can climb atop a camel and take a tour of the lights on this unique mode of transportation. Along with the normal activities of the zoo and aquarium, kids can ride the carousel or get a snack at the cafe.
Take the kids out to the fairgrounds in the month of December for the North Pole at the Fair. Kids explore Santa’s Office and the Elf’s Workshop along with photos with the big guy himself. Take a walk along the Chihuly Bridge of Glass, and then see more artwork at the Museum of Glass. Tacoma Mall offers all your favorite shops, including Apple, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Hollister.
5. Holidays With Lights, Federal Way
Wild Waves Theme Park is the place to visit during the holiday season for its Holidays With Lights display. Enjoy a gorgeous display of lights throughout this amusement park, and ride on a few roller coasters while there. Kids can get a photo taken with Santa Claus and enjoy the feel of snow falling in the Toyland tent. There’s even a laser light show choreographed to Christmas songs.
While in town, visit the Pacific Bonsai Museum, with more than 100 trees from various countries on the Asian continent. You can check everyone off your naughty and nice list at the Commons at Federal Way with stores, such as Macy’s, Left Coast Streetwear, and Hickory Farms. Eat your way through the local food scene, or head to Black Bear Diner or McGrath’s Fish House for a hearty American-style meal.
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