With the stunning beauty of its fall foliage and abundance of holiday activities, the state of Washington is among the most popular of Thanksgiving vacation destinations. From lively parades in major cities to lovely festivals in rural towns, Washington features special Thanksgiving events that appeal to all ages. Attractions situated near many Washington vacation rentals include pre-Christmas celebrations, holiday runs, and delicious Thanksgiving-themed restaurant meals. Here are the best Thanksgiving getaways in Washington State.
Seattle kicks off its Thanksgiving celebrations in a spectacular way in its downtown area with the annual My Macy’s Holiday Parade. The event features dozens of floats, hundreds of characters in costume, professional sports teams, community drill teams, and middle and high school marching bands. Later the same day, the Westlake Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration takes place at Westlake Center. The yearly, family-friendly Turkey Trot 5K race happens Thanksgiving morning in Ballard, and the proceeds benefit a local food bank. The Wattle Waddle Marathon kicks off from Gas Works Park Thanksgiving morning, and if 26 miles is too much for you, try the shorter Wittle Waddle half-marathon. Among the renowned Seattle restaurants that serve up special Thanksgiving dinners along with spectacular views are Ray’s Boathouse, Six Seven at the Edgewater on the waterfront, the Bluwater Bistro at Greenlake, and the SkyCity Restaurant at the top of the incomparable Space Needle.
Olympia, the state capital, which lies in a breathtakingly beautiful location at the base of Puget Sound, starts off the Thanksgiving holiday with its annual four-mile Oly Trot benefit run. The scenic route goes around Capital Lake and through the Capital Campus. The main Thanksgiving weekend event is an extravaganza called Downtown for the Holidays. Downtown Olympia comes alive with a parade from the Farmer’s Market to Sylvester Park, live music, a gingerbread village, wagon and trolley rides, and a culminating tree-lighting ceremony.
Running is a Thanksgiving morning tradition in most major cities in Washington State, and Tacoma’s race is called the Tacoma City Turkey Trot. There’s a five-kilometer run for adults and a one-kilometer run for kids, and participants are welcome to walk or even push baby strollers. Tacoma also offers one of the premier Pacific Northwest Thanksgiving dinners at the renowned Pacific Grill. Feast on sage-roasted turkey with wild mushroom stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce.
The second largest city in Washington, Spokane, lies along the Spokane River and is lovely in November. Besides the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot, a run of two to five miles, Spokane also hosts an annual Thanksgiving Day dog walk, where all the owners get together with their canine companions at SpokAnimal’s Dog Park, share snacks and coffee, and enjoy a leisurely stroll. For some excellent Black Friday shopping opportunities, head for Fourth Friday at the Spokane Valley Mall. Besides the sales at all the regular shops in the mall, the event includes fresh produce, arts and crafts, special activities, and live entertainment.
Leavenworth lies on the eastern side of the breathtakingly beautiful Wenatchee National Forest. Every year during the Thanksgiving holiday, the city hosts the Christkindlmarkt festival. This three-day event is a Bavarian-style Christmas market filled with family fun, including an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus, holiday shopping, lots of food, and a lantern parade. There are also special games and crafts for children, as well as plenty of holiday and traditional music.
Winthrop is a beautiful small city on the Methow River in north-central Washington on the eastern edge of North Cascades National Park. Your Winthrop vacation rental gives you easy access to its annual Christmas at the End of the Road festival over the Thanksgiving weekend. Celebrations commence with a five-kilometer run for adults and a one-kilometer run for kids, followed by the Children’s Winter Fest with a visit from Santa, horse-drawn wagon rides, hot chocolate, cider, cookies, and other tasty treats. Other events include caroling, the town Christmas lighting, and a robust fireworks display.
Yakima lies amidst fertile vineyards in central Washington, and every year the city hosts Thanksgiving in Wine Country. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Yakima Valley wineries open their doors for tours, tastings, and complimentary classes on how to pair the right wines with traditional Thanksgiving cuisine. Be sure to take the whole family to Toppenish, a few miles to the south, for the Toppenish Christmas Lighted Parade, which features horse and mule-drawn wagons, buggies, stagecoaches, and trolleys.
8. Port Townsend
Port Townsend is in an incomparably beautiful location at the eastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula with a view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the San Juan Islands. Every Thanksgiving, the city hosts the Annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair at the two-story Port Townsend Community Center. This two-day event features displays of hand-crafted jewelry, rugs, leather items, glass art, and pottery. Visitors can create their own paintings and other artwork, and there is also live music. Proceeds help the local food bank. Among the renowned Port Townsend restaurants that are open for your Thanksgiving feast are the Belmont, the Bayview, and the Alchemy Bistro and Wine Bar.
Chehalis lies south of Olympia near the Chehalis River surrounded by breathtaking views of Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, and Mount St. Helens. Every Thanksgiving holiday, the city hosts the Santa’s List Bazaar at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds, where kids can enjoy an assortment of activities and a visit from Santa, and visitors of all ages can browse through displays of gift items and hand-crafted goods. Near Chehalis are excellent restaurants for Thanksgiving dinner, such as the Great Wolf Lodge in Centralia and Ramblin’ Jack’s Ribeye in Napavine.
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