November 08, 2018
Even when winter skies are cloudy or grey, Seattle sparkles with light during the holiday season. Here are some ideas for a very merry visit.
Let’s start with the venerable Pike Place Market – a beloved Seattle institution since 1907. Fresh produce, home of the famous “flying fish” vendors, flowers, specialty products galore. It was the first location of Beecher's Handmade Cheese. Market parking available at garages located just below the market; elevators take you straight to market level. Nearby you'll be able to check out Smith Tower Observatory. Historical and stately, this landmark tower in Pioneer Square was built in 1914, (the highest building west of the Mississippi River for many years), it has a lovely view over the city.
To get in the holiday spirit Seattle Center celebrates the season with Winterfest from November 23 through December 31 for ice skating, ice sculpting competitions, and an enchanting toy train exhibit. Below are the must-see landmarks inside the center.
Space Needle – Famous iconic landmark from 1962 World’s Fair (Elvis Presley came!) recently underwent a multi-million renovation. It’s a classic - breathtaking on a clear day, skip it if it’s cloudy.
Chihuly Garden and Glass - If skies are gray, you’ll get a big pop of color if you take a tour through this stunning glass exhibit, from world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly. Especially enchanting when illuminated after dusk, but closes at 6:00 pm. Located next to the Space Needle.
Museum of Pop Culture- Frank Gehry-designed museum that created quite a stir when it was built of sloping, undulating vividly multi-colored steel.
There are even more festive activities to see outside of the Seattle Center and are great for bringing the kids.
Woodland Park Zoo – Wild Lights, a festival of lights using 700,000 energy-efficient LED lights to recreate wild animals along the zoo’s pathways.
Enchant Christmas – SAFECO field transforms into a winter wonderland with thousands of lights, the world’s largest Christmas light maze, ice skating trail, and holiday gift market.
Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton - For the 26th year in a row Seattle's top architecture firms will come together to recreate famous scenes from How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Kicks off November 19th.
For more holiday activities check out this article.
If you’re looking for a dose of good ole Seattle nature, you can visit one of the many parks or take a ferry ride for a scenic view of the mountains and islands surround Seattle.
- Washington Park Arboretum Botanic Gardens - With many pathways to stroll, including a new walking/biking trail (either 1.2 miles or entire loop of 2.5 miles). Admission is free - it doesn’t get more Northwest than this!
- Volunteer Park Conservatory - For shelter from a storm or just want a place to get warm and see beautiful plants, a $4 ticket gains entrance to this Victorian-style greenhouse, modeled after the Crystal Palace in London.
- Bainbridge Island - Take a day trip on a 45-minute ferry ride to Bainbridge Island. Visit the Bloedel Reserve, a former private residence developed by its owners into a 150-acre public garden, with many walking paths among Pacific Northwest native trees and plants with touches of Asian landscaping, a reflection pool, and a spectacular view from what used to be the family’s private residence. It’s a lovely place to spend a couple of hours, breathing in the stillness and beauty. The view on the ferry return trip to Seattle is spectacular, especially at night when the city lights are twinkling.
Seattle is known for its coffee, largely due to the explosive growth of home-grown Starbucks brand. Starbucks sparked a coffee boom; now there’s a Starbuck or an independent coffee shop on almost every corner. Check out Vivace, on Capitol Hill, which claims to have invented latte art (the hearts and pretty leaves in your foam). La Marzocco, located in KEXP Radio features new roasters each month in an open, laid-back space. You can even watch and listen to the radio DJ's.
Seattle Magazine compiled a list of 19 other recommended spots when you’ve had your fill of Starbucks
Along with the coffee explosion, Seattle also went crazy for craft beer. Almost as ubiquitous as artisan coffee shops, handcrafted brews are just about everywhere. Sip away to your heart's content.
Cupcakes had their moment, then came pies. Lately, it’s been all about artisanal ice creams. Kari swears by Frankie & Jo’s on Capitol Hill, makers of delectable vegan frozen treats.
Molly Moon - One of the first handmade ice creams made in Seattle (also has a couple of vegan choices). Both are a little scoop of heaven.
Fran’s Chocolates - Has some of the best, most coveted chocolates around. (Obama's favorites are the sea salt caramels.) Visit the factory in Georgetown, (an industrial area just south of downtown) for a viewing tour. Or stop by one of their shops to try samples and pick up a few to put on your pillow at turn-down or as gifts for friends.
Theo Chocolate - This “bean to bar” chocolate maker, Theo was the first organic, fair trade certified maker in North America. Check out how they make it all happen with a factory tour ($10 for about an hour), located in the Fremont neighborhood.
Seattle Chocolate - Offers behind the scenes factory tour at their flagship store. Woman-owned, using many local ingredients and dedicated to donating to feeding the hungry, they've got a stocking full of holiday-inspired flavors (Hot Buttered Rum, Candy Cane Crunch). You can have your chocolate and feel good about it, too!