The Most Festive Things to Do in Seattle This Holiday Season

Updated On 12/14/2017 at 03:19PM EST Updated On 12/14/2017 at 03:19PM EST
holiday must do seattle
The Can Can | Bruce Dugdale
figurehead brewing company
Ryan Warner/Courtesy of Figurehead Brewing Company
Monday - Sunday
Nov 20-Dec 31
7514 13th Avenue NW, Ballard
By now you've probably heard about the dad who transformed his driveway into a fairly fantastic recreation of Harry Potter's whimsically named shopping district for Halloween, and made national news doing it. But did you know it's open though the holidays? It is!
Cost: Donation-based, with all proceeds to to pancreatic cancer research
Monday - Saturday
Nov 20-Jan 28
Can Can
This holiday season the tiny subterranean cabaret in Pike Place Market is putting on a "glittering parade of nostalgia"... only their twice nightly shows (plus weekend matinees) are better than your actual memories, namely because they involve scantily clad burlesque dancers.
Cost: $35-$45 gets you in but it's more for VIP seating and dinner.
Thursday - Saturday
Nov 23-Dec 23
Various locations
Seattle's unique Christmas Ship Festival (it's even trademarked) features a boat full of carolers sailing to a total of about 65 different Puget Sound communities and entertaining people gathered on shore.
Cost: $20-$62... or free if you don't watch from the water
Nov 23
The 5-Point Café
Forgo the traditional family meal in favor of a meal at the state's most iconic bar. A place where "every Seattle musician has been thrown out of" according to the owner, and where between 10am and 10pm on the big day, you can get deep-fried turkey with all the fixings (including "Michele's broccoli casserole"), and drink specials like a rum punch and... um, a can of Hamm's.
Cost: Dinner is $27.50 and includes a (non-alcoholic) drink
Friday - Saturday
Nov 24-Dec 23
Unexpected Productions' Market Theater
Since 1985, the Theatresports crew has been performing it's own take on Dickens’ classic with starts with Ebenezer Scrooge... and then pretty much lets the audience fill in all the hilarious details. There are a ton of shows, so you have no excuse to miss this one.
Cost: $12-$15
Friday - Thursday
Nov 24-Dec 28
Pacific Northwest Ballet
While we still miss the iconic Maurice Sendak-designed sets used by the PNB for 32 years, their performance of George Balanchine classic version (with sets/costumes by the guy behind beloved children's book Olivia the Pig) offers all the holiday magic you need to make date night -- or an evening with the family -- special.
Cost: Tickets start at $29, which leaves plenty for post performance cocktails in Seattle's sixth-best drinking 'hood
Friday - Sunday
Nov 24-Dec 24
Rob Roy
For the second straight year one of Seattle's best cocktail bars is performing a Miracle on 2nd and transforming itself into an extravagantly Christmas-themed bar the month before the big day. The cocktails will come in tacky, but seasonally appropriate, glassware (Santa mugs, etc.), and the drinks will have pop culture-inspired names like Yippie Ki Yay Mother F**r, but underneath it all, this is still the Rob Roy, so they'll be damn good too.
Cost: Pretty spendy for cocktails, but you've gotta get something nice for yourself, right?
Nov 25
International District
The Chinatown ID Holiday Festival is actually a holiday pop-up market... and a district-wide happy hour... and an arts & craft fair with a ton of vendors... and a vintage craft/gift market. It’s all going down on Black Friday.
Cost: Happy hour eats range from $2-$6, but everything else is free to check out
Saturday - Sunday
Nov 25-26
Magnuson Park
Everything on sale at the GeekCraft Expo, which is taking over Magnuson Park's massive Building 30 for two days just after Black Friday, is handmade, limited production, and "totally nerdy."
Cost: Free to the public
Nov 29
Nectar Lounge
One of the Northwest's most intensely loved (seriously, it's bordering on irrational) beers is celebrating the release of their annual holiday brew, Sleigh'r, with a performance by arena rock cover band Hairstorm, which will no doubt feature songs by Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and naturally, Slayer.
Cost: Free (unless you actually want to try the beer, which you do)
leavenworth, WA
Leavenworth, WA | Checubus/
Friday - Saturday
Dec 1-2
Magnuson Park
The Washington Brewers Guild is filling the old Naval Air Station's Building 30 with dark malty stouts, robust winter warmers, and barrel-aged beers from over 50 local suds makers (including some of the best in the state, like Fremont and Black Raven), and offering eats from a slew of notable food trucks.
Cost: Tickets are $30 ($35 at the door) and include a tasting glass and eight 5-ounce beer tastes
Dec 1
City Centre Building
These aren't the Graham Cracker/Gingerbread houses you made as a kid. For 25 years the Sheraton Seattle has put spectacular gingerbread creations -- like a depiction of the Battle of Hoth from Empire Strikes Back -- on display for the holidays and this year it's bigger than ever. So big they had to move it across the street. 
Cost: Free. But donations to support diabetes research are encouraged. 
Friday - Sunday
Dec 1-17
This picturesque faux German village the perfect place to enjoy seasonal lights twinkling on snow, roasted chestnuts, sleigh rides, and caroling during the town's annual Christmas lighting celebration each of the first three weekends of December.
Cost: You've just gotta buy enough gas to drive 117 miles there and back.
Saturday - Sunday
Dec 2-3
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
Seattle's largest indie craft show, Urban Craft Uprising, is back with gift idea from over 150 crafters, artists, and designers selling so much stuff you shouldn't have to shop anywhere else. But if you need to, UCU also has a winter market in South Lake Union a week later.
Cost: Free. Through a $1 donation is encouraged.
Sunday - Sunday
Dec 10-17
Tractor Tavern
Coinciding with the busy Ballard farmers market going on outside, this legendary bar/live music event (now more boozier) from Handmade Arcade is a chance to shop for local art/gifts while listening to live music and having a few drinks.
Cost: Free, but you should get a ticket to reserve a space
Monday - Monday
Dec 11-18
Need even more reason to go to what is arguably Seattle's best pizzeria? This cozy Ballard spot's lavish Feast of the Seven Fishes (a traditional Italian Christmas supper) featuring seafood and shellfish dishes ranging from wood-oven roasted oysters to Dungeness crab, Penn Cove mussels, and lobster better convince you.
Cost: $125. But it includes tip!
Dec 16
Various Locations
SantaCon is an annual pub crawl where hundreds red costumed revelers take to the streets of cities around the world. In Seattle expect to hit a string of Downtown bars, and to takeover Pike Place market for massive group selfie.
Cost: $5-$20. That gets you in all the bars and access to drink specials, etc. but obviously doesn't include any actual drinks.
Dec 17
Fremont Sunday Market
Mobile Food Rodeo's fourth annual winter feast and holiday bazaar is back with over 100 local food trucks, street food, and other vendors all set up under patio warmers for your eating/holiday shopping convenience.
Cost: Free... until you see/smell something you want to buy.
Sunday - Monday
Dec 24-25
Comet Tavern
One of Seattle's best dives is celebrating Christmas (in conjunction with the Lost Lake Cafe next door) with football on the TV, candy cane-topped peppermint Schapps-spiked shakes from behind the bar, and food specials like prime rib and pumpkin ravioli on the menu so you don't have to cook the big day if you don't want to.
Cost: It depends, but at the high end some prime rid and a shake will run about $40.
Dec 31
Tarsan i Jane
Don't want to get too wild on NYE? Don't worry, one of Seattle's few true fine dining establishments is serving up a decadent array of holiday dishes including lobster, venison, and sea urchin right up until the clock strikes midnight. 
Cost: $155-$165 per person, but things can get even more expensive if you want paired beverages, caviar, iberico cured ham, etc.
Dec 31
Pacific Science Center
Sure, nearby MoPOP is hosting what might be Seattle's biggest New Year's Eve bash, and it doesn't cost anything to wander around Seattle Center and watch the fireworks, but for our money (see how much below) the Science Center's semi-new party under its famed arches, with DJs from KEXP, access to the exhibits you loved as a kid, and more, is the way to start your 2018.
Cost: $85 ($80 for members) gets you in. VIP is more than twice as much but includes an open bar.