Washington is as beautiful and adventurous in the winter as it is in the summer. The diverse cities throughout the state offer ample one-of-a-kind experiences perfect for your holiday adventure to the beautiful Evergreen state. Our INNsiders have compiled a list of activities to consider this holiday season for a memorable winter vacation in Washington state.
If you’re looking for the ultimate holiday experience, point your sleigh toward Leavenworth, Washington. With architecture reminiscent of Bavaria, Germany, Leavenworth is a favorite holiday destination for many reasons. The town hosts a festival nearly every weekend with live entertainment and a plethora of activities under 500,000 LED Christmas lights. Additionally, it’s gorgeous year-round thanks to its position in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and it provides endless opportunities for fun. One of those opportunities can be found at the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm. The Leavenworth Reindeer Farm’s educational tour about this majestic and protected species is fun for any age and offers a rare encounter with nature. Be sure to reserve a spot in advance, especially if you want to meet Santa Claus!
Don’t let your Leavenworth experience stop there. A visit to the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum is a holiday activity that will surprise and delight you. Boasting over 9,000 nutcrackers ranging from Roman times to modern-day designs, this museum offers a fantastic scavenger hunt otherwise known as the “Nutcracker Hunt” as well as a fascinating history to learn about. You won’t forget this incredible experience.
Are you looking for some winter holiday fun without having to leave the city? Your winter vacation in Washington state is not complete without a trip to a rooftop bar with a unique experience. Seattle’s own Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails is now offering seasonal rooftop curling! Great for beginners and experts alike, the curling package offers one curling rink for up to six people (75 minutes of play time) and the choice of hot or cold curling cocktails along with appetizers and exclusive access to the bar’s Curling Chalet. Add some fun competition to your next winter outing and book your reservation to this sought-after activity today! This one-of-a-kind experience is sure to put a smile on your face and spark joy this winter.
Every year since 2005, indie creative giant ‘Urban Craft Uprising’ hosts two of the largest craft events in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. The first event, “Urban Craft Uprising Winter Show” takes place the first weekend in December and offers free admission as well as a chance to preview the makers here.
If the winter show wasn’t enough, Urban Craft Uprising also hosts the “South Lake Union Winter Market” the following weekend in December with differing vendors each day. This is a fabulous chance to explore local and regional arts and products while getting some holiday shopping done.
These fun activities are just a few of many things to do in Seattle this winter. From light festivals to cruises, theater performances, sporting events and more, the possibilities for fun are endless. The Woodland Park Zoo invites you to their WildLanterns experience where you immerse yourself in a stunning festival of lanterns representing animals and locations from all around the world. Alternatively, you can plan an evening indoors, and what better way to celebrate the holidays than a performance as magical and iconic as The Nutcracker? Head over to the magnificent McCaw Hall at Seattle Center for a mesmerizing performance by the Pacific Northwest Ballet. The classic score is sure to spark your nostalgia and the sheer excellence of the production to the costumes and talent will leave you speechless. If you’re looking for more live entertainment, the Climate Pledge Arena in the Queen Anne neighborhood features music performances and sporting events almost daily. Seattle’s arts and culture scene is incredibly active all year long due to its vibrant communities.
Downtown in Olympia boasts some amazing holiday activities for all ages. Starting off the holiday season with “LoveOly Winterfest,” the Olympia Downtown Alliance collaborates with local high schools, businesses and community organizations to host this elaborate festival. Complete with live music, storytelling and falling snow, this family-friendly event signifies the start of “Downtown for the Holiday,” a month-long celebration of the holidays. Take the opportunity to explore the capital of Washington – its rich history and eclectic community will warm your spirits this winter. Learn more about Olympia, Washington and how to explore it like a local from our INNsiders in this recent blog post.
Nothing ignites the holiday spirit quite like ice skating. Port Angeles’ Winter Ice Village offers the only outdoor covered ice skating rink on the Olympic Peninsula! Open daily from November 18th to January 2nd, ice skating is a great way for the entire family to spend some time together while being active!
Another classic holiday activity for both friends and family is light art! In an effort to light up the longest winter nights, 17 different light, sculpture and installation artists will create the Wintertide Light Art Experience at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center from November 25th to December 28th, 2022.
Shopping is one of the most popular holiday activities! Every year, creatives and artists from around Washington state travel from afar to attend the Chimacum Arts & Crafts Fair in December. Located at Chimacum High School, this fair is the largest holiday craft fair in all of Jefferson County. Hand-crafted jewelry, artisan ceramics and beautiful textiles offer a great way to find presents for the whole family while supporting local small businesses and creators.
Once a year in early December, the local businesses and event partners of Woodinville, Washington, host “Winterfest,” a holiday fair and lighting event. Offering ornament making, “Santa’s Wine Cellar” and horse-drawn carriage rides, this community-sponsored gathering will get you into the Christmas spirit quickly. Be sure to get there for the festive tree lighting ceremony. Woodinville offers a wide range of activities for any occasion, and the holidays are no exception. Known for their world-class wine production, you’ll have to explore one of their many tasting rooms this holiday season.
There are dozens of ways to make your winter in Washington state special and unforgettable. Winter offers fresh Pacific Northwest views of snow capped mountain ranges and majestic towering trees. The cities that scatter the state provide their own one-of-a-kind community and holiday celebrations to make your winter memorable. Looking to spark romance this winter? Learn about six holiday getaways in Washington for couples from our very own INNsiders.