Seattle events, festivals, things to do – December 2018

December 2018
best events in Seattle

Drawing day

December 1, 2018

2 miles NE

Get creative with drawing materials, open studios, live models, live music, and food trucks at family-friendly Drawing Jam at Gage Academy of Art.

Phinney winter festival

December 1 - 2, 2018

5 miles north

The Winter Festival & Crafts Fair has 120 arts and crafts vendors, musicians and dancers, and lunch and baked goods at Phinney Center.

Holiday night in Redmond

December 1 - 2, 2018

15 miles NE

Redmond Lights at city hall has an afternoon holiday market, a tree lighting at 5 p.m., and fireworks at 6 p.m. Any time after 5 p.m., follow the trail of lanterns from city hall past choirs and performers to Redmond Town Center for entertainment until 8 p.m.
CityPass Seattle

Victorian Christmas market

December 1 - 2, 2018 (starts Nov. 28)

36 miles south

A Victorian Country Christmas has 500 booths with vendors in Victorian costumes selling art, jewelry, decorations, clothing, and toys at the Washington State Fair Events Center in Puyallup. Free parking.

Christmas tree lighting

December 1 - 7, 2018 (begins Nov. 23)

multiple locations

See a free tree-lighting ceremony, usually with music.

Nutcracker Ballet - north end

December 1 - 9, 2018

16 miles NE

Emerald Ballet Theatre performs The Nutcracker with new sets and a live orchestra in Bothell at Northshore Performing Arts Center on Saturdays and Sundays.

Santa Train

December 1 - 15, 2018 (Nov. 24+)

36 miles east

The Northwest Railway Museum runs a popular 20-minute Santa Train from North Bend to the Snoqualmie Depot for cookies and a visit with Santa.

Reindeer & Santa

December 1 - 23, 2018

14 miles east

Visit Cougar Mountain Zoo when it’s decorated like the North Pole to welcome Santa with his reindeer and sleigh during the Issaquah Reindeer Festival [sound].

Bellevue street show

December 1 - 24, 2018 (Nov. 23+)

10 miles east

Enjoy a 20-minute show of lights, music, falling snow, young dancers, and drummers in uniform on Snowflake Lane (Bellevue Way between N.E. 4th & N.E. 8th). Arrive early for the best view. Free.

Christmas lights - Tacoma zoo

December 1, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019

40 miles south

Bundle up to admire half a million holiday lights and displays at Zoolights in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Zoo from 5 to 9 p.m. Closed Dec. 24.

Caroling at Westlake

December 7, 2018

0 miles

Hear dozens of caroling teams sing outside Westlake Center, and then vote for your favorite at Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition, or register a team.

Green Lake lights

December 8, 2018

4.5 miles north

Take a walk following glowing luminaries on the Green Lake Pathway of Lights, which includes live music at four locations, rain or snow or stars. Free.

Jingle Bell Run - Tacoma

December 24, 2018

36 miles south

Run or walk 3 miles at the Jingle Bell Run at Wright Park in Tacoma. Costumes are welcome.

Movie: Fiddler on the Roof

December 25, 2018

1.5 miles NW

See a film about Jewish tradition, eat Chinese food, and hear Klezmer music at Fiddler on the Roof Sing Along, an annual tradition at SIFF Cinema Uptown.

New Year’s Eve restaurants

December 31, 2018

Seattle locations

Find a list of restaurants that offer special menus and celebrations for New Year’s Eve at OpenTable.

New Year’s Eve - Benaroya Hall

December 31, 2018

0.5 mile south

New Year’s Eve: Great Balls of Fire! features the Seattle Symphony and a pianist playing piano’s greatest hits (George Gershwin, Elton John, Ray Charles, John Lennon), dancing until midnight, a countdown, and a champagne toast, at Benaroya Hall.

New Year’s Eve at Chihuly

December 31, 2018

1 mile NW

The $250 New Year’s Eve pARTy includes appetizers & dessert, two drink tickets, live music and dancing, a tour of the exhibits, and a champagne toast with a view of the Space Needle’s fireworks through the Glasshouse ceiling at Chihuly Garden and Glass at Seattle Center for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve at EMP

December 31, 2018

1 mile NW

Indulgence is billed as Seattle’s biggest New Year’s Eve bash, with 2,000 guests, three performance stages, comedy, live dance music, and access to most exhibits at Museum of Pop Culture for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve science

December 31, 2018

1 mile NW

SPECTRA 2018: New Year’s Eve Under the Arches has laser shows, science exhibits and live demos, games, dancing to DJ music, a champagne toast, a cash bar, food for sale, and a view of the Space Needle fireworks at the Pacific Science Center for age 21+.

New Year’s fireworks

December 31, 2018

1 mile NW

The Space Needle at Seattle Center is the tallest structure on earth to launch fireworks. Wear a winter coat to watch the free show from the ground. The parties upstairs sell out early.

Early New Year’s dance party

December 31, 2018

1.5 miles south

Wear white and gold to Resolution, a massive concert with 18 artists playing dance music on three stages at WaMu Theater for age 18+ (bars will serve age 21+).

New Year’s Eve show

December 31, 2018

4 miles NW

New Year’s Eve Extravaganza is a variety show done by the Moisture Festival with appetizers, midnight champagne, and a balloon drop at Hale’s Ales Palladium for all ages.

Bollywood New Year

December 31, 2018

5 miles SE

Dance into the new year a day early at Bollywood Masquerade Party, which has DJ dance music from India, dance performers, and a 10 p.m. dance lesson at Columbia City Theater for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve in Tacoma

December 31, 2018

33 miles south

First Night Tacoma fills the last evening of the year with family-friendly entertainment, including a short parade, music and dance shows, puppets, and a fiery midnight spectacle in downtown Tacoma. Schedule.

Holiday chorus

December 2018 (undated)

Seattle, Tacoma, Everett

Seattle Men’s Chorus sings holiday songs in Seattle at Benaroya Hall, and also in Everett and Tacoma.

Tour artists’ studios

December 2018 (undated)

Seattle locations

Shop from 24 artists at 8 studios who make clothing, jewelry, glass, ceramics, prints, and more on Seattle Sampling Artists’ Studio Tour. Free.

Gingerbread art

December 2018 (undated)

0.2 miles SE

See six elaborate displays made mostly of food at the Gingerbread Village at City Centre, across the street from Sheraton Seattle Hotel. Free and open until 11:30 p.m. (plus an extra hour Fridays & Saturdays).

Twilight Zone theater

December 2018 (undated)

0.3 mile NW

Watch four episodes of Rod Serling’s sci-fi TV show live onstage when Theater Schmeater presents The Twilight Zone: Live! in Belltown. Usually sells out early.

Holiday concert

December 2018 (undated)

0.5 miles south

Holiday Pops features the Seattle Symphony, vocalists, and University of Washington Chorale, at Benaroya Hall.

South Asian comedy festival

December 2018 (undated)

0.9 miles NE

Comics from India, Pakistan, Libya, and the U.S. poke fun at American culture (and their own) at Desi Comedy Fest at Broadway Performance Hall, age 18+.

Craft show

December 2018 (undated)

1 mile NW

Shop for hand-crafted clothing, jewelry, toys, stationery, art, candles, housewares, and food at Urban Craft Uprising Winter Show in the Exhibition Hall at Seattle Center. Repeats in June. Free except Friday.

Dog holidays

December 2018 (undated)

1 mile south

Bring your four-legged friend in costume to Pioneer Square Howlidays for dog treats, a pop-up dog park, carolers, cocoa, and a costume contest at noon at Occidental Park.

Rock concert

December 2018 (undated)

1 mile NW

Deck the Hall Ball is an annual marathon concert that features popular bands at Key Arena, run by Seattle radio station KNDD 107.7 FM or “The End.”

Winter at Seattle Center

December 2018 (undated)

1 mile NW

Enjoy holiday lights, skating at Fisher Pavilion (cost), folk dancers, carolers, dancers, ice sculptors, model trains, and entertainment during Winterfest at the Seattle Center. See schedule. Closed Dec. 25. Free.

Cookie sale

December 2018 (undated)

1.1 miles NW

Shop for holiday treats at CookieFest at Seattle Center’s Armory Loft (Food Circus top floor). Free.

Contemporary dance

December 2018 (undated)

1.2 miles east

Next Fest NW Performances is a contemporary dance series at Velocity Dance Center.

Dance films

December 2018 (undated)

1.2 miles east

Next Dance Cinema features local and international dance on screen at Northwest Film Forum.

High-flying acrobatic show

December 2018 (undated)

3 miles SE

Acrobatic Conundrum presents its latest circus show “Volume 5” with aerial acrobatics, juggling, rope art, and circus acts, all to live music at 12th Avenue Arts.

Food truck festival

December 2018 (undated)

3.5 miles north

Shop food trucks (plus the usual 100 market vendors) during Winter Feast at the Fremont Sunday Market. Free.

Jazz show

December 2018 (undated)

4.5 miles north

Sacred Music by Duke Ellington features the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, plus guest vocalists, a gospel choire, and tap dancers at University Christian Church.

Winter solstice celebration

December 2018 (undated)

4.5 miles north

Seattle Secular Solstice promises “food, light, song, and camaraderie” to bring Seattleites together and brighten the darkest days of winter at University Christian Church Seattle. Donation.

Affordable art show

December 2018 (undated)

5 miles south

Art Under $100 features 70 artists, free crafts, DJ music, and food trucks at Seattle Design Center. Free unless you pay to go an hour early.

Holiday exchange

December 2018 (undated)

6 miles NW

No money changes hands at the Barter Fair & Holiday Party. Instead, bring things you cooked, made, or do as a service to trade at Royal Drummer Cafe. There will be food, drinks and music. Free.

Tibet marketplace

December 2018 (undated)

6.3 miles north

The Holiday Sale of Himalayan Handicrafts features Himalayan crafts (statues, prayer flags, incense, art prints, books, music, prayer beads, jewelry, calendars, clothing), Tibetan tea, and a noon tour of Sakya Monastery in Greenwood. Free.

Native craft fair

December 2018 (undated)

6.6 miles NW

Shop for art prints, clothing, jewelry, woodworking, drums, and lunch at Native Art Mart at Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Discovery Park. Free.

Beer festival

December 2018 (undated)

7 miles NE

A ticket to Winter Beer Fest includes eight five-ounce samples from 50 Washington breweries, a ballot to vote for your favorites, and food truck cuisine for sale at Hangar 30 in Magnuson Park for age 21+.

Craft fair

December 2018 (undated)

8 miles NE

Renegade Craft Fair offers indie crafts, artisan food, and music at Hangar 30 in Magnuson Park. Repeats in July. Free.

Weird arts & crafts show

December 2018 (undated)

11.5 miles east

See unusual creations made by 170 artists and crafters at Oddmall Emporium of the Weird, with a daily appearance by Krampus the Christmas demon at Bellevue College. Free.

Pet friendly run/walk

December 2018 (undated)

16.2 miles SE

Join the K9 Candy Cane 5K Fun Run and Walk from Renton Community Center along the beautiful Cedar River Trail, either with or without a leashed dog.

South-end pops concert

December 2018 (undated)

23 miles south

Federal Way Symphony plays holiday favorites and classical music at the Holiday Concert at the Federal Way Performing Arts & Event Center.

Model Train Festival

December 2018 (undated)

33 miles south

Watch model trains run through detailed scenes of the Pacific Northwest, and see railroad-history exhibits at the Model Train Festival at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. See Santa some days. Closed December 24 & 25.

Family concert in Tacoma

December 2018 (undated)

34.4 miles south

Celebrate Holiday Traditions features a reading of The Night Before Christmas and music performed by a soprano and symphony (Russian Christmas music, Carol of the Bells, Sleigh Ride) at Pantages Theater.

Charles Dickens festival

December 2018 (undated)

35 miles south

Dickens Festival at Stadium has characters in Victorian costumes, puppet shows, dressed up dogs, music, drums, and dancers in Tacoma’s Stadium District. Schedule. Also visit Victorian Holiday Festival at the botanical conservatory via horse carriage rides.

Celtic Christmas

December 2018 (undated)

multiple cities

Celtic Yuletide is Irish music, dance, storytelling, juggling, and songs performed by Magical Strings.

Christmas concert

December 2018 (undated)

Seattle and Tacoma

A PLU Christmas features the choir, chorale, and orchestra of Pacific Lutheran University, performed at Benaroya Hall in Seattle and PLU in Tacoma.

Christmas ships parade

December 2018 (undated)

Lake Washington & Puget Sound

Ride onboard with the choir, or listen from shore during the Christmas Ship Festival.

Jingle Bell run - Seattle

December 2018 (undated)

0 miles

Wear a costume or tie on bells for the morning Jingle Bell Run (5K & 1 mile) and the kids’ run (1K) at Westlake Center. Walkers welcome. Fee for dogs.

Christmas play

December 2018 (undated)

0.3 miles east

A Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens’ holiday classic about the amazing transformation of miserly Scrooge at ACT Theatre.

Christmas spectacular

December 2018 (undated)

0.3 miles NE

Cirque Dreams Holidaze features flying reindeer, jumping gingerbread men, rousing music, amazing costumes, and Santa at The Paramount Theatre.

Santa bar crawl

December 2018 (undated)

0.3 miles SE

Wear a Santa suit or a holiday costume to SantaCon, which begins at Westlake Park and then heads to city bars. Bring cash for faster lines. Drinking in public is illegal.

Nutcracker ballet

December 2018 (undated)

1 mile NW

Pacific Northwest Ballet performs The Nutcracker by George Balanchine, with a live orchestra, magnificent sets and costumes, and a huge cast in McCaw Hall.

Christmas movie

December 2018 (undated)

1.3 miles NW

A ticket to the classic movie White Christmas (featuring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney) includes free jingle bells and a pre-film music-video sing along with Christmas songs at SIFF Film Center.

Seattle jazz

December 2018 (undated)

1.5 miles NW

Hear the entire score of the holiday classic A Charlie Brown Christmas at Cornish Playhouse at the Seattle Center. The evening performance has cocktails for sale beginning at 6 p.m.

Boat parade

December 2018 (undated)

3.6 miles north

The 65 lit and decorated boats in the Christmas Ship Parade of Boats Night begin passing through the Fremont Cut about 8:30 p.m. Free to watch onshore.

Appalachian Christmas music

December 2018 (undated)

4 miles NE

An Appalachian Christmas features violinist and composer Mark O’Connor and his family playing Appalachian music in Meany Hall at the University of Washington.

Santa Lunch Cruise

December 2018 (undated)

4 miles north

Santa Lunch Cruise includes two hours of views on Lake Union and Lake Washington, a lunch buffet, kids’ activities, and a visit from Santa, departing from Waterways Cruises on north Lake Union.

Christmas lights - Seattle zoo

December 2018 (undated)

5 miles north

WildLights has 600,000 lights in animal shapes, real reindeer, night animals, carolers, and Santa some nights at Woodland Park Zoo. Closed Dec. 24 & 25.

Reindeer & model train

December 2018 (undated)

7 miles NW

Visit live reindeer and watch a model train circle a winter landscape during the Reindeer Festival at Swansons Nursery. Free.

Short Nutcracker

December 2018 (undated)

Ballard & Shoreline

Nutcracker Sweets is a one-hour version of the classic ballet featuring ”beautiful music, gorgeous costumes, and exciting dancing” by students and professionals in Ballard and Shoreline. The Ballard shows include dancers 3 to 5 years old.

Christmas lights - Bellevue

December 2018 (undated)

11 miles east

Enjoy zillions of colorful lights and displays at Garden d’Lights in Bellevue Botanical Garden from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. There may be a line on free nights. Open every day.

Eastside Nutcracker

December 2018 (undated)

12.5 miles east

The affordable Nutcracker by Cornerstone Studio has a cast of 70 youthful and exuberant dancers at Interlake High School in Bellevue.

Nutcracker ballet - Renton

December 2018 (undated)

14 miles south

Ensemble Ballet Theatre performs The Nutcracker at Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center.

Nutcracker Ballet - north end

December 2018 (undated)

Everett & Edmonds

Olympic Ballet Theatre performs The Nutcracker, including shorter children’s versions on two days.
  • Edmonds Center for the Arts
  • Everett Performing Arts Center

Scandinavian Christmas

December 2018 (undated)

22 miles NW via Bainbridge ferry

Jule Fest has a Scandinavian bazaar of arts and crafts, folk dancing, Vikings, a Christmas tree lighting, Lucia bride, bonfire, and Santa Claus in Poulsbo. Free.

Christmas lights - Wild Waves

December 2018 (undated)

25 miles south

See colorful displays with a million lights, and go on rides at Holiday with Lights in Federal Way.

Christmas show

December 2018 (undated)

34 miles south

The Christmas Revels is a family-oriented celebration of the winter solstice. Expect music, dance, theater, song, and storytelling at Rialto Theater in Tacoma.

Bavarian Christmas

December 2018 (undated)

117 miles east

Enjoy Christmas lights twinkling on snow, roasted chestnuts, sleigh rides, and caroling at the annual Leavenworth Christmas Lighting. See the lights on Fri., Sat., Sun. Lighting ceremony is 4:30 p.m. Sat. & Sun.