Giving Back / In The Community
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Best Family Holiday Activities in Washington State

Washington State is a great place to spend the holidays with your family, as it offers a variety of fun and festive events, attractions, and activities. Whether you want to enjoy the snow, the lights, or the culture, you will find something for everyone in the Evergreen State. Here are some of the best family holiday activities in Washington State for December 2023.

Go Ice-Skating at Bellevue Downtown Park

One of the most popular holiday activities in Bellevue is ice skating at the Bellevue Downtown Park. The park features a 9,000-square-foot outdoor ice rink, with a heated tent, a concession stand, and a viewing area. You can rent skates and helmets, or bring your own. The rink is open from November 24, 2023 to January 8, 2023, from 11 am to 11 pm on weekends, and from 3 pm to 9 pm on weekdays. The admission is $15 per person, which includes skate rental.

Watch the Christmas ships at Lake Washington

A unique and festive way to celebrate the holidays in Washington is to watch the Christmas ships at Lake Washington. These are boats decorated with lights and music, that sail around the lake and stop at different locations to perform a 20-minute show. You can either join the parade on board one of the ships, or watch from the shore at one of the designated viewing spots. The parade runs from November 26 to December 23, 2023, with different routes and schedules. The tickets for the ships vary depending on the date and the vessel, but they usually range from $40 to $80 per person.

Explore the Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton Grand Seattle

The Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton Grand Seattle is a must-see attraction for families during the holidays. This is an annual display of elaborate and creative gingerbread structures, made by local architects, chefs, and volunteers. The theme for 2023 is “Around the World in 80 Days”, inspired by the classic novel by Jules Verne. You can admire the amazing details and craftsmanship of the gingerbread creations, and vote for your favorite one. The Gingerbread Village is open from November 23, 2023 to January 2, 2023, from 9 am to 9 pm. The admission is free, but donations are encouraged to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Experience the magic of the Polar Express at the Mt. Rainier Railroad

The Polar Express is a beloved holiday tradition, based on the book and movie of the same name. You can experience the magic of the Polar Express at the Mt. Rainier Railroad, where you can board a vintage train and travel to the North Pole. Along the way, you can enjoy hot chocolate, cookies, and a reading of the story. When you arrive at the North Pole, you can see Santa and his elves, and receive a silver bell as a souvenir. The Polar Express runs from November 19 to December 30, 2023, with multiple departures per day. The tickets range from $34 to $74 per person, depending on the date and the class.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Seattle Center

If you are looking for a memorable way to ring in the new year, head to the Seattle Center, where you can witness the largest fireworks display in the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle Center also hosts a variety of events and activities for families, such as live music, comedy, art, and games. You can also enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding mountains from the Space Needle, or visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Museum of Pop Culture, or the Pacific Science Center. The events start at 8 pm and last until midnight. The admission is free, but some attractions may require a fee.

In conclusion, Washington State stands out as an exceptional destination for creating lasting holiday memories with your family. From the enchanting ice-skating experience at Bellevue Downtown Park to the magical journey aboard the Polar Express at Mt. Rainier Railroad, there is a delightful array of activities to suit every preference. The unique spectacle of Christmas ships adorned with lights on Lake Washington and the awe-inspiring Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton Grand Seattle add to the festive charm. To cap off the celebrations, usher in the New Year at the Seattle Center, where the grand fireworks display, and a plethora of family-friendly events offer a splendid way to welcome the year ahead. In December 2023, Washington State beckons with warmth, joy, and a multitude of experiences that unite families in the spirit of the season.