Skip to Content

5 Magical Seattle Christmas Activities to Enjoy with Your Family

5 Magical Seattle Christmas Activities to Enjoy with Your Family

Sharing is caring!

Heading to Seattle in winter? Don’t miss out on these amazing Seattle Christmas activities and events. Keep scrolling to hear why Seattle makes the ultimate PNW weekend getaway during the Holidays.
This post about Seattle Christmas activities was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

It’s the jolliest time of the year, and if you’re running out of things to do during the holidays, let me share these magical Seattle Christmas activities where you enjoy all things Christmas!

Imagine taking a stroll in the city, listening to a Christmas carol, and looking at all the wonderful Christmas decorations around – it’s a perfect holiday treat for any family.

The Seattle holiday season kicks off every year right after Thanksgiving week. My family always heads downtown to soak up all the Christmas activities. You can read more about the Holiday Magic in Downtown Seattle in my post from last year.

But this year, things have changed a bit! See my top 5 holiday experiences to share with your family and add to your Seattle Christmas activities.

Top 5 Seattle Christmas Activities to Add to Your Holiday Fun


I have to mention the festivities at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel first because it’s one of the most gorgeous hotels I’ve stayed in. Everything is beautifully decorated, and a Christmas carol or two is playing in the background.

Seattle Christmas Activities include Fairmont Olympic's Teddy Bear Suite. Photo credit: Darren Cheung
My 13-month-old was dazzled by the lights in Fairmont Olympic’s Teddy Bear Suite. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

When it’s decked out for Christmas, it’s unparalleled.

We always visit the Teddy Bear Suite to snap some holiday photos. The room design is completely different each year. The only consistency is that there are tons of teddy bears!

The Teddy Bear Suite has staff members who only let a couple of families in at a time, so there is room to enjoy.

Strollers aren’t allowed inside the suite, but there is plenty of stroller parking in the hall. The Fitness Center is just down the hall if you need to change your baby’s diaper.

There’s also the Festival of Trees located at the Fairmont Olympic. Each tree has a special theme, and is simply stunning. The trees are auctioned off to support local children’s health organizations like the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Most trees are in the main lobby, but some are in the lower lobby. They make fun backdrops for holiday selfies!

For new moms, I highly recommend finding a spot in the lobby to feed your baby. It’s a great way for the family to warm up while soaking in all the holiday cheer!

The life-sized gingerbread house is the latest addition to the Seattle Christmas Activities at the Fairmont Olympic! Photo credit: Darren Cheung
The life-sized gingerbread house is the latest addition to the Christmas activities at the Fairmont Olympic! Photo credit: Darren Cheung. The polar bear sweater is courtesy of Jojo Maman Bebe.

The life-size gingerbread house is adorable. It’s right inside the main doors in the lower lobby, where the Santa Claus display usually lives. The house itself is more like a short tunnel, but kids go NUTS for it. My preschooler probably walked through it 25 times in the 5 minutes we were there.

These Christmas activities make the Fairmont Olympic a must-stop spot!


If you normally only head to Pike Place Market in the summer (like me), grab your coat and head over there this Seattle holiday season.

Not only is it a spot to pick up some hand-crafted gifts while supporting local artisans, but they also decorate the Market! We like to spot the little touches. My preschooler cracked up when he saw the pigs on the roof dressed up like reindeer!

Up the street is a great spot to take Seattle holiday photos with the iconic Pike Place Market sign in the background.

My family likes to stop in at Storyville Coffee to grab hot drinks and tasty treats before exploring. They offer free airplane cookies for kids!

Insider tip: There are 300 parking spots in the MarketFront Garage!


You need not take a long ride to have a wonderful Christmas stroll with the family, filled with holiday music and Christmas decorations. All you need to do is head to the Gingerbread Village!

If you have enjoyed the Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton Grand Seattle in the past, it’s not there this year. The good news is it’s just across the street from the City Centre.

The Sheraton Seattle's annual Gingerbread Village is across the street this year at City Centre and is one of the best Seattle Christmas Activities and traditions.
The annual Gingerbread Village in Sheraton Grand Seattle is across the street this year at City Centre. This is their official Christmas ship for the year. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

The better news is that the displays are spread throughout the lobby, and you don’t have to wait in a long line to see them.

We had the kids in a double stroller and took advantage of the ramps. There were small crowds around each display, but we only had to wait a few moments to get right up to the front to take a look.

Check out Sheraton Grand Seattle's display for your Seattle Christmas Activities list.
This was my favorite display at the Sheraton Grand Seattle Gingerbread Village. Look at all the candy! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

The displays not only highlighted Seattle’s amazing aspects that make it such a unique city but also gave a glimpse into its future.

There was so much creativity and ingenuity. It’s definitely worth a stroll while exploring Seattle Center’s Christmas activities.


A trip to Seattle Center this holiday season would not be complete without a stop at Macy’s.

Looking for Seattle Christmas Activities? Look no further. Macy's got amazing displays!
This is the 71st annual holiday train display at Macy’s in Seattle. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

The first thing I recommend is strolling around to see the holiday window displays. Our favorite display was the corner window, which featured several working trains, a gondola, hot air balloons, and an incredibly detailed town.

Seattle Christmas Activities won't be complete without a photo with Santa!
We were one of the first in line for Santaland at Macy’s Downtown Seattle right after Santa opened it on Black Friday. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Then, head on inside Macy’s Santaland for your photo with Santa Claus. They have the same Santa year after year, so it’s a great place to go if you like to have a consistent Santa for all your photos.

Note: we got in line right after it opened on November 24 and waited about an hour. We went back on November 25, and the line only had three people.

And while you’re there, make a stop at their holiday decor section. Kids love to look at the ornaments, marvel at the decorated Christmas trees, and walk around this indoor winter wonderland!

We found great deals on non-breakable ornaments for our tree (a must with little kids!), and it was one of our favorite indoor Christmas activities.

It’s not too bad to head to Seattle Center to do some shopping because it can be this fun and festive. It’s even a great place to stroll during Christmas Eve for last-minute holiday shopping!


If you’re looking for a fun place to spend your holiday nights or even on Christmas Eve, head to the holiday carousel!

Each year, the Holiday Carousel pops up outside Westlake Center. We always go on Saturdays after Thanksgiving, and we’ve never waited more than 5 minutes in line.

There is a $3/rider suggested donation. This donation goes to Treehouse, a non-profit providing youth in foster care with the support needed to graduate from high school and pursue their dreams.

Volunteers from Treehouse run this Holiday Carousel and there are lots of kids available to tell you more about Treehouse’s life-changing work.

The Holiday Carousel is a Seattle holiday tradition that gives back to our Seattle community. It's a great idea to add to your Seattle Christmas Activities.
The Holiday Carousel is a Christmas tradition that gives back to our Seattle community. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

This year, I went on the carousel with my almost-4-year-old and 13-month-old, and they both had a blast! I was pretty impressed that my baby was able to hold onto the pole so I could just hold onto his waist.

Parents of little kids should be warned that there aren’t any seat belts. That made my preschooler nervous at first until he realized that he could hold on safely by himself.

Pro tip: Grab some Fisher Scones after your carousel ride for a holiday treat that won’t break the bank!


This past weekend, my family got to experience quite a few Christmas activities in Downtown Seattle.

Check out Macy's Holiday Parade and consider it for your Seattle Christmas Activities list.
My heart lit up when I saw this Virginia float at Macy’s Holiday Parade! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

This was the first year we attended the Macy’s Holiday Parade in Seattle Center. Thanks to Curator PR, we got VIP seats at the end of the parade route and saw Santa open up Santaland. We were able to quickly get in line and get our first Santa photo of the season!

A list of Seattle Christmas Activities would never be complete without paying Santa Claus a visit!
Visiting Santa Trever at Magic in the Market is one of our favorite Christmas activities! Photo credit: Darren Cheung. Snowman sweater courtesy of Jojo Maman Bebe.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is Pike Place Market’s annual Magic in the Market event. This has been a family tradition for us for the past four years. It’s really the highlight of our holiday season.

Santa Trever is there every year to take free outdoor photos with Pike Place Market as the amazing backdrop. They also have a vintage green truck we’ve used as our family holiday photo backdrop each year.

But it’s more than just visiting Santa. They offer crafts and activities for kids in Seattle Center, too. The big finale is their tree lighting.

Find more PNW Christmas events here.

Other Fun Things to Do for Christmas in Seattle

Northwest Railway Museum’s Santa Train
Polar Express™ Train Ride at Mt Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum
Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a Seattle Children’s Theatre Holiday Must-See Event
Holiday Magic in Downtown Seattle
Nutcracker in Seattle
Other Christmas Activities to do in Seattle

Heading to Vancouver, BC? Here are my top holiday experiences to feel the holiday magic!

Holiday Festivities in Vancouver, BC
Bright Nights at Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC
The Polar Express in Squamish, BC, is Magical
Things to Do in Vancouver, BC, During the Holidays

Curator PR provided VIP Macy’s Holiday Parade Tickets and Santaland photos, and Jojo Maman Bebe provided us with holiday clothing for review purposes.

Seattle holiday events that are family friendly and great for kids

Unlock Your Free eBook

Our exclusive eBook, Top 10 Unforgettable Family Adventure Destinations, is your ticket to a world of wonder and excitement. Get your free copy today!

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    Wednesday 6th of December 2017

    Tis the season to be jolly! Ah, nothing quite like being able to spread some holiday cheer during this time of year. Seattle has been on my must-go destination visit list for quite a while now, but I had no idea about their holiday traditions and what locals usually do during this time. Everything sounds great, my favorite is the carousel ride. It doesn't matter how old one gets, this is a classic that always makes any crowd smile. :) Happy holidays! - Ella


    Wednesday 6th of December 2017

    Oh I hope you get to experience the holidays here in Seattle! Or, enjoy the stunning beauty that is Seattle in the summer :)

    Manjulika Pramod

    Tuesday 5th of December 2017

    Christmas is here and your post proves it this festival is so vibrant, so joyous and fun. These decorations at these hospitality brands have captured the essence so beautifully. I would have loved to indulge in all of these holiday experiences. My favorites happen to be Macy's Holiday Parade and the display at Sheraton Seattle’s Gingerbread Village.


    Tuesday 5th of December 2017

    The Macy's Holiday Parade was really fun!

    Kathy VA

    Friday 1st of December 2017

    Reading this post, my childhood memories keep flashing back. Thanksgiving/Christmas period are the best time of my life as a kid. Dont have a kid yet but I can imagine the happiness on the faces of my little nieces if I ever surprise them with a visit here. These Seattle holiday experiences are worth every bit of experiencing.


    Friday 1st of December 2017

    I'm so glad that this post brought back happy holiday memories from your childhood!


    Thursday 30th of November 2017

    Awww. Your 1yr old is just adorable. Just now, here in Belgium, the Christmas celebrations have begun and I can't wait to see my little one's reaction on her first Christmas! The holiday carousel and Gingerbread village would be my top 2 in your list!


    Friday 1st of December 2017

    Thanks! How exciting to experience your child's first Christmas!


    Thursday 30th of November 2017

    Love all our Seattle Christmas adventures! We'll be experiencing most of these on Friday evening, plus the Figgy Pudding Carolers & snow in Pacific Place. Can't wait!


    Thursday 30th of November 2017

    Yay! I hope you have as much fun as we did! I still haven't experienced the snow in Pacific Place! I did hear that they have several fun photo op signs set up there, though :)

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.