The Seattle holiday season kicks off every year right after Thanksgiving. My family always heads Downtown Seattle to soak up all the holiday festivities. You can read more about the Holiday Magic in Downtown Seattle in my post from last year. But this year, things have changed up a bit! See my top 5 Seattle holiday experiences to share with your family and add to your Christmas activities.
FAIRMONT OLYMPIC HOTEL
I have to mention the festivities at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel first because it’s one of the most gorgeous hotels in which I’ve stayed. When it’s decked out for Christmas, it’s unparalleled. We always visit the Teddy Bear Suite to snap some holiday photos. Each year, the room design is completely different. The only consistency is that there are tons of teddy bears! The Teddy Bear Suite has staff members who only let a couple families in at a time so there is room to enjoy. Strollers aren’t allowed inside the suite, but there’s plenty of stroller parking in the hall. And there 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. This is the 40th anniversary of this Seattle holiday event. Each tree has a special theme and they are simply stunning. Most of the trees are located 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!
New this year is the life-size gingerbread house. It’s right inside the main doors in the lower lobby, where the Santa 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. Watch this video to get a better sense of the holiday offerings at the Fairmont Olympic in Seattle. These Christmas activities make the Fairmont Olympic a must-stop spot!
PIKE PLACE MARKET
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 decorate the Market! We like to spot the 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: They just opened 300 parking spots in the new MarketFront Garage!
If you have enjoyed the Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton Seattle in the past, it’s not there this year. The good news is that it’s just across the street at City Centre. The even better news is that the displays are spread throughout the lobby and you don’t have to wait in a long line to see the displays. 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.
This year’s theme is 25 Years of Cheer: A Celebration of Seattle. We’ve only gone the past few years but this is by far my favorite theme! Not only did the displays highlight the amazing aspects of Seattle that makes it such a unique city, but there were also displays that gave a glimpse to what Seattle’s future might entail. There was so much creativity and ingenuity. It’s definitely worth a stroll while exploring Downtown Seattle’s Christmas activities.
MACY’S DOWNTOWN SEATTLE
A trip to Downtown Seattle this holiday season would not be complete without a stop at Macy’s. The first thing I recommend is to stroll around to see the holiday window displays. Our favorite display was the corner window that featured several working trains, a gondola, hot air balloons and an incredibly detailed town.
Then, head on inside Macy’s Santaland for your photo with Santa. 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 24 and the line only had 3 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.
Each year, the Holiday Carousel pops up outside Westlake Center. We always go the Saturday 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 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.
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. For parents of little kids, 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!
DOWNTOWN SEATTLE CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES
This past weekend, my family got to experience quite a few Christmas activities in Downtown Seattle. This was the first year we attended the Macy’s Holiday Parade. Thanks to Curator PR, we got VIP seats right at the end of the parade route and got to see Santa open up Santaland. We were able to quickly get in line and get our first Santa photo of the season!
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 4 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 that we’ve used as our own family holiday photo backdrop each year. But it’s more than just visiting Santa. They offer crafts and activities for kids. The big finale is their tree lighting. If you missed it this year, be sure to mark your calendar for 2018!
Other Seattle Holiday Activities
Heading to Vancouver, BC? Here are my top holiday experiences!
Curator PR provided VIP Macy’s Holiday Parade Tickets and Santaland photo and Jojo Maman Bebe provided us with holiday clothing for review purposes.