Christmas Lights in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue & Beyond

From the area's best displays to neighborhoods that go all out

Zoolights Tacoma
© Kristin Kendle

Checking out cool Christmas light displays (or more than one!) is a popular tradition for many Seattle-area residents. No matter where you live in the Puget Sound region, there is a professional light display somewhere near you. From neighborhood shows like Candy Cane Lane to professional set ups at Woodland Park Zoo and Bellevue Botanical Garden, Seattle goes all out for the holidays.

Even better, you can customize your experience to what you want...or the weather since we have so many different displays in the area. Want to stay in your car? You can do that. Want to stroll at your own pace with a cup of hot chocolate? You can do that too.

Read on for the top displays in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue and other Puget Sound cities.

More Holiday Things to Do: Seattle Thanksgiving Restaurants | Christmas Ship Festival

  • 01 of 09

    Candy Cane Lane

    Seattle Candy Cane Lane
    Nick Gunderson/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

    Candy Cane Lane is in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood and is unique as far as Christmas light displays go—it’s free! Free because rather than a zoo or botanical garden or Seattle Center, Candy Cane Lane is a series of homes on NE Park Road. Every year, these homes deck themselves out for the holidays. The result? A neighborhood with a magical holiday atmosphere sure to be a hit with kids, but also beautiful and impressive enough to delight adults.

    Where: Northeast Park Road off Ravenna Boulevard in Seattle
    When: Mid-December until about January 1, usually from 4 to 11 p.m. and until midnight on Christmas Eve and Christmas

  • 02 of 09
    Seattle Christmas Ship
    © Kristin Kendle

    The Christmas Ship Festival comes to you! Each year, Argosy Cruises sends its Christmas Ship out to cities located up and down the Puget Sound—Seattle, Tacoma, and everywhere in between. You can ride along on the Christmas ship, on a Parade Boat (has a boxed meal option), or even sign up to join the parade in your own boat. On the Christmas Ship, you'll get to enjoy a live choir as well as boxed meals, snacks and drinks. If you want to enjoy the Christmas Ship Festival for free, check the schedule to find out when this floating light parade is coming to your town. The festival visits more than 45 communities. At each stop, people wait beside bonfires. When the parade arrives, the choir on the Christmas Ship sing to those waiting on shore as well as to those on the ship.

    Where: Check the Christmas Ship schedule to find out which ports are welcoming the ship each night.
    When: November 24-December 23, 2017

  • 03 of 09
    Bellevue Botanical Garden
    Steve Ginn / Flickr / Public Domain

    With more than a half million lights, Bellevue Botanical Garden’s Garden d’Lights is a walk-through light display, much like Zoolights in Tacoma. Fitting with the location, the displays are botanical—giant butterflies, flowers, spiders set in beautiful twinkling webs, peacocks with shimmering tail feathers, and more. This is an especially perfect option if you want a Christmas lights display that's a little different than usual as you'll find a lot less Santa and a lot more beautiful botanicals here.

    When: November 25-December 31, 2017, 4:30-9 p.m. each night
    Where: 12001 Main Street, Bellevue, WA 98005

  • 04 of 09
    Snowflake Lane Bellevue
    John & Lisa Merrill / Getty Images

    While not a Christmas light display per se, Snowflake Lane and Celebration Lane in Bellevue combined Christmas lights, a light show, and music to ring in the holidays every night. Snow falls from the sky (artificial, but it’s still very cool). Drummer boys climb onto platforms all up and down the street, which is lined with trees covered in lights. Then a parade of more toy soldiers, reindeer, fire engines, and Santa. This very well may be the best seasonal shopping experience in the Puget Sound area.

    When: November 24-December 24, 2017, nightly at 7 p.m.
    Where: Snowflake Lane takes place on the streets around Bellevue Square; Celebration Lane fills the sidewalks at The Bellevue Collection

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09
    Point Defiance Zoolights
    Christine Majul / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    In the South Sound, there may be no better place to view amazing holiday lights than Point Defiance Zoo during Zoolights! Lighted displays are set up all along the walking paths at the zoo, including moving displays. Another highlight is that sometimes Santa shows up in a diving suit at the aquarium. A snack shop is open with hot chocolate and other warm food and beverages.

    Where: Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium
    When: November 24-January 1, 2017, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

  • 06 of 09
    Fantasy Lights Tacoma
    © Kristin Kendle

    Fantasy Lights is the largest drive-through Christmas light display in the Northwest and is located just outside of Tacoma. Stay in your car, turn on some Christmas music, and enjoy a leisurely drive through two-miles of displays. Often to open for the season, Fantasy Lights closes to cars and welcomes in walkers. Some nights do involve long lines to get in, but the perk of this is that traffic moves slower so you get more time to look at the displays!

    Where: Spanaway Park, Military Road and 152nd Street, Spanaway, Washington 98387
    When: November 23-January 1, 2017, 5:30 to 9 p.m.

  • 07 of 09
    Winterfest Seattle Center
    © Kristin Kendle

    Seattle Center is a lovely place to go to enjoy holiday atmosphere. Parts of Seattle Center have Christmas lights galore, while the Armory and Fisher Pavilion both host a number of free Christmas performances. Also at the Armory, a huge miniature town with trains and moving characters is set up. And as a special bonus—there’s an ice skating rink!

    Where: Seattle Center
    When: November 24-December 31, 2017

  • 08 of 09
    Wild Waves Theme & Water Park
    Courtesy of Wild Waves Theme & Water Park

    This unique lights display allowed you to ride the rides at Wild Waves Theme Park, visit Santa or catch a show. The entire theme park is decked out in lights, making this perfect for families with kids who enjoy a ride or two with their holiday fun.

    Where: Wild Waves, 36201 Enchanted Parkway, Federal Way
    When: Select nights between December 3 and 31, 2017

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09
    Ivar's Clam Lights
    Courtesy of Ivar's Restaurants

    One of the largest Eastside Christmas displays, Clam Lights decks Gene Coulon Park out with Christmas lights. You'll see plenty of Christmas scenes, but also Ivar's Dancing Clams. This isn't the biggest display in the area, but it's free and a lot of fun. The Argosy Christmas Ship often stops by at least once per season and there are other nights you'll find entertainment. Of course, Ivar's is nearby if you want a cup of clam chowder to pair with your holiday lights.

    Where: Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, 1201 Lake Washington Blvd N, Renton, WA, 98056
    When:  December 1-January 1, 2017, 5-9 p.m.