Checking out amazing 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 up at Woodland Park Zoo and Bellevue Botanical Garden, Seattle goes all out for the holidays. Even better, because we have so many different displays in the area, you can customize your experience to what you want...or the weather. 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.
01 of 09
Candy Cane Lane
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 January 1, from 4 to 11 p.m. and until midnight on Christmas Eve and Christmas
02 of 09
The Christmas Ship Festival comes to you! Each year, Argosy Cruises sends the Royal Argosy and 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 Royal Argosy (a dinner cruise), 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. 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, choirs on the Christmas Ship sing to those waiting on shore.
Where: Christmas Ship Schedule
When: Late November and throughout December
03 of 09
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.
When: After Thanksgiving through December 31
Where: 12001 Main Street, Bellevue, WA 98005
04 of 09
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.
When: November 25-December 24, nightly at 7 p.m.
Where: Snowflake Lane takes place on the streets around Bellevue Square; Celebration Lane fills the sidewalks at The Bellevue CollectionContinue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
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 25-January 1, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
06 of 09
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 24-January 1, 5:30 to 9 p.m.
07 of 09
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 25-December 31
08 of 09
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: 2016 dates TBAContinue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
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: See Clam Lights website for 2016 dates.