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 setups at Woodland Park Zoo and Bellevue Botanical Garden, Seattle goes all out for the holidays.
Candy Cane Lane
AddressCandy Cane Ln, Seattle, WA 98105, USA
Candy Cane Lane is in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood and is unique as far as Christmas light displays go. It is also 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
AddressPuget Sound, Washington, USA
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 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 50 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: Typically the last week of November to the last week of December
Bellevue Garden d’Lights
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: Typically the last week of November to the last week of December, 4:30-9 p.m. each night
Where: 12001 Main Street, Bellevue, WA 98005
While not a Christmas light display per se, Snowflake 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: Typically the last week of November to Christmas Eve, 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
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: Typically the last week of November to the first week of January, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
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: Typically the last week of November to the first week of January, 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Seattle Center is a lovely place to enjoy the 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: Typically the last week of November to the first week of January
Holiday With Lights at Wild Waves
This unique lights display allows 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 in December
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: Typically the last week of November to the first week of January, 5-9 p.m.