Each holiday season in the Pacific Northwest, you'll find Christmas towns and decked out areas where you can celebrate in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia. These festive getaway destinations are each just a short distance from Seattle and other Pacific Northwest cities.
Holiday décor, sparkling lights, and seasonal entertainment and treats combine to set the stage for lasting memories. You won't want to miss these five great Christmas locations with popular tourist attractions such as Butchart Gardens near Victoria, British Columbia, and Leavenworth, the town with a Bavarian theme in Washington.
Enjoying the festivities often involves outdoor evening activities, which can be cold. Pack appropriately with warm jackets, boots, as well as a hat and gloves. Due to the potential for winter storms and these destinations being on or near mountain passes, some events and activities may be canceled for a night or two. It is best to call ahead to confirm hours of operation, pricing, and tips on getting there in winter conditions.
Please note some events have been canceled for 2020, so check details below and on event websites.
The area around downtown Coeur d'Alene in northwest Idaho and the local lake and resort are all aglow with festive lights during the holiday season. Parade attendees can enjoy colorful floats, dancing, and marching bands along Sherman Avenue in downtown on the Friday afternoon after Thanksgiving.
The fun continues on the lawn at Coeur d’Alene Resort, where Christmas carols and a big firework display take place, followed by a show of more than 1.5 million lights sparkling over the downtown area.
Guests can also enjoy the holidays from the water on a "Journey to the North Pole" lake cruise between Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Day. The cruise includes fun at Santa’s Toy Workshop, where you will see one of the tallest Christmas trees in the U.S., decorated with thousands of sparkling LED lights. And it's not to be missed, at twice the height of New York City's famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. If you want to make a weekend out of your experience, the Coeur d'Alene Resort offers a number of holiday-themed package deals.
The 2020 Lights of Christmas event will be a drive-through version from 5-10 p.m. on November 27-29, December 2-6, 9-13, 16-23, and 26-30.
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center, located in Stanwood, Washington, 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) north of Seattle, has put on a wondrous display of lights, music, and Christmas cheer since 1997. More than a million multi-colored lights decorate structures and displays spread out over 15 acres.
Christmas characters, foods, and activities make The Lights of Christmas fun for the whole family, and many folks turn their visit into an overnight getaway since rooms, suites, and a cottage are all available on-site.
Visitors can meet a talking Christmas tree named Bruce the Spruce, ride on the Polar Express Train, take a pony ride, create handmade toys at the Joyland Toy Shop, and pet some of the nativity scene animals.
For 2020, the Butchart Gardens Christmas evening viewing will not occur. However, through January 6 (with the exception of Christmas Day), the gates will be open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with viewing until 4:30 p.m.
The Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay, about a 25-minute drive from Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is spectacular and well worth a visit any time of year. But the Christmas holiday season brings another layer of visual delight in the form of sparkling lights, décor, and music.
The "Twelve Days of Christmas" is a major theme; you'll find garden areas decorated with everything from the 12 drummers drumming to the partridge in a pear tree. Each Christmas season usually brings an outdoor skating rink, carolers, and garden-themed gift shopping to Butchart Gardens.
The Holiday Lights at Shore Acres event is canceled in 2020.
Coos Bay, the biggest city on the Oregon Coast, is located about 168 miles (270 kilometers) southwest of Portland. Just south of Coos Bay, Shore Acres State Park occupies property that once was the posh estate of timber baron Louis Simpson. The Oregon park preserves the estate's grand gardens, which include a formal garden, an oriental-style water garden, and two rose gardens. A grand display of holiday lights has become an annual tradition at Shore Acres State Park, drawing visitors from around the region.
After starting in 1987 with just a few strings of lights, the annual event has expanded to include about 325,000 LED lights. The festivities run nightly from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve, including on Christmas Eve and Day.
Christmas Lighting Festival: Leavenworth, Washington
Christkindlmarkt, the Christmas market, has been canceled for 2020.
Thanksgiving weekend brings the Christkindlmarkt, an outdoor holiday market at the City Park that includes food, music, and activities for children. Lighting festivities take place on weekend evenings throughout the season, complete with visits from Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus, and other traditional holiday characters.
With holiday lights and décor, the Bavarian-themed shops, and German restaurants—along with the sparkling white snow—you can't help but get into the Christmas spirit on your trip to Leavenworth.