Each holiday season in the Pacific Northwest, you'll find Christmas towns (and towns decked out for Christmas) in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia where you can celebrate the holidays. These holiday getaway destinations, each just a short distance from Seattle and other Pacific Northwest cities.
Christmas decor, sparkling lights, seasonal entertainment and holiday treats combine to set the stage for lasting memories. You won't want to miss these five great Christmas locations.
Enjoying the festivities often involves outdoor evening activities, which can be cold so pack appropriately with warm jackets, boots, and a hat and gloves. Due to the potential for winter storms as well as some of these destinations being on or near mountain passes, some events and activities may be canceled for a night or two, so call ahead to confirm hours of operation, pricing and tips on getting there in winter conditions.
Every day in Leavenworth, Washington's Bavarian-themed mountain town is like a holiday so you know they do the Christmas season right (there's even a year-round Christmas shop!).
Thanksgiving weekend brings the Christkindlmarkt, an outdoor holiday market at the City Park that includes food, music and activities for children. Christmas 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 decor, 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.
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center, located in Stanwood, Washington, has put on a wondrous display of lights, music and Christmas cheer for well over a decade. 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.
The area around the Coeur d'Alene Resort, downtown Coeur d'Alene and Lake Coeur d'Alene are all aglow with festive lights during the holiday season. The centerpiece is "The World's Tallest Living Christmas Tree," decorated with over 30,000 sparkling LED lights. And at twice the height of New York City's famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, it's a sight to see!
The Holiday Light Show starts with a big lighting ceremony and fireworks on the Friday after Thanksgiving and can be enjoyed while wandering around the resort or from the water on a lake cruise throughout the month of December. The Coeur d'Alene Resort offers a number of holiday-themed package deals if you want to make a weekend out of your experience.
Located on the Oregon Coast just south of Coos Bay, Shore Acres State Park occupies property that once was the posh estate of timber baron Louis Simpson. The 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.
Started in 1968 with just a few strings of lights, the annual event has now expanded to include over 325,000 mostly-LED lights. The event runs from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve nightly, including on Christmas Eve and day.
The Butchart Gardens, just outside of Victoria, B.C., is spectacular and well worth a visit anytime of year, but the Christmas holiday season brings another layer of visual delight in the form of sparkling lights, decor 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. The Christmas season also brings an outdoor skating rink, carolers and garden-themed gift shopping to Butchart Gardens.