If you're planning to visit the Northwest this holiday season, there are plenty of Christmas towns in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia where you can celebrate the holidays alone or with family and friends. These excursions, each just a short distance from major Northwestern cities, are great opportunities for family groups to spend quality time together while getting into the Christmas spirit.
Christmas decor, sparkling lights, seasonal entertainment, and holiday treats are combined with interesting locales to set the stage for lasting memories, perfect for the whole family. If you're planning your trip to this area of the United States and Canada, you won't want to miss these five great Christmas extravaganzas.
Keep in mind, though, that most of these involve outdoor evening activity and winter in the northwest can get downright freezing, so make sure to pack appropriately. Also, due to winter storms and inclement weather, some events and activities may be... canceled for a night or two, so make sure to call ahead to confirm hours of operation, pricing, and tips on getting there in the winter conditions.
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Christmas Lighting Festival: Leavenworth, Washington
Every day in Leavenworth—Washington's Bavarian-themed mountain getaway town—is like a holiday year-round, so you know they do the Christmas season right at this quaint village.
Thanksgiving weekend brings Christkindlmarkt, an outdoor holiday market at the City Park that includes food, music, and activities for children, and 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 all the holiday lights, the Bavarian-themed shops and restaurants, and the snow that blankets the city and the surrounding mountains, you can't help but get into the Christmas spirit on your trip to Leavenworth.
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Warm Beach Camp, located in Stanwood, Washington, has put on a wondrous display of lights, music, and Christmas cheer for well over a decade where 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 to Warm Beach Camp into an overnight getaway as rooms, suites, and a cottage are all available on site.
Visitors can also 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 animals of the nativity.
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The area around The Coeur d'Alene Resort, downtown Coeur d'Alene, and Lake Coeur d'Alene drip with festive lights during the holiday season, and the centerpiece is "The World's Tallest Living Christmas Tree," decorated with over 30,000 sparkling LED lights and twice the height of New York City's famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
The Holiday Light Show all 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, so be sure to check out the company website (linked above) for more information and to book your reservation today.
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Located on the Oregon Coast just south of Coos Bay, Shore Acres State Park occupies property that at one time 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, and 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 light, the annual event has now expanded to include over 325,000 mostly-LED lights. The event runs from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve from 4 to 9:30 pm nightly, including on Christmas Eve and Day.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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The gardens and indoor and outdoor spaces at The Butchart Gardens are spectacular at any time of year, and well worth a visit, 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" are 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 The Butchart Gardens.