Guide to Christmas in Spokane: Festivals, Events, Things to Do

View of Riverfront Park, Spokane, Washington

crisserbug / Getty Images

The Christmas season offers plenty of opportunities to spend quality time with friends and family, and in Spokane, Washington, there are many places to get you in the holiday spirit. From special holiday displays and light shows to festive plays, performances, and gift bazaars, Spokane is a wonderful place to celebrate the season.

If you're planning on traveling to western Washington State this holiday season, Spokane is the ideal destination for your winter vacation. No matter what time of year you visit, you can check out the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, the Tudor-style Campbell House, and the sculpture walk at the expansive Riverfront Park, but if you happen to be in town for the Christmas holiday, you'll get a chance to see all these features lit up with dazzling lights and handmade decorations.

01 of 10

Start the Season at the Grand Tree Lighting

Grand Tree Lighting

Courtesy of Downtown Spokane

Located in Spokane's Riverfront Park at Wall Street and Spokane Falls Boulevard, the official Christmas tree of Spokane is managed by Riverfront Park, the Downtown Spokane Business Improvement District, and Senske Services. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year from 4 to 6:30 p.m., stop by the park to dance, sing, craft, drink, and eat with the community as the lights officially turn on for the season.

02 of 10

Attend a Holiday Show at the Spokane Civic Theatre

Spokane Civic Theatre

Courtesy of Spokane Civic Theatre

1020 N Howard St, Spokane, WA 99201, USA
Phone +1 509-325-2507

Every year, the Spokane Civic Theatre presents a lineup of fantastic holiday-themed performances, Be sure to check the official website and book your tickets in advance, as performances are likely to sell out by the time you get there. For the holiday season in 2019, watch a performance of "It's A Wonderful Life," from November 29 to December 22. This play—adapted from the movie by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra, and Jo Swerling—is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

03 of 10

See Christmas Performances at the Martin Woldson Theater

The Nutcracker at FOX's Theatre

David Bazemore

1001 W Sprague Ave, Spokane, WA 99210, USA
Phone +1 509-624-1200

One of Spokane's great treasures, the Martin Woldson Theater at the FOX, is a special place to visit any time of year, but during the holiday season, this landmark establishment brings holiday fun for the whole family with a limited run of holiday shows and Christmas-themed performances.

This year's performances include Mark O'Conner's "An Appalachian Christmas" and two concerts by the Spokane Symphony: "The Nutcracker" and "Pops 3: Holiday Pops With Vanessa Williams." However, more special events may be announced throughout the holiday season, so check the website for the latest listings before you plan your trip.

04 of 10

Get in the Spirit at the Bing Crosby Theater

Affiniti—A Celtic Christmas

Courtesy of The Bing Crosby Theater

901 W Sprague Ave, Spokane, WA 99201-4014, USA
Phone +1 509-227-7638

The historic Bing Crosby Theater in downtown Spokane offers a full calendar of concerts, plays, and events throughout the year, but the Christmas season brings special performances from local and touring musicians, as well as film and theater shows, to the stage.

In 2019, you can see the Saint John Paul II Christmas Concert on December 6, the Bing Crosby Holiday Film Festival on December 14, the Affiniti Celtic Christmas on December 15, the Bartell Music Academy Winter Showcase on December 21, and Adam Trent's "Holiday Magic" on December 22. More special holiday performances may be announced in the coming weeks, so be sure to check out the official website for ticket information and to view details about upcoming shows.

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05 of 10

Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride

Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride

Courtesy of Downtown Spokane

222 N Wall St Suite #100, Spokane, WA 99201-0813, USA
Phone +1 509-458-2265

Kids of all ages will enjoy the thrill of riding in an old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage, snuggled side by side in the crisp holiday air with a cup of hot chocolate. The downtown carriage rides are available on Fridays from 3 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. between November 23 and December 23, 2019.

This year, the Wheatland Bank is sponsoring the program to make the carriage rides completely free for all visitors, but if you're planning your day around one, be sure to leave time for a few hours wait on the busiest days of the tourist season. The carriages rides can be picked up at 221 North Wall Street across from Wheatland Bank.

06 of 10

Ice Skating at the Ice Ribbon

Maggie Daley Park ice skating ribbon on cold winter evening

Nick Ledger / Getty Images

720 W Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane, WA 99201, USA
Phone +1 509-625-6600

Each year for the holiday season, the Riverfront Park brings back the Ice Ribbon, an outdoor skating adventure area that's part of the Parks and Recreation's first completed redevelopment project as part of a city bond initiative to improve this waterfront public park. Ice Ribbon will be open from late November to February, and guests can experience three fire pits, free skating lessons, live music, themed costume events, happy hours, and a variety of other free programming provided by local sponsors throughout the season.

07 of 10

Cruise Across Lake Coeur d'Alene to See the Lights

Cruise Lake Coeur d’Alene

Courtesy of Lake Coeur d’Alene 

The Coeur d’Alene Resort Holiday Light Show’s Journey to the North Pole Cruise is one of Spokane's premier Christmas events. The 40-minute lake cruise floats by more than one and a half million light displays with seasonal icons like Santa, Rudolph, and a large animated Christmas tree.

The cruise is available November 23, 2019, through January 1, 2020, with daily departure times including 5:30, 6:30, and 7:30 p.m. with extra slots available on the weekends. If you get tickets to the special Holiday Lighting Ceremony Cruise the night after Thanksgiving, you'll also get front row spots to a massive firework show over Lake Coeur d’Alene.

08 of 10

Compete in the Jingle Bell Run

Jingle Bell 5K run

Jeff Moser / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0


Each year, the city of Spokane celebrates the holiday season and physical fitness with a charity run event. Known as the Jingle Bell Run, this annual tradition features athletes in holiday costumes competing in teams and as individuals to raise money for The Arthritis Foundation. The event takes place all day on December 7, 2019, but the five-kilometer race kicks off at 8 a.m.

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09 of 10

Listen to the Classics at Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Concert

Inside the Magic / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

For over 30 years, Grammy Award-winning singer Chip Davis has been performing his "Mannheim Steamroller Christmas" concert across the country. This year, you can witness a performance at the First Interstate Center for the Arts on December 7, 2019, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Featuring classics along with a selection of compositions from Davis' "Fresh Aire" series, this iconic concert is a must-see for the holiday season in Spokane.

10 of 10

Enter the Raffle at Christmas Tree Elegance

Christmas tree elegance

Tracy Hunter / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Hosted by the Davenport Historic Hotel, the annual Christmas Tree Elegance event features raffle drawings at seven trees in the hotel and River Park Square. Drop your name in the raffle bucket on the Mezzanine of the Davenport Hotel for a chance to win one of 12 beautifully-decorated Christmas trees or other prizes worth up to $4,999. The raffle runs from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Day each year.

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Guide to Christmas in Spokane: Festivals, Events, Things to Do