Seattle in December with Kids

Question: My family is coming to Seattle in December. Is there anything that is Christmas themed that we should see? Is there a Seattle hotel that is more “holiday” than others?

Answer: Seattle has a great tradition of Christmas Ship parades – fleets of boats, decked out in Christmas lights, led by a ship broadcasting choir-sung carols. It’s quite pretty, and a very Seattle way to enjoy the holidays. Many people enjoy watching them free from shore (public beaches often have bonfires and hot chocolate or cider on hand), or you can reserve a spot on either the lead ship, or one following.

The Seattle Sheraton hosts an annual themed Gingerbread Village that’s quite spectacular – this year it’s being held across the street from the hotel at City Centre and the theme is 25 Years of Cheer: A Celebration of Seattle. More info here. There’s also a holiday carousel and market installed in Westlake Center every year, and families enjoy taking their kids for a spin during a trip to see the lights downtown – information about it will be up on this site sometime soon. Seattle Center has ice skating and a model train exhibit at their annual Winterfest, and there are plenty of Christmas-themed shows on tap like Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, The Nutcracker (, and A Christmas Carol.

As far as a holiday hotel goes, the hands-down best is the Fairmont Olympic. Their Festival of Trees turns the lobby into a Christmas wonderland, they have a decorated “Teddy Bear Suite”(a corner suite converted into a teddy bear winter wonderland) that’s open for touring and holiday tea in their elegant Georgian Room restaurant.

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