Compiled by KATHY HO & CHRISTINA TWU

Gather the family and friends, snuggle in scarves and mittens and discover a new favorite holiday tradition!

Woodland’s 1st Zoo Lights Festival
Now through January 1, 2013 | Woodland Park Zoo | 601 N 59th St, Seattle, WA 98103 | 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
This year, the Woodland Park Zoo is having its first winter lights festival! Wildlights, presented by KeyBank, will feature indoor and outdoor displays of wild animals in LED lights, a visiting reindeer and live entertainment for the whole family.  Prices: Adults $9.50, children ages 3-12 $6.50, toddlers 2 & under are free. Visit www.zoo.org for more information.

Bellevue Garden d’Lights
Now through December 31, 2012 |12001 Main St. Bellevue, WA |5:00 p.m.-10 p.m. every evening, including holidays
With over a half a million twinkling lights, the Bellevue Botanical Gardens hosts one of the most elaborate light festivals in the area.  Volunteers donate over thousands of hours a year to create the flowing river in lights, waterfalls, jellyfish, Snap d’Dragon and many more.  Cost is $5 and last entry is at 9:30 p.m.  Visit www.gardendlights.org for more information.

Santa Express
Now through December 16, 2012 | 54124 Mountain Hwy E, Elbe, WA 98330 | Saturday & Sundays 10 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Enjoy the Christmas festivities while riding through winter wonderland in vintage cars at the foot of Mount Rainier.  Come meet Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves, and enjoy complimentary hot cocoa.  There’s a gift for every child! Prices: Adults (13-61) $26.00, Seniors 62+/Military $23.00, youth ages 2-12 $21.00, toddlers 2 & under are free. For reservations, please visit www.mrsr.com.

Santa Train 2012 at the Northwest Railway Museum
December 8, 9, 14 and 15 | The North Bend Depot | 205 McCllelan St., North Bend, WA
Since 1969, this two hour event has been a Northwest favorite for thousands of children and parents.  Guests will take a 20 minute train, traveling from North Bend to Snoqualmie to receive a small gift from Santa and enjoy complimentary freshly baked cookies with hot cocoa.  Cost is $20 for ages 2+.

The Nutcracker at the Pacific Northwest Ballet
Now through December 29, 2012 | McCaw Hall |301 Mercer Street
Premiered at the Seattle Center Opera House on December 13, 1983, Nutcracker has been one of Seattle’s famous holiday traditions.  Kent Stowell and Maurice Sendek’s production of Nutcracker features over 200 dancers, and a stunning PBN Orchestra performance of Tchaikovsky’s famous Nutcracker suite.  Prices range from $25.00 – $123.00, depending on seating.  Visit  www.pbn.org for information.

Seattle Center Ice Rink at Fisher Pavillion
Now through January 6, 2013| Dec 24 closes 4pm, Dec 25 closed, Dec 31 closes 11:30pm.
Seattle Winterfest is never complete without stopping by the ice skating rink.  Check out the ice scupltures outside of the pavillion., walkers for toddlers
Cost: Adults $7, Children ages 6-12 $5, Children ages 5 and under  $2, includes skate rental. Cash only.  For more information, visit www.seattlecenter.com.

Bellevue Downtown Park
Now through January 13, 2012 | Open Christmas and New Year’s Day | Bellevue Downtown Park | NE 1st St & 102nd Ave NE
Enjoy free skating on Mondays,  compliments of Bank Of America! Receive 2 free admissions per person if you show your Bank of America debit or credit card at the ice arena. On Tuesdays, you can get two tickets for the price of one.  Expect long lines on Dec. 24 and 31, so get there early!  Regular admission $10 (includes skate rental). Visit www.magicseason.com for more information and other Bellevue events.

Candy Cane Lane
Saturday, December 8, 2012 – Tuesday, January 1, 2013 | Northeast Park Road off Ravenna Boulevard, Seattle
Located in the city of Seattle in the Ravenna neighborhood, Candy Cane Lane is nothing short of unique. Twenty-three homes along NE Park Road have a tradition of going all out every holiday season. Be prepared for some traffic in the area but also consider parking nearby and walking to take the scene in at your own pace.

The Lights of Christmas
Now till December 29, 2012 | Warm Beach Camp | Marine View Dr., Stanwood
The Lights of Christmas features over one million lights in creative display plus entertainment and activities for the entire family. Located in Stanwood at Warm Beach Camp, this is a holiday extravaganza that stretches across 15 acres, with uniquely themed areas with 1.2 million light displays, stunning larger-than-life nativity and 5 performance stages featuring theatre and music. For ticket information, please visit: www.warmbeachlights.com.

Snow Train to Leavenworth's Lighting Festival

Snow Train to Leavenworth’s Lighting Festival
Now through December 22, 2012 |
Alki Tours | 6417A Fauntleroy Way SW, Seattle
In December, Alki Tours offers a rail tour to Leavenworth, a quaint Bavarian village in the Cascade Mountains. Passengers can board the train at King Street Station, Edmonds Station or in Everett. Along the way, passengers enjoy a catered continental breakfast and onboard entertainment including strolling musicians, commentators, magicians and of course, Santa! Cost is $149 per person; children have a 10 percent discount. For more information, please call (800) 895 – 2554 or visit: www.alkitours.com.

Cutting Down a Tree in the National Forest
Now until December 23, 2011 |
Mt. Baker National Forest,
Olympic National Forest
Want to get your Christmas tree the old-fashioned way? Who needs a Christmas tree farm when you can venture into a national forest and cut a tree in the wilderness? Check the rules and regulations and get a permit before you head out. Cost is $10 per tree in Mt. Baker.

Holiday Giving Tree
Now until December 23, 2011 |
Mt. Baker National Forest,
Olympic National Forest
While shopping at Pike Place Market this holiday season visit The Giving Trees to give a holiday wish or two. The trees will be decorated with lights and holiday wishes from the Market area’s low-income community. They’re located in the Market’s “DownUnder” inside the Market Atrium in the Economy Building.

ELF – The Musical
Now through December 31, 2012 |
5th Avenue Theatre, downtown Seattle
The movie has made its musical debut, with Buddy, a human raised at the North Pole by elves, who sets off to the big city to find his father. He makes it his mission to help everyone recall the true meaning of Christmas. ELF-The Musical runs 2 hours 15 minutes including intermission. Please visit www.5thavenue.org.

The Wizard of Oz
Now through January 6, 2013 | Seattle Children’s Theatre |
Seattle Center, 201 Thomas St., Seattle
Great for all ages—a Broadway musical for the whole family! For more information, please visit: www.sct.org.

A Christmas Carol
Now through December 30, 2012 | ACT Theatre | 700 Union St., Seattle
ACT Theatre, Seattle’s best dramatic theater company, presents the Dickens favorite for the 35th straight year. You’ve heard this story a million times, but this live rendition never fails to stir young and old alike. For more information, visit www.acttheatre.org or call (206) 292 – 7676.

20th Annual Gingerbread Village
Now through December 31, 2012 |
Sheraton Seattle Hotel |
1400 Sixth Ave., Seattle
Local architecture firms team up with the Sheraton Seattle culinary team to design, bake and build amazing gingerbread creations. Attracting over 100,000 people each year, this holiday event is free and open to the public. Donations benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Northwest Chapter.

Fantasy Lights
Now through January 1, 2013 | 5:30 – 9 p.m. | Spanaway Park,
Military Road and 152nd St., Tacoma
Fantasy Lights is located in Spanaway, a suburb of Tacoma and is one of the best events in Tacoma. The light displays are set up by community groups all throughout Spanaway Lake Park. What is unique about this event is that it is all drive-through—so it’s hard to beat in the rainy Northwest winters! Cost is $15 per car.
For more information, please visit: www.co.pierce.wa.us.

Beasley’s Christmas Party
Now through December 30, 2012 |
Taproot Theatre Company |
204 N 85th St., Seattle
Full of hope and heart, this holiday tale will charm your whole family with its surprising twists. For more information, please e-mail: [email protected]

December 31, 2011 | Benaroya Hall | 200 University St., Seattle
The evening begins with the Seattle Symphony performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Then, bring in the New Year with a post-concert countdown celebration with a live band, dancing, and a toast. For more information, please call (206) 215 – 4747.

New Year’s Eve 2011
December 31, 2011 | Seattle Space Needle, downtown Seattle
The famous Space Needle will once again display the world’s tallest structure-launched firework show with more than 2,000 pyrotechnic effects this New Year’s Eve. The base of the Space Needle will host the West Coast’s version of New York’s Time Square as more than 50,000 people gather below to watch the fireworks shoot across the mid-night sky with an estimated 400,000 viewing the show from surrounding neighborhoods.

Resolution Run 5K & Polar Bear Dive
January 1, 2012 | 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Warren G. Magnuson Park, Seattle
5K run/walk with optional “Polar Bear Dive” into Lake Washington at the 3.0 mile mark of the 3.1 mile route. Includes free kids dash, post-race celebration and beer garden. Limited to 2,500 registrants. For more information, please call (206) 729 – 9972.

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