Checking out amazing Christmas light displays (or more than one!) is a popular tradition for many Seattle-area residents. No matter where you live in the Puget Sound region, there is a professional light display somewhere near you.
There are often great neighborhood displays and individual homes that go all out, too. If your house is one that goes all out, email me and tell me about it for the chance to be featured in a blog on this site!
1. Candy Cane Lane
Candy Cane Lane is in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood and is unique as far as Christmas light displays go—it’s free! Free because rather than a zoo or botanical garden or Seattle Center, Candy Cane Lane is a series of homes on NE Park Road. Every year, these homes deck themselves out for the holidays. The result? A neighborhood with a magical holiday atmosphere sure to be a hit with kids, but also beautiful and impressive enough to delight adults.
Where: Northeast Park Road off Ravenna Boulevard in Seattle
When: Mid-December until January 1, from 4 to 11 p.m. and until midnight on Christmas Eve and Christmas
2. Christmas Ship Festival
The Christmas Ship Festival comes to you! Each year, Argosy Cruises sends the Royal Argosy and its Christmas Ship out to cities located up and down the Puget Sound—Seattle, Tacoma, and everywhere in between. You can ride along on the Royal Argosy (a dinner cruise), on the Christmas ship, on a Parade Boat (has a boxed meal option), or even sign up to join the parade in your own boat. If you want to enjoy the Christmas Ship Festival for free, check the schedule to find out when this floating light parade is coming to your town. The festival visits more than 45 communities. At each stop, people wait beside bonfires. When the parade arrives, choirs on the Christmas Ship sing to those waiting on shore.
Where: Christmas Ship Schedule
With more than a half million lights, Bellevue Botanical Garden’s Garden d’Lights is a walk-through light display, much like Zoolights in Tacoma. Fitting with the location, the displays are botanical—giant butterflies, flowers, spiders set in beautiful twinkling webs, peacocks with shimmering tail feathers, and more.
When: November 24 through December 31; 5 to 10 p.m.
Where: 12001 Main Street, Bellevue, WA 98005
Cost: $5 regular admission/Children 10 and younger are free
While not a Christmas light display per se, Snowflake Lane and Celebration Lane in Bellevue combined Christmas lights, a light show, and music to ring in the holidays every night. Snow falls from the sky (artificial, but it’s still very cool). Drummer boys climb onto platforms all up and down the street, which is lined with trees covered in lights. Then a parade of more toy soldiers, reindeer, fire engines, and Santa.
When: November 26-December 24; December 26-31, nightly at 7 p.m.
Where: Snowflake Lane takes place on the streets around Bellevue Square; Celebration Lane fills the sidewalks at The Bellevue Collection
In the South Sound, there may be no better place to view amazing holiday lights than Point Defiance Zoo during Zoolights! Lighted displays are set up all along the walking paths at the zoo, including moving displays. Another highlight is that sometimes Santa shows up in a diving suit at the aquarium. A snack shop is open with hot chocolate and other warm food and beverages.
Where: Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium
When: November 23-January 1, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost: $7.25 in advance online or at Fred Meyer/$8.50 at the gate/children 2 and younger free
Fantasy Lights is the largest drive-through Christmas light display in the Northwest and is located just outside of Tacoma. Stay in your car, turn on some Christmas music, and enjoy a leisurely drive through two-miles of displays.
Where: Spanaway Park, Military Road and 152nd Street, Spanaway, Washington 98387
When: November 24-January 1, 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $13 per vehicle. Discounts available on event website as well as at Lakewood Community Center, Sprinker Recreation Center, and Garfield Book Company at PLU.
Seattle Center is a lovely place to go to enjoy holiday atmosphere. Parts of Seattle Center have Christmas lights galore, while Center House and Fisher Pavilion both host a number of free Christmas performances. Also at Center House, a huge miniature town with trains and moving characters is set up. A special bonus—there’s an ice skating rink!
Where: Seattle Center
When: November 25-December 31
This unique lights display allowed you to ride the rides at Wild Waves Theme Park, visit Santa, or catch a show. This event last made an appearance in 2004--so help welcome it back!
Where: Wild Waves, 36201 Enchanted Parkway, Federal Way
When: December 14-23, 26-31
Cost: Adults $14.99/Under 48 inches, seniors, military $12.99/Buy online in advance $12.99
9. Evergreen Lights
A new holiday tradition in the making featuring 45,000 lights all synched to 25 minutes of Christmas music. The display is pretty amazing and completely free!
Where: Evergreen Community Church 3429 240th Street SE, Bothell
When: December 1-January 1, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night
One of the largest Eastside Christmas displays, Clam Lights decks Gene Coulon Park out with Christmas lights. You'll see plenty of Christmas scenes, but also Ivar's Dancing Clams!
Where: Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, 1201 Lake Washington Blvd N, Renton, WA, 98056
When: December 1-January 1, 5 p.m.-9 p.m.