If you’re looking for a holiday getaway with the kids that combines a short road trip and festive family-friendly events, head to Seattle during the winter break. Seattle is just a 2+ hour drive from Vancouver (times always dependent on the border, of course). With great hotels, restaurants, shopping opportunities, and unique holiday events, the Emerald City is a great place to enjoy some quality family time.
Things to Do on a Seattle Holiday Weekend
Enjoy Holiday Tea at the Georgian, Fairmont Olympic
The traditional Holiday Tea at the Fairmont Olympic is a fabulous way to start your Seattle holiday weekend. The Holiday Tea is served at lunch daily in the beautiful Georgian Restaurant. You can choose from a selection of black and herbal teas, and the kids will ooo and aaa over the three-tiered plates of tiny tea sandwiches, sweet treats, and the warm scones with jam and Devon cream.
Just north of downtown Seattle is the popular WildLights event at the Woodland Park Zoo. There are more than 600,000 bright LED lights in the Zoo, recreating wild animals and places in two and three dimensions. The Wildlights event also features a Snowmazium, carousel, reindeer, seasonal food and drinks, and holiday music.
Take a spin on the Holiday Carousel
The pretty horses are irresistible on A Christmas Story’s Holiday Carousel at Westlake Park, in downtown Seattle. After a spin on Carousel, head into Westlake Mall to access the entrance to the Seattle Monorail. The quick, 5-minute train ride will take you straight to Seattle Center, where you can experience Winterfest.
Celebrate Winterfest at Seattle Center
Seattle Center is a busy hub of holiday activities with the annual Winterfest. The Winter Train & Village is a large model train village with two trains choo-chooing though a winter wonderland of spinning skaters and floating balloons. The Ice Rink at the Fisher Pavilion offers free indoor skating, and when you’re done, head up to the Space Needle for the best view of the city, even if it’s windy and raining. The Seattle Children’s Museum is located in the Armoury building at the Center. The Museum is a perfect spot to let the kids run off any sugar-rushes of energy.
Cuddle in the Teddy Bear Suite, Fairmont Olympic Hotel
The Fairmont’s Teddy Bear Suite is a child’s dream. The decorated rooms are filled with teddy bears of all sizes and colours. Kids can cuddle with the bears, sit and enjoy picture books, and pose for photographs. This annual holiday tradition is a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital. Admission is free but donations are welcome.
Marvel at the Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton Seattle
You can’t eat them, but you will marvel at the large and incredibly detailed gingerbread displays at the Sheraton Seattle. This year is the 22nd Annual Gingerbread Village, and the village scenes are based on holiday carols, such as Santa Claus is Coming to Town. During your Seattle holiday weekend, choose a gingerbread creation and cast your vote for your favorite.
Stroll through Pike Place Market
A visit to Seattle isn’t complete without a walk through Pike Place Market, and tastings of local produce and goodies. There are lots of restaurants and food vendors inside and outside the Market, so it’s a great stop for lunch or a pick-me-up snack. Near the Market (just below it via a flight of steps), is the Seattle Gum Wall. It’s gross and potentially germy, but the kids may be fascinated by all that gum, and it makes for colorful photographs.
Take in a bit of Shopping
What’s a Seattle holiday weekend without a little bit of shopping? Downtown is compact, walkable and stroller-friendly. In addition to finding unique wares at Pike Place Market, Nordstrom Rack (and the regular Nordstrom) are just a short distance from the Market. If you know of any Seattle Seahawks fans (and there are many out there), the Seahawks ProShop is located downtown at 4th and Pike Street. And for something completely different, check out homegrown KuKuRuZa, for handcrafted gourmet popcorn.
Photo Credit: C. Laroye, Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo
Claudia lives in Vancouver. She's the mother of two teenage boys, and has a thirst for travel, chocolate, and pineapple margaritas. She writes and blogs as thetravellingmom.ca, offering a modern mom's guide to family travel sanity. She is much too active on Twitter as @travelling_mom.