Why We Love Living In Seattle: Holiday Happenings that Illuminate Our City

The excitement and enchantment of the holiday season is wonderful, but let’s be honest: it can be a very expensive time of year, leaving very little funds for entertainment. The good news is several of the best holiday traditions in Seattle are free of charge! We have compiled a list of special places to visit during the month of December with fun for kids of all ages.

Winterfest at Seattle Center
Through Jan 1, 2018
Enjoy holiday lights, folk dancers, carolers, dancers, ice sculptors, model trains, and entertainment.

Swansons Nursery Reindeer Festival
Through Dec 24, 2017
Swansons Nursery, 9701 15th Ave NW, Seattle, WA
Shop for gifts and even pick up your tree while the kids are entertained by the model train village, live music, photos with Santa and meet Santa’s Reindeer; Dasher and Blitzen.

Sheraton Hotel Seattle Gingerbread Village
Through Jan 1, 2018
City Centre, 1420 Fifth Ave, Ste. 450, Seattle, WA
An astonishing display of artistry and architecture and loads of fun for all ages. *Admission is free, but donations gladly accepted for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Teddy Bear Suite
Through Dec 26, 2017 and open on Christmas Day!
Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University St, Seattle, WA
Brimming with Teddy Bears and lavish décor, one of the hotel’s biggest suites is magically transformed into a teddy bear wonderland for kids and parents to enjoy, and the perfect place for some family photos.
*Admission is free, but donations gladly accepted for uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

 

Housewarming Gifts for Seattleites

In a scene from Frank Capra’s 1946 film, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” Mary And George Bailey (Donna Reed and Jimmy Stewart) welcome the Martini family to their new home with three symbolic gifts and a brief, heartfelt speech. “Bread, that this house may never know hunger,” they say. “Salt, that life may always have flavor. And wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever.” It’s just a tiny scene, but it captures a universal moment. Giving a gift to new neighbors or close friends who have moved is a custom that spans centuries and cultures.

When the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth, Wampanoag Indians brought them much-needed deer meat and beaver skins. In the case of new neighbors, gift giving is a simple way to establish good relations. And for friends who have moved, a housewarming gift is an important show of support during what can be a stressful time.

To update the traditional housewarming present and make it a little more personal, we have created a list of Seattle “must-haves” that are sure to impress and make their new Seattle home feel very warm.

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Loaf of bread from Grand Central Bakery

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Sugar from Old Salt Merchants

 

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Salt from San Juan Salt Company

 

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Incredible olive oil from Queen Anne Olive Oil

 

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A charming flour sack towel from City People’s Mercantile

 

 

 

Why We Love Living in Seattle: Chihuly Garden and Glass

Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. Chihuly Garden and Glass, a long-term exhibition, opened at Seattle Center in 2012.

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Chihuly Garden and Glass features eight galleries of his work, with the Glasshouse – a 40-foot tall glass and steel structure inspired by garden conservatories around the world taking center stage. In the garden, Chihuly’s sculptures are interspersed within a magnificent display of trees, plants, and flowers. Those who still do not know his work, or have never seen it in person, will be enchanted by Chihuly’s genius and ability to transform spaces and create true glass forests.

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The museum recreates some of the major works of Chihuly’s career, and invites us to explore, imagine, photograph and compose. A wonderful tour that will tinker with your creativity and leave you inspired.

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Why We Love Living in Seattle: Northwest Folklife Festival

Since 1972, the Northwest Folklife Festival has been Seattle’s official start to summer. The Folklife Festival is a 3-day weekend of music, dance, and storytelling, workshops, crafts, vendors, and fun for the whole family. All ages and musical interests are welcome with events and workshops that are open to anyone who wants to participate or just listen. Admission to everything is free, although donations made at the door are appreciated.

This Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-29, 2017, at Seattle Center, join your Northwest neighbors and 5,000 performers from all over the Pacific Northwest including Washington, Oregon, Western Montana, Idaho, Alaska, British Columbia, and Alberta for a celebration of our diverse communities.

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Unique Furniture Stores of Seattle

Buy local and find those one-of-a-kind pieces you’ll never see anywhere else.

Looking to add some pomp and flare to your dwelling? Yearning for a unique piece to tie the room together? Look no further. Each of the stores on this list are small, independently curated boutiques, perfect for finding one-of-a-kind furnishings, vintage pieces, and home goods with a distinctly Seattle flair.

Adorn

This is a store with a super-stylish perspective. Adorn is a great place to find something unique for your home. The staff is well known for its friendly attitude and the always charming Rocco, the shop dog.

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Unique Find: Temporary wallpaper in uber-stylish prints

Ballard Consignment

This is a store with a super-stylish perspective. You’ll find an impeccably curated inventory of eclectic vintage furnishings and art.

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Unique Find: Warthog Taxidermy Mounted Head

Camelion Design

In addition to an amazing array of furniture styles and a seemingly endless selection of fabrics, it’s also a boutique housewares store full of goodies. You’ll discover gifts for everyone in their offerings of serving ware, candles, furniture, art, accessories, and gifts for baby.

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Unique Find: Modern furniture that doesn’t compromise comfort for style

Capers

Let your Seattle pride shine at this West Seattle home and lifestyle shop. Featuring the work of local, independent, and eco-friendly artists and craftspeople, Capers is a great spot to pick up a beautiful new cookbook that also serves as a coffee table book.

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Unique Find: Coated outdoor linens that are chic and functional with really stylish textile patterns

Digs

This Market Street staple has an exuberant mix of art, furniture, and craft; boosting a healthy mix of mid-century and contemporary pieces with a generous dose of whimsy.

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Unique Find: Life size cow sculptures

Fremont Vintage Mall

A basement full of furniture, art, and accessories could be considered the mother of all vintage stores. Spending a couple of hours browsing here is like shopping an entire antique district. Each visit will reveal new things. From the roaring ’20s to midcentury, this gallery isn’t stuck in a particular decade.

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Unique Find: 1950’s metal carnival clown baseball toss game

Phase Two Interiors

Gigi Buchanan opened Phase Two as an art, décor and furniture shop for gently used home furnishings that are worthy of a second life span, in a new home. The showroom has a large and varied selection spanning many different design styles.

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Unique Find: Scooter the shop dog apparently has great taste and is happy to help you find the perfect throw pillow

Second Use

The ultimate store for a hardcore scavenger; going to Second Use feels like being at a 100 yard sales under one roof. From old lumber, vintage cabinet pulls, and fun retro lighting options to modern appliances, unused doors and large stock piles of unused wood flooring options; they literally have it all.

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Unique Find: Antique Pine Winnowing Table used to separate the wheat from the chaff – great for a side table

Windermere Welcomes China to 31st Windermere Cup This Saturday

For the past 31 years, Windermere Real Estate and the University of Washington have joined together to host the annual Windermere Cup rowing regatta, which brings the world’s best crews to Seattle to compete against the nationally acclaimed UW men’s and women’s teams. Held annually on the first Saturday in May, the Windermere Cup is both an international sporting event and opening day party, followed by the world’s largest boat parade.

This year’s event will see the Huskies take on the Shanghai men’s and women’s High-Performance Rowing teams from China on Saturday, May 6. This matchup will mark the third time that a team from China has travelled to Seattle to compete in the Windermere Cup. Their first appearance came 27 years ago when the People’s Republic of China took home the Windermere Cup ahead of Navy, Washington, and Cambridge. Twelve years later the Chinese men’s rowing team returned for the 2002 Windermere Cup.

In addition to the crew races, the family-friendly Windermere Cup event also includes food vendors, booths to purchase UW and Windermere Cup apparel and commemorative gear, as well as a bouncy house for the kids.

Windermere Cup App:

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The crew races start at 10am and end around noon. Following the final Windermere Cup race is the Seattle Yacht Club’s Opening Day Boat Parade. Download the Windermere Cup App to access schedule and team information, and for live race results: https://event.crowdcompass.com/windermerecup17


Windermere Cut Cinco de Mayo Party:

A new addition to this year’s event is the Windermere Cut Cinco de Mayo party down along the north shore of the Montlake Cut. Twenty dollars gets you into the beer/margarita garden where you can listen to Spike and the Impalers while munching on food from one of three Mexican food trucks. For more information and to buy tickets go to Brown Paper Tickets.

Windermere Cup Book:

This book is about the athletes, colorful characters, and brilliant people the Windermere Cup rowing regatta has featured every first Saturday in May since 1987. Through interviews, original documents and pages upon pages of breathtaking photographs, author Gregg Bell captures this event’s more than 30 remarkable years, its spirit and its soul.

The Windermere Cup is a touchstone for our company, our family of offices and agents, and the University of Washington. Not only is this an international sporting event, it’s a celebration of camaraderie, teamwork, and community – and truly great tradition that we are honored to be a part of.

For more information please visit windermerecup.com and follow us at Facebook.com/WindermereCup and @WindermereCup on Twitter.

Why We Love Living in Seattle: Lesser Known Parks Worth Discovering

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Kubota Gardens

Hidden in South Seattle, Kubota Garden is a stunning 20 acre landscape that blends Japanese garden concepts with native Northwest plants. Master landscaper Fujitaro Kubota was a horticultural pioneer when he began merging Japanese design techniques with North American materials in his display garden in 1927. His vision has undeniably permeated the horticulture culture of the Puget Sound area and remains as one of the most enduring and beloved landscaping designs in countless home gardens.

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Parson’s Garden

It’s the most romantic park in the city, and still one of Seattle’s best-kept secrets. Stroll among the flowers, picnic on the lawn, or just climb up a tree for a private moment. The intimate and natural setting makes this a lovely spot for small gatherings, so don’t be surprised if you stumble upon a wedding during your visit.

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A Sound Garden

Located on a hill overlooking Lake Washington in Northeast Seattle, giant pipe-like structures murmur, whistle, and howl when the wind blows through them at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration center on Sand Point Way.

Designed and built by sculptor Douglas Hollis, it is one of several art installations to be enjoyed on the NOAA campus. And if you’re wondering, the answer is yes: the Seattle band Soundgarden was named after this inspiring piece.

Visiting the NOAA campus is free, but security is tight. Make sure to bring a photo ID with you in order to get a day pass, and be prepared to have your bags searched. You also have to park your car and hike about a half mile to get to the art installations, but the walk is well worth it.

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Thomas C. Wales Park

Once the site of a gravel pit, the Thomas C. Wales Park is an urban wildlife habitat and public art installation on Queen Anne. Adam Kuby’s five “Quarry Rings” that punctuate the site not only allude to the landscape’s history but create bird and nesting habitats within the park, as well. Walk the path through the park to get the best view of each of them.

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Lowman Beach Park

Located a few blocks north of the more popular Lincoln Park in West Seattle, this little gem will not disappoint you. It is a waterfront park with about 300 feet of beach area, plus an acre of land above it with tennis courts and swings. Take a picnic lunch or launch a kayak from the water’s edge.

First Sign of Spring: The NW Flower and Garden Show

February 22 – 26 at the Washington State Convention Center

Just when we need it most, the NW Flower and Garden Show arrives each February to provide us with a breath of spring air; providing inspiration, education and motivation for gardeners – new and old. Whether in a backyard, flower box, or rooftop, this is where green lovers go to discover ideas while having fun.

Embracing the upcoming show’s theme, “Taste of Spring”, this year some of the Northwest’s most respected designers will incorporate elements of the theme into big, blooming gardens, as the show celebrates food, trends in organic and urban gardening, sustainability, and a variety of culinary experiences, such as outdoor dining.

In addition to the regular show, which includes grand garden exhibits, seminars, and the very popular Garden Wars, they have added a tasting room in the Marketplace, a container garden contest, and a garden-themed baking competition for local bakeries.

Tasting Corner

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The Tasting Corner will feature samples (and sales) from local merchants that specialize in gourmet food products of the Pacific Northwest, including infused oils and salts, floral elixirs and honey.

Container Wars

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Master Gardeners are tasked with creating three luscious planted containers—each drawing from identical plants—in under one hour. Container gardens are a fabulous addition to any outdoor space, be it a small deck off your condominium or part of the landscape in your backyard.

Bouquet of Cakes

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The cakes will feature artistic, unique and celebratory special event cake designs inspired by elements of flowers and gardens.

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Whether you are a new gardener in need of sensible advice or a seasoned pro, you’ll find scores of inspiring seminars and hands-on demonstrations filled with valuable education and entertainment. Dig in and learn how to solve your landscaping challenges, create livable outdoor spaces, and grow edible gardens for year-round enjoyment.

Winter Fun for Seattle Kids

It’s cold, rainy and generally no fun outside for kids during the winter months. What else can you do to keep kids entertained, engaged and away from the TV? There are plenty of well-established options in the city like Seattle Children’s Museum, Seattle Children’s Theater, Woodland Park Zoo and the Pacific Science Center, but we looked around and found a few other options that are a little more adventurous and less known.

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Seattle Kids Tour

A professionally guided tour for visitors and locals alike, your Tour Guide will take you places that are naturally interesting to kids, and show them the city in a way that is specifically designed so kids can learn and relate to the city architecture, Pike Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum – and the infamous gum wall.

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Wings Over Washington

Mixing theater, laser projection, sound and movement – Wings Over Washington is a full sensory experience. Strapped into a seat that moves with the film and the music, you will see everything from the Seattle Great Wheel to the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede, and a lot of amazing Washington scenery in between.

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Ice Cream Cruise

At first glance you might think that this trip would be too cold in the winter and best saved for the heat of summer. Fortunately the interior is heated and the crowds will not be nearly as deep during the off-season. Besides serving ice cream there is fun music, stories and tours through the Lake Union houseboat neighborhood, Gas Works Park, and even some spy ships! Fun for all ages and you can even bring well behaved dogs!

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Trapeze Class

Have you got some little monkeys with cabin fever tearing around the house? Emerald City Trapeze offers classes for everyone from 6 to 89 years old. Taught by expert Circus performers, this is a day you and your kids will not soon forget!

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iFly

For the seriously adventurous kids, there is iFly. Anyone 3 or older is allowed to participate here for a truly uplifting day. Climb inside one of their vertical wind tunnels and experience the sport of skydiving without the need for parachute or a plane.

 

Why We Love Seattle Series: Frye Art Museum

Art Museums are always a labor of love by those who create them for their communities – especially when they are created, curated and then opened to the public free of charge. Charles and Emma Frye were avid art collectors and patrons of the arts, and following Charles Frye’s death in 1940, their extensive collection was gifted in perpetuity to the people of Seattle via the opening of the Frye Art Museum.

In addition to the Frye’s Founding Collection, they host a rolling calendar of exhibitions from many varieties of art, children’s storytelling hours that are augmented with art, musical concerts, classes, workshops and many other events – all free of charge. To discover what wonderful things they have scheduled this month – their 65th Anniversary – take a look at their Calendar of Events.

For a really lovely afternoon, grab lunch at the Gallery Café, tour the exhibitions and then visit the Frye Store for something gorgeous and unique to add to your own collection.