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.


Saint Patrick’s Day in Seattle

It’s Saint Patrick’s Day which means Corned beef and cabbage, green beer, and people dressed like deranged Leprechauns are everywhere. Despite the lack of a large population of Irish descendants in Seattle, we still have several great Irish Pubs that share the food, music and merriment of a pub you might find in our Sister City; Galway, Ireland. So if you can’t celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day on the Emerald Isle – then do it in the Emerald City.

Murphy’s Pub

Family friendly until 9pm, Murphy’s offers a seat to your whole family – but your dog is welcome to stay there with you until closing time. The oldest Irish Pub in Seattle, Murphy’s was also the first to offer local microbrews when Redhook Brewery opened in 1982.

TRY: Black and Tan

Mulleady’s Pub

Being a restaurant with food that is much better than the usual pub fare, Mulleady’s will be serving a five-course St. Patrick’s Day dinner tonight. Calling ahead to see what the lines are like might be prudent.

TRY: Red Breast Collection Spirit Flight

Conor Byrne

A tried and true Irish Pub, the doors open today at noon and the live music starts at 1pm. Skillet Street Food will have a food truck parked outside all day – no word on what their menu might be.

TRY: Jameson and ginger cocktail

Owl N’ Thistle

Located on Post Alley in an old red brick building, on a rainy Seattle day, all you need to do is close your eyes to make believe you’re in Ireland. The doors open at 11am today with live music starting at 1pm. Post Alley is closed off in this small section so revelers can also hang outside.

TRY: Irish coffee


Arguably the most well-known Irish restaurant and bar in Seattle, so naturally their Saint Patrick’s Day event is huge. In fact, their festival is a three-day event from Thursday, March 16 through Sunday, March 19. The doors open at 9am and music starts at noon.

TRY: Guinness or Harp lager


New Year’s Eve at Home ~ With Style

Invite a few close friends to ring in the New Year with an easy, intimate party at home.


Considering that New Year’s is a pretty hot-ticket holiday, it’d behoove you to let your friends know sooner rather than later that you’ll be hosting a party at your place. Paperless Post is a good alternative for those who don’t want to track down friends’ addresses, go out to buy a roll of stamps, or leave the house. For those on a budget, there are several free invitation designs to choose from.


Hire a carpool so no one has to drive home. This is best done by using a traditional car service that can be scheduled for pick up and home delivery. Other ride share companies like Uber and Lyft offer similar services but they cannot be reserved and on a busy night you might find your friends coming in late and leaving far later than desired.


For a refreshing alternative to Champagne, try Prosecco. For nonalcoholic selection try Twelve, a fizzy blend of fruit and herbal tea. It’s delicious and certainly more elegant than sparkling cider. Pellegrino and Perrier are also very nice to keep people happy and hydrated.


Don’t let people get hungry! Make it easy on yourself and your wallet. Get some fabulous, frozen pre-made appetizers and keep them rolling from the oven. Cheese and cracker, charcuterie and veggie platters that require no cooking and can be made ahead of time are always crowd pleasers. These can even be purchased from your local deli if time is more important than slicing and arranging your own cheese.


We’ve all been eating way too much sugar all December but if you want to do a small dessert and make it look special, dust some edible glitter onto your store bought cookies or cake. Yes, edible glitter is a thing.


Set up Pandora at a volume where you can hear it – but don’t have to raise voices to hear each other. Hipster Cocktail Party is a great one. Don’t let the name turn you off; the music they play is terrific. Bill Withers, Nina Simone, Van Morrison and Aretha Franklin are some regulars you’ll find on this station.

Parting Gifts

Send everyone home with recovery bags: Insert a packet of emergenC, a pre-packaged duo of Tylenol and breath mints and attach it to a bottle of water.

Holiday Décor Trend: White-on-White Luxe

From a stunning mantel display to an elegant table setting, you can capture the magic of the holiday season in festive touches that are certain to make your home even more merry and memorable. The white-on-white design trend is definitely at the top of most luxury designers’ lists these days, and this extends to Christmas décor, as well. For some stylish inspiration, take a cue from these beautiful holiday decorating ideas.


This year it’s all about seasonal glamour, metallic flourishes meet elegant finishes for a luxury look to perfectly complement Christmas time at home.


Metallic decor is very popular for decor today because it’s stylish and gives a refined and elegant touch to any space. Silver and gold are the most used shades but copper has become a leader recently because of its soft and warm shade.


White and gold décor can be bland without a deeper anchor color. Black accents lay low while bringing out the brightness of the white and metallic accents.


A huge part of the white on white decorating trend this year is the flocked Christmas tree.


If you are feeling devoid of color, adding a small amount of red to a flocked tree makes a huge impact.


A light touch of pastel blue gives a softer impact while evoking the feeling of Christmas at Tiffanys.


With all this white on white minimalism, you might start to feel a little snow blind – or simply bored. Another trend on the horizon is blue and green, inspired by the favored Peacock décor from the Victorian era.


The vivid colors are stunning on a white tree and blends very well with metallic accents in the home.


So what do the experts advise for decorating a tree? Here are a few tips to help guide you:

When in doubt, go for more lights. Nothing beats a well-lit tree.

Take a break and step away from the tree. It never hurts to revisit an hour later. You can often make just the right tweaks when you come back and look at something with a new set of eyes.

Don’t take decorating your tree too seriously. It is a tradition and is meant to evoke memories. Showcase your personality with your favorite ornaments and have fun with it.

Do what you love. You can be as creative as you want with your Christmas tree, so decorate it with whatever you’re into; shells, birds, or anything else. Just because you’re trimming a tree doesn’t mean you have to incorporate traditional standards.



Ten Ideas for New Thanksgiving Traditions

Most of us already have our “ways” of doing Thanksgiving – ways our mother did it, ways our extended family did it, ways our neighborhood did it. Thanksgiving doesn’t lend itself well to trying out new traditions, but sometimes the situation calls for it – you can’t make it home for Thanksgiving, for example, or you have a family now and want to start traditions of your own. So what can you do to heighten, deepen, and extend Thanksgiving to its most memorable end?

  1. Start the day with an indulgent, relaxing breakfast.

While some people are firmly in the “no breakfast” camp to save room for the big meal later, we love the idea of starting the day in such a festive, delicious way! Pancakes, waffles, eggs, even pie – it’s all good.

  1. Take time for yourself before time with family.

As wonderful as Thanksgiving can be, we all know it can be exhausting and overwhelming. That’s why it’s such a good idea to deliberately take a little time for yourself during the day to make sure you enjoy the holiday on your terms.

  1. Remember loved ones who have passed.

Holidays can be bittersweet when beloved family members or friends are missing from the gathering. Look through old photo albums and recall funny, tender or important achievements of those who are gone but not forgotten.

  1. Write your thanks on a butcher paper tablecloth.

Cover the table with butcher paper. During the meal, distribute pens and ask each family member to write down a few things they’re thankful for on the paper and then take turns reading them out loud. We love the practice during the Thanksgiving meal of naming things you’re thankful for, and this is a unique way to do it – especially since you can tear off and save particularly meaningful memories.

  1. Let everyone toast!

Another way to make gratitude gushing even more festive is to let everyone make a toast. Raise your glass to the year, to your family, to your friends!

  1. Have the kids serve dessert.

Let the bigger kids get in on the action of serving to their family.  Put them in charge of delivering dessert and coffee after the meal. The oldest can plate and pour while the younger kids can take orders and serve. It keeps them busy after the meal while the adults talk and gives them a broader sense of appreciation for the holiday.

  1. Have Thanksgiving dinner early.

Planning for a 3 p.m. dinner shifts the momentum of the day. An earlier meal creates a more relaxed celebration, plus there’s plenty of time to digest before going to bed.  An earlier dinner also accommodates traveling guests and lets them return home at a reasonable hour.

  1. Take a long walk together after dinner.

No one is ready for dessert right after dinner anyway, so why not take that time to go on a long walk with your loved ones? Enjoy the cool, crispy (and hopefully dry) autumn weather and get the blood flowing again after all that rich food.

  1. If it’s just two of you, really treat yourself.

It can be hard to justify making a huge Thanksgiving meal when it’s just two of you, but that doesn’t mean it has to be any less special, or even any less of a treat. In fact, it should be more so. Make it special by treating yourselves to nicer ingredients and better wine than you would normally use if you were cooking for a large group.

  1. Stay connected with family members far away.

If you can’t be with your loved ones on Thanksgiving, thankfully you can still be together – just virtually! Do a video call or Google Hangout before dinner, or Facetime family members in for the giving-thanks portion of the evening.

Prepping your Kitchen for the Holidays

Check spices that may need restocking

You may think your spice rack is well-stocked, but before you hunker down for the holiday, double-check expiration dates and give them a sniff test. Spices can go rancid or lose their flavor and scent entirely.

Audit your Pantry

A well-stocked pantry of coffee, tea, soda, and snacks is a great start. Then add wine (red, white, and sparkling), unscented candles, and an extra bag of ice for the freezer to your shopping list.

Get your service ware ready

Have your knives sharpened so you don’t end up hacking away at your honey-baked ham. If you are planning on any formal dinner parties over the holidays; polish silver, wash and iron fabric napkins, and clean china well in advance so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.

 Clean your cutting board(s)

If you haven’t done a deep clean on them lately, now is a good time to do so. If you want to avoid using bleach or chemicals, sprinkle the board with a coarse salt and massage it in using a lemon wedge. The lemon juice disinfects and neutralizes any odors, while the salt sloughs off any scraps and stains.

Clean the microwave

There are fewer things less appetizing than a filthy microwave and it is so easy to clean one. Put one cup vinegar and one cup hot water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 5-10 minutes (depending on the level of mess and the strength of your microwave), remove the bowl and wipe the inside clean with a damp towel.

Getting new glassware ready

Put your hair dryer on its highest heat setting and hover it directly over the sticky label for about 30 seconds. Next, test a corner to see if the label lifts up easily. (If not, zap it for another 30 seconds.) Then peel the label off. If there is residue left behind, rub a few drops of olive oil on any sticky parts and let it sit for a minute or two. Then gently peel or scrub the remaining bits off.

Bottle Opener

If you don’t have a good bottle opener – invest in one that does all the work for you, never causing a fuss.

The Refrigerator
Pull everything out. Discard bottles with remnants of ketchup and old leftovers hiding in the back. Remove shelves and drawers and wash them in warm soapy water. Make as much room for pre-prepared dishes and the ultimate onslaught of new leftovers.

Your kitchen looks great and will function for you like a champ all holiday season long.

Haunted Houses: Parties and Interactive Entertainment

Who says Halloween is just for kids?

Remember when being an adult on Halloween meant handing out candy and watching movies at home? Halloween is not only popular with children; more adults are actively celebrating the holiday and venues are rolling out the red carpet for them.  We’ve gathered a list of adult-only entertainment options in Seattle this weekend, varying from from haunted houses, party events, to live theater and more.


Seattle’s largest immersive experience of horror and intrigue; choose your own path and test your bravery as you crawl beneath the skin of this gruesome open world at Seattle Immersive Theatre.

Georgetown Morgue

This Halloween you can’t miss the scariest and best haunted attraction in the entire state of Washington, The Georgetown Morgue.

HAUNT: The Ultimate Halloween Bash

Nearly 2,000 guests will converge on the EMP Museum in Downtown Seattle to enjoy multiple rooms of entertainment, theme decorations, and a gigantic costume contest!

The 13th Annual Cabaret Macabre

For over a decade, the Cabaret Macabre has existed in various forms as hosted by The Bad Things. This year, Cabaret Macabre returns to Columbia City Theater on Halloween for an evening of music and cabaret performance with high Halloween pageantry.

Sister Kate’s “The Seance”

Join the Sister Kate Dance Company as they channel the spirits of jazz rhythm in their exciting new Halloween-themed show, THE SÉANCE.

The Shadow Knows

Seattle-based Sandbox Radio recreates the classic experience of old-style radio magic, with modern touches. This all-new episode—created just for Halloween—presents new plays, songs, poetry, and adaptations of classic literature, all scored with live music and sound effects.

This Is Halloween

Can Can’s seasonal Halloween show is an extravaganza of live orchestral music, cabaret, burlesque and video projected sets inspired by Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Seattle’s Best Trick-or-Treating

Trick-or-treat! Kids of all ages love reciting those magic words and receiving bags full of goodies; however, walking through the streets and knocking on strangers’ doors may not be the best option for young children. Luckily, Seattle offers plenty of opportunities for safe trick-or-treating in controlled environments for kids of all ages.

Pumpkin Bash Featuring BOOMazium at Woodland Park Zoo

What happens when you give a tiger a pumpkin? How about a hippo or a penguin?

West Seattle Junction Harvest Festival 

If you’re looking to do some daylight, non-scary trick-or-treating (or if you just want to get it out of the way).

Trick-or-Treat on Upper Queen Anne

Each year, hundreds of little ghosts and goblins head to upper Queen Anne Avenue for the neighborhood’s annual trick-or-treat festival put on by the Upper Queen Anne Merchants Association.

Trick-or-Treating in the Village – Magnolia

This is a great option for little pumpkins who don’t want to walk very far or little ones who are new to the trick-or-treating scene. The best part? You’ll be home in time for dinner.

Trick-or-Treat at University Village

Take a stroll through U Village where participating merchants will be passing out candy to costumed kiddos on the 31st.

Trick-or-Treat in Fremont

Grab your buckets (or pillowcases!) and head to Fremont for this annual trick-or-treat extravaganza. This year, over 150 Fremont businesses will be handing out candy.

Hilloween – Capitol Hill

Start with some musical performances, add in a costume parade, carnival games and plenty of treats from Broadway Avenue’s merchants, and you’ve got the perfect way to celebrate Halloween.

Wedgwood Trick-or-Treat

Wedgwood’s stores will once again open their doors to costumed characters big and small on Halloween. Look for the orange flyer in the window of participating businesses and be sure to thank them for their community spirit.

Costume Carnival at the Museum

For a truly safe and weatherproof night of trick-or-treating, head to the Seattle Children’s Museum where little punkins (10 and under) can wander the halls looking for treats. Bonus: it’s free to enter the Museum!

Halloween Boo Bash – Northgate Mall

Ghouls, goblins and boo’tiful princesses (ages 0-12) will have a frightfully good time at their annual Halloween Boo Bash. Come decked out in your costume and enjoy various activity stations, games, trick-or-treating, a bouncy house and more.

8th Annual Monster Bash 

Rain or shine, grab your little ghosts and goblins and fly over to this annual Halloween fundraiser for Seattle Children’s Hospital. Come in costume and enjoy a hair-raising haunted house, pony rides, ghoulish games and more.

Halloween Fun at the Seattle Aquarium 

Activities include carving demonstrations with master carver Russ Leno, creepy Halloween games and activities, diver shows, a spooktacular story time, a mad scientist demonstration and much more.

The Museum of Fright at the Museum of Flight

Ghostly apparitions take to the skies at The Museum of Flight, where spooky crafts, airplane simulator rides, monster bowling and ghost stories will get your kiddos in the mood for Halloween. Wear your costume and jump in the photo booth to snap a few pictures.

Pumpkin Patch Season in Seattle

That nip in the air signals not only that autumn is officially here, but that pumpkin patches and apple orchards have their best produce ready to roll.

Don’t think of these as just places to pick up a future Jack-O-Lantern or apples for baking. No, these seasonal entertainment zones feature corn mazes, hay rides, petting zoos and fresh apple cider for a break from the ordinary weekend routine.

Get ready to experience a bit of farm life, make memories and more!












Holiday Family Fun, Seattle Style


Carousel from King 5

The holidays aren’t officially the holidays until your city puts up an old-fashioned carousel with all the lights and glitz that your inner 10-year-old is dying to ride. Take a spin on the DSA’s Holiday Carousel presented by KING 5 in the Winter Village in Westlake Park. Hours of operation: Mon-Thurs 11am-9pm, Fri 11am-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-9pm, Open through January 1, Closed Christmas Day. It’s technically free, but there is a $3 suggested donation to Treehouse. Of course you’re always welcome to donate more if you’re in the giving spirit!

Snow Showers Inside Pacific Place

From now until December 24 you can enjoy a snow flurry without the chill that usually comes with it! At 6pm every night in the atrium of Pacific Place you can watch the snow fall amidst your holiday shopping. The show lasts for about 10 minutes and is the perfect way to wow your young ones.

Teddy Bear Suite at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel

Bears of all shapes and sizes fill the Teddy Bear Suite at The Fairmont. It’s the perfect place to snap a cute picture of your kiddos or hangout and snuggle up with a teddy bear-themed book. It’s open Mon-Thurs 11 am-5 pm, Fri-Sun (and Christmas Eve) 10 am-7 pm. There is no cost, but they are gladly accepting donations for Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Argosy Cruises’ Christmas Ship Festival

A PNW tradition since 1949, the Christmas Ship Festival is the happening holiday staple. The ship sails to over 45 waterfront communities and has a choir onboard. You can even add lights to your own vessel and join in. Hurry up and get your tickets before they sell out! From now until December 23.

Night Tubing

For those of you that are down for a little out of city adventure, Night Tubing at Snoqualmie Pass is a must. Since they pull you up the hill with a rope, it’s even an outing for the little ones. Grab your whole fam on January 8 and head up the mountain to this epic event.