Checking out cool 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.
Candy Cane Lane is in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood and is unique as far as Christmas light displays go. It is also free because rather than a zoo or botanical garden or Seattle Center, Candy Cane Lane is a series of homes on NE Park Road (although a canned food donation is suggested). 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. While 2022 dates haven’t been announced yet, Candy Cane Lane is typically lit up from early December through January.
While not a Christmas light display per se, Snowflake Lane in Bellevue combines 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. This very well may be the best seasonal shopping experience in the Puget Sound area. The lights are turned on nightly from Nov. 25 until Dec. 24, 2022.
There may be no better place to view great holiday lights in the South Sound than Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium during Zoolights. Lighted displays are set up all along the pathways 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.
Zoolights runs every night from Nov. 25, 2022, until Jan. 2, 2023, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Tickets with a timed reservation slot are required to enter.
The Seattle Center is a lovely place to enjoy the holiday atmosphere. The annual Winterfest event typically hosts a full calendar of events, along with the decked-out holiday lights. Winterfest at the Seattle Center takes place from Nov. 25 to Dec. 31, 2022, and it’s one of the only places you can see elaborate light displays with the Space Needle soaring right overhead.
One of the largest Eastside Christmas displays, Renton Holiday Lights decks Gene Coulon Park out with Christmas lights. This isn’t the most prominent display in the area, but it’s free and fun. When the Argosy Christmas Ship is sailing, it often stops by at least once per season, and there are other nights where you’ll find live entertainment. Renton Holiday Lights are open every evening between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. from Dec. 2, 2022, until Jan. 1, 2023.
The Christmas Ship Festival comes to you! Each year, Argosy Cruises sends 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 Spirit of Seattle to enjoy a live choir and boxed meals, snacks, and drinks. The vessel has an entry ramp measuring 41″ wide and accessible restrooms with doors measuring 29″ wide. For more information on the accessibility of the Spirit of Seattle or any of the other Argosy Cruises vessels and docks, you can visit their web page on accessibility or call their office at 206-623-1445 before booking.
If you want to enjoy the Christmas Ship Festival from shore, check the schedule to find out when this floating light parade is coming to your town. The festival visits more than 50 communities. At each stop, people wait beside bonfires. When the parade arrives, the choir on the Christmas Ship sings to those waiting onshore and those on the ship.
Fantasy Lights is the largest drive-through Christmas light display in the Northwest and is located just outside Tacoma. Stay in your car, turn on some Christmas music, and enjoy a leisurely drive through 2 miles of displays. When it opens for the season, Fantasy Lights often closes to cars and welcomes pedestrians. Some nights do involve long lines to get in, but the perk of this is that traffic moves slower, so you get more time to look at the displays!
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.