Seattle in December: Top 10 Winter-Special Events, Sightseeing and Shows to Enjoy

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Seattle loves to celebrate the good things and entertainment in life, no matter what season. When pleasant winters gracefully enter Seattle in December, the city with its heritage exposed brick buildings, quaint cafes and briskly snow-laden evergreen forests offer ambient sightseeing spots, shopping smorgasbords, coastal ventures and fine dining sprees. Receiving light precipitation just before the onset of winter, Seattle is a vibrant, cosy destination to explore during the festive season. From lively clubs to ravishing gardens, every corner is embellished with a bevvy of fairy lights in Seattle in December.

Seattle Weather in December

Seattle in December
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As temperatures vary between 35°F and 45°F; townsfolk gather to make merry indoors. Many agree that the name Seattle is synonymous with harsh, frigid winters and rainy weather; still, unlike other northern cities in winter, outdoor sightseeing opportunities are also plentiful in Seattle in December with lesser crowds and more availability than usual. Visiting Seattle in December is bound to be your most memorable off-season tour.

10 Things To Do in Seattle in December

Seattle in December, Westlake Mall
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Winter events and celebrations in Seattle in December mostly revolve around the city’s halls, pubs, movie theatres, carolers and downtown festive shopping. If you are more of an adventure aficionado, nature parks, museums, and hiking trails would leave you wanting to come back for more. Here is a comprehensive list of the best indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy in Seattle exclusively in December.

1. Hiking at Discovery Park

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Overlooking Puget Sound Lake from Magnolia Bluff's shores, Discovery Park is Seattle’s largest urban park with a scenic coastline, heritage sites, and 9 miles of meandering walking trails. This bluff-top nature park is a winter abode of 534 acres perched so high that it pierces Seattle's fog. Discovery Park houses hiking trails through protected forested meadows, dramatic cliffs, dunes, floral thickets, valleys and streams.  You can enjoy birdwatching, sunrises in the wee hours of dawn and picnics at the breathtaking Olympic Mountain Range and Daybreak Marine Center within this reserve park. Seattle’s oldest lighthouse, built-in 1881, is also open for sightseeing here.
Location: 3801 Discovery Park Boulevard, Seattle, Washington 98199
Timings: 4am - 8pm
Entry Tickets: USD 16.95 (adults). Free entry for children under 17.
Points of Interest:
  • West Point Lighthouse 
  • National Recreation Trail
  • Elliot Bay
  • Daybreak Star Cultural Center

2. Shopping at The Bellevue Collection

The Bellevue Collection
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The Bellevue Collection is the best Christmas special event to enjoy at a shopping centre in Seattle in December. Housing over 120 stores like Burberry and Disney Store, the mall drive-in features a rental drive-through with traditional snowflake lane decor, parties, local vendors selling tasty treats and music events. Driving along Lincoln Square and Bellevue Avenue, enjoy lip-smacking American snacks, hot dogs, coffee at Starbucks and candies. You can take a fun photo of your kids with welcoming Santa mascots. There are a plethora of global brands, boutiques and clothing stores here to complete your Christmas shopping. Be sure to drop by at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, which throws a massive lounge party with a towering Christmas tree and gingerbread displays.
Location: 575 Bellevue Square, Bellevue, Seattle, Washington 98004
Open hours: 10am - 9pm, Monday - Sunday
Best Stores for Shopping:
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Banana Republic
  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Godiva Chocolatier

3. Join the Winterfest at Seattle Center

Winterfest at Seattle Center
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If you wish your holiday mood in Seattle in December never ends, Seattle Center Winterfest is going to be your favourite outdoor event. The seasonal, family-friendly fair lasting for 5 weeks each year features music and dance performances, uplifting holiday workshops and child-centric events that are fun for all. You can participate in cooking, craft and light display at Cornish Playhouse. There is holiday-themed, spirited entertainment at the ice-skating rink, a snowy village and a central platform flanked with neon-lit sculptures of ice. You can tour the entire campus on a toy train and enjoy 360-degree views of the Seattle skyline.
Location: 305 Harrison, Seattle, Washington 98109
Dates: November 27, 2021 - December 31, 2021
Event Price: USD 50
Timings: 10am - 6pm

4. Museum Visits in Seattle in December

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Owing to the city’s long history, Seattle is a chest of 40 large and rich museums. Seattle’s museums offer hands-on guided tours instead of letting you stare at displays. While the Museum of Pop Culture hosts interactive music-making events that highlight the city’s eminence in Hollywood, the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum is a world-famous centre collecting Dave Chihuly’s lifelong artworks. They have a beautifully landscaped garden in front, boasting shady picnic areas, manicured plants and birdwatching spots. During winter, history buffs gather at The Museum of Flight to watch the open-air aviation artefacts and hanging arrays of vintage planes covered in glistening snow.
Timings: Most museums in Seattle open at 11am and close before 5pm.
Must-Visit Museums in Seattle:
  • Pacific Science Center
  • Seattle Pinball Museum
  • T.A. Wilson Great Gallery
  • Glasshouse
  • Space Needle

5. Taking Coffee Tours

Seattle Coffee Tours
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Nothing charges us up like the fresh aroma of home-brewed coffee in infamously cold cities like Seattle. At the end of the year, Washington brings in yearly coffee harvests. While visiting Seattle in December, embark on an adventure trip starting with Downtown Coffee Shop Tours on sunny mornings. Sip on espressos, American cappuccinos, and custom made brews and enjoy walking tours of Seattle’s best spots for grabbing a latte on a winter day. You can join artists, entrepreneurs, and ardent influencers at trendy tasting rooms, even at the chic street-side cafes. Many coffee shops like Lighthouse Roasters and Starbucks also serve mouth-watering pancakes, burgers, truffles and crepes.
Best Coffee Shops in Seattle:
  • Cafe Cosmos - 1st Avenue
  • Capitol Coffee Works - East Pike Street
  • Moore Coffee Shop - 2nd Avenue
  • Anchorhead Coffee - 7th Avenue

6. Enjoy Aerial Views of Seattle at Space Needle

Space Needle in Seattle
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Treasured as an icon of the city, Space Needle is Seattle’s largest observation tower with the world’s first-ever rotating glass floor and picturesque skyline views. The spectacular, saucer-shaped “Top House” lounge at a startling elevation of 605 feet at this grand spire attracts visitors and tourists worldwide. You can enjoy one of the finest aerial views of Puget Sound, Mount Rainier and snow-laden peaks of the Olympic Mountains during winter. After their recent 100 million dollar makeover and introduction of a rustic basement cafe, Space Needle has become an abode for any weather.
Location: 400 Broad Street, Seattle, Washington 98109
Open Hours: 12pm - 5pm
Tickets: USD 24.50 - USD 37.50

7. Holiday Shopping - Renegade Craft Fair

Renegade Craft Fair, Seattle
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Instead of the traditional last-minute holiday shopping, finish it all in one go at the Renegade Craft Fair in Seattle’s 350-acre large Magnuson Park in December. This winter fair presents budget-friendly boutiques, upscale clothing, handcrafted jewellery, accessories and home decor items unique to the Pacific Northwest culture. Numerous talented artisans also sell their original artworks having quirky modern themes at this yearly fair. You can bring a picnic with your kids while exploring the 150 national and local vendors at Renegade Craft Fair, embellished with festive lights and Christmas decor.
Location: Warren G. Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way, Northeast Seattle, Washington 98115
Dates: December 14 and 15, 2021
Timings: 11am - 5pm

8. Watch the Nutcracker at McCaw Hall

Nutcracker at McCaw Hall
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For those who would like to watch a holiday show in Seattle in December, The Nutcracker is definitely the best of its kind, hosted by the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Premiering in 1954, this holiday classic held at the opulent McCaw Hall is one of the fanciest performances delivered by stellar ballet groups. Bespoke, glamorous costuming and innovative lighting accompanied by the vintage PNB orchestra playing the score Tchaikovsky creates a magical winter evening in Seattle. This event is more than just a show - it is almost customary for couples and families in Seattle to attend the staged ballet and enjoy an elaborate pre-show dinner at the balcony restaurant.
Location: 321 Mercer Street, Seattle, Washington 98109
Date: December 28, 2021
Run time: 2 hours, single intermission

9. Sightseeing at Seattle Waterfront

Seattle Waterfront in December
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Seattle Waterfront refers to the city's central part, marked with the iconic entrance at Pike Place Market. This vast alfresco market is packed with crafts, freshly-caught fish and groceries in Seattle in December, hot and sumptuous pizzas, chicken bites, pancakes and full course meals. In the mellow afternoon sun, head out for a cruise or climb aboard the Great Seattle Ferris Wheel to feast your eyes on panoramic cityscapes. Seattle Waterfront is also home to the Seattle Aquarium, a non-profit organization housing exotic marine animals from different parts of the world. Every December, Magic in the Market is celebrated with live music, light shows and playful reindeer.
Parking Fees: USD 3 per hour
Points of Attraction:
  • Pike Street Hill Climb
  • Pier 57
  • Miner’s Landing Restaurant
  • Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
  • Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar
  • Seattle Shirt Company

10. Skiing at Stevens Pass

Skiing at Stevens Pass
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If the light and the thin layer of city snow in Seattle in December does not evoke the winter lover in you, plan a trip to the ski area at Stevens Pass in the Cascade Mountains, two hours east of Seattle. This quaint village has been a winter wonderland in the suburbs since Stevens Pass Nordic Center's establishment. Apart from a massive inventory of ten chairlifts and 1,000 acres of snow-covered hills, this day and night skiing centre and the resort also have tubing, snowboarding facilities for beginners and pros. Accredited professionals guide you throughout, while bright Christmas lights at Stevens Pass show how downhill five nights each week.
Location: US-2, Skykomish, Washington 98288
Tickets: USD 45 (adults)
Open Hours: 9am - 10pm, open daily
Number of trails: 49 (designated)

Tips For Visiting Seattle in December

Seattle in December
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In case you are not familiar with the city, here are a few tips to enhance your experience of Seattle in December: -
  1. Since temperatures often dip to freezing points and it rains unpredictably, dress up warmly and carry umbrellas.
  2. Enjoy winter-special activities in Seattle like boating, wine tasting, skiing, hiking and trekking.
  3. Indulge in Pacific Northwest style food, Seattle’s signature comfort cuisine.
  4. Seattle’s public transportation is convenient to get around and cheaper compared to guided tours.
As soon as creativity and cultural energy fill the city of Seattle in December, prepare to explore a new season in your favourite winter city in Washington. Let us know your queries about things to do in Seattle in December in the comments below.

This post was published by Koushiki Kundu

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