Holiday jammies? Check. Thermos of hot cocoa? Poured. Sounds like you’re ready to hit the city in search of Seattle Christmas lights with the kids
Seattle’s dark winter nights make the perfect backdrop for the colorful holiday lights that kick off the winter season right after families have finished their Thanksgiving dinner. If a brighter-than-bright light display is what you’re after, we’ve got more than a few Seattle Christmas lights that will get you in the spirit. From synched neighborhood light shows to spectacular walk-thru and drive-thru experiences, each will dazzle and amaze wide-eyed kiddos and their bundled-up parents, too. Don’t forget the hot cocoa!
Where to find the best Seattle Christmas lights
Candy Cane Lane
23 cute little houses all in a row, adorned with lights, blow-ups, sleighs, and reindeer are what you’ll find at this Seattle institution. Since 1949, Candy Cane Lane in Ravenna has been charming visitors far and wide with their whimsical, neighborhood display. Want the scoop on this popular event? Read up before heading out.
Find It: N.E. Park Rd., just off the main drag of Ravenna Blvd. at the cross street of 21st Ave. N.E.
Disco Vinnie’s House
A local favorite, Disco Vinnie has been designing elaborate light displays that really wow the neighborhood for years. With over 5,000 LED lights and 12-foot video screen, visiting this spot is a feast for the senses that’s full of holiday cheer. Unlike other shows, this one runs for five hours and cycles through 80 songs, so you can swing by, stay for a bit and then come back another time for a totally new experience. It features four singing, old-fashioned light bulbs with talking faces (they make great back-up singers when harmonies are needed) and two arches that will really dazzle the kids.
Insider Tip: Disco Vinnie’s house is near the zoo, so hit this one before or after seeing WildLanterns!
Find It: 6212 9th Ave N.W., Seattle
Related: Stroll Down Seattle’s Sweetest Lane This Holiday Season
Menashe Family Lights
West Seattleites have long loved visiting the Menashe Family Lights. With over 340,000 lights strung around the property, alongside blow-up characters, animated animals, a manger scene with vintage figures and a sweet little train that captivates the kidlets, this is one display that’s brimming with holiday cheer. In years past, the Menashes have invited Santa and Mrs. Claus to make an appearance and even unleashed gentle flurries on the gathered crowd. Who knows what special additions will be made this year. Plan to park the car along the street and get out to wander (and wonder) at this dazzling display.
Insider Tip: When you’re on this side of the bridge, drive-by West Seattle Yuletide to watch their dancing lights. And check the West Seattle Blog for other happening houses that are totally lit this Christmas.
Find It: 5605 Beach Dr. SW., Seattle
One of the newer Seattle Christmas light shows on the block, this display started in 2020 and has been bringing it ever since. After a successful first Halloween light run, the Christmas lights are next on the holiday spirit list. Usually set up the first week in December, it’s an engaging synched light show that follows the recipe for success—catchy tunes, dancing lights, and the chance to enjoy them both from the comfort of your car. Tune into 103.1 FM and then sit back. This year promises to be another great one, with bigger and brighter lights. Plus, they’ve been known to host a New Year’s Eve countdown too.
Find It: 8103 8th Ave. N.E., Seattle
The Olympic Manor Neighborhood light display makes for a lovely winter evening walk (or slow drive) for families. The houses in the area are decked and then decked again for a truly illuminating effect that can’t help but make you smile. Bundle up for this one!
Find It: Between N.W. 75th & N.W. 100th, Seattle
A lovely drive through a lighted neighborhood and favorite holiday tunes on the radio is the perfect incentive for some fun with the fam. So, fill up the tank and grab your slippers, then head out to this multi-family display in Mountlake Terrace where you can take a stroll or drive around the nearly 25 houses lighting the way. This sparkling spectacular runs through New Year’s Day. Away you go!
Find It: 22702 42nd Pl. W., Montlake Terrace, WA
WildLanterns at Woodland Park Zoo
Although this isn’t a traditional holiday light display, we’re willing to cheat. Because the popular WildLanterns is back for 2023, and it’s all-new with a few surprises in store. A different kind of winter light display, it features four themed zones where you’ll encounter lighted animals and plants lining the zoo’s walking paths. From the beautifully lit butterfly, bug and plant lanterns that start everything off to the mysterious animals just past the fairy tree, this display is totally lit. Don’t forget to make a stop at the interactive zone (in the center of the zoo), but know when you do, your kids won’t want to leave.
Dates: Select dates Nov. 10, 2023-Jan. 14, 2024
Times: 4-9 p.m. (last entry at 8:30 p.m.)
5500 Phinney Ave. N.
Related: WildLantern’s Returns! Your Insider’s Guide is Here
Illuminate Winterfest at Seattle Center
If you like your holiday lights with a side of a music and water show, head to Seattle Center to take it all in. Part of the annual Winterfest celebration, the campus will be lit from trees to buildings with lights to illuminate Seattle’s dark winter nights. Also in the mix is the International Fountain, programmed for holiday cheer with a music and light show to get everyone in the spirit of the season.
Find It: 305 Harrison St., Seattle
Dates: Nov. 25-Dec. 31, 2023
Related: Can’t-Miss Holiday Attractions in Downtown Seattle
The best holiday light displays in Bellevue & beyond
Get into the holiday spirit with this long-standing Eastside family favorite. The annual Garden d’Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden opens the day after Thanksgiving and runs through Dec. 31. Expect to see displays you’ve grown to love over the years, like Charlotte of web fame and Willie the Slug, but be on the lookout for some new displays and critters in the mix too. Plan about 30 minutes to see this fantastic display along oh-so-stroller-friendly trails.
Good to Know: Tickets are just $8 per person, and kids 10 & under are free but will need a ticket. Tickets are date and time-specific and must be purchased in advance.
Dates: Nov. 25-Dec. 31, 2023 (Closed on Christmas Day)
Time: 4:30-9 p.m.
Bellevue Botanical Garden
12001 Main St.
Related: Merry, Merry! Eastside Holiday Attractions for Families
Google Musical Holiday Lights
The Cross Kirkland Corridor is where you’ll find this musical display. Back again for another exciting year, families can gaze at this magnificent display that’s programmed by Google engineers. It’s a chance for them to dazzle you with their programming chops. 10,000 lights will dance to holiday music. Whether you and the kids do too is up to you. There are two places where families can park for free to enjoy the display. Try the Google surface parking lot (Google Building B, 787 6th St. S.) or the first level of Google Building D (451 7th Ave. S.).
Insider Tip: Plan to see this display turn on when you attend the party on December 2. Expect a petting zoo, a photo booth, hot chocolate and cookies for all. It all starts around 5 p.m., carolers take the stage at 5:15 p.m., and the display goes live around 5:30 p.m.
Dates & Times: Dec. 1, 2023-Jan. 1, 2024; 5-10 p.m.
Find It: 509 6 St. S., Feriton Spur Park, Kirkland, WA
Redmond Lights 2023
Art meets light at this walkable public display. It’s a month-long celebration of community and belonging that highlights local artists and their work. This year has plenty of special additions to the usual display including Friday Night Celebrations featuring live entertainment, crafts, vendors, and more—a great reason to brave the chilly winter nights in December. Or keep everyone warm and still have fun when your budding artists participate in the kid’s coloring contest.
Dates & Times: Dec. 1, 2023-Jan. 3, 2024; 5-11 p.m.
16101 N.E. Redmond Way
Maple Valley Lights
You’ll find merriment and dancing lights at this stunning display in Maple Valley. Getting in on the festivities is easy. Simply pull up with your cuties and tune the car radio to 101.9 on your FM dial to enjoy the show that’s filled with Christmas spirit. Then sit back and watch the mesmerizing 70,000 lights do their thing as they cycle through 15-20 songs (that’s about 35-40 solid minutes of programming) before heading home to put the Littles to bed. In addition to finding Santa, complete with reindeer, on the roof, exciting new songs has been added to the playlist.
Good to Know: If you would like to drop off a food donation, you’ll find a spot to leave non-perishables for the Maple Valley Food Bank.
Insider Tip: While you’re in the area, be sure to check out two other area displays. Swing by Paint the Night Christmas Lights and Christmas at the Arbors to make your night complete.
Find It: 22629 S.E. 263rd Pl., Maple Valley, WA
Christmas in Redmond
Now in its eight year, this Eastside display is all about tradition. And this is the second year the display will be completely RGB (that’s light show speak for pixelated red, green and blue LED lights). Now boasting a complete rainbow of colors, families can expect about seven or eight songs to be featured, and should plan to sit back and relax as the lights do their thing for about 20 minutes. Just tune your car radio to 103.1 FM to make the cascading jumping lights spring to life, like a reindeer on a rooftop.
Location: 6203 144th Ave. N.E., Redmond, WA
Head north of the city to see these holiday lights
The folks at Evergreen Church in Bothell hope you and the kids will stop by to enjoy this popular light display that’s a favorite with north end families. The Littles will be entertained by over 500,000 bright lights dancing to choreographed music while parents can snuggle up under the heat lamps nearby. Expect snow flurries every 30 minutes and an improved Pixel Light Tunnel that’s sure to impress your friends on social. Head inside to watch trains and warm up with cookies and cocoa (available for purchase) before making your way back to the city.
Find It: 3429 240th St. S.E., Bothell, WA
Dates: Dec. 1-24, 2023
Kornfed’s Christmas Lights
Lights and inflatables that are the envy of Christmas enthusiasts cover pretty much every inch at this house in Bothell that really goes all out for the season. When you visit, stay a while to take it all in, checking out what’s new and different—and hey, what’s over there? Kids will have a blast seeing the whimsical elements of this brighter-than-bright display that gets bigger every year. But the real heart of this display is the donations they collect for families in need. If you’re able, please bring a food or toys to support the MayWood Hills PTSA. Cash or monetary donations work too. Last year, they collected over $3,000 and 1,000 lbs. of food that went to local famililes.
Find It: 10629 Sunrise Dr., Bothell, WA
Pennlights Holiday Show
This spectacular dancing light show, started back in 2007 by Dan Penn, and it pulls out all the stops, bringing holiday cheer to the neighborhood. Plan to spend around 20 minutes taking it all in, tuned to 92.1 FM from your car. Enjoy watching the 10-foot rooftop light grid that really wows. Expect lots of fast-paced holiday songs, mash-ups, and dub step that’ll have your kids dancing in their car seats. If you’re able, take in this show on a weeknight; it’s at the end of a cul-de-sac so things can get a bit crowded on the weekends. Make a plan to visit this cheerful display.
Find It: 21726 N.E. 136th Pl., Woodinville, WA
A sweet, family-run show that’s not too far from the city is what’s in store at this display. After pictures with Santa at Alderwood Mall, swing by to catch the nightly show that runs just under 20 minutes. Tune your dial to 103.1 FM to hear the music that’s synched to the lights, then sit back and enjoy. Shows run every 30 minutes to help you make your plan.
Insider Tip: Park across the street for the best view of this charming display.
Find It: 1409 172nd Pl. S.W., Lynnwood, WA
The Lights of Christmas
If you’re up for a drive, consider making the trek to Stanwood to see The Lights of Christmas. A truly special show that features over one million twinkling lights, it doesn’t get better than this one for spreading holiday cheer. Tune into Christmas music on the radio, then roll down the windows to wave to Mr. & Mrs. Claus as you drive slowly past. Favorite light displays include the light tunnel, Cascade Splendor mountain scene, and Santa with his reindeer. Save some room for their fresh mini hot donuts—the perfect snack for your drive home.
Insider Tip: Advance online tickets are required.
Dates: Select dates Nov. 26-Dec. 30
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center
20800 Marine Dr.
South Sound holiday displays that are worth the drive
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s annual Zoolights festival is a great outdoor display for animal lovers of all ages to catch. Each year, the grounds are decked out in their dazzling best to wow visitors big and small. In addition to familiar faves, like the giant octopus and the Narrows Bridge, kids should keep their eyes peeled for Sasquatch and other secret displays as they marvel at this magical electric avenue. And for all the light tunnel fans—get your cameras ready—because this Christmas light display has two tunnels.
Dates: Nov. 24-Jan. 1 (closed Dec. 24-25)
Times: 4:30-9 p.m.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
5400 N. Pearl St.
Bigger, better, and brighter is the name of the game at this year’s Holiday Magic, a walk-through light experience at the Washington State Fairgrounds. It premiered in 2020 as a safe way for visitors to get their holiday light fix. Now, families will encounter more fantastic light displays at the Light Extravaganza and Hometown Holiday Forest, where lighted trees delight, but the fun doesn’t stop there. We know your kids will want to hop aboard the Santa Express Train, ride the Sugar Plum Merry-Go-Round, and see if they can spot the Big Guy in Red at Santa’s Village. The ice skating rink is back for another season of cheer, and holiday food is available to purchase, an easy way to keep the kids happy as you explore.
Dates: Delect dates Dec. 1-23
Washington State Fairgrounds
110 9th Ave. S.W.
Related: Where to Find Seattle’s Coolest Ice Skating Rinks This Season
The Very Merry Christmas House
Be sure to put the Best Of Washington’s 2015 winner on your driving route this year. Families will always find something different at this display that changes from year to year. To listen to the songs synched with the over 70,000 lights, tune into 89.1 FM. We love that this display is totally committed to being “green.” In fact, almost everything you see has been saved from the landfill by display designer, Gena Laws and her family. If the spirit of the season moves you, bring some canned food to support the Black Diamond Senior Center and Food Bank. The Laws family is proud to have raised over 50,000 pounds of food in the past 13 years.
Find It: 30211 176th Ave. S.E., Kent, WA (follow signs off of Covington/Sawyer Rd. & 179th)
Good to Know:
1. Be sure to check the Facebook pages of your favorite residential displays for progress reports, scheduling changes, and amazing photos of what you’ll see.
2. Many of these displays go live Thanksgiving weekend, while others don’t start until December. Be sure to check dates, times, and ticket requirements of your favorite displays before heading out.