By Sue Gabel, Examiner.com
The week after Thanksgiving is the official start of the Christmas holiday season and Seattle is always bustling with a variety of events. Several activities in the Seattle area will be around through the New Year, while others may only be experienced this coming weekend. Be sure to check out this guide on the best things to do in Seattle and don’t miss out on some memorable holiday fun!
Swing, punk, ska and rockabilly music fans should come out to the Tractor Tavern this Friday night and celebrate the latest music from the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. The band’s newest album in almost five years, “White Teeth, Black Thoughts” is scheduled for release sometime in early 2013. But Cherry Poppin’ Daddies is ready for their fans to hear some of these new tracks now while they’re on tour. The band first debuted in 1989 and is best known for the hit song titled “Zoot Suit Riot,” released in 1997.
Holiday Parade of Lights with Waterways Cruises
When: Saturday, Dec. 1 at 6:15 p.m.
Where: Waterways Cruises HomePort
2441 N. Northlake Way
Seattle, WA 98103
Price: $72 general/$65 senior or military/$39 children 5 to 12/free children 4 and younger
This holiday season, sail and dine aboard a festively decorated yacht to experience the wonderment of Seattle’s Holiday Parade of Lights cruise. Passengers will depart from Lake Union and enjoy a buffet dinner of several courses, which is accompanied by live music. The evening also includes cruising by several lights displays located along the water, a champagne toast, winter cocktails, hot cider and holiday caroling. Cruises are available every weekend until Dec. 8, then daily up until Christmas Eve.
Seattle Center Winterfest
When: Friday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013
Where: Seattle Center
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, WA 98109
Price: Free admission. Ice skating – cash only: $7 adults/$5 children 6 to 12/$2 children 5 and younger
The highly anticipated Seattle Center Winterfest began November 23 and will run through January 6, 2013. Admission to this annual festival is free for everyone and it features musical performances from the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Men’s Chorus, ice sculpting demonstrations and Christmas caroling from The Dickens Carolers. Kids have the opportunity to control a model-size train through the snow-covered train tracks of the Winter Train and Village. Ice skating is also available for a nominal fee at the Winterfest Ice Rink.
WildLights at Woodland Park Zoo
When: Friday, Nov. 23 to Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013
Where: Woodland Park Zoo
750 N. 50th St.
Seattle, WA 98103
Price: Nov. 23 to Dec. 13 – $8.50 adults/$6.50 children 3 to 12/free children 2 and younger
Dec. 14 to Jan. 1 (peak nights) – $9.50 adults/$6.50 children 3 to 12/free children 2 and younger
Brand new for 2012, Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo is having its very first WildLights winter festival. The lights festival will feature several thousand twinkling LED lights, which recreate wild animals and their habitats from around the world. Animated light displays will be on exhibit both indoors and outdoors, with such themes as “Jungle Lights,” “Northern Lights” and “The Water Hole.” In addition to viewing the light displays, visitors may ride the on-site carousel, as well as see resident reindeer up close.
Rocket to the Top of the Space Needle and See Seattle’s Coolest Santa
When: Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2
Where: Space Needle
400 Broad St.
Seattle, WA 98109
Price: $19 adult
Bartell’s Drugs and the Space Needle have partnered for an ongoing promotion through Dec. 30, allowing visitors to go up to the observation deck for free. You must obtain a Bartell’s voucher from one of their area stores and have it present when you purchase your additional tickets. The voucher is good for one free adult admission or two youth admissions. The Rocket to the Top of the Space Needle promotion also includes weekend visits from Seattle’s own “coolest Santa.” He will be at the Observation Deck to do a meet-and-greet, take pictures, take kids wish list requests and spread holiday cheer. Santa is available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Holiday Walking Tour from Seattle By Foot
When: Every Saturday in December
Where: South Lake Union Street Car
5th Ave. and Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98101
Price: $18 adults/$14 children 4 to 16/free children 3 and younger
If you’re interested in taking a holiday-themed walking tour of downtown Seattle, call and reserve a day and time with Seattle By Foot. Each tour takes a small group of people––no more than 10 at a time––through four Seattle districts that are decorated to the hilt with Christmas lights of all kinds. You will also hear the history of various locations you pass, including theaters, retail stores, Pike Place Market and more. Before embarking on this tour, check the local weather report and dress accordingly, for in Seattle, it can be ever so temperamental.
Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses
When: Daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Experience Music Project Museum
325 5th Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109
Price: $20 adults 18 to 64 (save $2 by buying online)/$17 senior age 65+ and students with I.D./$14 military with I.D. and youth age 5 to 17/free for children 4 and younger
It may have opened more than a year ago, but Seattle’s Experience Music Project Museum is still seeing numerous visitors to its “Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses” exhibit. If you have not yet experienced this venue, come in, have a look around and stay awhile. This particular exhibit showcases never before seen collections and memorabilia of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, as well as rare photographs, handwritten lyrics and instruments created by or used by the band. Visit and pay your tribute to one of the most awesome genres of music to ever come out of Seattle – 90s grunge.