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HOLIDAY MARKETS & SHOPPING
33rd Annual Dickens Fair
The 33rd annual Dickens Fair promises all the old-fashioned holiday merriment of 1800s England—including craft vendors and live music—with none of the measles, mumps, or ghosts.
Saturday, 12309 22nd St NE (Lake Stevens)
39th Annual Winter Festival & Crafts Fair
Scoop up one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones (including locally made wreaths) from over 120 makers, see dance traditions from around the world, and sip mulled wine and other hot drinks. Don't forget to bring canned food donations for FamilyWorks Food Resource Center.
Saturday-Sunday, Phinney Neighborhood Association
Arboretum Holiday Sale
Find great gifts for all the plant parents you know, from botanical decorations to wreaths and specialty items. There will also be hot drinks and kids' activities.
Saturday, Washington Park Arboretum (Montlake)
When you purchase a holiday gift at this market, your proceeds will benefit any number of local and global charities.
Friday-Saturday, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center (Seattle Center)
King Street Makers Market
More than 50 Pacific Northwest makers will gather in King Street Station to fulfill your holiday gift-giving needs.
Friday-Sunday, King Street Station (Pioneer Square)
Punk Rock Flea Market Holidaze Edition
Your favorite underground shopping experience will feature over 80 vendors hawking clothes, arts and crafts, food items, bikes, droids, skateboards, and everything else you can think of to satisfy the eclectic interests of the weirdos in your life.
Saturday, Mount Baker Station
Rainier Beach Arts and Crafts Market
Local artists and artisans will sell their woodwork, ceramics, jewelry, sculptures, artisanal foods, and more for all your crafty gift needs.
Rainier Beach Community Club
Urban Craft Uprising 15th Annual Winter Show
You'd be hard-pressed to find zilch for your loved ones at Urban Craft Uprising's tried-and-true indie craft show. With over 150 vendors selling a huge variety of hand-crafted goods—from jewelry to clothing to paper goods to candles to housewares—you're bound to find unique gifts for the holidays.
Friday-Sunday, Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
Alderwood Photos with Santa
Kids can tell Santa what they want for Christmas and take photos with him until Christmas Eve.
Friday-Sunday, Alderwood Mall (Lynnwood)
Asian American Santa & Local Artist Gift Fair
Get your photo taken with Asian American Santa! You'll cherish your children's Santa photos forever, whether they're smiling gleefully or bawling like they're sitting on a giant, hairy stranger's lap. You can also shop for gifts made by local artists.
Saturday, Wing Luke Museum (Chinatown-International District)
Auburn Santa Parade
Per annual tradition, a festive children's parade with Santa will be followed by community caroling and the lighting of the City Hall Christmas tree, which happens in conjunction with a "synchronized light show."
Saturday, Auburn City Hall
Ballard HolidayFest 2019
It's no surprise that Ballard—Seattle's most Scandinavian neighborhood—takes the holidays as a chance to celebrate the wintry creatures of Nordic folklore. This family-friendly affair promises "Tomten adventures," photos with Santa, snackable treats and hot chocolate, and more.
Saturday, Bergen Place (Ballard)
Black Santa at NAAM
Every year, Black Santa pays a visit to the Northwest African American Museum to take photos with kids and hear their holiday wishes. While kids are in line, they can enjoy a host of activities like arts and crafts and a holiday movie screening.
Saturday-Sunday, Northwest African American Museum (Atlantic)
Santa can squeeze down narrow chimney shafts and make it to every home on Earth in the span of a few hours, so it should come as no surprise that he's also an accomplished diver. See the jolly man glide through the 120,000-gallon Window on Washington Waters exhibit and snap photos with him.
Friday-Sunday, Seattle Aquarium (Downtown)
Downtown Puyallup Lighted Santa Parade
Santa will make his grand entrance on one of Puyallup's oldest fire engines at this annual parade, which also features a holiday market and tree lighting.
Saturday, Windermere Real Estate (Puyallup)
Holidays at the Needle
Santa will park his sleek new glass sleigh on the Space Needle's revolving glass floor, so your photos with the jolly man will feature the Seattle cityscape beneath your feet.
Saturday-Sunday, Space Needle (Seattle Center)
Experience new Yuletide traditions at this Danish julehygge, which promises crafts (like woven hearts and stars and oranges with cloves), stories of Danish Christmas elves, kringle and gløgg, and a visit from Julemanden (aka Santa).
Sunday, Seattle Danish Center (North Seattle)
What could be cozier than a bonfire, hot cocoa, twinkling holiday lights, and alpacas? This annual family-friendly winter celebration promises all that and more—like a visit from Santa, a sledding hill, food trucks, and live music.
Saturday, Marina Park (Kirkland)
Lake City Winterfest
Lake City kids can meet Santa, eat cookies, sip cider, and get their faces painted.
Saturday, Seattle Public Library (Lake City)
The Lights of Christmas Festival
Meet Santa, have some snacks, hear stories and music, pay a visit to Baby J at the Nativity, shop, and pet friendly animals at "the largest holiday festival in the Northwest."
Friday-Sunday, Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center (Stanwood)
Normandy Park Winterfest & Tree Lighting Ceremony
Santa will make a "rockstar entrance" at Normandy Park's seventh annual holiday festival and tree lighting. While you're there, you can pick up gluhwein boots and mugs from Germany.
Saturday, Normandy Park
The Polar Express
The magical train first imagined by children's book author Chris Van Allsburg will come to life in Elbe, bringing 90 minutes of festive entertainment, hot cocoa, and cookies to kids and families as the vessel journeys to the North Pole. True to the original story, each kid will come away with a silver bell with which to remember the magic of Christmas. No word yet on whether or not Tom Hanks will serve as the conductor.
Friday-Sunday, Mt. Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum (Elbe)
Santa's Coming to Town Holiday Events
Mill Creek's one-day celebration will run the gamut of family-friendly holiday activities, including Santa photos, free train rides, a Santa parade, and a tree lighting.
Saturday, Various locations (Mill Creek)
Santa Paws at Seattle Humane
Bring your human and canine family to the shelter for photos with Santa.
Saturday, Seattle Humane (Bellevue)
Swanson's Reindeer Festival
Shop a variety of seasonal plants, bulbs, arrangements, and Christmas trees, as well as other gifts like books, jewelry, and home decor, at the decked-out nursery. Plus, visit with Santa and his real-life reindeer, check out model trains, and enjoy live music throughout the season.
Friday-Sunday, Swansons Nursery (Crown Hill)
Tree Lighting Festival and Holiday Market
An afternoon of activities awaits you in Kenmore, from dance and music performances and a tree lighting at City Hall to a holiday market at Town Square to Santa photos at Kenmore Camera.
Saturday, Various locations (Kenmore)
Santa at the Conservatory
Take photos with the jolly man of Christmas with a backdrop of the Volunteer Park Conservatory's festive poinsettias and rare tropical plants.
Saturday, Volunteer Park Conservatory (Capitol Hill)
Did you know that Santa has a cabin right next to Sephora? Visit him with your pet in tow for holiday photos to benefit Seattle Humane.
Friday-Sunday, University Village (University District)
HOLIDAY COMMUNITY FESTIVALS
Enumclaw Christmas Parade
The merry sound of bagpipes will get an extra dose of gusto at Enumclaw's "Christmas Magic" parade.
Saturday, Seattle Scottish Rite Masonic Center (Enumclaw)
Fire + Ice Festival
Winter is a time for snow people and warm fires to complement each other from a distance, and the holidays wouldn't be complete without them. For its third annual Fire and Ice festival, the Museum of Glass hosts a variety of holiday-themed performances and demonstrations.
Friday-Sunday, Museum of Glass (Tacoma)
Fremont Festivus 2019
Enjoy a weekend of non-denominational holiday events in Fremont, including the Lenin Lighting (Fri), the Roamin' Holiday Bazaar (Sat-Sun), and the Fremont Music Festival (Sat).
The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition
Dozens of caroling teams will once again gather downtown to sing holiday ditties in support of the Pike Market Senior Center & Food Bank, which offers free meals, free groceries, one-on-one counseling, and other services to low-income and homeless people in Seattle. The top caroling teams will compete in a very festive "sing-off" on the Figgy Pudding main stage at the end of the night.
Friday, Westlake Center (Downtown)
Hanukkah Community Concert + Celebration
Hanukkah is still a few weeks away, but you can celebrate early with games, crafts, latkes, and live music from West Coast musicians Elana Jagoda and Chava Mirel.
Sunday, Stroum Jewish Community Center (Mercer Island)
Holly Jolly Holiday Parade & Shop & Stroll
Join music-makers, youth groups, pets, floats, and families as they parade down First and Second Street.
Saturday, Langley (Whidbey Island)
Over 30 Scandinavian vendors will bolster this Julfest celebration at dusk, featuring Lucia Bride escorted by the Sons of Norway Vikings, a bonfire, and a reading of the Winter Solstice Proclamation by none other than the Viking King.
Saturday, Liberty Bay Waterfront Park (Poulsbo)
KEXP Decks the Dock 2019
This family-friendly holiday music celebration will take place indoors, so you can dance to live sets from Eli Rosenblatt, Mikey Mike the Rad Scientist, and DJ Abbie without freezing your buns off. Hot beverages and snacks will be provided.
Sunday, Bell Harbor International Conference Center (Downtown)
Lucia is a Swedish holiday tradition wherein people in white gowns light candles and sing in celebration of the mythical Saint Lucia, the bearer of light. UW Swedish language students will join the Swedish Women’s Chorus, the Svea Male Chorus, and "the best bakers of the Swedish Club" for this festive event.
Sunday, Swedish Cultural Center (Queen Anne)
Snow Day SLU
Denny Park's winter light display will provide a magical, twinkly respite with a light display, food trucks, a beer garden, live entertainment, and a winter market. Check out the Grand Opening Party for some extra fun.
Friday-Sunday, Denny Park (South Lake Union)
A Victorian Country Christmas
The Victorian Country Christmas festival boasts more than 500 vendors, live stage shows—including the Singing Nativity—gourmet food, and a winter wine garden. It’s all set against a fantastic backdrop made to recreate a Victorian-era shopping experience.
Friday-Sunday, Washington State Fair Events Center (Puyallup)
From a winter train village to an ice rink, and from music and dance performances to ice sculpting, Winterfest promises free festive cheer for all ages. This weekend brings performances from the Seattle Girls Choir and the Northwest Boys Choir (Sat) and the Cornish College Music Ensembles (Sun).
Friday-Sunday, Seattle Center
HOLIDAY LIGHTINGS & DISPLAYS
Candy Cane Lane Holiday Lights Festival
1920s-era Tudor homes in Ravenna have been boasting impressive light displays every holiday season since 1949. Stroll along Northeast Park Road taking in Nutcracker-themed havens complete with sleighs, reindeer, sugar plum fairies, and blow-up candy canes galore.
Saturday-Sunday, NW Park Rd (Ravenna)
Celebrate Woodinville Winterfest Tree Lighting 2019
Run or walk a 5 or 10K course before settling at DeYoung Park for holiday wreath-making, hot cocoa-sipping, cookie-decorating, and other festive activities culminating in a Santa procession and tree lighting.
Saturday, DeYoung Park (Woodinville)
Christmas at the Mansion
Per holiday tradition, visitors can marvel at Puyallup's historic Meeker Mansion decked out in Victorian-style Christmas decorations (with 21st-century LED lights).
Friday-Sunday, Meeker Mansion (Puyallup)
Christmas Lighting Festival
Holiday cheer abounds in Washington's own Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth, which celebrates the season with live Christmas music, visits from both St. Nickolaus and Santa Claus, sledding, and more—all culminating in glorious lighting ceremonies every Saturday and Sunday.
Christmas Ship Festival
The Puget Sound is filled with lights throughout the holiday season, but no vessel can compete with Argosy Cruises' Christmas Ship, which docks in 65 waterfront communities to serenade people onshore and onboard with its resident choir. Those who choose to board the ship will enjoy photos with Santa, a reading of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," and kids' activities. For a less family-oriented option, you can trail behind in a 21+ boat with rotating themes each week. It's also free to watch from the shore.
Friday-Sunday, Various locations
Clam Lights Presented by Ivar's Restaurants
Every night, Ivar's powers up the park with thousands of Christmas lights depicting various clammy characters. Is this where clams go to heaven after you eat them at Ivar's?
Friday-Sunday, Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park (Renton)
Destination Des Moines Holiday Tree Lighting
Kick off the holiday season with hot cocoa, cookies, face painting, holiday music, and Santa photos at this annual community celebration.
Friday, Big Catch Plaza (Des Moines)
Following a successful first year, Enchant Christmas will transform T-Mobile Park into a winter wonderland complete with an impressive light maze, light sculptures, a market curated by Urban Craft Uprising, and more. This year's theme is "Mischievous," so expect to see sly little elves roaming about.
Friday-Sunday, T-Mobile Park (Sodo)
Evergreen Lights 2019
Over half a million lights will dance around to live music every night of December. Watch the show from a heated viewing area and keep extra warm with cocoa and cookies.
Friday-Sunday, Evergreen Church (Bothell)
Federal Way Tree Lighting
The mayor of Federal Way will plug in the Town Square Park Christmas tree and Santa will make a special appearance.
Saturday, Town Square Park (Federal Way)
Whimsical flora and fauna, birds, animals, and cascading waterfalls get the holiday light treatment at Bellevue Botanical Garden's annual display. (To be clear, actual birds and animals will not be strung with lights.) Wander the grounds and take photos among the "half a million" bulbs.
Friday-Sunday, Bellevue Botanical Garden
Gig Harbor Holiday Tree Lighting
Visit with Santa, meet the Tacoma Rainiers' mascot, Rhubarb, and enjoy some holiday tunes and cookies before the trees light up in Skansie Brothers Park.
Saturday, Civic Center Green (Gig Harbor)
Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
Pop a squat on the La Conner Boardwalk or in Conner Waterfront Park to watch illuminated vessels parade down the Swinomish Channel.
Saturday, La Conner
Holiday Lights and Firehouse Munch
Enjoy classic holiday activities such as a tree lighting, caroling, arts and crafts, and photos with Santa, along with free drinks and treats served by the Mercer Island Fire Department.
Friday, Mercerdale Park (Mercer Island)
Check out over 200 LED-lit monkeys (Phinney's definitive mascot) at WildLights and around neighborhood businesses throughout the holiday season.
Friday-Sunday, Woodland Park Zoo (Phinney)
Hometown Holidays Night Market and Tree Lighting
Kick off West Seattle's Hometown Holidays with a tree lighting ceremony. You can also look forward to Santa pictures, ornament-making, and an artisan night market.
Saturday, West Seattle Junction
Lakewood Parade of Lights
Stand on the sidelines as all manner of luminous holiday floats go by in a cheery procession. The parade will culminate in a Christmas tree lighting.
This year, Santa is enlisting the help of young princes and princesses in helping him find six hidden presents. In addition to the prize-bearing hunt, this kid-oriented indoor festival will also have a gift market (complete with fresh produce and seasonal treats) and a light display.
Friday-Sunday, Smith Cove Cruise (Interbay)
Stroll along a pathway illuminated by glowing luminaria displays while you sip hot cocoa.
Saturday, Meadowbrook Community Center (Wedgwood)
Lynnwood Christmas Tree Lighting
Lynnwood will ring in the holiday season with live music, food trucks, carnival rides, a festive photo booth, a tree lighting, and a visit from Old Saint Nick.
Saturday, Silver Creek Family Church (Lynnwood)
Maple Leaf Lights
Take some time to appreciate the lengths to which people have gone to illuminate their houses with impressive Christmas light displays.
Friday-Sunday, 845 NE 88th St (Maple Leaf)
Mountlake Terrace Tree Lighting Ceremony
Keep warm with cocoa, coffee, and cookies as Santa makes his grand entrance on a fire truck and a water tower lights up with 1,800 LED bulbs.
Friday, Evergreen Playfield (Mountlake Terrace)
Get in the holiday spirit at Redmond City Hall with a tree lighting, crafts, and live entertainment. Then, keep the merriment going with a light-filled stroll down the Redmond Central Connector to the Redmond Town Center, where you'll be met with a live ice sculptor, a carousel, and more live performances.
Saturday-Sunday, Redmond City Hall
Seattle Festival of Trees
The historic Fairmont Olympic hotel celebrates the winter season each year with caroling, an impressive display of decorated trees in their lobby, and a teddy bear suite.
Friday-Sunday, Fairmont Olympic Hotel (Downtown)
Sheraton Grand Seattle Gingerbread Village
For the 27th year in a row, diabetes research center JDRF Northwest has invited local architecture firms to use their skills for a holiday tradition: crafting an elaborate gingerbread village that uses 1,850 pounds of gingerbread, 150,000 pieces of candy, 350 pounds of fondant, and 15 gallons of egg whites, according to press materials. This year's theme is #ElfLife, featuring pixies, gnomes, and pucks from across genres.
Friday-Sunday, Sheraton Hotel (Downtown)
Snoqualmie Winter Lights
Santa will pay a visit to his favorite logging town, Snoqualmie, to welcome the holiday season with a tree lighting in the park. Attendees can also enjoy cocoa and cider, horse-drawn wagon rides, and an heirloom winter market.
Saturday, Downtown Snoqualmie
Every year, downtown Bellevue turns into a winter wonderland not just for one night but for a whole dang month, with (fake) falling snow, jolly live music, and a nightly parade filled with dancers and toy drummers.
Friday-Sunday, Bellevue Collection
Forget the chestnuts—instead, roast some marshmallows on an open fire to make s'mores and sip on a cup of hot cocoa, while enjoying the beautifully illuminated Freeway Park and the sweet sounds of the Dickens Carolers.
Friday, Freeway Park (Downtown)
The Woodland Park Zoo will light up with thousands upon thousands of (energy-efficient) LED lights that recreate wild scenes and creatures. You can also throw fake snowballs at your friends, get up close with certain animal residents, and sip hot chocolate.
Friday-Sunday, Woodland Park Zoo (Phinney)
Holiday traditions don't get more classic than strolling through the Point Defiance Zoo when it's transformed into a luminous wonderland of 3-D animal light installations. Displays from previous years have included hammerhead sharks and sea turtles, a majestic polar bear family, and a giant Pacific octopus.
Friday-Sunday, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (Tacoma)
See also: The best places to see holiday lights.
FOOD & DRINK EVENTS
Captain's Reserve Bourbon Launch Party
Chambers Bay Distillery is working to create a distinctively Northwest bourbon that will finally strip Kentucky of one of the few things that state is famous for. Following the success Fran’s had with salted caramels in the world of Seattle chocolate, Chambers Bay is perfecting a salted-caramel bourbon. The sweet caramel flavor comes from Grant County wheat, and the slight saltiness from aging the bourbon in barrels stored in a floating boathouse on Puget Sound. While their regular Chambers Bay Straight Bourbon has already won the double gold from Sip Northwest magazine, the distillery is finally launching its Captain’s Reserve, the first bottled-in-bond whiskey released by a Washington distillery since craft distilling became legal in 2008. DAVID LEWIS
Saturday, Chambers Bay Distillery (University Place)
Pick up a cookie tin and make your way to participating shops to fill it with baked goods. It'll make the perfect gift for someone you love, or the perfect snack for you.
Sunday, Burien Town Square Park
Issaquah's Holiday Fest at Gilman Village
A festively decorated Gilman Village will offer wine, beer, and spirits. Bring your own glass (or buy one for $5 at the door) and fill it with pours from Bosk Brewing, Bomond Spirits Collection, Den Hoed Cellars, Drum Roll Wine, Ellensburg Canyon Winery, Fortuity Cellars, and lots of other participating boozeries.
Saturday, Gilman Village (Issaquah)
Miracle on 2nd
In 2014, New York bar owner Greg Boehm temporarily transformed his space into a kitschy Christmas wonderland replete with gewgaws and tchotchkes galore. Now the pop-up has expanded to more than 100 locations all over the world and will be returning to Belltown’s Rob Roy this year. The specialty cocktails are no ordinary cups of cheer: Beverages are housed in tacky-tastic vessels (a drinking mug resembling Santa’s mug, for example), bedecked with fanciful garnishes like peppers and dried pineapple, and christened with irreverent, pop-culture-referencing names like the “Bad Santa,” the “Yippie Ki Yay Mother F**r,” and the “You’ll Shoot Your Rye Out.” New this year: At nearby Vinnie's Raw Bar, there will be a spin-off holiday-tiki-themed pop-up called "Sippin' Santa," which asks you to "imagine Santa on a surfboard instead of a sleigh and palm trees instead of pine." Drinks include the "Kris Kringle Colada" (dark Jamaican rum, Cynar, allspice, lime and pineapple juice, and cream of coconut) and the "Christmas Eve of Destruction" (dark overproof rum, herbal liqueur, nutmeg syrup, lime juice, and Angostura bitters). JULIANNE BELL
Friday-Sunday, Rob Roy (Belltown)
Republic of Cider Grand Opening
The Republic of Cider will join the ranks of craft beverage purveyors in Sodo's Gateway Center (such as Fall Line Winery, T2 Cellars, and Elsom Cellars). Join them for a tasting and help raise money for the University District Food Bank.
Sunday, Republic of Cider (Sodo)
St. Nick's - Taste the Season
Spend a weekend swiveling, toasting, and tasting wine from over 25 Woodinville tasting rooms decked out in holiday cheer.
Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl
Make your way to the "12 bars of Christmas," which will be doling out drink specials and prizes over the course of 14 hours. Be sure to wear your ugliest holiday sweater so you fit in with the crowd.
Saturday, Various locations
2019 Winter Beer Fest
There are so many places brewing craft beer in Washington, it is almost ridiculous. But there are fewer places where you can get a taste of this breadth of beers all in one place. Enter the nonprofit trade association Washington Brewers Guild and its winter tasting event/fundraiser. More than 50 local and regional breweries will be represented, pouring sips that range from “dark malty stouts” and “robust winter warmers” to seasonal IPAs and barrel-aged “rarities.” Food trucks and vendors will be on hand serving warm eats, and attendees can vote on their favorite beers and booth decorations for each of the three tasting sessions (one on Friday, two on Saturday), with award winners selected daily. LEILANI POLK
Friday-Saturday, Magnuson Park (Sand Point)
Winter Feast Food Truck Fest
Snap up some street food while you shop for gifts at this holiday festival, with food trucks galore and a market with over a hundred local vendors.
Sunday, Fremont Sunday Market
See also: Where to try eggnog, hot toddies, and other winter warmers around town.
Allah-Las, Mapache, Tim Hill
A couple parts jangly, a few parts surfy, and a whole heap of psychedelic, Allah-Las evoke the sand, the waves, and the music blasting out of the cars driving down the beach fronts of Southern California. The Los Angeles–based quartet’s latest release, LAHS, expands their sound into new territory, tackling Portuguese country rock in “Prazer Em Te Conhecer” and funkier bass-driven grooves in “Star.” The result is a record that sounds just like how the California horizon looks before the sun sinks into it: pink, orange, purple. You hope that mishmash of day and night can last forever. It won’t. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Friday, Neumos (Capitol Hill)
Conan Gray, Benee
Gen Z heartthrob and MTV-dubbed "Prince of Pop" Conan Gray will return to Seattle for a night of bedroom pop on his Comfort Crowd tour with opener Benee.
Saturday, Showbox Sodo
The Dandy Warhols, Mother Mariposa
The Dandy Warhols are one of those staple 1990s-era post-grunge alt rock bands that are so consistently fun and out-there that I almost take their existence for granted. Until, of course, they release an album like this year’s Why You So Crazy, their 10th overall. The Portland group has always leaned heady and cheeky, tossing elements of garage, power pop, synth rock, shoegaze, roots rock, and a bit of Brit invasion pop into their mix. Why You So Crazy is particularly genre-jumping fabulous, touching on gothic twang in “Highlife,” which finds Zia McCabe on snotty lead vocals, the strum-and-stomp of “Sins Are Forgiven,” and the spacey cosmic Americana of “Motor City Steel,” to the expected fuzz, drive, and heady rolling vibe of “Be Alright,” the swaggering little groove and high-reaching vocal weirdness of “Thee Elegant Bum,” the cheeky, slinky psychedelia of “Next Things I Know,” and the warped melting-on-itself farting-and-zipping synth bizarrity of “To the Church, all driven by frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s mix of low and breathy vocalizing, odd falsettos, and crusty, over-pronounced Southern drawls. LEILANI POLK
Friday, the Showbox (Downtown)
Hail Santa X
Hail Santa has remained one of heavy metal's best-kept Seattle secrets, an annual yuletide celebration of the devil's rock and roll, preferably of the black-thrash variety, performed in front of gory clips from holiday-themed horror films. This year, the celebrations are spread over two evenings and feature a pair of bar-raising headliners. Headlining Friday is Uada, with support from Drawn And Quartered, Xoth, and ÆNIGMATUM. On Saturday, it will be Skelator with support by Solicitor, Ghost Blood, and Toxic Reign. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Friday-Saturday, Highline (Capitol Hill)
Acclaimed conductor Jacomo Bairos and the University of Washington Chorale will headline a program of holiday favorites with the Seattle Symphony.
Friday-Sunday, Benaroya Hall (Downtown)
Seattle Men's Chorus: 'Tis The Season
In a landmark holiday event, the Seattle Men's Chorus will perform dazzling tracks of the season, like their own revamped takes on "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," "Festival Gloria," "Here We Come A-Caroling," and many more.
Sunday, Benaroya Hall (Downtown)
The charity circuit will get an indie-rock soundtrack as a pitch-perfect lineup gathers to help raise funds for Seattle Children's Hospital. Attendees will get the unique treat of pairing their five-star meals with live sets by Pacific Northwest favorites Redd Kross, DeVotchKa, and Dude York.
Saturday, the Showbox (Downtown)
Musician/producer Brian Fennell, aka SYML, of Seattle’s gentle indie rock group Barcelona, has now gone an ambient direction, mixing elements of dream pop, synth rock, and alt folk to lovely, emotive effect. He dropped his self-produced self-titled debut LP (SYML) in May, preceded by sublime first single “The Bird,” its dark and sinister production divinely sundered by bright guitar-plucked melodies and Fennell’s exquisite falsetto-reaching vocal. Warm-up comes from LA indie pop duo EXES (Allie McDonald and Mike Derenzo), who are touring behind a new six-song EP Once More, with Feeling. LEILANI POLK
Sunday, Neptune Theatre (University District)
See also: Our music critics' picks for this week.
COMEDY & PERFORMANCE EVENTS
Ahamefule J. Oluo: Susan
Following up on his well-received memoir and jazz musical show Now I'm Fine, Ahamefule J. Oluo is back with a new show about his mother, Susan. Oluo's Nigerian father left the United States and left Oluo's Midwestern mother with a couple of kids to raise. He investigates that part of his past, and tells the story of his travels to Nigeria, the home his father left the family for. For Now I'm Fine, the New York Times praised Oluo for his "ingratiatingly self-deprecating manner," his facility with several storytelling modes, and his seemingly effortless skill as a conductor and musician. Expect all that and a little more polish in this new piece. RICH SMITH
Friday-Sunday, On the Boards (Queen Anne)
A(n Improvised) Christmas Carol 2019
You may think you know the story of A Christmas Carol, but you have no idea. Watch a team of improvisers re-create Dickens's tale based on audience suggestions.
Friday-Sunday, Unexpected Productions' Market Theater (Downtown)
A Christmas Carol
ACT Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol is a dependable, simple pleasure, with just enough variation to warrant returning year after year. Kelly Kitchens will direct.
Friday-Sunday, ACT Theatre (Downtown)
The Christmas Killings at Corgi Cliffs
Butch Alice once again stars as Becky June Beasley-Jones in Scot Rigsby Augustson's drag-filled send-up of Agatha Christie-type whodunits, directed by Jasmine Joshua (artistic director of Reboot Theatre Company).
Friday-Sunday, Cafe Nordo (Pioneer Square)
The Dina Martina Christmas Show
Watching Seattle drag legend Dina Martina perform is a bit like having a Christmastime flu. You will sit there, confused and warm, your thoughts disassociating, a fever addling your brain, while the holiday cheer twinkles all around you. Truly there’s no performer who is more like a strong dose of Nyquil than Dina Martina. She is cozy but disorienting. You will laugh without knowing why. Take her with alcohol and double the danger. CHASE BURNS
Friday-Sunday, ACT Theatre (Downtown)
George Balanchine's 'The Nutcracker'
If you haven't seen this Christmas classic since you were a kid, give it a go this year. In 2014, Pacific Northwest Ballet replaced its beloved Maurice Sendak set with one by Ian Falconer, who did the Olivia the Pig books, and I'm glad that they did. The new set is gorgeous in a Wes Anderson-like way, and it reflects the genuine weirdness and beauty in the story. I mean, the last 45 minutes of this thing is a Katy Perry video starring dancing desserts and a glittery peacock that moves like a sexy broken river. Bring a pot lozenge. RICH SMITH
Friday-Sunday, McCaw Hall (Seattle Center)
The Hard Nut
The brilliant ballet choreographer Mark Morris's update of The Nutcracker, now a 28-year-old classic in itself, transports E.T.A. Hoffman's story from 19th-century Germany to 1970s America. With production design inspired by the great Fantagraphics-published comics artist Charles Burns, this Broadway staging is gonna be weird, queer, and perhaps even John Waters-esque.
Friday-Sunday, Paramount Theatre (Downtown)
Hershey Felder: Beethoven
Former Stranger writer Sean Nelson described Felder as an "astonishingly gifted vocalist and pianist, not merely in terms of pure technique, but in his capacity for restraint." In this show, he takes on the roles of both Ludwig van Beethoven and his student Gerhard von Breuning while playing such beloved pieces as Moonlight Sonata and Pathetique Sonata, as well as excerpts from the famed Fifth and Ninth Symphonies.
Friday-Sunday, Seattle Repertory Theatre (Seattle Center)
Jingle All the Gay!
The new performers are the standouts in Jingle All the Gay! Kitten N' Lou brought in Markeith Wiley and Randy Ford, two breakout dancers/performance artists who have been having a great couple of years performing around Seattle. Wiley plays the mailman, an important figure in any holiday story, and he's got to deliver lots of big, uh, packages. Ford plays Lil' Fruitcake, a femme voguing fruitcake who fucks shit up in the best way possible. Ford and Wiley's duets are highlights, as are the numbers from Seattle drag artist Abbey Roads, who brings solid musical theater chops and good comic timing. Also in this cast: New York City's Mr. Gorgeous, serving his uniquely tall and hilarious boylesque as the Little Drummer Boy. These favorites return, along with the UK's Reuben Kaye, plus Lola van Ella from New Orleans. CHASE BURNS
Friday-Sunday, Odd Fellows West Hall (Capitol Hill)
This is the world premiere of the musical Mrs. Doubtfire, a stage adaptation of the 1993 Robin Williams film. After its run in Seattle, it goes straight to Broadway. Mrs. Doubtfire is directed by Jerry Zaks, a Broadway legend who won a Tony Award for directing the revival of Guys and Dolls in 1992, and was nominated again for his revival of Hello, Dolly! with Bette Midler in 2017. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
Friday-Sunday, the 5th Avenue Theatre (Downtown)
Shout, Sister, Shout!
A black queer woman named Rosetta Tharpe invented rock and roll as we know it today. Exuberant and stomping with an electric guitar in hand, her picking and singing influenced the likes of Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and the list goes on. Born the daughter of two cotton pickers in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, Tharpe rose up through gospel, and became internationally known for fusing rural and urban styles of music in certified bangers such as "Down by the Riverside" and "This Train." Playwright Cheryl L. West offers this dramatic treatment of Gayle F. Wald’s biography of the "Godmother of Rock and Roll" in a show that's drawn near universal praise from critics. Get pumped to watch this musical portrait of a legend. RICH SMITH
Friday-Sunday, Seattle Repertory Theatre (Seattle Center)
Eight adults bang on trash cans, swish brooms, clack poles, and more. Prepare for a rhythm to be drilled permanently into your brain, and for household objects to no longer hold quite the same (musical) meaning.
Friday-Sunday, Moore Theatre (Belltown)
Theater Anonymous Presents 'It's A Wonderful Life'
Theater Anonymous's yearly performance of It's a Wonderful Life is slightly different from Frank Capra's 1946 holiday classic. In this version, the cast members (who have never met each other) will pop up out of the audience and start reciting lines. Don't be surprised if your best friend turns out to be George Bailey.
Saturday, Cornish Playhouse (Seattle Center)
A Very Die Hard Christmas
Marxiano Productions will restage last year's hit holiday musical from a script by the top-notch sketch comedy outfit the Habit (plus Jeff Schell), which peppers the rip-roaring action with songs, jokes, and more.
Friday-Sunday, Seattle Public Theatre (Green Lake)
Wonderland is divided into three short acts that make up a brisk 90-minute show. Hosted by the exceedingly charismatic JonnyBoy (Jonathan Betchtel), each act gets progressively naughtier, although the most scandalous thing an audience member sees is a jock-strapped ass and bare tits covered by pasties. The show has danger, but it's found in the cancan lines that occur mere feet from audience members' dinner salads. During the third act, two dancers perform an athletic duet that—when I saw it—nearly knocked over a birthday girl's wine glass. But it didn't. Everyone whooped. CHASE BURNS
Friday-Sunday, Can Can (Downtown)
See also: Our guide to festive performances.
READINGS & TALKS
Jeff VanderMeer: Dead Astronauts
Jeff Vandermeer novels (e.g. Annihilation, Borne) are kind of hard to describe succinctly, but here goes: In a post-apocalyptic landscape overrun with biotech, three shapeshifting quasi-human/animal/landscape hybrids—a blue fox, a giant fish, and a homeless woman—try to avoid destruction and the tyranny of the sinister Company. At this event, hear the acclaimed author talk about Dead Astronauts, his newest novel (released last year), in conversation with Paul Constant.
Friday, Elliott Bay Book Company (Capitol Hill)
Get the maximum amount of instruction from Hugo House's excellent prose writers and poets at this annual event featuring five hours of mini-workshops and talks.
Sunday, Hugo House (Capitol Hill)
WTO Protests 20th Anniversary with Joseph Stiglitz
The Washington Fair Trade Coalition will lead workshops and mini-talks on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization protests. Learn about the effect of trade policy on important issues like labor, the environment, health, indigenous rights, and more, then hear from Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz, an expert on globalization.
Saturday, Town Hall (First Hill)
See also: Our arts & culture critics' picks for this week.
ART EVENTS & OPENINGS
Bainbridge Island Winter Tour
Shop artwork from 56 locals displaying works in eight locations, including studios and community halls, for the 36th annual winter art tour on the island.
Friday-Sunday, Various locations (Bainbridge Island)
This is not one naked person trying not to breathe too hard in front of a handful of art nerds. No, this is a whole crowd of art nerds with an entire building full of models, naked, clothed, in drag, holding instruments, and/or wearing funky costumes. Your ticket includes art supplies and access to many instructor demonstrations. If you get hungry, grab something from Off the Rez food truck. There will also be a holiday market to shop from if you get hand cramps.
Saturday, Gage Academy of Art (Capitol Hill)
Seattle Sampling Artists' Studio Tour
Pick up gifts for your loved ones from local artists in their own studios during this self-guided tour.
Friday-Sunday, Various locations
Stonington Celebrates 40: 40th Anniversary Group Exhibition
Celebrate 40 years of top-notch Northwest Coastal and Alaskan art with a Native focus as this excellent gallery hosts a group exhibition. There is awesome talent on view here, in everything from Preston Singletary's Wood Carver's Totem to Maynard Johnny, Jr.'s Heron Paddle to Paige Pettibon's caləɫali Altarpiece, the latter a fascinating merging of European painting tradition and Lushootseed language.
Friday-Sunday, Stonington Gallery (Pioneer Square)
Viva: Vashon Island Visual Artists Studio Tour
Visit 45 studios housing the work of 112 artists as you wander over the island.
Saturday-Sunday, Various locations (Vashion Island)
OTHER NOTEWORTHY HAPPENINGS
Hello Kitty Friends Around The World Tour
Explore London, Paris, New York, Honolulu, and Tokyo through the eyes of everyone's favorite Sanrio character, Hello Kitty, by traveling to five interactive rooms with your 'passport' in tow. You'll pick up plenty of treats and souvenirs along the way.
Saturday-Sunday, Bellevue Plaza
2019 Snowball – Community Celebration and Fundraiser
Ingersoll Gender Center's annual celebration of trans and gender-diverse communities promises a community awards program and free food and drinks.
Saturday, Seattle City Hall (Downtown)
Join the Washington Fair Trade Coalition and others for a rally on the 20th anniversary of the World Trade Organization protests.
Saturday, Occidental Park (Pioneer Square)
SPORTS & RECREATION
35th Annual Jingle Bell Run Seattle 12k/5k
Jingle-jangle your way through downtown Seattle at whatever pace works for you, knowing that proceeds will benefit those living with arthritis. Be sure to stop by the Elf Village Kids Area or the Holiday Cheer Garden.
Sunday, Westlake Park (Downtown)
The Electric Cookie Run
Don your merriest holiday sweater (bonus points if it lights up) and run around Green Lake in pursuit of cookies from Seattle bakeries, which will be patiently awaiting your arrival at the finish line.
Saturday, Green Lake Park
K9 Candy Cane Fun Run and Walk
Run along Renton's Cedar River Trail and be rewarded with "random prize giveaways," festive refreshments, and quality time with Santa.
Sunday, Renton Community Center
May the Course Be With You 5k
Bust out your lightsabers and run around Green Lake in your best Star Wars look in anticipation of the final movie.
Saturday, Green Lake Park
Washington MBB vs. Gonzaga
The Huskies will take on Gonzaga in this men's basketball game.
Sunday, Alaska Airlines Arena (University District)