Holiday Events in the South Sound

Throw on a scarf and a goose-down jacket and get into the holiday spirit with holiday events in the South Sound. Meet Santa, play games, and see a parade of lighted ships. These local holiday events will put even the Grinch-iest of people in a cheerful mood. 

North Pole at the Fair, Now – Dec. 23

With an array of activities centered around playing and using one’s imagination, North Pole at the Fair is sure to be a favorite for kids and parents alike. Get a peek at Santa’s office and write your wish list on “official” Santa Claus stationary, nibble a cookie fresh from Mrs. Claus’ oven, read Christmas books, visit Elf Village and play with Legos. There’s plenty to keep the youngin’s busy. Admission is $5 and free for children under age 2.

Fantasy Lights, Nov. 23 – Jan. 1

Celebrate the holiday season with the largest drive-through light display in the area. Now in its 23rd year, Fantasy Lights at Spanaway Park offers a two-mile drive illuminated by 300 lighted displays. Let your imagination run wild as you encounter bears flying kites, penguins sliding down an igloo, and more.

Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Nov. 24 – Jan. 1

Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has been a local tradition since 1988. Nothing feels more like the holidays than roaming around with a mug of hot chocolate, enjoying the elaborate twinkling lights. This year, figurines will be lit with more than 650,000 energy-efficient LEDs, and the displays will be a mix of old-time favorites and some new scenes. General admission is $10 at the gate or $8.50 when you purchase tickets in advance online. Tickets for zoo members are $5.

Twinklefest and Downtown for the Holidays, Nov. 26

The downtown celebration kicks off at noon at Sylvester Park in Olympia with festivities including gingerbread houses, wagon and trolley rides, photos with Santa, and a parade at 3 p.m. Twinklefest reveals elaborately decorated storefront displays, and a tree-lighting ceremony takes place at 4:30 p.m.

Parade of Lighted Ships, Dec. 2

Whether you watch from a cozy waterfront restaurant or outside in the crisp air, the Parade of Lighted Ships is one you won’t want to miss. The parade begins at 6 p.m. at the Olympia Yacht Club’s perch at Percival Landing, and the ships sail to Boston Harbor and back at 8 p.m.

Cookies with Mrs. Claus, Dec. 7

Treats during the holidays are a must, but what’s even better is decorating them without the mess. Meet Mrs. Claus at the Federal Way Community Center for treats, music, and a photo booth.

15th Annual Tumwater Christmas Tree Lighting, Dec. 9

Prior to the Christmas tree lighting, the Tumwater City Hall and fire station will have a myriad of games, crafts, and choir performances from local schools. After the ceremonial tree lighting, Santa will pay an early visit, arriving on an antique fire truck. The festival is from 2 to 5 p.m.

Santa at America’s Car Museum, various dates starting Dec. 9

Getting a picture with Santa is an annual tradition for many, but mix it up this year at the LeMay – America’s Car Museum. Santa will be taking pictures in a 1906 Cadillac Model K Tulip Touring car, and kids will receive a complimentary slot car voucher for the ACM Speed Zone.

For more seasonal activities and fun around the South Sound, check out this list of classic holiday traditions and new twists.

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is an assistant editor at South Sound magazine. Email her.
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