Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Weekend: Dec 1-3, 2023

Winter Solstice Holiday Night Market, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
December 1, 2023
Walk amongst twinkling lights at the Winter Solstice Holiday Night Market. (Winter Solstice Holiday Night Market)
If you're finding your wallet a little lighter after the one-two punch of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you're not alone. Luckily, there are plenty of economical yet delightful ways to entertain yourself this weekend. Find some holiday cheer at the Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition or Winter Solstice Holiday Night Market, watch the morbidly hilarious beauty pageant send-up Drop Dead Gorgeous with Unstreamable writers Chase Burns and Jas Keimig, or sift through vinyl at the South End Record Show. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week.
Holiday hours may vary—please check venue websites directly for the most up-to-date information.

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Bandit Theater Presents: Star Clash Past Event List
Virgos vs. Aquarians. Taurus vs. Pisceans. The sky's the limit in this cage match-style improv show because teams will be determined by their astrological signs, which sounds like the most delightful disaster imaginable. If you're into astrology, Star Clash is a dream come true, and if you're not, fine, whatever, just don't ruin the fun for everyone by rattling on about astrology being "fake." We don't care! Moving on!! The show will aim to determine which zodiac sign is best at improv, and I'm betting on Leos taking the prize—they're typically the luminaries of the stage, right? LC
(Fremont Abbey Arts Center, Fremont, $15)


The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition Past Event List
Much like the traditional Christmas treat known as figgy pudding, caroling is a whimsical old-time image of the holiday season that seems to fade little by little, year by year—and that's why I am declaring this December Little Women Winter. That's right, I'm talking bonnets, handwritten letters, Christmas trees lit with real candles (that's safe, right?), boiled puddings, communal singing, and helping your neighbors à la the 19th-century coming-of-age novel. Summon your inner March sister at the 37th annual Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition, which unites thousands of carolers (and timid bystanders) to sing holiday ditties in support of the Pike Market Senior Center & Food Bank. The top caroling teams will end the night with a very festive "sing-off" on the Figgy Pudding main stage. Velvet capes, top hats, and fur muffs are highly encouraged (by me). AV
(Pike Place Market, free)

Twinkle Twinkle Past Event List
Get cozy at Freeway Park with bonfires and all the makings for s'mores, hot cocoa, and festive crafts. If you've got some old winter clothes lying around, bring them to be donated to local organizations like Mary’s Place and the YWCA to keep our community members warm. At 6 pm, the Dickens Carolers will lead everyone in song and on foot to Pike Place for the Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition! SL
(Freeway Park, free)


Better Days Mental Health Music & Arts Fest Vol. 2: Black Ends, Trash Panda Go Kart, Direct Action, State of Emergency, Eye of Arcadia, and Solar Past Event List
Headbang along to the spellbinding punk trio Black Ends (who've coined their sound "gunk pop") alongside alt-rock ensemble Trash Panda Go Kart, Stanwood-based punks Direct Action, and more. This benefit concert will be the second volume of the Better Days Mental Health Music & Arts Fest, raising money for Camano Island's Community Resource Center. AV
(Vera Project, Uptown, $5 – $20 sliding scale)


Poser Productions and Clock-Out Lounge Present: As Many WeirdoKEs as Possible - A Dance Party Fundraising Benefit Past Event List
Ah, what a perfect day to invite your weirdo friends out on the town! KEXP DJs Riz and Supreme La Rock will host this genre-spanning dance party and fundraising benefit for the photography series As Many Weirdos as Possible. The self-identified "still life documentary project" captures Seattle's vibrant music history by photographing trailblazers of all genres who "made music happen" between 1985 and 1995. AV
(Clock-Out Lounge, Beacon Hill, $15)



First Annual Holiday Barrel Tasting at House of Smith Jet City Winery Past Event List
Savor vino to your heart's content at this holiday extravaganza, which will feature the exclusive 22nd holiday release of Charles Smith's signature Motor City Kitty Syrah and exclusive barrel tastings of selected wines. Should you require sustenance, Delfino’s Chicago Style Pizza will sling deep-dish. In lieu of a tasting fee, you're invited to donate to the nonprofit Mary's Place, which aims to fight homelessness. Bring an item on their wishlist or a $10 gift card to Walmart, Target, K-Mart, Fred Meyer, or QFC, or scan a QR code at the event to donate any dollar amount. JB
(Charles Smith Wines Jet City, Georgetown, free)

Kuma Coffee Pop Up Past Event List
The local direct-trade roaster Kuma Coffee is hosting a pop-up full of cozy goodness, including filter coffee, milk drinks, new merch, and a bevy of baked treats from Salmonberry Goods, including sourdough bagels, pastries, and more. Stop by and scoop up some gifts for the discerning coffee drinker on your holiday shopping list. JB
(Kuma Coffee Roastery, Interbay, free)

Puffy Pandy's First Birthday Past Event List
The adorable sweet shop Puffy Pandy is celebrating a year of business with plenty of giveaways, including a free box of mini macarons for the first 50 customers and a free "cream puffy" for the first 100 customers. Customers who spend $50 in-store will receive a $10 gift card, while those who spend $100 will receive a $25 card. Plus, rumor has it that panda mascots Puffy and Pandy may just make an appearance. JB
(Puffy Pandy, White Center, free)

HOLIDAZE Past Event List
The city's longest-running fringe theater will pop up with an afternoon vendors market and music, comedy, burlesque, and plenty of holiday cheer throughout the evening. Get dazed with "gifts like you wouldn't believe," including Scottish smut and something described as a "horny flute." I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I wasn't intrigued. LC
(Annex Theatre, Pike/Pine, suggested donation $10)


Fa la la la la, ha ha ha ha: A Holiday Musical Extravaganza! Past Event List
Led by Unexpected Productions ensemble members Sarah Hanchar and Christine Riippi, this off-kilter holiday treat follows the format of a so-bad-it's-good, made-for-TV musical. The audience-informed madhouse promises yuletide guffaws and plenty of sing-along opportunities. LC
(Unexpected Productions' Market Theater, Pike Place Market, $15)



Lake City Winterfest Past Event List
Enter a winter wonderland of holiday vendors, yuletide tunes, and culinary delights at Lake City's annual Winterfest. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for performances from Productions Dance Studio, Jane Addams's Jazz Band, Nathan Hale’s Choir, and the James Peters Group. There will also be plenty of kid-centric activities like holiday craft stations, Santa photos, face painting, and plenty of hot cider to keep you warm. AV
(12360 Lake City Way NE, Cedar Park, free)


Homer for the Holidays Market Past Event List
Beacon Hill's wood-fired favorite Homer will host its very own holiday market. Peruse wares such as ceramics, wreaths, bouquets, air-brushed apparel, soap, tie-dye clothing, custom jewelry, sweets, and letterpress goods. To sweeten the deal, Homer will serve beverages, treats, and popular dishes like sourdough with whipped garlic. If you want to feel extra festive, stop by Homer's neighbor the Coupe & Flute for a crisp glass of sparkling wine. JB
(Homer, Greater Duwamish, free)

Holiday Makers Market Past Event List
Bale Breaker's third annual holiday market will feature vendors such as the vintage seller Blaksands, the small-batch candlemaker Golden Hour Candle Co., the smoked cheese and meat purveyor Styk Smokehaus, fermented food producer Firefly Kitchens, the ethically sewn goods seller Cecilia Stitch, and the plant shops Dear Fronds Nightshade Botanical and Daily Ritual Market. Grab a steaming cup of hot cider or pommeau from Yonder Cider to sip as you shop, or opt for a holiday stout or new releases from Bale Breaker. JB
(Bale Breaker & Yonder Taproom, Ballard, free)


South End Record Show Past Event List
Twenty-plus record dealers will once again peddle their eclectic wares (some of which will only be a buck) to deal-hunting vinyl hounds at this annual pop-up sale. Record shows can be a real give and take—you can find incredible deals on rare records with the trade-off of being elbow-to-elbow with a bunch of know-it-all record-collecting nerds (don't say I didn't warn you). Luckily, you can take a break from the madness with a slice of pizza and drink specials. AV
(Clock-Out Lounge, Beacon Hill, free)


Silent Night, Deadly Night Past Event List
This screening of feel-bad grindhouse slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night follows an axe-wielding Santa's Christmas Eve punishment of the naughty-listers in town. Upon its '84 release, people got fussy. The flick inspired what Variety described as a “rising chorus of protests" against its possibly "traumatizing" depiction of a splatter-happy Santa, and Siskel and Ebert climbed onto their soap boxes to shame the film's production team. In other words, it's gonna be a blast if you're into gnarly, low-budget, mean-spirited horror. (Can't get enough? On December 6 at SIFF Film Center, local filmmaker Jeremy Cropf’s hybrid Holiday Horror series will take an in-depth look at the ho-ho-horror.) LC
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown, $13 - $14)


Clarissa Tossin and Leslie Dick in Conversation Past Event List
Presented in tandem with Brazilian-born, LA-based artist Clarissa Tossin's to take root among the stars, she'll chat with colleague Leslie Dick, a writer and visiting critic at Yale School of Art. Tossin's multimedia works examine global capitalism's "frontier mythologies," interrogating persistent legacies of colonialism in Latin America and the US through repurposed consumerist garbage; she'll discuss "Amazon packaging, photographs of deep space, and patterns that refer to the traditional crafts of Amazônia" with Dick. Best part? You can peep the whole exhibition, plus Rafael Soldi: Soft Boy, Antonio M. Gómez: LINEAJES, and Hanako O’Leary: Izanami, while you're there. LC
(Frye Art Museum, First Hill, free)



Honored to Tell Past Event List
The first cohort to graduate from the Seattle Black Spatial Histories Institute will share their oral history and "Black memory work" in this culminating exhibition, which was inspired by interviews with Black longshore workers, barbers, dancers, educators, and beauticians. I'm stoked to see Ricky Reyes, Eboni Wyatt, and Sierra Parsons's Making.Wavs zine and immersive reading room, Ariel Paine's barbershop installation, and Brenetta Ward's quilted scrolls. LC
(Wa Na Wari, Central District, free, Friday-Sunday)


SPAM New Media Festival Past Event List
SPAM's 2023 program began in August with an activation at Freeway Park by the University of Washington’s Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) Ph.D. candidates. DXARTS students aren't afraid to get weird with it, so the experience brought the park to life with sound performances, installations, videos, and "sculptural interventions" inspired by the idea of salvage, data sets, collective memory, and archives. The explorations will continue all month: SPAM's tech-driven art "resonates with the notion of unlearning one’s privileges and positions of power," and the festival's free performances and exhibitions include collaborations with Henry Art Gallery, Mini Mart City Park, Method Gallery, Gallery 4Culture, Jack Straw Cultural Center, Georgetown Steam Plant, and Meany Hall at the University of Washington. Click here for a full list of events and head out with an open mind. LC
(Various locations, free, Friday-Sunday)

PNA Winter Festival and Craft Fair Past Event List
Visitors to Phinney Neighborhood Association's annual winter festival will find the historic Phinney Center chock-full of jury-curated handmade goodies. Support local artisans and PNA's robust programming at the festival, which will also include a wreath sale, a ceramic ornament painting workshop, a bake sale, a quilt raffle, a selection of holiday cards created by local preschoolers (awwww), and more than 120 local creatives hawking jewelry, pottery, and more. LC
(Phinney Center, Phinney Ridge, $5 - $7, Saturday-Sunday)


50 Years of SIFF Past Event List
SIFF Cinema Egyptian's latest series offers a rare opportunity to catch 21 Seattle International Film Festival faves and Audience Award winners. Over the past five decades, the festival has screened over 10,000 films from all over the world, so seeing them all would be pretty much impossible. These screenings will help fill the gaps on your Letterboxd lists, though. The series concludes this weekend, and I'm stoked that they'll screen the eerie Australian flick Picnic at Hanging Rock, a favorite of SIFF festivalgoers in 1979. LC
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Capitol Hill, Friday-Sunday)

Dream Scenario Past Event List
Fans of last year's Everything Everywhere All at Once will likely dig Dream Scenario, which continues A24's recent propensity for gonzo dream sequences and madcap visuals with a fun plotline: Nicolas Cage stars as a typical dude whose life flip-flops when he begins appearing in millions of people's dreams. If that sounds familiar, you're not wrong—it seems likely that the film was inspired by This Man, who allegedly began appearing in dreams back in 2006. Does this mean we'll start to see more flicks based on old memes, guerilla marketing tactics, and internet hoaxes? I'm here for it. LC
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown, $13 - $14, Friday-Sunday)

Saltburn Past Event List
Emerald Fennell's latest film is nothing if not polarizing ("Saltburn is the sort of embarrassment you’ll put up with for 75 minutes. But not for 127," says the  New York Times), but as the world's preeminent Barry Keoghan stan, I have to at least entertain the idea that it has legs. Saltburn is billed as a "wicked tale of privilege and desire" (oOoOo) that sees an Oxford student attempt to infiltrate the aristocratic world of a classmate on an "eccentric family’s sprawling estate." (Has anything good ever happened at a "sprawling estate?") If you like Agatha Christie and drugs, this one might hit. LC
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, $13 - $14, Friday-Sunday)

The Holdovers Past Event List
It's November. It's time to watch Paul Giamatti act his little heart out as a curmudgeonly educator at a New England prep school in the '60s, where a gaggle of students have been left behind on Christmas break. Honestly, though, have you ever heard a film premise that made you want to wear wool socks and drink apple cider more than this one? Plus, and perhaps most importantly, The Holdovers was directed by Alexander Payne, aka the guy who made Election and that movie about wine. It's going to be funny and charming!!! Enjoy. LC
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, $13 - $14, Friday-Sunday)

Anatomy of a Fall Past Event List
In one of Burial's unreleased tracks, you will find a sample that makes this claim: "It's like people had forgotten how to make a tune." Something similar can be said about the cinema of the procedural. It's hard to find a director who can do it right, who deeply understands the form. This is why Anatomy of a Fall, a French film by Justine Triet, is so remarkable: It's 100% a thriller. There is a crime, an investigation, a suspect, and, of course, lots of drama in the court. Triet builds all of the questions (Who did it? What are we missing? Why is the man nearly blind? What about the music? The aspirin?) into a solid maze. And the tension increases the closer we get to its core. Anatomy of a Fall (what a great title) deserved the Palme d'Or it won at this year's Cannes Film Festival. STRANGER SENIOR WRITER CHARLES MUDEDE
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, $13 - $14, Friday-Sunday)


Emily Counts: So Familiar Past Event List
Emily Counts' ceramic style is always a little (okay, more than a little) mystical, reflecting on nature and the fragility of life through surreal sculptural busts and curious wall pieces that are sometimes lit from within. In her new exhibition So Familiar, Counts's coven of life-sized ceramic figures "stand in ceremony," each paired with a folkloric animal familiar. The exhibition expands upon her previous exhibition, Sea of Vapors, at the now-shuttered Museum of Museums, so expect more themes of growth, decomposition, aging, and transformation, plus sensory oddities and nostalgic features. LC
(studio e, Georgetown, free, Friday-Saturday)

Mary Josephson: Plenty Past Event List
Just look at Mary Josephson's beaded tapestries. They are incredible. Don't you want to see them in person?! Seriously, this blurb almost writes itself. The lush foliage and color-drenched compositions of Josephson's visual world as supplemented by her generous material usage, and each piece seems to scream and shout in celebration of life, animals, and texture. Although her multicolored works are forces to be reckoned with, I'm equally intrigued by Jacobson's quieter etched glass pieces, which fill the frame with confident gestures. LC
(Traver Gallery, Downtown Seattle, free, Friday-Saturday)

Unstreamable: Drop Dead Gorgeous Past Event List
Your internet besties (former Stranger staff writer Jas Keimig and former editor Chase Burns) will present another flick that you can’t find anywhere online (legally, at least) as part of their ongoing project Unstreamable, which has blossomed from a column on Scarecrow Video's blog into a live screening series. Burns and Keimig, who've written "more than 350 (!) blurbs and reviews about offbeat, forgotten, and otherwise unobtainable pieces of cinematic history" (Matt Baume), will continue to share their exhaustive knowledge of lost media on the big screen. In Drop Dead Gorgeous, it's time for Mount Rose, Minnesota's annual teen beauty pageant, and Amber Atkins (played by the incomparable Kirsten Dunst) is poised to steal the show. But a series of weird incidents and tragic "accidents" turn the event into a darkly hilarious bloodbath. The mockumentary boasts a killer cast including Brittany Murphy (RIP), Denise Richards, Allison Janney, and Amy Adams. LC
(Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill, $7 - $14, Friday-Sunday)

Sunshady Days: A 50-Year Retrospective of Bumbershoot Past Event List
As a Seattle native, I grew up attending Bumbershoot before I knew what the word itself meant (it’s a synonym for umbrella if you still aren’t in the know). I have countless memories of the festival; running around the grounds with my big sister to see acts like Bob Dylan, Paramore, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, and many more. That's why, when I attended Bumbershoot's 50th-anniversary festival this summer, I wandered into the A/NT Gallery's photo retrospective and was nearly brought to tears. The exhibit included not only artist photos, but images of the audience that capture the spirit of the festival and its evolution over the past decade. Now, the exhibit has moved over to Photographic Center Northwest so that you can view it all month long. AV
(Photographic Center Northwest, Capitol Hill, free, Friday-Sunday)


Winter Solstice Holiday Night Market Past Event List
Winter solstice isn't until the 21st, but we don't mind that this "Winter Solstice" market comes a few weeks early since the nights are still getting longer and we're looking for anything to motivate us to leave our homes. The 21-plus night market transforms Magnuson Park Hangar 30 into a winter wonderland with wares from local vendors, holiday music, and seasonal treats. Dress in your sparkly best to match the colorful lights or have an ugly sweater competition with your friends! You can get photos with a "mischievous Santa Claus" (what could go wrong?), sip on holiday-inspired bubble tea at a boozy boba bar, and nosh on treats from 15 different food trucks and pop-ups. SL
(Magnuson Park Hangar 30, Sand Point, $10 - $30, Friday-Saturday)

Giving Marketplace Past Event List
There are a lot of markets to shop from this holiday season, but the proceeds from this one will benefit a number of local and global charities. Find not just gifts, but performances and activities as well, like live music from Kenyan American singer-songwriter Naomi Wachira on Friday and Brazilian guitarist Marco de Carvalho on Saturday. Plus, get a portrait of you as an animal by local illustrator Michelle Lassaline, and make your own ornament, jewelry, or wreath to take home. SL
(Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center, Uptown, free, Friday-Saturday)

Winterfest Past Event List
Every holiday season, the Seattle Center transforms into Winterfest, where visitors will find seasonal decor, live performances on the weekends, and of course, the beloved miniature winter train and village. For the first time this year, we're getting a European-inspired outdoor Christmas market offering gifts from local and international vendors and tasty treats like glühwein and bratwurst. SL
(Seattle Center, Uptown, free, Friday-Sunday)

Arboretum Holiday Sale Past Event List
Grab some seasonally appropriate "green time" and stroll through the Arboretum Foundation's Graham Visitors Center, where you'll find volunteer-made holiday wreaths, tree ornaments, botanical jewelry, locally sourced honey, pressed flower cards, and more. The annual holiday sale is a solid way to check a few boxes on your gift list while feeling good about supporting the public garden's tree care, environmental education, and volunteerism. LC
(Washington Park Arboretum, Madison Park, free, Saturday-Sunday)


Seattle Storm Shopping Weekend Past Event List
Find gifts for all the basketball fans in your life at the Seattle Center Armory this weekend. They'll have all the Seattle Storm gear you could want and more, plus special player appearances from Jewell Loyd and Jordan Horston on Saturday. It's the only place you can pick up an exclusive "Jewell Loyalty" shirt! SL
(Seattle Center Armory, Uptown, free, Saturday-Sunday)

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