Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Weekend: Dec 8–10, 2023

Christmas Ship Parade of Boats, Wintry Weekend Ice Skating Rink, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
December 8, 2023
You've got a few options for viewing the Christmas Ship Parade of Boats. (Argosy Cruises via Facebook)
Holiday cheer is in no short supply this weekend. Save your cash for holiday gifts by heading to these cheap and cheerful events, from the Christmas Ship Parade of Boats to Wintry Weekend Ice Skating Rink and from the Winter Renegade Craft Fair 2023 to Green Lake Pathway of Lights. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week.

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Jessica Moss Past Event List
On her 2022 album, Galaxy Heart, Montreal-based violinist and composer Jessica Moss moves between tense violin studies to ethereal works with layered vocals. Despite capturing a range of feelings, the album is cohesive with minimal compositions about the natural world. As press materials explain, "Galaxy Heart is cosmic music of dark matter and interstellar dust, of gravitational waves and celestial grit that connect messy terrestrial life—with its human, animal, natural suffering and beauty—to chaotic and unruly universal forces." Don't miss the opportunity to hear these tunes echo throughout the historic performance space. AV
(Good Shepherd Center/Chapel Performance Space, Wallingford, $15-$18)


BOOTS! Winter Wonderland Past Event List
This weekend, Seattle's '60s dance night will trade go-go boots for snowshoes during this winter wonderland-themed holiday hop. Look out for festive go-go dancers, dreamy decorations, and a chill (and chilly) variety of winter-themed, vintage tunes. Dress on theme in your best yuletide glam—c'mon, I better see some Christmas tree beehives in the crowd! AV
(Sunset Tavern, Ballard, $15)


Pioneer Square Holiday Market Past Event List
For something with a Lifetime holiday movie vibe, head to Occidental Square Park for the third annual Pioneer Square Holiday Market from 11 am to 3 pm with dozens of local art vendors, a skating rink, and free hot chocolate. STRANGER ARTS EDITOR MEGAN SELING
(Occidental Square, Pioneer Square, free)

Punk Rock Flea Market puts the MESS back in XMAS! Past Event List
What's punk rock (or the holidays) without a dash of consumerism? Grab your mohawked buddies for this metal-studded X-mess weekend flea, where 150 alt vendors from across the region will peddle skateboards, vegan soap, bike parts, and prosthetic limbs. Kid-approved snacks and a bottom-shelf bar sweeten the deal. As always, a portion of the market's proceeds will be donated to the Low Income Housing Institute, which "develops, owns, and operates housing for the benefit of low-income, homeless, and formerly homeless people in Washington," so you can feel good about your ripped and chained gifts. Plus, entry is one dollar. You've got nothin' to lose. LC
(Nii Modo, Downtown, $1)

South Lake Union Winter Market Past Event List
If you didn't get enough of Urban Craft Uprising's artsy, anti-big-box offerings this year, head to South Lake Union for dozens more booths from buzzy brands and artisans. Pop by the free event to peruse divination decks by Dark Days Tarot, fermented hot sauces by Splat, and gourmet dog treats by Puddles Barkery. LC
(Van Vorst Plaza, South Lake Union, free)


Christmas Ship Parade of Boats Past Event List
Because nothing says Christmas like giant ships covered in lights, the waters around Seattle will get a little more sparkly this season as Argosy Cruises' Christmas Ship leads a parade of holiday cheer. You can grab a spot on the lead boat, follow along in your own decked-out boat, or stake out one of the many excellent shoreside viewpoints. The parade will gather in Lake Union and head westward through the Fremont Cut, where a free viewing party will be held at Evanston Plaza. SL
(Lake Union, $0 - $74)



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)


Holiday Beer Fest & Cookie Swap Past Event List
Tired: milk and cookies. Wired: beer and cookies. Bring your favorite baked treats to share, whether they're your aunt's trusty peanut blossoms or Eric Kim's new matcha latte cookie recipe for the New York Times, and swap with other attendees while enjoying a selection of eight or more holiday brews on tap. JB
(Ounces, North Delridge)

Seattle SantaCon Past Event List
In the words of former Stranger staff writer Matt Baume, "I do not necessarily endorse this event, but I feel that you should be warned that it is happening again." Happening across two weekends, SantaCon claims to be "much more than a pub crawl" and features drink specials, contests, and live entertainment for the hundreds of folks decked out in Santa Claus costumes looking for a drink (or several). My favorite thing is the bars that put out 🚫🎅🏻 signs in an effort to ward away the sometimes-too-jolly red elves. SL
(Various locations, Downtown, $7.50-$25)

Soup Club: In Person Remind List
I gotta focus, I'm shifting into soup mode. Cookbook author and "soup lady" Caroline Wright, who received a terminal brain cancer diagnosis in 2017, will set up in front of Book Larder and sling cozy, soul-soothing goodness inspired by her cookbook, Soup Club. (She's also currently running a Kickstarter campaign for the follow-up, Seconds: More Plant-Based, No-Broth Soup and Stew Recipes from One Soup Cook to Another, which will be printed at the local woman-owned print shop Girlie Press and stocked exclusively at Book Larder.) All proceeds benefit the National Brain Tumor Society, the largest nonprofit organization in the country dedicated to the brain tumor community. JB
(Book Larder, Fremont, free)


17th Annual Tom Waits Night Past Event List
Tom Waits's catalog includes a handful of Christmas songs, like "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" and "Christmas Sucks (ft. Peter Murphy)." Yet, every December, it's the non-yuletide tunes from TheHeart Of A Saturday Night and Nighthawks At The Diner that I turn to. Each delicate piano ballad sounds like watching the snow fall from the window of a dimly lit, smokey bar with a hot toddy in hand. I'm anxiously awaiting the day that Waits announces another tour (he hasn't toured since 2008!), but until then, we are lucky to have this annual tribute to the "poet of outcasts" (New York Times). This weekend, embrace your holiday blues while local musicians deliver a set that spans Waits's career. AV
(Conor Byrne, Ballard, $12)

21st Annual Holiday Hootenanny and Sing-A-Long Past Event List
Billed as "the best holiday tradition since eggnog," this holiday concert encourages the crowd to sing along, stomp their feet, clap their hands, and get a little rowdy. Americana band Carrie Clark and the Lonesome Lovers will be joined by Sue Corcoran and Vincent Gates (of the Von Piglet Family Players), Christine Kistler (of Lion Judah), Rob Witmer, Doug Port, Doug Port, and Andy Stoller (of Heart) for rootin' tootin' reworks of Christmas classics and obscurities. AV
(The Royal Room, Columbia City, $15)

Maita, Small Million, and Cumulus Past Event List
MAITA, the indie rock project of Portland-based singer-songwriter Maria Maita-Keppeler, has moved many people with angelic vocals and vulnerable lyricism. One such person was Kill Rock Stars' founder Slim Moon, who revived the label to sign her. Listen for tracks from her latest output, I Just Want To Be Wild For You, after opening sets from indie pop duo Small Million and alt-rock band Cumulus. AV
(Vera Project, Uptown, $12 - $15)

YES Music Productions Presents: Sugar Hiccup (Cocteau Twins) and Sour Times (Portishead) Past Event List
From where I stand, '80s dream pop band Cocteau Twins has to be one of the most difficult musical artists to cover. Frontwoman Elizabeth Fraser famously sang in gibberish or mouth music, and sometimes even foreign words she didn't know the meanings of, making the band’s songs nearly impossible to sing along to. On top of that, Fraser's unique featherlight soprano voice is difficult to replicate. For this tribute extravaganza, local tribute group Sugar Hiccup will take on the impossible by covering the Cocteau Twins's third album Treasure in its entirety. Arrive in time to catch an additional tribute from Sour Times, who cover the songs of trip-hop legends Portishead. AV
(Clock-Out Lounge, Beacon Hill, $15 - $20)


Pop2k: Ugly Christmas Sweater Edition Past Event List
Baby Van Beezly will spin some of your favorite holiday-centric pop favorites while you reenact the iconic "Jingle Bell Rock" dance routine from Mean Girls at thismerry ol' '00s and '10s throwback bash. Ugly Christmas sweaters are highly encouraged (can someone please recreate Lizzie McGuire's iconic unicorn sweater?) AV
(Madame Lou's at the Crocodile, Belltown, $5)

T4T: All Trans & Non-Binary Drag Show Past Event List
This by-trans, for-trans drag show hosted by Bee’Uh BombChelle always promises a glam evening of drag delicacies. Performers include artsy divas and crowd faves like Siren St. James, Dizzy Phoria, Puanani Possé, and It Girl Solana Solstice. LC
(Timbre Room, Downtown, $15-$20)


The Gaza Monologues - a Multilingual Reading Past Event List
This free multilingual reading of Ashtar Theatre's The Gaza Monologues will be presented in English, Arabic, Spanish, and Chinese and shared in solidarity with the besieged people of Gaza. The reading was organized in collaboration with eSe Teatro, which "empowers local Latin@ artists to create, produce and promote professional theater in English, Spanish, and Spanglish," Dunya Theatre, which "amplify the voices of the Middle East, North African, and Arab (MENAA+) people," and Yun Theatre, which "reflects the intersection of Chinese and American ideologies." Show up for Palestinian liberation. LC
(University Heights Center, Northeast Seattle, free)


Free Monogramming At Parachute Seattle
If you’re hunkering down for cozy season (which can involve spending 75% of the day in a bathrobe) like me, acquiring comfy clothing, bedding, and bath accessories is essential. Luckily, Parachute is here to help you reach optimal hygge. For one day only, they’re monogramming everything from robes to pillowcases to towels (same-day purchases only), so you can personalize a gift for the person in your life who has everything or expeditiously declare “Hands off, this is mine!” The chic home goods shop will provide seasonal drinks, light bites, complimentary gift wrapping, and other “festive surprises” while you peruse. JW
(Parachute, University Village, free)

Holiday Pop-Up Sale! Fresh Mochi x The Grocery Studios Past Event List
New-ish Beacon Hill gallery Fresh Mochi was named in honor of the handmade mochi made by artist-founder Elizabeth Jameson's mom. Awwww! The buzzy art space will prop open its doors for a holiday pop-up sale, complete with (you guessed it) handmade art, plus jewelry, wearables, baked goods, plants, cards, textiles, decor, and more. Across the street, you'll find more of the goodies at The Grocery Studios, where lexa luna studio, Day Moon Press, and others will set up shop. LC
(The Grocery Studios, North Beacon Hill, free)

Seattle Restored Winter Market Past Event List
This holiday pop-up market and art exhibition centers 24 entrepreneurs and creatives as part of the Seattle Restored program, which activates vacant storefronts and windows to revitalize the downtown area. (I'm excited about the upcycled duds by VÂN, Cereal Killer's Lucky Charms-stuffed cookies, and chinese born american's graphic prints.) On top of holiday shopping, the event promises yummy grub from Good Food Kitchens chef Jalissa Horton, who will serve up savory hand pies and warming bowls "in support of her community kitchen effort serving residents of Federal Way's SHAG communities." LC
(Seattle Restored Downtown, Downtown, free)


Pregame at the Armory: Seattle Kraken Pregame Experience Past Event List
The Seattle Kraken are back! The Seattle Center Armory is once again hosting pregame celebrations, starting two hours before each weekend match. You can join your fellow Kraken friends to make signs, play cornhole, enjoy food and drink vendors, and get hyped before the puck drops! If you don't have tickets to the game at Climate Pledge next door, don't fret, the Armory will be showing it on a big screen. You can even get your photo with Kraken mascot Buoy, or enjoy toe-tappin' tunes from Kraken band Red Alert. SL
(Seattle Center Armory, Uptown, free)


Green Lake Pathway of Lights 2023 Past Event List
Grab your gloves and earmuffs, it's time to take an illuminated stroll around Green Lake. For this annual tradition, thousands of candles are lit along the path, and you can enjoy complimentary refreshments as you turn your ear to holiday music performed by local schools and community groups. Be a good neighbor and bring a non-perishable food donation to one of the three music stages in support of local food bank FamilyWorks. Fingers crossed that the weather cooperates so we can see some magnificently lit hot air balloons. SL
(Green Lake Park, Green Lake, Donations encouraged)



Winter Mercado Past Event List
Peruse wares from local queer and BIPOC vendors while snacking on food specials and sipping drink specials made in collaboration with everyone's favorite bubbly water purveyor, Topo Chico. Fogón's colorful, charming sibling El Lugar Bodega Bar is stocked to the brim with imported groceries, snacks, home goods, and candies, so you're sure to find some unique stocking stuffers and White Elephant gifts. JB
(El Lugar Bodega Bar, Capitol Hill, free)


WNBA Draft Lottery Watch Party Past Event List
The best place to watch all things women's sports is Rough & Tumble Pub, Seattle’s woman-owned and women’s sports-dedicated bar. Naturally, R&T is hosting a watch party for the WNBA Draft Lottery, so you can behold the future of the Seattle Storm post-Sue Bird. Doors open at 10 am if you want to enjoy brunch while watching women's college basketball games on numerous big screens. SL
(Rough & Tumble Pub, Ballard, free)



The Boy and the Heron Past Event List
Over the last 30 years, Studio Ghibli has become legendary for its lush visuals, emotional and affecting storytelling, and poetic, intelligent approach to nature and the more-than-human world. One of its central figures is (duh) cofounder Hayao Miyazaki, who has made some of the studio's most revered flicks (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Kiki's Delivery Service among them). He's also the most endearingly idiosyncratic director, like, maybe ever, and has announced, then broken, his retirement a total of four times. Never change, Miyazaki!! Anyway, if you're a Ghibli fan, you probably know all of this and are already jazzed for his first feature film in 10 years, The Boy and The Heron. It's a hand-drawn, semi-autobiographical fantasy that seems likely to fall in line with all of the reasons you love him already. LC
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown, $13-$14, 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)

It's a Wonderful Life Past Event List
Already before World War II, the world of the villain in It's a Wonderful Life, the robber baron Henry F. Potter (portrayed by the stern face of Lionel Barrymore) was long over. The glory period of his kind did not rise from the combined ashes of the First World War and the Crash of 1929. But no one knew what was to come next. Would the USA become another USSR? The 1930s were called the Red Decade for a good reason. Was the hero of It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey (played by the drawl of James Stewart), a Red? Sure looked like it in 1946. STRANGER SENIOR WRITER CHARLES MUDEDE
(Grand Illusion, University District, $8-$11, Friday-Sunday)

Menus-Plaisirs Les Troisgros Past Event List
Frederick Wiseman, aka my 93-year-old documentarian dad, is best known for his silent, observational examinations of American institutions like psychiatric hospitals, public housing developments, and libraries, so his latest look behind the scenes of France’s celebrated restaurant La Maison Troisgrosfeels like a luxurious departure from the norm. The rarefied restaurant has held three Michelin stars for over five decades; Wiseman tracks its quest for perfection in Menus-Plaisirs Les Troisgros. LC
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Capitol Hill, $8-$14, Friday-Sunday)

The Muppet Christmas Carol Past Event List
Die HardScroogedNational Lampoon's Christmas VacationThe Gingerdead Man starring Gary Busey. They're all very good Christmas movies! But my all-time favorite, the one holiday film that wins out year after year, is The Muppet Christmas Carol. The classic tale is narrated by Gonzo and (the wildly underappreciated) Rizzo the Rat, with Kermit as the earnest Bob Cratchit and Michael Caine as the grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge. But to really appreciate the magic of the movie, first read this fascinating Vulture interview with songwriter Paul WilliamsThe Muppet Christmas Carol was the first Muppet movie made after Jim Henson died in 1990 and it's also first movie Williams scored after getting sober, so all the heartfelt moments about appreciating life and the people you love in songs like "It Feels Like Christmas" and "Thankful Heart" vibrate with genuine love, grief, and gratitude. Good luck not sobbing your eyeballs out now that you know that, sorry! MS
(Central Cinema, Central District, $12, 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, Uptown, $13-$14, Friday-Sunday)


Tremolo Fest Past Event List
Tremolo Fest will vibrate the walls of the Central Saloon with three days of experimental free-wave weirdos blasting out shoegaze, dream pop, psych-rock, and other droney sounds. Some highlights from the lineup include pioneering soul-tinged shoegaze group the Veldt, dreamy post-punk band Fotoform, and psychedelic garage ensemble Black Nite Crash. AV
(Central Saloon, Pioneer Square, $15-$20, Friday-Saturday)


Winter Renegade Craft Fair 2023 Past Event List
Serving up a thoughtful alternative to mass-marketed trinkets and big box stores, Renegade Craft Fair purports to be "the broadest-reaching curated craft showcase in the world." It'll return with goodies from over 180 vendors representing the best of the Pacific Northwest and beyond—skincare enthusiasts, plant parents, and fans of checkerboard patterns should find something to smile about. Why not snatch up some crafty wares from indie artists and bites from on-site food vendors? It's what you deserve. LC
(Magnuson Park Hangar 30, Sand Point, $5 suggested donation, Saturday-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)

Printing the PNW Past Event List
After peeping legendary Edo-period Japanese ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai's woodblock prints, paintings, and illustrated books (yes, including Great Wave, plus a LEGO interpretation of it) on view at Seattle Art Museum, why not drop by SAM Gallery to scope out Japanese-inspired prints created by local artists? Printing the PNW features works by multimedia printmakers Kerstin Graudins and Nikki Jabbora-Barber, sea creature lover Jueun Shin, and Minami Wrigley, who blends intaglio and etching techniques to depict both the Pacific Northwest and Japan. LC
(SAM Gallery, Downtown, free, Friday-Sunday)


Japantown Jingle Past Event List
Japantown Jingle is an annual holiday tradition that celebrates the neighborhood’s businesses with live performances, food pop-ups, and special shopping deals through Christmas Eve. On Saturday, December 9, you'll find a holiday quartet at women-owned boutique Sairen, happy hour at the historic Panama Hotel, and walking tours hosted by the Wing Luke Museum. While most of the activations are free, walking tours cost $24.95 for adults and $16.95 for children and include admission to the museum. Pro tip: entrance to the museum gift shop—where you can find lots of unique holiday gifts—is free. SL
(Various locations, Japantown, Friday-Sunday)

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)

Wintry Weekend Ice Skating Rink Past Event List
Get your skate on (for free!) at Occidental Square's synthetic ice rink this weekend. You’ll also find dozens of craft, food, and drink vendors during the Pioneer Square Holiday Market on Friday and Saturday, where "snow" will drift down on visitors Saturday afternoon for a true Hallmark movie moment. Bring your friends and family for free cocoa and merriment: everything you could want for the holidays is all in one place! SL
(Occidental Square, Pioneer Square, free, Friday-Sunday)

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