The Best Festivals in Seattle: Winter 2019/2020

Our Critics' Picks for December 9-March 15
December 4, 2019
Need a break from Seattle in January? Head to Leavenworth for the Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival.
Below, we've rounded up the biggest and best festivals you need to know about this season, from Emerald City Comic Con Add to a List to the Seattle Wine and Food Experience Add to a List to Lunar New Year Add to a List . You can also find a complete list of festivals in Seattle this winter on our EverOut Things To Do calendar, or check out the rest of our critics' picks from Seattle Art and Performance.


Through Mon Dec 23

Christmas Ship Festival Add to a List Our waterways are 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. (Various locations, free—$50)

Through Tues Dec 24

Snowflake Lane Add to a List 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. (Bellevue Collection, 7 pm, free)

Through Thurs Dec 26

Seattle Festival of Trees Add to a List The historic Fairmont Olympic hotel celebrates the winter season each year with a fancy dinner, caroling, an impressive display of decorated trees in their lobby, and a teddy bear suite. (Fairmont Olympic Hotel, free—$225)

Through Sun Dec 29

Enchant Christmas Add to a List 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. (T-Mobile Park, $20+)

Through Tues Dec 31

Fire + Ice Festival Add to a List Winter is a time for snowpeople and warm fires to complement each other from a distance, and the holidays wouldn't be complete without them. For its third annual Fire + Ice Festival, the Museum of Glass hosts a variety of holiday-themed performances and demonstrations. (Museum of Glass)

Garden d'Lights Add to a List 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. (Bellevue Botanical Garden, 4:30—9 pm, $5)

Winterfest Add to a List From a winter train village to an ice rink, and from music and dance performances to ice sculpting, Winterfest promises five weeks of free festive cheer for all ages. (Seattle Center, free)

Through Wed Jan 1

Sheraton Grand Seattle Gingerbread Village Add to a List 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. This year's theme is #ElfLife, featuring pixies, gnomes, and pucks from across genres. (Seattle Sheraton Hotel and Towers)

Through Sun Jan 5

Lumaze Add to a List 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. (Smith Cove Cruise Terminal (Pier 91), 3—9 pm, $15+)

WildLights Add to a List The zoo will light up with thousands upon thousands of (energy-efficient) LED lights that re-create wild scenes and creatures. You can also throw fake snowballs at your friends, get up close with certain animal residents, and sip hot chocolate. (Woodland Park Zoo, $23)

Zoolights Add to a List Holiday traditions don't get more classic than strolling through a 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. (Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, 5—9 pm, $11—$13)

Dec 6–22

Christmas Lighting Festival Add to a List Holiday cheer abounds in Washington's own Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth, which celebrates the season with live Christmas music, visits from both St. Nicholas and Santa Claus, sledding, and more—all culminating in glorious lighting ceremonies every Saturday and Sunday. (Leavenworth, WA, free)

Dec 13–15

Annual Holiday Native Gift Fair & Art Market Add to a List Find gifts for loved ones by local Native artists and makers at this annual market. (Duwamish Longhouse, free)

Dec 14–15

Renegade Craft Fair Add to a List Shop for crafts from new and returning makers while you enjoy live DJs, food trucks, and cocktails. (Magnuson Park, 11 am— 5 pm, free)

Sun Dec 22

Giant Menorah lighting & Gelt Drop Add to a List The first night of Hanukkah will be met with a menorah lighting, traditional treats like latkes, jelly doughnuts, and chocolate coins (which will rain down in a "great gelt drop"), and kids' activities. (Bergen Place, 5—6 pm, free)

Grand Menorah Lighting Add to a List Join Chabad of Capitol Hill for a menorah lighting to welcome the first night of Hanukkah. (Volunteer Park, 5—6 pm, free)

Grand Menorah Lighting Add to a List A human dreidel on stilts will shower you with gelt on the first night of Hanukkah—can't get more festive than that. Also on the docket: a giant menorah lighting and live music. (Kirkland Marina Park, 4:15—6:45 pm, free)

Light up the Night - Burger Fest Add to a List Spend the first night of Hanukkah witnessing a giant menorah lighting; eating gourmet burgers, latkes, and doughnuts; sipping hot beverages; and learning about Judaism from a Mitzvah tank. (Westlake Park, 5—8 pm, free)

Jan 17–26

Lake Chelan Winterfest Add to a List Lake Chelan hosts two weekends of wintery diversions for the whole family, including ice sculptures, live music, wine and beer tastings, a polar bear splash, snow yoga, a massive beach bonfire, and a fireworks show. (Lake Chelan Valley)

Sat Jan 18

Bavarian IceFest Add to a List Each year over MLK Jr. weekend, Washington's Bavarian-style village, Leavenworth, celebrates winter's bounties with twinkling lights and frosty activities like frisbee sweeping, ice cube scrambling, and "smooshing." You can also enjoy live ice carving, ice fishing, a fireworks show, and more. (Downtown Leavenworth, 9 am—4 pm, $5)


Mon Jan 20

Seattle MLK Day March and Celebration Add to a List This annual day of events celebrates the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. with an opportunity fair, workshops, and pre- and post-march rallies. (Garfield High School, free)


Thurs Dec 12

Depression Fest Add to a List This inaugural multimedia festival organized by musicians Ruben Mendez (DYED) and Abigail Swanson (Belva) will raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and promote mental health awareness in these Trumpian times. The lineup includes synth punks ONONOS, Archie, art-rockers Tissue, fiction author Richard Chiem, avant-rockers Children's Hospital, poet Sarah Galvin, visual artist Tara Thomas, and others. (Fred Wildlife Refuge)

Tues Dec 31

Resolution 2020 Add to a List Resolution is an annual end-of-the-year electronic music bash that gathers extremely popular and mainstream EDM and nü-rave artists into an arena-like space and unleashes their energy onto a throng of writhing young adults. This year's lineup includes massive figures in the scene like Adventure Club, Knife Party, Madeon, Tchami X Malaa, and many more. (WaMu Theater, 6:30 pm, $102)

Jan 24–25

Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival 2020 Add to a List Former Stranger contributor Brittnie Fuller has written, "This event in Leavenworth—the infamous German-themed town/tourist attraction nestled in the Cascades—looks like the coziest mid-winter music festival, filled with beardo-magnet amenities like skiing and snowboarding, a hot-toddy garden, wine tastings, and festival-branded flannel shirts. The weekend's musical offerings are generally varied, with numerous local and national acts ranging from indie rock to hip-hop." This year's roster is no exception, boasting sets by Pedro the Lion, Bully, Bearaxe, Lisa Prank, Ivan & Alyosha, CarLarans, Bryan John Appleby, and many more. (Leavenworth Festhalle, 4—11 pm, $65—$840)

Food & Drink

Dec 20–21

Winter Solstice Night Market Add to a List As the first official day of winter arrives, stay warm at this two-day indoor holiday night market, where over 150 booths and food trucks will offer up locally made wares and tasty fare. Plus, check out the market's indoor beer hall, where a separate ticket allows you to try wintry craft beers from over 25 local breweries. (Magnuson Park Hangar 30, 4 pm)

Sat Jan 25

10th Annual Belgian Fest Add to a List Brewing beers with Belgian yeast yields a range of ales with a distinctive fruity flavor. This festival featuring more than 100 Belgian-style beers crafted by Washington breweries is the perfect opportunity to taste them all, including funky lambics, tangy saisons, dubbels, tripels, abbeys, and wits. (Fisher Pavilion, $37/$45)

Feb 20–22

Seattle Wine and Food Experience Add to a List This annual extravaganza of all things edible and drinkable is an ode to gluttony in three parts. First up is Comfort, a festival of "feel-good foods and crafty brews," complete with bars for french fries, Bloody Marys, hot toddies, and milk and cookies. Next, POP! Bubbles and Seafood capitalizes on the felicitous pairing of bubbles and bivalves with a celebrity shucking contest and more than 30 sparkling wines from around the world. Finally, the Grand Tasting will showcase local and regional wines, beer, cider, spirits, and tastes from big-name Seattle chefs, with plenty of opportunities to watch demonstrations and meet artisan food producers. (Various locations, $60—$250)

Sat Feb 22

Hops and Props 2020 Add to a List Hops and Props celebrates craft brews from across the Northwest (and a few from other places). Enjoy three-ounce pours from more than 100 breweries and cider houses, a spread of bites from McCormick & Schmick's, and live music. (Museum of Flight, 7—10 pm, $100)

Sat March 7

Cocktail District Add to a List You'll find pop-up cocktail bars, tastings, bar takeovers, food trucks, music, classes, demos, and more at this weekend-long "carnival of cocktails" during Seattle Cocktail Week (March 1—8). Wander through sections like the "Whiskey Woods," "Vodka Village," and "Gin Garden" to discover new spirits from over 100 brands and shop for bottles to take home. (Bell Harbor International Conference Center, 12—10 pm, $45.99)

March 7–8

Penn Cove Musselfest Add to a List Thanks to the nutrient-rich outflow of water from the Skagit River, beautiful Penn Cove's famous mussels grow full-size in record time and are harvested young, making them impossibly firm, fat, and sweet. This annual festival, which bills itself as a celebration of all things "bold, briny, and blue," features boat tours of the Penn Cove Mussel Farm, a mussel eating contest, cooking demonstrations with local chefs, a waterfront beer garden, and the main event: a tasting competition with restaurants from all over Coupeville vying to have their mussel chowder declared the finest in town. (Coupeville Recreation Hall)


Thurs Feb 6

Kijiji Night Add to a List The Seattle Art Museum and One Vibe Africa (a local nonprofit that aims to educate the general public about African culture and promote social welfare and economic empowerment) present this free art, music, poetry, and performance festival whose name means "village" in Swahili. (Seattle Art Museum, 6— 9 pm, free)

Sat Feb 8

Lunar New Year Add to a List Ring in the Year of the Rat at this massive Lunar New Year celebration that showcases the diversity, richness, and culture of the Asian American community. See traditional dragon and lion dances, taiko drumming, martial arts, and other cultural performances on the main stage, plus arts and crafts, family activities, and the $3 food walk. (Chinatown-International District, 11 am—4 pm, free)

March 14–15

Irish Festival Add to a List This festival is chock-full of performances, live music ideal for practicing your Irish jigs, short film screenings, genealogy workshops, food, and more. (Seattle Center, free)


Jan 10–12

OrcaCon 2020 Add to a List Set aside your consoles and VR headsets for two days of tabletop games including board and card games, role-playing games, and miniatures games. Novice and experienced players are welcome. (Hilton Bellevue Hotel, 10 am—6 pm)

Sat Feb 1

NerdFaire Con! 2020 Add to a List If you consider yourself a nerd or a geek, you're bound to find something to hold your interest at this family-friendly catch-all mini-con featuring local shops and creators. (Lynnwood Convention Center, 10 am, $5—$25)

March 12–15

Emerald City Comic Con Add to a List Geeks across fandoms save their most inventive cosplay for the biggest local comic event of the year, Emerald City Comic Con. The four-day event is filled to the brim with panels, meetups, special events, fun parties, and tons and tons of guests hanging out in the artist alley. In addition to the main events at the Convention Center, this year's newest addition is Pop Asia, a buzzy anime, manga, and K-pop event at the Sheraton Hotel. (Washington State Convention & Trade Center, $30—$349)

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