Your Complete Guide To Light Displays, Ugly Sweater Parties, And Other Free, Cheap & Easy Holiday Events In Seattle

Festive Events Happening December 23-27, 2016
December 14, 2016
See Santa, reindeer, and thousands of LEDs at WildLights at the Woodland Park Zoo. (Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren)

The holiday season is here, and we've already rounded up all of the seasonal performances and concerts happening in Seattle, as well as all the markets and pop-ups where you can buy handmade holiday gifts. But many of those events are costly, so, here, we've compiled all of the ways you can have a good, festive time this holiday season without spending more than $10. See below for holiday light displays, ugly sweater parties, concerts, performances, orphan Christmas parties, and celebrations for Hanukkah and Festivus. If you're looking for even more events, check out our complete winter holidays calendar or our New Year's Eve calendar, and stay tuned for a list of cheap & easy New Year's Eve events.

Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app—available now on the App Store and Google Play. Right now, you can enter to win free tickets to some of Seattle's most extravagant New Year's Eve parties.

This post was last updated Dec 23.


DEC 23

Foolish: Holiday Sweater Party
Fridays at Timbre Room are FOOLISH, a chance to sweat out your weekday worries to a different featured DJ each week. This week will feature a gathering of the ugliest holiday sweaters in town, with sets by MTBTZ, Hydef, Meistro, and Old English.
(Downtown, $5/$10)

Session Fridays Ugly Sweater Party Edition
Session Fridays offer late-night classic cuts and Top 40 club bangers for your dancing pleasure. This month, wear your most grotesque woolies.
(Capitol Hill, free)

Total Request Live Night: Ugly Sweaters Edition
The Croc joins in on the ugly sweater phenomenon with a very '90s, very holiday edition of their storied "Total Request Live" night, with sets from local indie rockers American Island, and DJs Indica Jones and Pryme. Ugly sweaters are, obviously, encouraged.
(Belltown, $7)

Ugly Xmas Sweater Party with The 5 Point Cafe & KahlĂşa!
The folks at 5 point urge you to "prepare your liver for festive punishment" and take in a number of sweet drink specials at this holiday party that also promises an ugly sweater contest and prize giveaways.
(Belltown, no cover)

DEC 24

'Twas the Night Before Xmas Ugly Sweater & Pajama Party
At home, not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse. At C.C. Attle's, beefy guys are stuffing their stockings, wrapping up their goodies, and doing other Christmas-themed euphemisms we may or may not come up with later. Join Mark "Mom" Finley as they recite the beloved Santa poem and chooses the "Most Festive Package Under the Tree."
(Capitol Hill, free)

DEC 25

Christmas Night Pajama Party
So the presents are unwrapped, the stockings are turned inside-out, the Christmas ham is devoured, and it's time to get back to real life, right? NOPE! Kate's invites you for its annual pajama party, featuring live Xmas music, holiday cocktails, and a prize for awesomest pajamas.
(Wallingford, no cover)


DEC 23

Lushy Silver & Gold Holiday A Go-Go Show
The smooth, Latin-influenced, progressive rockers of Lushy invite you to dress in something glittery and gold for their music party at local music institution Vito's. They say, "Presents for the most dazzling outfits."
(First Hill, pay what you will)

Massy Ferguson Christmas in Ballard with The Swearengens and Jackrabbit
Americana-rich bar band Massy Ferguson celebrates the season with The Swearengens and Jackrabbit in tow.
(Ballard, $10)

Talcum Christmas Soul Dance
What a nice holiday gift! Those super-obsessive northern soul DJs from Emerald City Soul Club are making a comeback appearance on Capitol Hill for the first Talcum party since January 2015. People who love to move to the grooves of rare soul 45s (original pressings only, of course) should get their toned asses to Chop Suey and sweat away the toxins of this cursed year. Selectors include George Gell, Gene Balk, and The Stranger’s own ribald-humor machine Mike Nipper—three of the most knowledgeable and passionate American ambassadors of this uplifting music. DAVE SEGAL
(Capitol Hill, $5)

DEC 24

13th Annual Blue Moon Christmas Pageant
Celebrate Christmas with a ragtag bunch of local folk-rockers at Blue Moon's annual pageant, with live sets from The Yule Loggers, Butt Dial, Best Band From Earth, The Donner Vixens, and many more to sling holiday cheer your way. Even better, proceeds from the door go to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
(University District, $5)

Christmas Eve at the Cuff
Don't sit at home waiting for Santa—get out and dance with hot men to tunes spun by Cuff Complex's resident DJs.
(Capitol Hill, free/$10)

The Innit vs. Onset Christmas Eve Special
Get all your holiday stress out one day early with this two-room tech house and drum & bass party on Christmas Eve. DJ Flave and The Onset Crew will have dominion over the Timbre Room, with Eugene Fauntleroy, Olivia Bee, and Nikolay Cloud taking over the Kremwerk floor.
(Downtown, free)

A Very Squirrelly Christmas
Join old-timey blues-folk duo Squirrel Butter and friends on Christmas Eve for a potluck and cozy live performance.
(Ballard, free)

DEC 25

Miracle On Howell St. - Flammable Edition! with Jacob London
On Christmas night, celebrate with live music from Jacob London (Seattle artists Pezzner & Hanssen), Brian Lyons, and Dane Garfield Wilson. You'll receive the gift every little child dreams of: a raucous evening at Re-bar.


DEC 23

Blood Squad
This one-night-only Christmas horror story—inspired by the likes of Black Christmas, Silent Night, Deadly Night and Gremlins—will feature local comedians Molly Arkin, Jon Axell, Brandon Felker, and Elicia Wickstead improvising sub-genres of horror films based on movie titles given by the audience.This one-night-only Christmas horror story—inspired by the likes of i>Black Christmas, Silent Night, Deadly Night and Gremlins—will feature local comedians Molly Arkin, Jon Axell, Brandon Felker, and Elicia Wickstead improvising sub-genres of horror films based on movie titles given by the audience.
(Capitol Hill, $10)


DEC 23

Festivus MMXVI
A sad, tinsel-free pole, the airing of grievances, feats of strength, and miracles—once again, it's time to celebrate Festivus, and The Barrel Thief will do their best to capture the slightly forlorn spirit of the holiday.
(Fremont, free)


DEC 24

Misfits Christmas Eve
Lone wolves: instead of spending your Christmas Eve getting drunk by yourself in your apartment, head to POCO to commiserate with fellow misfits. They'll have a crackling fire, festive films, and (of course) new wine releases and seasonal spirits.
(Capitol Hill, no cover)

Populuxe 2nd Annual Orphans Night, Christmas Eve
Orphans, black sheep, and adventurers far from home: come celebrate Christmas Eve at Populuxe with a community potluck, live music, and plenty of beer. You might even go home with a gift.
(Ballard, free)

DEC 24-25

Die Hard Holiday
Celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas at Big Mario's, where they'll screen Christmas classic Die Hard and offer special holiday pizzas ("The Sweet Baby Jesus" and "The Grinch.") Plus, warm up with Rumpleminze hot cocoa and hot buttered rum specials.
(Capitol Hill, free)



Snowflake Lane
Get photos with Santa, then experience beautiful lights, "toy soldier drummers," animatronic characters, and pretty music in artificial snow at 7pm every night.
(Eastside, free)


Garden d'Lights
"Welcome to the garden of earthly delights / Welcome to a billion Arabian Nights," Andy Partridge sings on Oranges and Lemons. He'd probably never been to Bellevue, but it fits: Half a million tiny LEDs adorn the Botanical Garden to create outlandish forms in fairy-tale landscapes.
(Bellevue, $5)

Light Up The Night
A holiday light show will be projection-mapped on 3D on the Sixth Avenue side of Pacific Place every day at nightfall. Inside the shopping center, snow shows will occur twice nightly in the atrium, and, until December 24, live musicians will perform.
(Downtown, free)

See the zoo in a new light—500,000 energy-efficient LEDs, in fact! See luminous animal-themed designs, have an indoor snowball fight, meet Santa and his very real reindeer and some nocturnal animals, listen to carolers, and enjoy the holiday beer garden. WildLights will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
(Phinney, $9.95)


Candy Cane Lane
Since 1949, the holiday-spirited homeowners along Northeast Park Road have collectively transformed their street into an illuminated paradise for reindeer and Christmas elves. Bring the kids to enjoy this homegrown institution.
(University District, free)

Ivar's Clam Lights
Every night, Ivar's powers up Renton's Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park with thousands of Christmas lights depicting various clammy characters. Is this where clams go to heaven after you eat them at Ivar's?
(Renton, free)

The wonder-workers at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will fashion giant animal scenes from lights, including "hammerhead sharks and sea turtles, carnivorous plants and their insect prey, a whimsical 30-foot-wide underwater landscape, a majestic polar bear family, and a gorgeous giant Pacific octopus." See real live fishes in the aquarium and play with goats and reindeer or ride a camel. If you get faint from all the bedazzlement, there are snacks to restore your energy. Buy a Combo Pass if you want to come early and see the terrestrial animals, who will be snoozing during Zoolights. Closed Christmas Eve.
(Tacoma, $8.50/$10)



Seattle Center WinterFest
If you find yourself on the Seattle Center campus at any point before December 31st, prepare yourself and your senses because you are entering a winter wonderland. From an ice rink to ice sculpting, all things ice will be present, whether or not (most likely not) there is snow. The classic Winter Train & Village will be set up in the Armory, where hundreds of performances—including dance, music, and comedy—will also be featured throughout the winter season.
(Seattle Center, free)


Gingerbread Village
Here's a corner of Seattle untouched by construction and traffic. The Sheraton's chefs work every year with architects to confect fanciful houses and structures that are sure to make you wish we had a Candy Witch Urban Planning Committee. It's free to view in the Sheraton's lobby, it's always open, and you can vote for your favorite house. The theme of this 24th annual edition is "Celebrate the Magic of the Holidays," so expect Harry Potter-themed houses.
(Downtown, free)


DEC 27

Light the Night: An LGBTQ Hanukkah Celebration
On the fourth night of Hanukkah, celebrate with Jewish groups PAVE, Jconnect Seattle, and Kolenu. Play dreidel games, munch kosher latkes, and light the candles to the accordion tunes of Cantor David Serkin-Poole.
(Capitol Hill, free)