Make Your Season Bright with Seattle’s Best Holiday Light Displays

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Seattle’s dark winter nights make the perfect backdrop for the colorful holiday lights that kick off the winter season right after Thanksgiving. So if a brighter-than-bright Christmas light display is what you’re after, we’ve got more than a few that will get you in the spirit. From synched neighborhood light shows to spectacular walk-thru and drive-thru experiences, each will dazzle and amaze wide-eyed kiddos and their bundled-up parents, too. Read on for the scoop on the best holiday light shows around!

Where to Find Holiday Lights in Seattle

photo: Kylie Kirkland

Candy Cane Lane

Twenty three cute little houses all in a row, adorned with lights, blow ups, sleighs and reindeer are what you’ll find at this Seattle institution. Since 1949, Candy Cane Lane in Ravenna has been charming visitors far and wide with their whimsical, neighborhood display. Want the scoop on this popular event? Read up before heading out.

Location: N.E. Park Rd., just off the main drag of Ravenna Blvd. at the cross street of 21st Ave. N.E.
Date: 2021 dates TBD (typically runs the second week of Dec.-Jan. 1)
Times: 2021 times TBD

Disco Vinnie's House

A local favorite, Disco Vinnie has been designing elaborate light displays that really wow the neighborhood for years. With over 5,000 LED lights and 12-foot video screen, visiting this spot is a feast for the senses that’s full of holiday cheer. Unlike other shows, this one runs for five hours and cycles through 80 songs, so you can swing by, stay for a bit and then come back another time for a totally new experience. New this year—four singing, old-fashioned light bulbs with talking faces (they make great back-up singers when harmonies are needed) and two arches that will really dazzle.

Insider tip: Disco Vinnie’s house is near the zoo, so hit this one before or after seeing WildLanterns!

Location: 6212 9th Ave NW, Seattle, WA
Date: Dec. 1-Jan. 1, 2021
Times: 5-9:30 p.m., weekdays; 5-11 p.m., weekends

photo: Cassie Smithco

Menashe Family Lights

West Seattleites have long loved visiting the Menashe Family Lights. With over 340,000 lights strung around the property, alongside blow-up characters, animated animals, a manger scene with vintage figures and a sweet little train that captivates the kidlets, this is one display that’s brimming with holiday cheer. In year’s past, the Menashe’s have invited Santa and Mrs. Claus to make an appearance and even unleashed gentle flurries on the gathered crowd. Who knows what special additions will be made this year! Plan to park the car along the street and get out to wander (and wonder) at this dazzling display.

Location: 5605 Beach Dr. SW., Seattle, WA 98136
Dates/Times: TBD for 2021

Olympic Manor

The Olympic Manor Neighborhood light display makes for a lovely winter evening walk (or slow drive) for families. The houses in the area are decked and then decked again for a truly illuminating effect that can’t help but make you smile. Bundle up for this one!

Location: Between N.W. 75th & N.W. 100th, Seattle, WA 98117
Dates & Times: TBD 2021 (Usually mid-December, 5-10 p.m.)

Mountlake Terrace

A lovely drive through a lighted neighborhood and favorite holiday tunes on the radio is the perfect incentive for some fun with the fam. So, fill up the tank and grab your slippers, then head out to this multi-family display in Mountlake Terrace where you can take a stroll or drive around the nearly 25 houses lighting the way. This sparkling spectacular runs through New Year's Day. Away you go!

Location: 22702 42nd Pl. W., Montlake Terrace, WA 98043
Dates & Times: TBD 2021 (Usually late Nov.-Jan. 1, 5-10 p.m.)

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

WildLanterns at Woodland Park Zoo

Although this isn't a traditional holiday light display, we're willing to cheat. Because the popular WildLanterns is back for 2021, and it’s all-new with a few surprises in store. A different kind of winter light display, it features four themed zones where you’ll encounter lighted animals and plants lining the zoo’s walking paths. From the beautifully lit butterfly, bug and plant lanterns that start everything off to the mysterious animals just past the fairy tree, this display is totally lit. Don’t forget to make a stop at the interactive zone (in the center of the zoo), but know when you do, your kids won’t want to leave. 

Location: 5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103
Dates: Nov. 12, 2021-Jan. 30, 2022; closed Mondays (except for Dec. 20 & 27) and Nov. 25, Dec. 24 & 25
Times: 4-8:30 p.m.
Event details

photo: Downtown Seattle Association

Lights, Lights and More Lights

Downtown Seattle is the place to be for bright lights in the big city, starting with this fantastic display returning after a successful first year. Stop under lighted presents tied up with a bow, marvel at oversized ornaments and arches—everywhere you look, there’s another eye-catching display. Your phone is a must, and not just for the photo ops. Kids will get a kick out of the augmented reality experience that’s part of the winter festivities.

Location: Westlake Park, 400 Pine St., Seattle, WA
Dates: Nov. 22-Jan. 1, 2022
Times: 5 p.m.
Event details

Luminata at Seattle Center

If you like your holiday lights with a side of a music and water show, head to Seattle Center to take it all in. Part of the annual Winterfest celebration, the campus will be lit from trees to buildings with lights to illuminate Seattle's dark winter nights. Also in the mix is the International Fountain, programmed for holiday cheer with a music and light show to get everyone in the spirit of the season.

Location: 305 Harrison St., Seattle, WA
Dates: Nov. 26-Jan. 1, 2022
Times: 6 p.m.
Event details

Eastside Holiday Light Displays

photo: The Bellevue Collection

Snowflake Lane at the Bellevue Collection

Cue the snow flurries! Bellevue is bringing the winter merriment back this season. The annual parade that features twinkling lights, festive music, drummers, dancers and of course, snowflakes falling from the sky makes its return to the streets outside of Bellevue Square for 2021. Our suggestion? Make a plan to visit Santa when you visit.

Location: Bellevue Way N.E., between Bellevue Square & Lincoln Square
Dates: Nov. 26-Dec. 24, 2021
Hours: 7 p.m.
Event details

photo: Garden d'Lights

Garden d'Lights

Get into the holiday spirit with this long-standing favorite. The annual Garden d’Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden opens the day after Thanksgiving and runs through Dec. 31. Expect to see displays you've grown to love over the years, like Charlotte of web fame and Willie the Slug, but be on the lookout for some new displays and critters in the mix too. Plan about 30 minutes to see this fantastic display along oh-so-stroller-friendly trails.

Good to know: Tickets are just $5 per person, and kids 10 & under are free but will need a ticket. Tickets are date and time specific and must be purchased in advance.

Location: Bellevue Botanical Garden, 12001 Main St., Bellevue, WA 98005
Dates: Nov. 27-Dec. 31, 2021 (including holidays)
Time: 4:30-9 p.m.
Event details

photo: Google Musical Holiday Lights

Google Musical Holiday Lights

The Cross Kirkland Corridor is where you'll find this musical display. Back after last year's hiatus, families can once again gaze at this magnificent display that's programmed by Google engineers. It's a chance for them to dazzle you with their programming chops. 10,000 lights will dance to holiday music. Whether you and the kids do too is up to you.

Insider tip: There are two places where families can park for free to enjoy the display. Try the Google surface parking lot (Google Building B, 787 6th St. S.) or the first level of Google Building D (451 7th Ave. S.).

Location: The Family Fitness and Play Area on the Cross Kirkland Corridor; approximate address is 499 7th Ave. S. in Kirkland
Dates: Dec. 8-Jan. 1, 2022
Times: 5-10 p.m.
Event details

photo: Maple Valley Lights

Maple Valley Lights

You'll find merriment and dancing lights at this stunning display in Maple Valley. Getting in on the festivities is easy. Simply pull up with your cuties and tune the car radio to 101.9 on your FM dial to enjoy the show that's filled with Christmas spirit. Then sit back and watch the mesmerizing 70,000 lights do their thing as they cycle through 15-20 songs (that's about 35-40 solid minutes of programming!) before heading home to put the Littles to bed. In addition to a new Santa, complete with reindeer, on the roof, Fancy Like has been added to the playlist. You know what to do, parents—dance like you're on TikTok! If you would like to drop off a food donation, you'll find a spot to leave non-perishables for the Maple Valley Food Bank. 

Insider tip: While you're in the area, be sure to check out two other area displays. Swing by Paint the Night Christmas Lights and Christmas at the Arbors to make your night complete.

Location: 22629 S.E. 263rd Pl., Maple Valley, WA 98038
Dates: Nov. 25-Dec. 31, 2021
Times: Sun.-Thurs., 5-10 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 5-11 p.m.; 5 p.m.-midnight, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve
Event details

DAZZLE

While you're in Maple Valley, be sure to swing by DAZZLE, a walk through display that features lights, music and activations that'll thrill your senses. The event runs rain or shine (let's hope for snow!), and donations to the Maple Valley Food Bank will be collected. Bring 'em if you've got 'em. This is a very stroller-friendly display and it's not too long either, perfect for little legs. Plan to wander for about 30-45 minutes from start to finish, and grab a cup of hot cocoa to warm up at the end.  

Location: 21401 244th Ave. S.E., Maple Valley, WA 
Dates: Dec. 2-23, 2021
Times: Nightly, 4:30-8 p.m.
Event details

photo: Christmas in Redmond

Christmas in Redmond

Now in its eight year, this Eastside display is all about tradition. And this is the second year the display will be completely RGB (that's light show speak for pixelated red, green and blue LED lights). Now boasting a complete rainbow of colors, families can expect about seven or eight songs to be featured, and should plan to sit back and relax as the lights do their thing for about 20 minutes. Just tune your car radio to 103.1 FM to make the cascading jumping lights spring to life, like a reindeer on a rooftop.

Location: 6203 144th Ave. N.E., Redmond, WA 98052
Dates: Nov. 27, 2020-Jan. 1, 2021
Times: 5-10 p.m.
Event details

Head North to See These Lights

Evergreen Lights

The folks at Evergreen Church in Bothell hope you and the kids will stop by to enjoy this popular light display that's a favorite with north end families. The Littles will be entertained by over 500,000 bright lights dancing to choreographed music while parents can snuggle up under the heat lamps nearby. Expect snow flurries every 30 minutes and an improved Pixel Light Tunnel that's sure to impress your friends on social. Head inside to watch trains and warm up with cookies and cocoa (available for purchase) before making your way back to the city.

Location: 3429 240th St. S.E., Bothell, WA
Dates: Dec. 4-24, 2021
Times: 6-9 p.m.
Event details

photo: iStock

Pennlights Holiday Show

This spectacular dancing light show, started back in 2007 by Dan Penn, has grown into a neighborhood affair over the last few years. Now families can enjoy not just one light display, but two, as his neighbor Craig has gotten in on the Christmas programming action. Much like dueling pianos, this delightfully entertaining display involves two houses and one completely synched-up show, complete with the ping-pong back-and-forth your kids will love. Plan to spend around 20 minutes taking it all in, tuned to 103.1 FM from your car. New this year: a 10-foot rooftop light grid that really wows. Expect lots of fast-paced holiday songs, mash-ups and dub step that'll have your kids dancing in their car seats. If you're able, take in this show on a weeknight; it's at the end of a cul-de-sac so things can get a bit crowded on the weekends. Make a plan to visit this cheerful display!

Location: 21726 & 21725 N.E. 136th Pl. Woodinville, WA 98077
Dates: Nov. 25, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022
Times: Sun.-Mon., 5-10 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 5 p.m.-midnight
Event details

Lynnwood Lights

A sweet, family-run show that's not too far from the city is what's in store at this display. After pictures with Santa at Alderwood Mall, swing by to catch the nightly show that runs just under 20 minutes. Tune your dial to 103.1 FM to hear the music that's synched to the lights, then sit back and enjoy. Shows run every 30 minutes to help you make your plan.

Insider tip: Park across the street for the best view of this charming display.

Location: 1409 172nd Pl. S.W., Lynnwood, WA
Dates: Dec. 1-Jan. 1, 2022
Times: Sun.-Thurs., 5-9 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 5-9:30 p.m.

photo: The Lights of Christmas

The Lights of Christmas

If you're up for a drive, consider making the trek to Stanwood to see The Lights of Christmas. A truly special show that features over one million twinkling lights, it doesn't get better than this one for spreading holiday cheer. Tune into Christmas music on the radio, then roll down the windows to wave to Mr. & Mrs. Claus as you drive slowly past. Favorite light displays include the light tunnel, Cascade Splendor mountain scene and Santa with his reindeer. Save some room for their fresh mini hot donuts—the perfect snack for your drive home.

Location: Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center, 20800 Marine Drive, Stanwood, WA 98292
Dates: Nov. 26-28, Dec. 1-5, 8-12, 15-23 & 26-30 and Jan. 2-8, 2022

South Sound Holiday Displays

photo: Katie Cotterill

Zoolights

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s annual Zoolights festival is a great outdoor display for animal lovers of all ages to catch. Each year, the grounds are decked out in their dazzling best to wow visitors big and small. In addition to familiar faves, like the giant octopus and the Narrows Bridge, kids should keep their eyes peeled for Sasquath and other new displays as they marvel at this magical electric avenue. Returning fans will be thrilled to hear they've added a second light tunnel this year. Get your cameras ready!

Location: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, 5400 N. Pearl St, Tacoma, WA 
Dates: Nov. 26, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022 (closed Dec. 24 & 25).
Times: 4:30-9 p.m.
Event details

photo: courtesy The Washington State Fair

Holiday Magic

Bigger, better and brighter is the name of the game at this year’s Holiday Magic, a walk-through light experience at the Washington State Fairgrounds. It premiered last year as a safe way for visitors to get their holiday light fix. Now, families will encounter more fantastic light displays at the Light Extravaganza and  Hometown Holiday Forest, where lighted trees delight. We know your kids will want to hop aboard the Santa Express Train, ride the Sugar Plum Merry-Go-Round and see if they can spot the big guy in red at Santa's Village. The ice skating rink is a welcome addition, and holiday food is available to purchase, an easy way to keep the kids happy as you explore.

Location: Washington State Fairgrounds, 110 9th Ave. S.W., Puyallup, WA
Date: Dec. 10-12, 17-23 & 26-31, 2021
Time: 5-10 p.m.
Event details

photo: The Very Merry Christmas House

The Very Merry Christmas House

Be sure to put the Best Of Washington's 2015 winner on your driving route this year. Families will always find something different at this display that changes from year to year. This year's theme answers the question—can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street? A tribute to the beloved children's show's 52nd year, it will include new props and some restored vintage wooden cutouts your kids will surely recognize. To listen to the songs synched with the over 70,000 lights, tune into 89.1 FM. We love that this display is totally committed to being "green." In fact, almost everything you see has been saved from the landfill by display designer, Gena Laws and her family. If the spirit of the season moves you, bring some canned food to support the Black Diamond Senior Center and Food Bank. The Laws family is proud to have raised over 50,000 pounds of food in the past 12 years.

Location: 30211 176th Ave. S.E., Kent, WA 98042 (follow signs off of Covington/Sawyer Rd. & 179th)
Dates: Nov. 25, 2021-Jan. 1, 2022
Times: 4:30 p.m. (or dusk)-11:30 p.m.

photo: courtesy Paul D'Oyley

Farklezoo

With over 30,000 sequenced lights and delightfully animated faces that “sing” songs to guests, the Farklezoo display in Tukwila, has been entertaining neighbors and visitors alike for over 20 years, first as a static display, now as a dynamic one. And although the display has bragging rights for being the “Most Technical” display (2017) and “Most Visible From Space” (2018 & 2019), collecting food for the Tukwila Pantry is at the heart of this delightful display. Tune in to 107.9 FM to watch the display from your car. It plays seven days a week so you can get in the spirit anytime. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for special fun nights like cocoa with the Kringles.

Location: 14480 58th Ave. S., Tukwila, WA 98168
Dates: Nov. 27, 2020-Jan. 1, 2021
Times: 6-10 p.m.

Christmas in Color

A new drive-thru light spectacular is making its way to Federal Way this year. Load the kids in the car and head to Wild Waves Theme & Water Park to get in on this safe new way to see more than one million lights synched to music, dancing before your eyes. You'll see all your holiday favorites on display (think: snowmen, candy canes and trees) and word on the street is there may be some cool tunnels to drive through, too.

Location: Wild Waves Theme & Water Park, 36201 Enchanted Parkway S., Federal Way, WA
Dates: Nov. 19-Jan. 2, 2022; Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day
Times: 5:30-10 p.m.
Event details

Good to Know: Be sure to check the Facebook pages of your favorite residential displays for progress reports, scheduling changes and amazing photos of what you’ll see (we’ve linked them up to make it easy).

—Allison Sutcliffe

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