It's Lit

Where to See Holiday Lights in Seattle

How else are we supposed to cope, now that the sun sets at 4pm?

By Malia Alexander

Fantastic lights and where to find them.

Nov 12Jan 30
WildLanterns Lights Festival
In this after-hours event, Woodland Park Zoo brings guests up close and personal to animals constructed entirely from lanterns and strings of lights. Mammoths and cheetahs abound, and the glittering mouth of a giant shark waits to swallow visitors. Additionally, the zoo is hosting live lantern art exhibitions courtesy of Tianyu and a meet-and-greet with live animals. Woodland Park Zoo, $26–$31

Nov 26–Jan 2
With the help of over 800,000 lights, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium transforms itself into a winter wonderland. Distinctly Seattle displays, including a Seahawks tree, a giant Pacific octopus and even a Sasquatch, can be found around every corner. The zoo even added another iconic Tunnel of Lights this year due to its popularity, ensuring there will be enough photo-ops to go around. Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, varies

Dec 1–Jan 5
Redmond Lights
The month-long installation, with the opportunity for a self-guided tour, will take over Redmond’s Downtown Park this year. After exploring the main extravaganza, you can make your way down to Redmond Town Center to participate in a kid’s coloring contest, vote for your favorite window display, and see even more lights. Downtown Park and Redmond Town Center, free

Dec 3
Des Moines Holiday Tree Lighting
On the first Friday of December, the Des Moines Marina district fires up their Christmas tree. Caroling, goodies like cookies and hot cocoa, and a Santa cameo make it an event. Des Moines, free

Thru Dec 31
Lady of the Lake Holiday Light Boat Parade
A flotilla of local boats cruises down Lake Chelan, offering its passengers spectacular views of holiday lights and the fireworks show on the lake. Many elect to decorate their vessels with lights, trees, and reindeers. If sailing isn’t ideal (or you don’t have a friend with a boat), you can gaze upon the string of lit-up boats and fireworks from the shore. Lake Chelan, $10-17

Thru Dec 31
Garden d’Lights
Conceived in 1994, this light display is comprised of more than half a million bulbs that take the forms of plants, birds, animals, and waterfalls spilling through every inch of the Bellevue Botanical Garden. Classic displays like a Poinsettia Tree twinkle alongside a walking path, joined by butterflies, red poppies, and other scintillating displays. Bellevue Botanical Garden, $5

Thru Dec 31
Light Up the Night
Four LED-illuminated, audio-visual installations have been erected around South Lake Union for the holidays. Impulse displays six see-saws glowing with fluorescents and equipped with speakers. Oscillation features giant crystals that come to life with variable lights and sounds dependent on your proximity and movements. Prismatica offers 25 different prisms, standing at six feet tall, that each reflect colors and trigger music based on their rotation. Passage forms a tunnel made up of 20 lit circles that initiate different animations and tones upon a walk-through. Various, free to attend

Thru Jan 9
Lights, Lights, and More Lights
Grab a coffee from London Plane and check out some of the elaborate sculptures constructed from over 135,000 bulbs in Occidental Square. Or, if you happen to be shopping for a new winter shacket Downtown, peruse Westlake Park for the same views. Occidental Square and Westlake Park, free to attend

Dec 3–February
Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival
The ultimate Christmas town, chock full of holiday characters and carolers, is back in Leavenworth with half a million lights. But this time, the town lights won’t turn off on the weekend—they’ll shine bright every day. Leavenworth, free to attend

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