Want to do some holiday shopping and entertain the kids at the same time? We've rounded up a set of family-friendly arts and crafts fairs that will help you do just that. And, with some luck, you'll find unique, homemade gifts to boot. (Did we miss one of your favorites? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Note: The fairs are organized chronologically, by date.
1. Affordable Art Fair, Nov. 8-11
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
The much-buzzed-about Affordable Art Fair opens for the first time in Seattle at the Seattle Center today. The fair is focused on making art more available to all, with prices for pieces ranging from $100 to $10,000. Special activities for children begin in the Young Collectors’ Lounge, and include a guided tour with an art educator of how the five senses come alive with art. And if you're truly art shopping for yourself, check out these tips for first-time art buyers.
Price: General admission is $12/day, $10 for students/seniors, and free for kids under 12, with all ticket proceeds benefiting Artist Trust.
2. Queen Anne Artists Trunk Show, Nov. 10, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Queen Anne Community Center, Seattle
Families can enjoy shopping for holiday gifts made by local artists. The event is free and open to the public, and features face painting, art projects, and a puppet show for the kids. (It's sponsored by Sweet Pea Preschool, so they know what they're doing!)
3. Yulefest- A Nordic Holiday Celebration, Nov. 17-18, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle
Throw on your Nordic sweater and head to the Nordic Heritage Museum for a holiday helping of Nordic crafts and history at this popular Christmas celebration. In addition to shopping, families will be treated to performances by fiddlers, singers and Scandinavian folk dancers, crafts for kids and pictures with Santa.
Price: Suggested donation: $3 for adults, $1 for kids 6-11; kids under 6 are admitted free.
4. Best of the Northwest Art and Fine Craft Show, Nov. 16-17, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Nov.18, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Smith Cove Cruise Terminal, Pier 91, Seattle
The 24th Annual Best of the Northwest Art and Fine Craft show brings art, wine, music and performance to the Magnolia waterfront. Shopping and entertainment abound, with eclectic live music (Pearl Django, a mandolin quartet), a kids’ art table, and for kids of all ages, strolling performers including juggler Nickolai Pirak.
Price: $6 online, $8 at the door, and free for kids 12 and under
5. Chick N Coop Holiday Bazaar, Nov. 23-24, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Bothell’s Country Village
The Chick N Coop crafts fair takes place in the quirky setting of Country Village. Shoppers can check out whimsical stockings, doll clothing, and ornaments, in addition to other handmade gifts from over 50 local vendors. Kids will have plenty to see and do here, including a train ride, pirate ship, and duck ponds.
6. Duwamish Native Holiday Gift Fair, Nov. 22-24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center, Seattle
Learn some Native American history while you shop. This family-friendly craft fair coincides with National Native American Heritage Day and takes place at the Duwamish Tribe's unique Longhouse near the mouth of the Duwamish River in West Seattle. In addition to free admission, free parking, and lots of holiday spirit, this fair offers shoppers the chance to buy native crafts directly from the artists. Families can also enjoy the big lighted tree, tasty fry bread and hot chocolate, and the chance to experience local culture and history all in one place.
7. Handmade Holiday Show, Nov. 23, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Nov. 24, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
McCaw Hall, Seattle Center
We're not exactly sure how family-friendly this etsyRAIN crafts show is, but it's an intriguing alternative to spending Black Friday at the mall, with more than 100 vendors selling unique, high-quality, locally handmade gifts, art and treats.
8. Kent Winter Craft Bazaar, Nov. 30- Dec. 1, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The 29th Annual Kent Winter Craft Bazaar features handmade gifts by over 100 local vendors. There will be unique gifts, tasty treats, and hourly raffle drawings.
9. Urban Craft Uprising 2012 Winter Show, Dec. 1-2, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
Attention, crafty moms and kids! This is Seattle’s largest craft show, and it’s free. A true community event founded in Seattle, Urban Craft Uprising (UCU) spotlights over 100 DIY crafters, artists, and designers at its Winter Show. Check out the children’s goods and attend a free craft demo. Tip: Visit UCU in the afternoon to avoid the busy morning crowds.
10. Seattle Waldorf School Winter Faire, Dec. 1
Seattle Waldorf School, North Seattle
A best-kept secret of North Seattle, the Seattle Waldorf School's annual Winter Faire is a great place to entertain kids (concerts and crafts activities all day), buy unique and hand-made items from vendors, nosh on yummy treats in the holiday cafe and simply get in the spirit: The lovely school is filled with holiday boughs, music, and smells. (Note: the hours are not posted yet, so check back closer to the date.)
11. Phinney Winter Festival and Crafts Faire, Dec. 1-2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Phinney Neighborhood Center, Seattle
This popular fair in North Seattle features more than 100 artists and crafts vendors, hundreds of musicians and dancers, live ongoing entertainment on two stages, a quilt raffle, a bake sale and lunch items.
Price: $2/PNA member, $4/general public; children 12 and under are free. Plus, bring a can of food to donate to the Greenwood Food Bank.