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Best New Year’s Events and Activities for Seattle-Area Families

Awesome ways to ring in 2022 with kids

Photo of author Dora Heideman

Published on: December 29, 2021

Mom and daughter taking selfie with balloons happily celebrating new year 2022 best family events around Seattle Tacoma Bellevue Puget Sound

We keep turning the pages of this pandemic book, but we do not know where the plot is headed. With vaccines and the return to in-person school, 2021 was a far cry more manageable than 2020, but we are still ready to finish the chapter and look ahead, with hope, to 2022.

A new year is a milestone, so let's mark the occasion with some special family fun. We've rounded up some ideas to help you and your family celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Family activities for New Year’s Eve: Friday, Dec. 31, 2021

KiDiMu Noon Year's Eve Celebration: Friday, Dec. 31, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Join the daytime fun at this Bainbridge kids' museum with a countdown to noon, firework science, and some New Year-themed crafts. $30 per family of up to 6.

Hands On Children's Museum's Noon Year's Eve Party: Friday, Dec. 31, 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Dress up as your favorite fairy tale character for a Noon Year’s Eve countdown party! Enjoy a ball-drop, dance party and a parade every hour. Then, meet a Celtic princess, discover dragon eggs, defend your kingdom and enjoy more fun fairy tale-themed activities. Activities included with regular museum admission or membership.

Rockin' Rockfish Noon Year's Eve with the Seattle Aquarium: Friday, Dec. 31, 11:30 a.m.
Join the Seattle Aquarium online for a rockin' good time. Dance to music by Mikey the Rad Scientist, learn about the aquarium resident animals and more. Plus, a countdown to noon! Pre-register online in advance to receive a direct link to this free event (registration closes at 10 a.m. on Dec. 31).

Tacoma Light Trail Winter Festival: Dec. 31, 2021–Jan. 16, 2022
Come walk, ride or drive through downtown Tacoma and enjoy over 30 different light art exhibits, each with their own music and poetry every night from 5–9 p.m. Event kicks off on New Year's Eve with a special light parade starting at 5:30 p.m. Every Friday and Saturday from 6–8 p.m. in Tollefson Plaza you can nosh on food trucks noms and sip on some hot chocolate while reveling in live music, circus, spoken word and light art performances. In addition to this awesome festival, there are many other fabulous holiday light displays that will be open for viewing on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Kid-focused New Year's party at home: If you plan to stay in this year, make your at-home party fun to ring in the new year with homemade noisemakers, a family time capsule (to remember this weird year) or a photo booth.

Brew up a special mocktail: These fun beverage recipes can make New Year's Eve at home feel special and fun. Try mixing up a pom cranberry mocktail or a sparkling pear cider mocktail with kids. Be sure to use fancy glasses. And if 2021 has left you in need of a stiff drink, there are some options for adding alcohol to the grown-ups' drinks. 

Skate out 2021: Friday, Dec. 31 (times vary)
Close out the year with a family ice-skating outing. Although some former faves aren’t happening this year, the Bellevue Downtown ice rink, Oly on Ice and the new open-air ice rink in Everett, Pacific Ice, are all open on Friday, Dec. 31. Hours vary, check links for times. (Tip: All three of these rinks are open on Jan. 1 as well!)

Seattle Center Winterfest activities: Friday, Dec. 31, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Catch a last glimpse of the train and village (open until 6 p.m. in the Armory).

New Year’s at the Needle: Friday, Dec. 31, 11:30 p.m.
The New Year’s show at the Space Needle is going live again for the first time in two years, combining live pyrotechnics with augmented reality! The best viewing experience will still be from your home, so cozy up with your friends and fam to enjoy the experience together (and out of the cold)! There will be no in-person event at the Space needle and no public viewing of the fireworks from Seattle Center this year. You can watch "T-Mobile New Year's at the Needle" live on KING 5, on or on the KING 5 mobile app. The exact timing of the fireworks is still to be confirmed. 

Family activities for New Year’s Day: Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022

Polar Bear Plunges: Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022 (times vary)
For a truly invigorating start to 2022, may we suggest one of the region’s several Polar Bear Plunges? Pick your poison — the Sound or a lake. For Lake Washington, try Gene Coulon Memorial Park. Even if you can’t stomach a dip, it’s fun to watch others show their courage. But bring your towel just in case you get caught up in the moment. Most plunges are free. 

VIrtual Polar Bear Plunge and DIY Kit: Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022
A great way to avoid the crowds of the typical plunge but still participate in the fun is by doing it on your own time! Get creative and plunge yourself in the bathtub, a pool or wherever there is cold water! Register online to pick up a specially made DIY plunge kit from Meadowbrook Pool in Seattle between Dec. 20–31. The kit contains everything you'll need for a successful plunge: a limited-edition Polar Bear Plunge Badge of Courage, polar bear vitamins, hot cocoa, a celebratory noisemaker, and how-to instructions for alternative cold water immersion methods and suggestions for safely gathering in a small group at the lake.

Resolution Run and Polar Bear Dive: Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, 10:30 a.m.
If you want to get warm by running prior to your plunge, try a combo run and dip at Magnuson Park in Seattle. The post-race celebration includes a free kids' dash for children ages 10 and younger, a beer garden for the 21 and over set and a post-race chili feed. $40–$45; kids' dash free. The run begins at 10:30 a.m.; be sure to check the full timeline of activities online.

Washington State Parks free-entry day: Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022
Bundle up and start the new year strolling through an old favorite or new-to-you state park. Jan. 1 is the first of 12 days in 2022 when the Discover Pass parking permit requirement is waived.

First Day Hikes: Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022 (times vary)
Kick off 2022 with a healthy dose of nature. Several Washington state parks will offer staff-led group hikes and snowshoe hikes on New Year's Day. (Bonus: As mentioned above, it's a state parks free day, too!)

"Travel" the globe with lucky new year foods: Explore different cultures without leaving home by cooking up a traditional meal or dessert that's sure to bring about better times in 2022. Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!

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