Wintertide holiday light show at Everett's Evergreen Arboretum
We are all desperate for some light in the darkness this season. I know this partly because many of the big Seattle-area holiday light shows are already sold out or close to it. Families are gobbling up tickets to WildLanterns at Woodland Park Zoo, Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Holiday Magic at The Fair. A new event at the Lumen Field Exhibition Hall garage, Starlight Lane, sold all of its released tickets even before it opened!
But don't worry if you didn’t get any tickets or your budget this difficult year won’t allow for a pricey outing. Lots of Puget Sound-area cities are serving up free holiday light displays to brighten families’ winter nights — and spirits.
Mask up, bundle up and head out in the darkness to revel in the sparkling lights:
Snoqualmie Winter Lights has this Eastside city dressed up in lights that families can view on a driving route, using the map at the link. This display is up now and will be sparkling through New Year's.
The City of Redmond has extended its Redmond Lights fest to last all month, so that families can enjoy the light and art installations between Downtown Park and Redmond Town Center. See the lights by foot (mask up) or by car through Jan. 3.
North Sound families can take a lovely stroll through Everett's Evergreen Arboretum, currently all dressed up and glowing in its Wintertide Lights. Catch this display through Dec. 31.
South Sound-area families can pop by Huntamer Park in Lacey — mask up and keep your distance — to enjoy Holiday Lights with Songs and Stories. This twinkling display has an added element: Kids can listen to Santa reading a story and everyone can sing along to some holiday tunes, through Dec. 31.
Seattle Center is typically home to all kinds of family-friendly holiday happenings. We have to wait on most of it, but the grounds are all decked out in lights as Campus Luminata this year. Gather your fam, mask up and wander among the lights, aglow through Dec. 31.
Two opportunities for lights are sparkling in Bellevue this season. Downtown Park has its loop path all decorated as Holiday Lights — and the lights are even programmed to change color periodically. See this display through Jan. 4.
Just a stone's throw away, find Snowflake Lane. There's no character parade this year, but you'll see pretty lights and hear holiday music. Plus, we heard it might snow? Visit Snowflake Lane through Dec. 24.
A dozen places around Woodinville have dressed up in lights, and families are invited to drive between them to marvel at the sparkle. Check out the map of Festival of Lights locations at the link and post your participation on social media for a chance to win prizes. These lights will be twinkling through Dec. 31.
Visit Seattle's Westlake Park to wander among giant light sculptures in the form of presents, trees and other shapes during Downtown Holiday Lights and Delights. This display features a coordinated augmented reality experience for the holidays, too. You just need a phone. The lights are up through Jan. 9 (the augmented reality feature runs through Jan. 1).
Drive around Bothell to see houses beautifully decorated in lights — this display is truly community driven. Families have registered their homes and the city has made a map to guide viewers on a Winter Porch Parade. Pile into the car and follow the route to see all the spectacular displays, through Dec.31.
LUSIO Lights Pioneer Square is a collection of nine light art exhibits arranged around Seattle's oldest neighborhood. This show is an effort to support local artists. Families are invited to mask up and go on a self-guided tour to view the displays. And you've got extra time for this one: The art installations will be on display through Jan. 14.
This isn't an official city display, but the Olympic Manor neighborhood, just north of Ballard in northwest Seattle, is famous for its residents' holiday lights efforts. We visited last night, and the homes are looking great. Some folks just drive the streets, but we recommend parking and walking. You won't risk fender benders from drivers distracted by all the pretty lights, and you'll get to look more closely at the amazing displays. Just remember to mask up and give plenty of space to others.