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15 Magical (and Cheap) Holiday Outings in South Puget Sound

From tree festivals to Victorian fun to Fantasy Lights, these outings bring holiday sparkle on a budget

Published on: November 22, 2017

15 Magical (and Cheap) Holiday Outings in South Puget Sound


More free or almost-free holiday outings in the South Sound and nearby

Clam Lights, Renton: Head to Renton to take in Ivar's Clam Lights, a free holiday light display at Gene Coulon Memorial Park. Opening night, Friday, Dec. 1, includes photo ops with Santa and Mrs. Claus, welcome and lighting at 6:15 p.m., and the Dickens Carolers singing from the Argosy Christmas Ship at 7 p.m. A parade of boats will pass at 6:30 p.m.  Clam Lights take place nightly through Dec. 1Jan. 1, from 5–9 p.m.

- Reindeer at Watson's, Puyallup: We don’t know if they’re actually practicing for the big night, but you can see real-life reindeer, Donder and Blitzen, for free at Watson’s Greenhouse in Puyallup. Reindeer are on view daily through Dec. 24, during store hours.

- Gingerbread House workshops: There are lots of fun, but sometimes pricey, gingerbread-house-making events this time of year. Make one for free at a Pierce County Library event. Gingerbread house workshops take place at many branches, and all are welcome. Some events require registration, while others are drop-in. Check the gingerbread house schedule for details.

Living Nativity in Gig Harbor: If it fits with your family’s faith tradition, you might enjoy the annual living nativity at Discovery Baptist Church in Gig Harbor on Saturday–Sunday, Dec. 2–3, from 5–8 p.m. This event is free and it's an outdoor, walk-through event, so bundle up!

- Free holiday family movie: The Grand Cinema in Tacoma hosts a monthly free movie for families. December’s edition on Saturday, Dec. 16 is the holiday classic, Home Alone. Free seats are limited to the first 100, so you’ll want to arrive early. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. for the 10 a.m. showing.

- The Argosy Christmas ships: Watch the lighted boats go by for free and listen to the on-board choirs broadcast to shore. Check Dec. 7, 10 and 11 for South Sound-area stops.


- Free puppet shows: Pierce County Library hosts free holiday events that rotate around many branches. Shows take place at various branches at various times on Dec. 9, 16, 18 and 20. Be sure to check out other holiday events at the library by searching terms such as "holiday ornaments", "cocoa & cards" and "snowflake party".

- If your family likes to see lights do-it-yourself style, try the Sky Island neighborhood in Bonney Lake, where neighbors try to out do each other with amazing light displays, including some set to music.

- The Lake Wilderness neighborhood in Maple Valley has also had many brightly lit homes in the past. While it’s obviously free to drive yourself around, you may want to bring some canned food, as some houses take donations on behalf of the food bank.

- The Very Merry Christmas House in Kent makes a drive-by-worthy display with just one house!

If you have a favorite South Sound event we missed, or a seasonal deal we should know about, let us know in the comments. Happy Holidays!


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