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The Play List: Highlighted Seattle-Area Family Events and Outings for January 2023

Resolve to play more in 2023

Nancy Chaney

Published on: December 30, 2022

Two people laying in the snow

It’s a new year and a chance for a fresh start. Short gray days? Who cares? We’re putting on our mittens and going ice skating, exploring in the park and wandering among the lights. We’re also taking off our mittens and diving into the lake. (Wait, what? Did I agree to this?) Plunge into 2023 with these ways to find fun and meaning with your fam. Happy New Year to all!

  • Glide into your 2023 — smooth as ice — at seasonal skating rinks around town. Skate at Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink through Jan. 8; at Pacific Ice in Everett and Arlington’s Holiday Ice Rink through Jan. 9; at Oly on Ice through Jan. 16; and at Snohomish Valley Ice Rink all the way ’til Feb. 26. Book your skate session online and plan to spend $12–$17 per person, including skate rental.
  • Perhaps gloomy January is when we really need the enchantment of a dazzling light display. If you haven’t been, Woodland Park Zoo’s WildLanterns show lingers into the new year, open Thursday–Sunday through Jan. 22. It’s a splurge, at $26–$35 per person, but your ticket purchase supports the animals in the zoo’s care.
  • Bask in the sparkle well into January by walking the Tacoma Light Trail, a series of light-art installations set up around downtown Tacoma. Artworks will light up the dark and (otherwise) dreary nights through Jan. 19, with special performances at Tollefson Plaza at 6 p.m. on Jan. 1, 6 and 7. Free. 
  • Make live music a family affair with tot-focused bands returning to play the Mount Baker Community Club. Book your tix to one or more Kindiependent artist shows kicking off the new year. Dani & the Bee get buzzy on Saturday, Jan. 7, and kiddie faves The Not-Its! rock the clubhouse on Sunday, Jan. 21. Tickets $10.
  • Marshal your courage and rally the bravest among your crew to start the new year off with a very cold splash. The Seattle Polar Bear Plunge is back! Show up at Matthews Beach and dive into Lake Washington on Sunday, Jan. 1, right at noon. Free.
  • In winter we’ve got to chase the vitamin D when we can, but even if the elements deliver drizzle, time spent outside is always worthwhile! Washington’s state parks entice your fam outdoors, so bundle up to enjoy two free-entry days this month, Jan. 1 and 16, when you don’t need to display a Discover Pass to park. Fresh air, towering trees and winter wildlife await. 
  • The best happy hour in town is back! And it’s for families. Head to Central Cinema for dinner on Thursdays and enjoy cartoons on the big screen to accompany your meal. Cartoons for the kids, adult bevvies for the tired parents, dinner and laughs for everyone — genius! Thursdays, Jan. 5, 12, 19 and 26, 5–7 p.m. Cartoons free; food and drink for purchase. 
  • Skagit County welcomes visitors to join free nature walks and spy eagles during the Skagit Eagle Festival. The guided nature walks start from Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport on weekends this month, Jan. 7–8, 14–15, 21–22 and 28–29, at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. 
  • Gather your crew ’round the laptop for an interactive story time hosted by the Northwest African American Museum. This month features the book “Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” to help kids and families learn more about MLK’s vision and the eloquent way he presented it. Sunday, Jan. 8 at 1 p.m. 
  • Celebrate Lunar New Year, Vietnamese style, at the annual Tết in Seattle fest. Join Seattle’s strong and proud Vietnamese community to enjoy cultural traditions, performances and food to mark the new year. This free fest takes place at Seattle Center, Saturday–Sunday, Jan. 14–15, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. 
  • Honor the life and carry forward the vision of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. by joining with the Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition for its annual community rally and march, starting at Garfield High School. Monday, Jan. 16. Free. 
  • Block out an hour for an essential ParentEd Talks event titled “Past Forward: The Legacy of Racism in Modern-Day America.” Join Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Ph.D., and Jeffery Robinson, two of the nation’s leading scholars on race, democracy, inequality and criminal justice, for a discussion on the hidden history of racism in the United States and how to forge a path forward. Preregister for this free talk and tune in Thursday, Jan. 19, at 1 p.m. 
  • Bundle up for a free outdoor family date night. Explore a Puget Sound beach alongside Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists during an evening minus tide. What fascinating critters will you spot with your headlamps? Friday, Jan. 20, 8–10 p.m.
  • Do you want to build a snowman? Well, here’s your chance! Gather in the meadow at Chambers Creek Regional Park to learn to make your own snow, which you can use to sculpt a snowman or other snow creation! While you learn, enjoy free hot drinks to keep you warm. Saturday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m.–1 p.m. 
  • Kid-favorite indoor destination The Museum of Flight invites families with children who have sensory needs to its free Sensory Day on Saturday, Jan. 28, 8–10 a.m. Preregister for free access to awesome aviation exhibits, with adjusted light and sound and fewer other guests.

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