Team Diva’s Holiday Event Picks: Free Activities for Families

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If you have kids, Christmas can be a budget-busting time of year. In addition to gifts, there are some high-priced tickets in town, too. If you need an outing that won't break the bank, as each holiday event in this list is free. At most, there is a small suggested donation to a good cause. After all, some of the best holiday events benefit others, too.

Sheraton Gingerbread Village

The marvelous Gingerbread Village at the downtown Seattle Sheraton is open 24 hours, 7 days a week through New Year’s Day. This is the 24th year that the hotel has hosted this holiday event. The imaginative, animated designs are executed by the hotel’s culinary team and top local architecture firms. The results this year are as stunning as ever, with Star Wars themes dominating the scene. Now that Rogue One is out, treat your little jedis to a spectacular display, including a massive, candy-coated R2 unit. The event is free to the public, with donations benefiting the JDRF Northwest Chapter.

Teddy Bear Suite at the Fairmont

The Fairmont Hotel has its own fabulous gingerbread display, but the main attraction is the Teddy Bear Suite. This Seattle holiday event has been delighting children for two decades. A bevy of teddies lounge among dreamy decor a slew of Christmas trees, making it a favorite spot for a proud parental photo op. Donations are accepted for Seattle Children Hospital (and those who wish to stay overnight will sleep well knowing the cost of the room is donated to SCH, too). Check parentmap for visiting hours.


Seattle Center Winterfest

Winterfest has taken over Seattle Center with tons of free and affordable activities, ending with a fireworks display on New Year’s Eve. There are live performances and ice sculpting demonstrations each weekend, light displays and the Ice Rink in Fisher Pavilion. (There are small fees for skate rentals and use of the rink.) Naturally, there is also the playfield at Seattle Center that opened earlier this year. Check online for the schedule of events.

Pacific Place Winter Festivities

Indoors and outdoors at Pacific Place, one can catch nightly spectacles. Monday through Saturday at 6 pm and 7 pm and on Sundays at 5 pm and 6 pm there are “snow” showers in the atrium. The flurries continue through Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, outside there is a brand new light show that continues through New Year’s Eve. The mall’s Light up the Night turns the 6th Avenue street side of the building into a canvas for 3d projection mapping. It’ll dazzle kids ages 1 to 92.

Happy holidays!