Christmas Time in Seattle

Holiday fun for grown-ups: Our top recommendations for things to do during Christmas time in Seattle to put you in the holiday spirit


I love Christmas time, almost as much as I love Halloween and October. Christmas itself is nice, and great to spend with family. However, a lot of what I love about Christmas actually happens before Christmas. And Christmas time in Seattle has a lot going on.


Pacific Northwest Ballet’s The Nutcracker

pnb nutcracker1
Image from Seattle Times

To be clear, Paddy is NOT a fan of the ballet, but he was a good sport and let me drag him to this with me one year. Tickets can be expensive, but there are several seating options with varied prices. We got tickets for seats in the row right in front of the Golden Circle in the lower price area, and it was a great view for half the price of the Golden Circle tickets. It’s fun to dress up and go to the big ballet.

2014 is the last year for the Stowell and Sendak version of The Nutcracker, but it will keep going next year under a new and different production. I may have to go back and see it again next year with the new show.

**Tip: The cheapest nosebleed back balcony seats aren’t worth it. You can’t see anything. Made that mistake once. Splurge on a little bit better view.


Driving around and checking out all the Christmas lights, and shopping downtown

While this may not be unique to Seattle, it’s still pretty fun. Downtown as well as the outlying Seattle neighborhoods dress up their sidewalk trees and store fronts. The Space Needle even has a Christmas tree formed out of lights at the top of the needle. Shopping (or window shopping) is fun at Pike Place Market and in the various shops and boutiques around downtown. While we’re not huge fans of malls, Pacific Place Mall downtown has indoor snowfall on December weekends in the atrium. It can be fun if you happen to be in the area. The Sheraton also puts on a Gingerbread Village every year that is free and open to come in and view.

If you want to keep your shopping local, the Ballard neighborhood has a lot of funky little boutique shops that are worth checking out. Check out the shops on Ballard Avenue and on NW Market St.

Christmas time in Seattle

As for neighborhood Christmas lights, the Overzealous  Clark Griswold Award for Christmas lights has to go to this house near us on 8th Ave NW. They do it every year, and I can only imagine what their electric bill is for the month.

Overzealous Christmas lights


Holiday Burlesque Shows
photo from

One of the best places in Seattle for dinner theater is the Triple Door downtown. And one of their best shows is Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker. Starring the top burlesque performers in Seattle, the show is full of glitter, glamour, dancing, and pasties. As the popularity of the show has increased over the last few years, so have the prices. It is worth it though. If you want to see a dazzling, glittering Christmas show in a swanky venue with a fancy cocktail and a delicious meal, this is your show. Dinner is served before and during the show (I recommend getting there when the doors open if you want to eat dinner–usually about an hour prior to the showtime) from the attached Wild Ginger restaurant. Dinner is optional, and drinks are served throughout the show.

The show runs on various dates during the month of December, and just about always sells out. Get your tickets early.

Photo from
Photo from

Another fun venue for burlesque shows is The Can-Can near Pike Place Market. The venue is small and intimate, and their shows tend to be a little more risque in the humor department. They are another one of my favorite places for a good show and a fancy cocktail. This year they are doing a Winter Wonderland cabaret show, which we will be attending later this month. I’m never sure exactly what to expect at a Can Can show, but I’ve never been disappointed.

photo from
photo from

If the Triple Door and the Can Can are a little too pricey or sold out, The Pink Door around the corner from the Can Can in Post Alley offers a dinner and burlesque cabaret show at 11:00 PM on Saturday nights. It’s first come first served in the lounge area only, with dinner starting at 9:00. Priority seating is given to dinner guests, so if you are just having drinks you may be put on a waiting list. The show is $20.00 (cash only) collected separately from the dinner checks.

It might not be holiday-themed, but the food and drinks are top notch and you might think that you are in a naughty speakeasy in Paris in during prohibition. The atmosphere is great for a cozy romantic date.

The Pink Door
The Pink Door


The Dina Martina Christmas Show

I’ve tried to come up with a way to describe the Dina Martina Christmas Show to people who have not seen it, and I am always at a loss for words. All I can say is that it is Seattle’s best Christmas show hands down. If there is one show you see during Christmas time in Seattle, make it Dina Martina at The Re-bar. Shows run from Thanksgiving weekend all through December.

I’ve been to Dina Martina’s Christmas Show several times, and every time the lights dim and she walks onto the stage and begins singing, I hear someone who is at the show for the first time gasp “Oh my god!” in shock (or maybe horror). Expect ridiculous renditions of classic Christmas carols and top 40 hits, sequined dresses that don’t zip up all the way in the back,  pantyhose as pants, and lots and lots of red lipstick. That’s all I’m going to say. Get your tickets early, Dina Martina sells out quick–especially for weekend shows.


Of course our all-time favorite part of Christmas time in Seattle is the annual white elephant Christmas party we throw each year, but that is not a public event. There are lots of other activities for families such as the WinterFest at the Seattle Center, but we prefer the sort that involve dressing up and cocktails. If you’re looking for Christmas time entertainment, Seattle has plenty to offer for the adults.

Happy Holidays!

Christmas time in Seattle

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