Gabrielle Ritter

Gabrielle Ritter World

— Bainbridge Island, Kitsap County WA —

Winter in the Cities: Holiday Getaways Around the Northwest

I found this wonderful article from Parent Map and thought I would share

1. Seattle: Play tourist, top holiday attractions

Holiday and Christmas attractions

Winter in the city offers a less-crowded, just-as-fun opportunity to play tourist in downtown Seattle, with the added bonus of wonderful holiday and Christmas attractions for families.

Seattle Center’s Winterfest (Nov. 27–Dec. 31) is free-holiday-fun central, starting with the huge model train village and amazing entertainment line-up at the Armory. Also at the Seattle Center, catch a musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, at the top-notch Seattle Children’s Theatre.

Downtown, don’t miss the intricate Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton Seattle, with a well-timed Star Wars theme this year (24 hours a day, Nov. 24–Jan. 3) or nightly “snow” flurries at Pacific Place (Nov. 27–Dec. 31). Younger kids will love the Teddy Bear Suite at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel (through Dec. 24).

Finally, to light up your nights, head north to Woodland Park Zoo to be dazzled by WildLights, with 600,000-plus lights and, this year, Santa and reindeer (Nov. 27–Jan. 3); and find a port to see the Argosy Christmas Ship, which docks nightly around Seattle to let onboard choral groups serenade the on-shore audience

More Seattle fun

Start with a favorite museum at the Seattle Center: EMP Museum for sci-fi and music thrills; Chihuly Garden and Glass for a much-needed shot of color and art; and Pacific Science Center for dinos, stars and the just-right-for winter tropical Butterfly House.

Zoom downtown on the Seattle Monorail, then take a spin on the Seattle Great Wheel (with special lights for the holidays) followed by nibbles at Pike Place Market or tea at The Georgian at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.

Older kids might prefer the International District: Play hard at the Seattle Pinball Museum, slurp hand-shaved noodles at Shanghai Garden and hit the Bruce Lee exhibit, part two, at Wing Luke Museum.

Money-saving tip: Pick up a CityPASS, a bundled pass to five of the city’s best attractions.

3. Leavenworth: A taste of the Alps at Christmas

Holiday and Christmas attractions

Drive into Leavenworth and you know you have arrived somewhere special. This picturesque German town looks like it could have been plucked out of a storybook and popped into the Cascade Mountains. The most magical event of the holiday season is the Christmas Lighting Festival, one of the top holiday attractions of our region, held the the first three full weekends in December (Dec. 4–20, weekends only). On Fridays, St. Nicholas welcomes children.

But wait! Leavenworth does not like to let go of the winter celebrations just because Christmas has come and gone. The Bavarian Ice Fest happens in mid January 2016 (fees vary) and it is another must-not-miss event. Strap on those snow chains and make the drive out to see ice sculptures, tug o’ war, an ice cube scramble for kids six and under, the great Frisbee sweep, Relay Races, Iceberg Challenge Giant Slide, Fireworks, and Leavenworth’s famous Smooshing Contest: a unique race peculiar to the Great Bavarian Ice Fest.

More winter fun in Leavenworth

Drive out in the morning to have a few hours of fun exploring the shops and eating your weight in traditional German food.

Take a sleigh ride, offered by Red Tail Canyon Farm, Icicle Outfitters and Guides, or Mountain Springs Lodge. Head to Leavenworth’s Ski Hill for low-key tubing, Nordic skiing, snowboarding and Alpine skiing. You can also make the short trek to Stevens Pass for Alpine and Nordic skiing.

Stay: Choose from the Bavarian Lodge or Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort, with the sustainable-gourmet Kingfisher restaurant.