There are 174 Hallmark Christmas movies, and approximately 99.9% involve unsuspecting romance, a snowy outing to the mountains, and a fairy tale ending on Christmas Day. And that’s precisely what makes them so popular.
If a Hallmark Christmas sounds perfectly dreamy to you, why not make it a reality? While we can’t promise you’ll find unsuspecting romance waiting for you, Washington state has everything else you need to create your own epic holiday.
New York may have the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade but come Christmas time, Washington has Snowflake Lane. It’s one of the most anticipated traditions in the Pacific Northwest.
For almost two decades, the Kemper Freeman family and The Bellevue Collection have celebrated the holiday season by presenting this festive, one-of-a-kind parade to the community. And by community, we mean the 3 million people who have attended since it began in 2004. It’s a very popular event!
This high-energy production feels like something straight out of a Hallmark movie. Located just outside one of the most successful shopping centers in the country, if your idea of a perfect Christmas involves brown paper packages tied up with string, then Bellevue is the place to be.
Spend some time perusing some of the poshest brands in the world before heading out to enjoy Snowflake Lane.
The parade runs nightly, November 25 – December 24, and features a spectacular array of toy drummers, dancers and costumed characters, 18 floats, real snowfall produced by 55 snow machines, and, of course, Santa.
The Nutcracker at the Pacific Northwest Ballet
Claire and the Rat King dance their way across many community stages each holiday season, but until you’ve witnessed one of the top ballet companies in the world perform the Nutcracker, you haven’t seen anything yet.
Even if the Evergreen State had nothing else to offer, and it does, attending The Nutcracker performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet is worth making the trip.
Each year, PNB, ranked one of the top ten ballet companies in the country, dazzles audience members with jaw-dropping leaps and turns. It has a set that could make Broadway jealous, and the costumes are the finest you’ll find in any production.
Performed at Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall, guests often dress for the occasion, lending to the festive atmosphere. It’s a magical way to spend a day in December!
Feed Real Reindeer in Leavenworth
Your itinerary isn’t complete without spending at least one day in Leavenworth, Washington. This Bavarian-inspired town is the epitome of all things Christmas. Located two and a half hours east of Seattle, you’ll drive through snow-covered mountains that confirm everything you ever thought December in Washington state would look like.
Ever wanted to wear a flannel shirt, cute rain boots, and a beanie hat with a pompom on top? Here’s your chance! Bring them to Leavenworth and you’ll fit right in.
If you’re not accustomed to driving in snow, you can up the charm factor of this Hallmark-worthy trip by taking the Leavenworth Snow Train from Seattle instead. Sip hot cocoa while watching the snow fall outside and you won’t have a care in the world what traffic is like on the road.
Visit the world’s largest Nutcracker Museum, Leavenworth’s famous hat shop, and Kris Kringl’s Christmas store. You’ll hear sleigh bells ringing —literally— when you take a horse-drawn carriage ride along the snow-covered streets.
If you really want to cinch the deal on creating a Hallmark-perfect Christmas, then visiting the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm is a must. (Open year-round, but reservations are necessary during the holiday season.)
In addition to more than 500,000 twinkling lights – that’s 12 miles worth – you can participate in several holiday events and activities. From Nov. 25 through Dec. 24, you’ll find the city known as Christmastown bustling with live entertainment, selfie stations, gingerbread houses, photos with Santa, story corner, and much more.
Drive Through a Forest Decorated With Over a Million Lights
It’s time to take a drive — through a million colorful lights! The Lights of Christmas in Stanwood, Washington celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and the festivities have never been better.
Gather the family, bring your hot chocolate and take your time driving through the dazzling displays for a fantastic Christmas experience everyone can enjoy. What began as a way to get visitors to Warm Beach Camp during the winter months has become a tradition that more than 1.25 million visitors have enjoyed since it began.
Tune your car radio into 101.9 to hear choreographed music, and be sure to wave to Mr. and Mrs. Claus before they head back to the North Pole on December 23rd!
Seattle Christmas Boat Parade
For a truly unique Christmas outing, make your way to the shores of Lake Union on December 17th at 7:00 pm. You’ll see boats decorated from stem to stern with twinkling holiday lights, parading by for the crowds to see. The Space Needle and Seattle skyline make a gorgeous backdrop for this Northwest event.
Although there are many great viewing areas along the shore, there’s an even better way to enjoy the festivities.
Val Streif, Marketing Manager with GetMyBoat says, “You can find boat charters with local captains to take you on the water. That way you can avoid the crowds onshore while enjoying the parade. Seeing the lights from your own boat is a special way to celebrate the holidays with your family and friends. Bundle up and cruise out to see the Christmas Boat Parade!”
Washington state has everything you need to create your own Hallmark Christmas. Take a sleigh ride through an enchanted village, see the lighted boat parade with the Seattle skyline in the background, and get dressed up for a world-class performance of the Nutcracker. Washington is the perfect place to celebrate the holidays.