From the scenic coastal town of Edmonds to the historic charm of Snohomish, Washington, December is a time of joyful festivities and heartwarming traditions. Beginning in December, the PNW transforms into a winter wonderland–offering residents and visitors an array of activities that capture the spirit of this season. Whether you're in search of twinkling holiday lights, bustling local markets, serene solstice walks, or festive performances, this region boasts a diverse series of December delights. Read our curated list of must-experience events and attractions that make the PNW a destination like no other!
UPDATED FOR 2023
Every December Event to Attend in the PNW This Christmas Season
December Events in Edmonds, Washington
PAWA Holiday Paint-In
One of our favorite holiday events in Edmonds, Washington is the PAWA Holiday Paint-In. This year, the event is scheduled for December 2nd, 2023. The PAWA Holiday Paint-In is sponsored by the Plein Air Washington Artists) organization. PAWA, as the name suggests, is an association of artists dedicated to the practice of plein air painting, which means painting outdoors to capture natural light and atmosphere.
The Holiday Paint-In is a bit different. It involves local artists and hobbyists coming together at ArtWorks to capture winter scenes, holiday decorations, or other seasonal subjects. Everyone will paint indoors due to the chilly December weather. Sign up here for tickets and don’t forget to bring a dish for the potluck!
Edmonds Holiday Market
The Edmonds Holiday Market is a seasonal farmers market that takes place on weekends leading up to Christmas. You can find unique gifts, local crafts, and delicious holiday treats.
As you shop, be sure to keep an eye out for the many local businesses in Edmonds that participate in our annual window decorating contest–bringing festive cheer to the downtown area. The Edmonds Holiday Ornament Stroll also occurs around this time. Check the City of Edmonds website for more information.
Free Holiday Trolley
For the last nine years, the city has operated a free trolley service during weekends in December. This allows residents and visitors to explore the downtown area and participate in holiday shopping without worrying about parking. An “elf” acts as the trolley’s conductor–making it bundles of fun for kids of all ages. For more information about the trolley and operating hours, check out the website here.
Vintage Christmas Cards Exhibition at the Cascadia Art Museum
The Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds, WA, focuses on showcasing the rich art history of the Pacific Northwest from the late 19th century through the 1960s. While the specific events and exhibitions can vary from year to year, many art museums, including Cascadia Art Museum, often host special events, exhibitions, or programs during the holiday season.
This year marks the third annual installment of their Vintage Christmas Cards exhibition. Visitors can enjoy a festive environment while marveling at vintage Christmas cards drawn and painted by local artists. Learn more about the recurring event here.
Holiday Productions at the Edmonds Center for the Arts
The Edmonds Center for the Arts often has a series of performances scheduled in December– which can range from holiday-themed shows, music concerts, ballets, or other theatrical productions. Holiday programming starts November 30th with O Christmas Tea: A British Comedy.
Enjoy classics like The Nutcracker and Snow White ballets, as well as lesser known favorites like Mark O'Connor's An Appalachian Christmas and A Celtic Christmas with The Gothard Sisters. Christmas plays–including shows geared toward younger audiences–are also on the schedule. Last year, the ECA hosted three-time Grammy award-winner Kalani Pe'a and his Purple Hawaiian Christmas Tour–as pictured above.
For a full list of performances, head over to the ECA’s website here and scroll to the bottom of the page for 2023.
December Events in Everett, WA
Ice Skating at the Port of Everett’s Waterfront Place
The Port of Everett's 'Pacific Ice' community ice rink will be located at the Port's Pacific Rim Plaza in Fisherman's Harbor just steps from the new Grand Avenue Park Bridge. This public event runs daily from November 25th, 2023 through January 8th, 2023 with open ice skating public sessions!
At Pacific Ice, guests of all ages will enjoy a truly unique experience of skating on real ice at a covered rink overlooking the Port of Everett Marina. Holiday lights, music, and a handful of concessionaires will add to the whimsical atmosphere! Click here for more information, and don’t forget to give Hotel Indigo’s Jetty Bar & Grille a try while the kids are ice skating.
Holiday Dinner Dates at Hotel Indigo’s Jetty Bar & Grille
Jetty Bar & Grille, located within Hotel Indigo, highlights the rich history and connection of Everett to its waterfront, drawing inspiration from the locale. The menu celebrates Pacific Northwest cuisine with fresh seafood, locally-sourced produce, and a variety of meats and poultry. The Pacific Northwest is known for its fresh seafood, so prepare to enjoy dishes highlighting salmon, Dungeness crab, mussels, and other regional favorites.
In addition to the food, the bar offers a selection of craft beers, wines, and cocktails. Given the robust craft beer culture in the Pacific Northwest, you can expect a range of local brews on tap. Take a look at the menu and reserve a table here on OpenTable.
Performances at the Historic Everett Theatre
The Historic Everett Theater turned 122 this year! Celebrate its big birthday by catching a few classic shows this December. While the theater has yet to announce its 2023 programming, they are likely to list holiday events soon. Stay tuned here.
Enjoy Exhibitions and Shop for Holiday Gifts at Schack Art Center
This art center often hosts holiday-themed events, workshops, and exhibitions. It's also a great place to buy unique, locally-made holiday gifts. Last year, visitors could attend the 3-D Holiday Exhibition or the Annual Holiday Art Exhibition by the Northwest Pastel Society.
The Center has yet to announce holiday programming for this year, but Artwalk will be the third Thursday of December–which falls on the 21st.
Holiday on the Bay at Everett Waterfront
Beginning in early December, Everett residents and guests can attend Holiday on the Bay at Pacific Rim Plaza. Holiday on the Bay at Everett Waterfront is a festive event that celebrates the holiday season in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Visitors can stroll through the area, soaking in the ambiance of the shimmering lights reflecting off the waters of Puget Sound. Enjoy drive-in movies, food trucks, a visit from Santa Claus, a parade of boats, and a tree lighting ceremony, too. Reserve your spot at certain events online here.
And Wintertide Lights at the Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens
If you haven’t had your fill of holiday lights after enjoying an evening at the Waterfront, head over to the Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens for another show! The arboretum, renowned for its diverse collection of plants and serene landscapes, transforms into an enchanting wonderland adorned with thousands of twinkling lights and illuminated displays, creating a magical atmosphere for visitors of all ages.
Guests are invited to stroll through the gardens, enjoying the glow of the lights amidst the natural beauty, and partake in the festive ambiance. This seasonal event often features additional attractions such as musical performances, refreshments, and activities, making it a cherished holiday tradition for the local community and visitors alike.
December Events in Mill Creek, WA
City of Mill Creek Festival of Trees
Holiday events in Mill Creek begin on November 25th with the City of Mill Creek Festival of Trees at Mill Creek Town Center. Businesses partner to create a fun scavenger hunt for children. Kids will search for woodland animals amongst the storefronts–earning prizes as they collect more and more creatures.
Winners receive hundreds of dollars in gift cards and certificates that can be redeemed at local businesses. You can learn more about the festival here. The City also sponsors a tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, December 2nd.
Mill Creek Santa Parade
Before the tree lighting ceremony on December 2nd, arrive at Mill Creek Town Center around 3:30 to see the Santa Parade. Watch live reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh, and stay for a Christmas concert after the ceremony. Bear in mind that while Mill Creek does not offer many Christmas activities, it does offer a variety of classes and workshops during the the holiday season.
December Events in Marysville, WA
Merrysville for the Holidays
On December 2nd, be sure to attend Merrysville for the Holidays! "Merrysville for the Holidays" is an annual festive celebration in Marysville, WA, that marks the onset of the holiday season. Typically centered around Comeford Park or other prominent locations in the city, this event often includes a grand tree lighting ceremony, live musical performances, food trucks, and a much-anticipated visit from Santa Claus. This year, there will also be a parade of lights.
Residents and visitors gather to partake in the communal spirit, as local businesses and community groups contribute to the festivities. Whether it's through food stalls, crafts, or other seasonal activities, "Merrysville for the Holidays" serves as a cherished tradition that brings the Marysville community together, capturing the essence of warmth, joy, and holiday cheer.
Merrysville Electric Lights Parade
A nighttime spectacle, the parade features a procession of vehicles, floats, and community groups, all adorned with twinkling lights and vibrant decorations. As the illuminated parade moves through the streets of Marysville, it delights spectators with its radiant displays and festive atmosphere.
Often coinciding with other seasonal celebrations, such as the "Merrysville for the Holidays," this parade adds a luminous touch to the city's holiday traditions, drawing residents and visitors alike to partake in the joyous communal celebration. This year, it starts at 6:30 PM on the corner of 6th and State. Learn more here.
December Events in Mukilteo, WA
Mukilteo Tree Lighting
Mukilteo, a scenic city located along the shores of Puget Sound in Washington State, has its own array of festive events in December. Chief among them is its tree lighting ceremony – which also includes caroling and food trucks. This year’s tree lighting is scheduled for December 3rd from 3 PM to 6:00 PM. Learn more here.
Build a Gingerbread House with the Kids
Take the kids to Rosehill Community Center at 304 Lincoln Ave, Mukilteo, WA for a fun afternoon of gingerbread house building and decorating! For many, decorating gingerbread houses is a holiday tradition. The annual recurrence of this activity can build anticipation and excitement, much like decorating a Christmas tree or carving a pumpkin during Halloween. No matter the age of the child, everyone will enjoy!
This year, the event is from 2 to 3 PM on December 2nd. Learn more here.
December Events in Snohomish, WA
Winter Solstice Walk in Snohomish
The Winter Solstice Walk in Snohomish commemorates the shortest day and longest night of the year. Set against the backdrop of Snohomish's natural beauty, this event draws those seeking a moment of quiet reflection, connection to nature, and community celebration.
Participants embark on a guided walk, where they learn about the significance of the winter solstice, local lore, and the natural wonders of the region.
This tradition has been observed annually since 2006, and 2023 is no different. Enjoy a candlelit walk on Wednesday, December 21st from 4 to 7 PM. Learn more here.
Historic Snohomish WinterFest
Each year, residents and guests can enjoy a variety of holiday fun during the Historic Snohomish WinterFest on First Street in Historic Downtown Snohomish. From gingerbread house decorating, to breakfast with Santa, an ice sculpting contest and everything in between, there is lots to discover in Snohomish in December.
The charming streets of Snohomish come alive with twinkling lights, holiday decorations, and a welcoming atmosphere. Attendees can expect artisanal craft fairs, live music, caroling, and even horse-drawn carriage rides.
Local shops and eateries often offer seasonal specials, ensuring that the WinterFest provides a blend of traditional holiday charm and modern festivities that celebrate the spirit of the community and the season.
Beginning on the 8th of December, this year’s Winterfest Kick off party will be at Thomas Family Farm. Click here for more information about this event.
Consider the 12Ks of Christmas Instead of Chase the Grinch Out of Snohomish This Year
Snohomish Running Company and Historic Downtown Snohomish Association hosted their final Annual Chase the Grinch out of Snohomish 5K and 10K Run on Sunday, December 4th, 2022. This run was fairly flat and achievable for most age groups and those of differing abilities. It will be sorely missed in 2023! However, runners can attend the 12K's of Christmas this year on Sunday, December 10th at Kamiak High School in Marina Park, Kirkland. Learn more here.
Rent a Snow Globe at the Winterfest Snow Globe Village
Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit at the Winterfest Snow Globe Village. In the shadow of the historic Snohomish Carnegie building and the City Tree, the snow globe village features five fully furnished geo domes with seating for up to 8 people, twinkling lights, unique themes, and a Bluetooth speaker to complete your experience with your very own playlist. Bring in your own food/drinks or purchase a ticket that includes a charcuterie board from Heidi's Sandwichboard or a Bakery Box from the Snohomish Bakery, delivered directly to your snow globe. Your rental is for one hour and includes character visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, Elf, Ana and Elsa, or other fun holiday characters. Hot beverages upon check in are also available as well as Live entertainment inside the Carnegie building. This is a unique experience only available for a limited time. Get your tickets soon before they sell out!