A December to Remember

Getting away, even for an afternoon or evening, can be a memorable time to bond with friends and family during the holidays. Though the Tree Lighting in Leavenworth gets top billing, we think these 12 lesser-known holiday adventures–from “traditional with a twist” to “quirky Northwest charm”–will delight your senses without all the crowds and traffic.

Check out these 12 Holiday Adventures – less than 2 Hours from Seattle!

1. Abominable Selfies & Anacortes Museum Open House

Nov. 29, 4 pm to 6 pm, Free
Anacortes Museum, 1305 8th St, Anacortes, WA
Event Details
Don’t miss this open house at the Anacortes Museum where you can take selfies with the Abominable Snow Man and other Misfit Toys. If you can’t make it to the open house, never fear. These cut-outs will be on display at the Anacortes Museum throughout the month of December.

2. St. Nick’s Holiday Wine Weekend in Woodinville

Nov. 30 – Dec. 2nd, Tickets in advance or at the door at Woodinville Visitors Center
Woodinville Wineries & Tasting Rooms
Tickets and Details
Over 25 wineries and tasting rooms throughout Woodinville Wine Country will open their doors for an entire weekend of holiday touring and tasting. Enjoy the festive flavors of Washington wines while you drink in the spirit of the season. Participating Wineries: Adrice, Ancestry Cellars, Auclair Winery, Barrage Cellars, Davenport Cellars, Descendant Cellars, Genoa Cellars, Icon Cellars, J. Bookwalter Winery, Lauren Ashton Cellars, Long Cellars, Lord Lion Winery, Martedi Winery, Milbrandt/Ryan Patrick, Obelisco, Patterson Cellars, Pondera Winery, Sightglass Cellars, Silver Lake Winery, Sky River Mead, Three of Cups Winery, Torii Mor Winery

3. Jule Fest & Scandinavian Bazaar in Poulsbo

Dec. 1st, 10 am to 8 pm
Historic Downtown Poulsbo
Front Street, Poulsbo, WA
Event Details
Scandinavian Bazaar runs from 10 am to 5 pm at the Poulsbo Sons of Norway – get fresh lefse while it lasts! Free carriage rides from 11 am to 3 pm. At 4:30 the Poulsbo Sons of Norway Vikings begin the traditional Julefest when they row the Lucia Bride ashore at Murial Williams Waterfront Park. She will be escorted to the fire ring where she will light the Yule log to start a bonfire. In Scandinavia, fires were lit to symbolize the heat, light and life-giving properties of the returning sun. A Yule or Juul log was brought in and burned on the hearth in honor of the Scandinavian god Thor. The reading of the Winter Solstice Proclamation will end the evening.

4. Cherry Valley Winery Holiday Art & Craft Festival

Dec. 1st, 12 pm – 5 pm
At Cherry Valley Winery
30932 NE Cherry Valley Rd, Duvall, Washington 98019
Event Details
The 4th annual Holiday Art & Craft Festival at the winery features handcrafted gifts, local art, Cherry Valley Dairy, Brugge Chocolates, live music, Swift & Savory Food Truck, and, of course, Wine Tasting! And while you are in Duvall, be sure to check out the shops in the historic district.

5. Chase the Grinch Outta Snohomish Fun Run

Dec. 2nd, 9 am – 12 pm, Registration Required
Historic Downtown Snohomish
Tickets & Info
The infamous Grinch has threatened to spoil all of the holiday merriment in our little town of Sno-Who-Mish! Runners & walkers can help restore holiday order by Chasing the Grinch out of town on December 2nd at 9 a.m. The fun-run 5K and 10k routes start and finish at our “Cheermeister Village” at 405 Third Street in Snohomish. The route takes you along the picturesque Centennial Trail. This fun & mostly flat 5K & 10K distance is a fully supported out-and-back course. Runners return to a festive & fun finish line with hot chocolate & post-run snacks, as well as entertainment & photo ops galore!

6. K9 Candy Cane 5K Fun Run

Dec. 2nd, 9 am. (Registration closes Nov. 30th)
Renton Community Center
1715 Maple Valley Hwy, Renton, Washington 98057

Registration Info
Runners and walkers travel along the paved beautiful Cedar River Trail before looping back to the Community Center. Competitive runners, fun runners, walkers and families (with or without) dogs are all invited to this annual event.

7. Wonderland Walk at Washington Park in Anacortes

Dec. 7th & 8th – 5 pm to 8 pm, Free
Washington Park
6300 Sunset Ave, Anacortes, WA
Event Details
Enjoy Holiday Lights, campfires, hot chocolate, bring a flashlight, free family fun

La Conner Boat Parade Photo by Pam Headridge Photography
La Conner Boat Parade Photo by Pam Headridge Photography

8. Holiday Lighted Boat Parade

Dec. 8th , 6 pm – 7 pm, Free
Swinomish Channel in La Conner
Event Details
The annual tradition of festively lit boats parade through the Swinomish Channel. This year’s theme is “Christmas in La Conner”! Thanks to the members of the Swinomish and Shelter Bay Yacht Clubs. Bundle up and enjoy from the boardwalk or make a day of it and get some holiday shopping done and enjoy a nice meal at one of our many restaurants. Several of the “view” restaurants take reservations – so book early!

9.  Holiday Open Parlor Tours in Port Townsend

Dec. 15th, 1 pm – 4pm, Tickets $15  Reservations recommended.
Tickets & Info
Port Townsend invites you to step back into a quieter time for the holidays and experience the simple joys of the season. Tour beautifully decorated historical buildings and homes with historically costumed docents, seasonal music, and holiday treats. Tours run 1-4 pm on Saturday. Reservations recommended. Tickets may be purchased at the first stop. Tours are self-guided, starting at the Old Consualte Inn at 313 Walker St, Port Townsend.

Bonsai Solstice Photo by Timothy Aguero
Bonsai Solstice Photo by Timothy Aguero

10. Bonsai Solstice at Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way

Dec. 16th, 4 pm to 7 pm, Free
2515 336th St, Federal Way

Event Details
Bring your family & friends, take time for reflection, and enjoy the magic of bonsai by twinkle-lights. Bundle up, get cozy, and enjoy the serenity of our collection illuminated by the soft glow of holiday lights at our our 5th annual ‘A Bonsai Solstice.’ BYOF (Bring-Your-Own-Flashlight or phone flashlight :)) to explore the bonsai by night. Sip a cup of hot cocoa or coffee and enjoy a sweet or savory crepe from Crisp Creperie Food Truck. Live acoustic music will fill the woods with soft sounds and add to the magical atmosphere. A pop-up Night Market will sell nature- and bonsai-themed gifts.

11.  Fairhaven Fa La La Caroling Competition

Dec. 22nd 3 pm – 5:30 pm, Donations Accepted
Historic Fairhaven, Bellingham, WA
Event Details

Come experience the true spirit of the season with the gift of giving through song at the first annual Fairhaven Fa-La-La Caroling Competition and Fundraiser. Local celebrity judges and festival-goers take to the streets of Fairhaven Village lined with carolers that come to sing and raise money for the Historic Fairhaven Association and NW Youth Services.

12. Model Train Festival

Dec. 21st – Jan. 1st
Washington State History Museum in Tacoma
1911 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, Washington 98402
Tickets & Info

Take a journey in miniature through model train layouts on every floor of the museum, and see Kitsap Steamer’s larger trains too! This event delights the child in all of us; bring your friends and family and make memories together.
New this year: Drive the Freight Train Simulator!

Enjoy the season!

Hope to see you at some of these event! Be sure to take photos and use #daytripsinwa for a chance to be featured on our web site and social media!

Gayle Picken

Gayle Picken is a writer and video creator who loves yoga, hiking, kayaking, connecting with people and exploring the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She founded Day Trips in Washington to inspire you to get out and go on adventures in all of the towns and cities across Washington state.