Seattle in winter paints a picturesque scene, where you’ll witness the city’s famous skyline lightly dusted with snow, reflecting off the waters of Elliott Bay.
During the holiday season, the city lights up with several Christmas markets that bring a blend of festive shopping, delicious foods and local crafts.
This guide will give you detailed insights into the 2023 Seattle Christmas Market, including confirmed dates, opening times and the local specialities not to miss.
Christmas in Seattle is a festive affair marked by lights glittering against the city’s skyscrapers and streets. The city’s neighbourhoods are lit up with elaborate holiday decorations, making it a genuinely magical time to visit.
Seattle Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas market in Seattle is a highlight of the city’s holiday season and stands out for its unique character.
Situated at Seattle Center near the Space Needle, turning the area into a wonderland of holiday shopping and activities.
Beyond the city centre, the spirit of Christmas permeates Seattle’s diverse neighbourhoods, each hosting unique holiday markets.
For a touch of Scandinavian cheer, head to Ballard’s National Nordic Museum, home to Julefest, a Nordic-inspired Christmas Market.
If you crave an authentic German festive experience, the Christkindlemarkt at Leavenworth Christmas Market promises to be interesting.
Then you have Pike Place Market, which transforms with Magic in the Market, bringing a festive spin to this iconic location.
Dates and Information
Seattle Christmas Market dates: 24th November to 24th December 2023.
Location: Seattle Center at South Fountain Lawn and Fisher Pavilion.
Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 4pm to 9:30pm. Friday to Sunday: 11:30am to 9:30pm.
Christmas Eve: 11:30am to 6pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Tickets from $14. Available for select time slots. Book online in advance for discount tickets or buy at the gate.
Payment: Cashless is preferred.
Ice skating: No.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten-free: Yes, some options.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Handmade artisan crafts. Gourmet foodie delights. A stunning backdrop of snow-dusted skyscrapers. Live festive performances. Unrivalled Pacific Northwest charm.
Recommended tour: Seattle underground walking tour.
Specialities: Freshly baked Pike Place pretzels. Locally sourced oysters. Gourmet hot chocolates. Signature Seattle salmon dishes. Washington State wines.
Where to stay: Sound Hotel Seattle is a highly-rated hotel that is excellent value.
Hotels near Seattle Christmas Market
If you’re visiting Seattle, staying around Pike Place Market is very popular. You could also stay Downtown or in the trendy Belltown area. Each of these areas place you perfectly for a visit to Seattle’s many holiday events.
I suggest staying at Sound Hotel Seattle Belltown known for its excellent standards, service and great location near cafes, restaurants and attractions in Belltown.
Christmas in Seattle
Food at the Markets
Clam Chowder: An iconic Seattle dish at local markets is creamy clam chowder, a comforting, rich soup featuring succulent clams, potatoes, onions, and celery. It’s perfect to warm you up during a winter’s stroll.
Cider Doughnuts: As a universally loved holiday snack, cider doughnuts take on a local twist with Pacific Northwest apples used in the dough, served warm and dusted with sugar.
Pacific Northwest Smoked Salmon: Hailing from the local waters, smoked salmon is a Seattle staple. Delight in the smoky, savoury flavour, enjoyed on its own or as a topping on artisanal crackers.
Piroshky Piroshky: This famous bakery draws queues for its delicious Russian pastries, ranging from savoury meat and cheese options to sweet fruit and cream fillings.
Beecher’s Handmade Cheese: Famous in Seattle, especially at Pike Place, you’ll come across these mouth-watering handcrafted cheeses. Used in various dishes, it’s their signature mac ‘n’ cheese that draws crowds with a rich and creamy recipe that provides hearty sustenance on a cold winter’s day.
German Bratwurst: A nod to the European origins of Christmas markets, bratwurst is a favourite. Grilled to perfection and served in a crusty roll with sauerkraut and mustard, it offers a satisfying bite in between shopping.
Mulled Wine: Spiced, warm wine is a classic at any Christmas event, and Seattle is no different. Local wines are used as a base, with traditional spices infusing it with a sweet and aromatic Christmas flavour.
Rachel’s Ginger Beer: A stall offering refreshing ginger beer in various flavours. Their ginger beer is handcrafted and uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
Daily Dozen Doughnut Company: A small shop serving fresh, warm mini doughnuts throughout the day. It’s a sweet treat you wouldn’t want to miss while at the market.
What to Buy
Artisan Chocolates: Created by local chocolatiers, these beautifully crafted confections are a great gift for anyone with a sweet tooth. Each piece satisfies the palate and the eye with intricate designs and exquisite packaging.
Handcrafted Jewellery: Local artisans offer a range of unique, handmade pieces, from pretty necklaces and bracelets to bold earrings and rings. The craftsmanship often reflects the culture and natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Local Wine and Craft Beers: The Pacific Northwest is known for its vineyards and breweries. You can find a selection of locally produced wines and craft beers, which make an excellent gift for those who appreciate a quality drink.
Hand-Blown Glass Decorations: Seattle, home to renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly, has a thriving glass art scene. Hand-blown glass ornaments make a unique, radiant addition to any Christmas tree.
Locally Roasted Coffee: Seattle is famous for its coffee culture. Take home a bag of locally roasted coffee beans, perfect for those chilly winter mornings.
Native American Art: Rich in Native American heritage, Seattle offers authentic art pieces, which could be carvings, pottery, woven baskets, or beadwork. These items make thoughtful and unique gifts.
Seattle-themed Ornaments: From miniature Space Needles to ferry boats, these ornaments are perfect for remembering a visit to the Emerald City.
Locally Made Candles: Made with local ingredients and often packaged in reusable containers, these candles provide a sustainable and beautiful gift option. The variety of scents typically includes ones inspired by the local natural landscapes.
Gourmet Popcorn: Available in unique and adventurous flavours, this delicious snack is a fun and festive stocking filler.
To extend you holiday experience, you might like to add another market to your holidays. This guide to the best US Christmas markets should give you some ideas of where to go.
Visit Seattle could be useful for additional information, like finding things to do in Seattle during your stay.
Sustainable Travel Tips
Many of us are increasingly concerned about climate change and sustainability. Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Seattle at Christmas.
Use Public Transport and Bike Shares: Seattle has an extensive public transport system, including buses, light rail and ferries. Taking advantage of these options can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. For shorter distances, consider using Seattle’s bike-sharing services, such as Lime or Jump, offering an eco-friendly way to explore the city.
Accommodation: When selecting your hotel in Seattle, book a place that implements renewable energy policies and other sustainability measures.
Reduce Food Waste: As you explore Seattle’s culinary scene, be mindful of food waste. Order smaller portions when possible and consider sharing dishes.
Support Ethical Consumption: Seattle is known for its local artisans and small businesses. By choosing to buy local, handmade products at the Christmas markets, you’re supporting the local economy and reducing the carbon footprint associated with mass-produced goods.
Eat Sustainably: Seattle’s location in the Pacific Northwest means fresh, local produce is abundant. Eating plant-based meals or choosing locally sourced seafood can help reduce your environmental impact.
Bring Your Own Reusables: To minimise waste, bring your own shopping bags, coffee cups and water bottles. Many cafes in Seattle will happily refill your reusable cup, helping to cut down on single-use plastics.
The Seattle Christmas Market dates are 24th November to 24th December 2023.
The Christmas markets in Seattle is held at Seattle Center, in various districts and at Pike Place Market. There is also Julefest at the Nordic Musuem.
Seattle’s Christmas market opens from around 11:30am to 9:30pm.
The market is a great place to find unique gifts, many of which are locally made. You’ll find everything from handcrafted ceramics and blown glass ornaments to locally roasted coffee, organic skincare products, and hand-knitted woollen wear.
Yes, there are several other Christmas markets in Washington State, such as the ones in Leavenworth and Tacoma. Each has its own charm and is worth visiting if you have time during your trip.
If you would like to leave a review of Seattle Xmas Market, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Seattle, Washington State. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.