Seattle Center is the scene for Winterfest–five weeks of free and affordable family activities and holiday-inspired fun. The festivities begin the day after Thanksgiving and go until New Year’s Eve. The Seattle Center grounds are open 365 days a year. The Armory, Fisher Plaza, and other buildings are closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Throughout the five weeks of Winterfest, those in search of uplifting seasonal spirit or delightful diversion will find holiday-themed performances, Winter Train & Village, an annual campus lighting display, and a New Year’s Eve Celebration.
Most activities are open 10am-6pm, though some have shorter or longer hours. Many of the activities take place indoors at the Armory Main Level and Fisher Pavilion. There are also some outdoor activities on the plaza in front of Fisher Pavilion and around the International Fountain.
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Seattle Center Winterfest activities
The Armory closes at 4pm on Christmas Eve and is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.
International Fountain music starts at 10 am and ends at 9:00 pm. The cascading waterfall is on 24 hours a day. Lighting of the International Fountain is on an astro timer, set for 30-45 minutes before sunset. Lighting will be on until the fountain goes off. The music should be on anytime the fountain is actually operating. It shuts off between programs. Fountain of Light at International Fountain 5:15–8pm.
On-Campus activities listed below. Campus map: Campus Map (seattlecenter.com). More info: Winterfest (seattlecenter.com)
OPENING DAY CELEBRATION on Friday after Thanksgiving kicks off Winterfest. There are fun things to see and do all day long, including entertainment on the Armory Stage, Winter Train & Village, Ice Sculpting, firepits and food vendors at International Fountain, all leading up to a countdown at 5:15pm to turn on the Campus Luminata holiday light display, followed by a special Fountain of Light dance party and light show at International Fountain until 8pm. A perfect way to kick-off the holiday season with light and joy.
SEATTLE CENTER LUMINATA. In keeping the annual tradition of decking out the Seattle Center campus with twinkling lights in the trees and other specialty light features across the grounds. Pop by Seattle Center after dark and delight in the wonderland of light. At 6pm each day, there is a special campus light show along with curated music at International Fountain.
WINTER TRAIN & VILLAGE. Delight in viewing a late 19th-century model train and village display, installed inside the Armory Food & Event Hall. This annual tradition has been on display for over 40 years! The public is invited to interact by participating in a Scavenger Hunt. Pick up an entry sheet at the Train Station and see how many clues you can spot. The train operates 10am to 6pm daily during Winterfest. Donations accepted to keep the train operating.
ARMORY STAGE ENTERTAINMENT. Each weekend (Saturday and Sunday) there will be live performances on the Armory Stage, providing visitors with fun, seasonal entertainment while they check out our Winterfest Train & Village, or grab a bite to eat at an Armory food merchant.
ICE SCULPTING. 2022 details TBA.
FREE NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATION with entertainment and festivities throughout the Seattle Center Campus. Pop by the Armory between 8pm and midnight for live music. At 10pm, head out to International Fountain for a for a special light show. Around midnight, there are plenty of outdoor spots to view the Space Needle fireworks display. Plus, food merchants and other vendors. This is Seattle’s place to be on New Year’s Eve!
Christmas Traditions from Around the Globe
Can’t make it to Seattle Center? Celebrate the diversity of Seattle Center’s Festál community partners in a special Winterfest Festál Video Showcase. You’ll find performances, cooking and craft demonstrations, and other holiday traditions presented in video form. Enjoy learning about seasonal traditions from around the globe!
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- Here’s a list of 101+ always free things to do for fun.
- More free and cheap things to do every day: Greater Seattle on the Cheap event calendar.
- Still more ideas for frugal fun: Greater Seattle on the Cheap home page.
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Upcoming Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa & Holiday Events
The following events on our calendar include holiday events of all kinds.