December 16

Holiday Cheer in South Lake Union

Tis the season for good times.

The holiday season is a time to balance the wrapping up of our work for the year with celebrations and a look to what’s next. But we all know the holidays aren’t always restful. Stressing out over finding the perfect gift or fighting the cold-weather blues can make you feel less merry and bright. Here are some ways to find some extra joy in South Lake Union throughout the holidays.

Take in the lights

For more than 70 years, the Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship Festival has been lighting up the shores of Lake Union and other Seattle area waterfront communities. The Spirit of Seattle is decorated with hundreds of shimmering lights and carries a crew of carolers while more than 20 decorated follower boats parade the waters of Lake Union and Lake Washington. You can purchase tickets for the festival, join on your own vessel, or watch from the shores of Lake Union. The festival runs through December 23.


Through January 6, three installations are transforming the neighborhood into your very own ski resort in the city. Every weekday at 4pm, Van Vorst Plaza gets its fair share of powder as a snow machine brings the winter wonderland vibes. Near the Spheres, get settled on an Adirondack chair, cozy up with a warm beverage, and enjoy an artful faux fire. Need a spot for a perfect family portrait? Head to the ski lift and chalet at the Nitro Plaza, where you’ll find a colorful, wintery backdrop for your next Instagram post or holiday card.

An artful faux fire art installation.

Outdoor photo backdrop of a ski lift.

Give back

Every Sunday, your hole-in-one celebrations can contribute to charity at Flatstick Pub. The mini golf hot spot donates $2 of every beer and $2 every round of golf to a different charity at each location, each month. Looking for other ways to give back? Check out our most recent story about neighborhood nonprofits that could use your help.

Shop local

On Saturday, December 17 and 24, Girls Scouts Troop 41188 will be offering gift wrapping services at the entrance of the Seattle REI Co-op. Your support will help the troop with an upcoming trip to Japan. Want to support other businesses in South Lake Union? Cross off all your gifting needs with our recent shop small roundup.

Story by Ethan Chung & photographs by Tim Durkan.

At The Center

SLU is the geographical center of Seattle