December is one of the cheeriest times of year but it can also be a little pricey between gifts and all those friends’ Christmas dinners you need to attend. So we’re here to hopefully help you save a little money without sacrificing the fun. Here are 15 of the best free & cheap things to do in & around Seattle this December.

Check out some local Christmas lights

The holiday season is officially here and that means it’s time to check out all of the lights, events, and decorations around town. We know that it can be a handful to try and find all of the best places to visit so we created a map for you. From small, home displays to larger-than-life decorations, you’ll find it all.

Where: Click above to see our picks

Winter Porch Light Parade 2021

Visiting large-scale holiday light displays is fun and all but why not check out how Washingtonians are decorating their own homes? The cities of Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park and Shoreline are inviting folks to create their own holiday light displays to help spread holiday cheer. You can find a full map of the displays by clicking above.

When: December 1st-31st
Where: Participating homes in Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Shoreline
Cost: Free

POP2k: Playing 2000s pop dance hits

Looking for an excuse to dance this month? Look no further than a wildly fun 2000s pop dance hits party at the new and improved Crocodile! You’ll be able to dance to the tunes of artists like Lady Gaga, Backstreet Boys, Katy Perry, Usher, and more.

When: December 11th
Where: 2505 First Ave
Cost: $5

SantaCon Seattle

On December 11th and 18th, you’re invited to paint the town red and white. You can expect live entertainment all day, free admission to 15+ venues, drink specials, a costume contest, professional photographers, and more! Best of all, you can hop in on the fun pretty much anytime between noon and midnight to pick up your wristband.

When: December 11th & 18th
Where: Locations TBA
Cost: $5-$20

Listen to the Christmas Ships

If you’ve lived in Seattle long enough chances are that you’ve heard singing coming from Puget Sound during the holidays. That beautiful sound is the Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship and watching from the shore is a classic Seattle tradition. If you’re down to spend a chunk of change you can actually ride the ships and hear the singing up close.

When: Until December 23rd
Where: Onboard/Onshore
Cost: Free-$50 (free from onshore)

Snowflake Lane

If you’ve never attended Snowflake Lane before, it takes place nightly at 7 pm throughout the holiday season. Spectators gather on the sidewalks between Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square from NE 4th to NE 8th to watch as Bellevue slips away and is replaced with a winter wonderland. Expect to see falling snow, dazzling lights, festive music, toy drummers, and dancers.

When: Until December 24th
Where: Between Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square
Cost: Free

Kringle’s Filling Station 

Looking to snag a truly unique holiday experience? Then you’ll want to check out Kringle’s Filling Station which is put on by Hotopp Creative Studio, an award-winning Seattle-based entertainment designer. You’ll get to meet the Kringle brothers and take pictures in a 1972 Volkswagen Thing, and enjoy a steaming cup of hot chocolate from one of their special gas pumps.

When: Until December 24th
Where: 8211 Aurora Avenue North
Cost: $10+ per person

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Garden d’Lights

Garden d’Lights is taking over the Bellevue Botanical Garden to bring an enchanting experience to the Eastside. You’ll be able to see the botanical garden like never before as over half a million lights illuminate the beauty of the garden. With the many unique lights and scenes, there’s sure to be something for everyone.

When: November 27th-December 31st
Where: Bellevue Botanical Garden, 12001 Main Street, Bellevue, 98005
Cost: $5 per person

Visit a major piece of land art

Robert Morris’ Johnson Pit #30 was just included in the National Register of Historic Places which is a huge deal. It’s a first for a contemporary land art piece so you might as well give it a visit this weekend and show it some love. Who knows, it might just become your new favorite piece of art.

Where: 21610 37th Place S, SeaTac, WA

SLU After Dark

Explore 4 unique, interactive light art installations on display in South Lake Union this month. It’s a way for you to see South Lake Union in a whole new light, literally. Expect a family-friendly, outdoor experience that can be enjoyed at your leisure.

When: Until December 31st
Where: Participating parks in SLU
Cost: Free

Stone Images XI Exhibition

This unique show highlights the beauty of natural stones. You’ll be able to see 30 stones of various shapes and sizes at the Pacific Bonsai Museum. The stones were collected in 6 including CA, ND, NM, SD, OR, and WA. It sounds niche but it’s sure to be one of the more unique shows you’ll see this year.

When: Until January 9th
Where: 2515 S 336th Street, Federal Way, WA
Cost: Free

Recent Acquisitions in Contemporary Art

Love the Frye? Well, their collection is growing! You can check out 7 recent artworks by Juventino Aranda, Rokni Haerizadeh, Rose Nestler, Mary Ann Peters, Cauleen Smith, Anthony White, and Ko Kirk Yamahira. All of these works were acquired by the museum in 2019 and are being shown together now.

When: Until January 11th
Where: 704 Terry Ave
Cost: Free

Visit Washington’s ultimate Christmas town 

Is there a more iconic holiday town in Washington than Leavenworth? We think not. They’re lighting up once again this year but instead of having to wait for weekends to see the light, now you can see the town glowing daily. Enjoy the lights, hike in the area, shop & dine, there are lots to do and see in Leavenworth

Where: Leavenworth, Washington

Duane Linklater: mymothersside

Linklater works with a range of mediums to address the contradictions of contemporary Indigenous life both within and beyond settler systems of knowledge, representation, and value. This exhibition brings together a range of the artists’ work including sculptures, video works, and digital prints on linen from the last decade.

When: Until January 16th
Where: 704 Terry Ave
Cost: Free

Magic in the Market

Watch as the market comes alive thanks to beautiful light displays and decorations crafted to create the ultimate holiday ambiance. Folks who attend can also enjoy special shopping offers, live holiday music, photo ops, glass blowing demonstrations, and more. If you’re feeling extra cheery you can indulge in some holiday drinks & treats while you wait to take free photos with Santa.

When: Throughout the holiday season
Where: Pike Place Market
Cost: Free/Varies

See? Look at all the options you have this month! Get out there and have some fun, we’ll catch you back here next month.