Christmas Shopping in Seattle – Where to Stay and Play

Head south for great shopping deals, and enjoy some holiday festivities à l'américaine

Credit: Flickr / camknows

The Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle holds its annual tree lighting on Nov. 18

Reasons to head to Seattle for a piece of the U.S. holiday shopping action? Black Friday deals, outlet shops, a festive tree lighting, and stay and play accommodation specials

While it may not be Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, the annual tree lighting at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle certainly gets you into the spirit of the holiday season if you’re thinking of heading over the border for some pre-Christmas shopping.

The festive occasion takes place on November 18 in the lobby of the hotel, a perfect spot to set as a base for your border-hopping shopping excursion.

The hotel has a number of “stay and play” specials on now through to the end of the year, and if you have the little ones in tow, the Teddy Bear Suite is now set up for the kids to enjoy. (The room, usually designed by a well-known Seattle designer, is chock full of stuffed animals, and all the proceeds from those touring the room go to the Seattle Children’s Hospital.)

Outlet Shopping at the Seattle Premium Outlets

Seattle Premium Outlets’ 110 stores offer extended hours for Black Friday shoppers (Image: Flickr / John Biehler)

While there are a number of outlet store options available for Black Friday shoppers to enjoy, the best option for those staying in Seattle would be the aptly named Seattle Premium Outlets, which is about 30 minutes north of downtown, near the Tulalip Casino.

Stores like Coach, Brooks Brothers, Ann Taylor and Calvin Klein all open their doors at midnight on Friday, November 23 for the annual Midnight Madness sale, where brave shoppers will be treated to discounts of up to 70% off.

Grab a Seattle CityPass

Image: Flickr / Joits

Once the shopping is complete, visitors can take in the rest of what Seattle has to offer. The best way to explore the city is to get your hands on a Seattle CityPass.

The booklet contains admission tickets to a variety of Seattle’s most popular tourist attractions like the Space Needle, the Seattle Aquarium, and the EMP Museum, which is presently hosting a retrospective look at the history of Seattle grunge band Nirvana. The pass runs about $65, but it will cut your sightseeing costs in half.

Dine Seattle Style

Seattle’s dining scene covers all the bases. If you want to enjoy a classic Seattle tourist dining experience, take in The Crab Pot down by the waterfront. The experience is a simple one. Order one of the “famous” crab pot options, strap on a plastic bib while your server lays down a white sheet of paper in front of you (aka your tablecloth), and watch another server dump a pot filled with crab, potatoes, corn, mussels, and clams at your table. No dishes. No utensils. Just you, a wooden mallet, and a big appetite.

For a uniquely local fine dining experience, check out Taste in the Seattle Art Museum. Not only is the room exquisite, but all the food on the ever-changing menu is made from local ingredients and sourced from nearby suppliers. The Sunday brunch is well worth the visit.

And it wouldn’t be a trip to Seattle without seeing a live band. If you’ve graduated past your shoe-gazing club days and are looking for a half-decent meal to go with your live music fix, check out the Triple Door. It’s only a couple of blocks from the Fairmont and most of the reserved ticket shows feature a full dinner service from the upstairs Asian fusion restaurant, Wild Ginger. The calendar on the web site usually has shows booked up to three months out, so you can plan your visit accordingly.