Seattle gets plenty of rain in December, but it doesn't spoil this city's year-end fun. The inhabitants of this great town know how to beat grey winter skies with a full range of festive holiday events -- from ballet to brunch and brew sipping to gingerbread houses. Tucked inside at one of these great events, or lost in galleries and shopping spots, you'll forget all about the weather.
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The Nutcracker Plus Brunch
The holidays wouldn't be complete without a performance of "The Nutcracker," and when you add a Nutcracker Brunch, it enhances the whole experience. The Nutcracker Brunch includes a mini-performance by the Pacific Northwest Ballet School students, prizes, surprises and a gourmet feast. Performances of the Nutcracker run on weekends from the end of November through December, but brunch is a one-time-only event held early in December. This event is ideal for families and young children.
Visit a Gingerbread Village
When Seattle's top architecture firms apply their skills to baking, the results are dazzling. The Gingerbread Village is a free event and competition for which local architects design and build themed gingerbread houses. It runs from late November through the month of December and is hosted by the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Seattle. Vote for your favorite creation and don't forget to leave an optional donation for the JDRF Northwest Chapter, an organization committed to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.
Stroll Through the Arts
Art gets personal when you can meet the artists, buy gifts at the studio sales and see what local Seattle artists are working on. The Seattle Sampling Artists Studio Tour takes place the first weekend in December at studios around the Seattle area. Work includes paintings, ceramics and jewelry. And don't miss December's Art Walk. Stroll through Pioneer Square and visit some of Seattle's best galleries. The event takes place the first Thursday of every month from noon until 8:00 p.m.
The Pacific Northwest is mad about microbrewing. For a chance to try beers from the Seattle area and Washington state, get tickets for Winter Beer Fest. This tasting event takes place the first weekend in December in Hangar 30 at Magnuson Park. With each ticket, you get a tasting glass that doubles as a souvenir after the event and tokens for six beer samplings. More tokens are available at an additional charge. You must be 21 to attend.
Get Ready, Get Set -- Shop!
Downtown Seattle is in full festive spirit in December with lights twinkling in the leafless trees and shop windows decked out with lavish, festive holiday displays. All the big names are here -- from REI to Nordstrom -- along with numerous unique boutiques. The prime retail area, crammed with high-end shops and fine dining options, extends from the waterfront near the ferry terminal and Pike Place Market up to 7th Street.