Twinkling stars glitter like diamonds in a black velvet sky. Persistent nips of Jack Frost find their way to your nose and fingers. It’s a cool, crisp December evening as the sleek, high-speed Victoria Clipper V glides south across the glassy waters of the Salish Sea.

A collective sense of calm takes over as vacation mode kicks into high gear.  As the holidays approach, the urge to escape the rat race and embrace life’s special moments with family and friends is high. After weeks of gift wrapping, card writing and house decorating, nothing is more freeing than leaving your to-do list behind and escaping to soak in Seattle’s holiday charm.

Book our Enchant Christmas – Victoria to Seattle 2-Night Getaway to soak in the holiday spirit!

The vessel rounds the tip of Discovery Park with the faint twinkling lights of Seattle coming into view. While the scenic ride from Victoria has its fair share of breathtaking vistas, this is one that dictates venturing out on the deck of the ship for a photo op. The newly renovated Space Needle stands out among a towering group of brightly lit skyscrapers, and even the city’s plentiful construction cranes, are decked in sparkling lights and Christmas trees. If you’re looking for the perfect holiday city scene, this is it.

Day 1

8:15 p.m. – Hyatt Regency Hotel

Twenty minutes after arriving in Seattle, you’re off the boat, through customs and ready to catch a 10-minute Uber ride up from the waterfront to your hotel. Even under the cover of darkness, the brand new Hyatt Regency Hotel is simply incredible.

A jaw-dropping, 500-foot-tall high-rise, the hotel is the largest in the city and certainly one for the books. The monolithic tower rises atop an eight-story podium, almost appearing to float above the entry level of the building. Yet, the structure’s sleek exterior allows it to blend into the sky as it soars above the city’s historic buildings.

The stunning Hyatt Regency Hotel stands tall in the Emerald City skyline. Credit: Hyatt Regency Seattle
The stunning Hyatt Regency Hotel stands tall in the Emerald City skyline. Credit: Hyatt Regency Seattle

Lofty cathedral ceilings and expansive windows greet you inside. With modern, sunlit rooms overlooking the city, Lake Union or waterfront, you may have to resist the urge to stay cozied up in your room for the duration of your trip.

Once you make your way back downstairs, you’ll find three excellent dining options throughout the property. They include a 24-Hour Market Café for on the go bites, a trattoria serving up authentic Italian fare and the locals’ favorite, Daniel’s Broiler, the perfect spot to indulge in USDA prime steaks and award-winning wines. Book this hotel with Clipper, learn more.

Cozy up in one of the Hyatt Regency's comfortable guestrooms. Credit: Hyatt Regency Seattle
Cozy up in one of the Hyatt Regency’s comfortable guestrooms. Credit: Hyatt Regency Seattle

9:45 p.m. – Rob Roy

Not ready to call it a night? Head to Belltown’s buzzy craft cocktail bar Rob Roy to kick off the weekend with a dose of holiday cheer. With a chill vibe and low-lighting, the bar is already an ideal spot to cozy up on a winter’s night. Married with the 8th annual Miracle on 2nd popup, it is a full-on festive extravaganza.

Jolly tunes fill the scene. Faux snow frosts the windows as well as the counters. A sparkling tree holds court over one corner. Festive mugs line the back bar. And let’s not forget about the drinks. A lineup of solid seasonal cocktails fills the bar’s card-like menus.

There is no better way to cap your night than with a festive drink in a snug bar. Credit: Charlene McBride
There is no better way to cap your night than with a festive drink in a snug bar. Credit: Charlene McBride

Toast to the season’s favorite animal with the Run Run Rudolf or sample the Snowball Old Fashioned (yes, you can expect to find a small snowball subbed in lieu of an ice cube). Everything is delicious and full of holiday flavor.

Day 2

9:30 a.m. – Tilikum Place Café

Start the day with a hearty breakfast at the friendly, European-style Tilikum Place Café. Situated in the shadow of the Space Needle, the café is a hidden gem in Seattle’s hip culinary scene. If you eat one thing, it must be Chef Ba Culbert’s mouth-watering Dutch Babies.

Served hot in mini-cast iron skillets, these tasty pancake-like treats manage to be simultaneously dense, rich and fluffy. Sample the Sweet, an ooey-gooey mix of chocolate chips, Kahlua and peppermint candy, a surefire way to put a sweet smile of satisfaction on your face.

Few things are more delicious than a warm Dutch Baby fresh from the oven. Credit: Meredith Leigh Collins
Few things are more delicious than a warm Dutch Baby fresh from the oven. Credit: Meredith Leigh Collins

10:45 a.m. – Winterfest at Seattle Center Armory

After breakfast, a short jaunt around the corner will land you at the Seattle Center Armory’s Winterfest. Brimming with twinkling lights and lively entertainment, it is a one-stop-shop for holiday goodness. Award-winning artists craft sculptures out of glistening blocks of ice outside.

Indoors, a train rolls through a miniature turn-of-the-century village, completing the wintery scene. (Inside tip: If you really want to give the kiddos a thrill, let them play engineer and take a turning at guiding the train themselves!) All the while yuletide tunes mixed with the exuberant giggles of children make for a fun-filled ambiance.

12:45 p.m. – Holiday Tea at the Georgian

Cue the deliciously adorable finger sandwiches and clotted cream smothered scones! Nothing adds cheer to a frosty winter day than a pot of body and soul-warming afternoon tea at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel’s Georgian Restaurant. Boasting high ceilings, luxe chandeliers dripping with crystals, massive and expansive Palladian windows, the space oozes Old-World charm.

Treat your little princes and princesses to the special tea menu created for kiddos! Credit: The Fairmont Olympic Hotel
Treat your little princes and princesses to the special tea menu created for kiddos! Credit: The Fairmont Olympic Hotel

The selection of fine loose-leaf teas are sure to please the most avid tea connoisseur and the three-tiers of holiday-themed eats are more than enough for lunch. Hello white chocolate cranberry scones! Top things off by treating yourself to a flute of bubbly from the weekend-only champagne bar, and you may feel like you are having tea in the Palace of Versailles.

Feast on a lineup of delicious treats such as red velvet cake pops, almond marzipan cake and peppermint white chocolate bark. Credit: The Fairmont Olympic Hotel
Feast on a lineup of delicious treats such as red velvet cake pops, almond marzipan cake and peppermint white chocolate bark. Credit: The Fairmont Olympic Hotel

2:00 p.m. – Downtown Shopping

With a thriving fashion and design scene, Seattle is chock-full of boutiques brimming with locally produced goods. Make the less than 10-minute walk to the bustling Westlake Center. With glittering trees, star-decked Macy’s and the sound of ringing bells, it’s hard not feel as giddy as a little kid on Christmas morning.

Check out the giant Christmas tree standing in Westlake Center throughout the season. Credit: Steve Cyr

Skip the crowds at the big-box stores and swing by the Holiday Market at Westlake Park to peruse a well-curated selection of unique, handcrafted gifts. Pick up stunning prints from Hand to Paper, candles from Woodland Alchemy, laser-cut jewelry from Ginger Bee and more.

With a rotating set of PNW makers each week, you’ll be able to source the perfect finds for even the toughest-to-shop-for people on your list. Bonus points for taking a mid-shopping break to go for a whirl on the iconic Holiday Carousel!

3:30 p.m. – Gingerbread Village at Sheraton Seattle

Duck into the lobby of the Sheraton Seattle for more festive and sugar-coated fun. Fall into an awed silence as you and the kiddos walk into the 26th Annual Gingerbread Village. Feast your eyes (and tantalize your nose!) on fabulous gingerbread creations from the charming and whimsical world of Dr. Seuss’ Whoville. Everything is entirely edible, from the fondant-iced roofs to jelly bean-lined pathways. Is your mouth watering yet?

5:00 p.m. – Holiday Reception & Shuttle to Enchant Christmas from Hyatt Regency

Ease your rumbling stomach and stop by the Hyatt Regency lobby for delicious treats you are allowed to eat. Gobble up freshly baked cookies and hot chocolate (exclusive to Clipper guests). Then load yourself into the hotel’s complimentary shuttle (it runs nightly from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.) to be chauffeured to the big event – Enchant Christmas! You’ll arrive swiftly at Safeco Field, no muss, no fuss.

Fuel up on tasty eats before paying a visit to Enchant Christmas.
Fuel up on tasty eats before paying a visit to Enchant Christmas.

5:45 p.m. Enchant Christmas                                                                

Scamper up under bedazzled arches as you make your way into Safeco Field for the first-ever Enchant Christmas event. It is the equivalent of stepping into a snow globe in the heart of the Seattle. Since winter nights can be a bit damp, the chance to experience holiday magic while staying dry (yes, the roof over the field is closed throughout the event), is an added bonus.

A stroll around the concession level of the stadium provides a chance to grab a bite from one of the many food vendors and scope out the lineup of shops featuring artisanal goods in the Christmas Market. However, the best part of exploring this level of the stadium is the incredible aerial view of the dazzling light maze (at 90,000 square feet, it is the world’s largest) covering the baseball field below.

Enchant's immersive light experience transforms Safeco Field into a twinkling wonderland. Credit: Christopher Pace
Enchant’s immersive light experience transforms Safeco Field into a twinking wonderland. Credit: Christopher Pace

Brilliant blue snowflakes, silvery diamonds and spiky icicles, white trees, golden reindeer and the piece de résistance – a massive 90-foot-tall Christmas tree – twinkle and glow in the darkness. According to Enchant Christmas spokesperson, Michelle S. Leyva, the display “Consists of roughly 2.5+ million lights.” Pretty dang impressive considering that rivals the number of lights found in parks that boast acres of land. It is an experience unlike any other.

At 80-feet-tall, Enchant's Christmas tree is a sight to behold. Credit: Scott Meis
At 80-feet-tall, Enchant’s Christmas tree is a sight to behold. Credit: Scott Meis

If you think the view from above is amazing, wait till you are standing next to the larger-than-life displays and see your kiddos’ faces light up with glee. The cheery sound of holiday tunes echoes through the air as puffs of faux snow drift down from above. Surprisingly, the flakes are in heavy enough doses to settle on your shoulders. Knowing Seattle may only get a skiff of the actual white stuff, it’s as magical as the real deal.

Massive displays create an endless supply of photo ops. Credit: Scott Meis
Massive displays create an endless supply of photo ops. Credit: Scott Meis

Need to warm up? The steaming cups of mulled wine or spiked hot chocolate from the maze’s drink stand are sure to call your name. Or sample the deliciously sweet cranberry and vodka (aka a cup of “Holiday Cheer”). The chance to light your way with the kitschy blinking lightbulb the drink is served in is worth it alone.

Drink in hand, embark on the “Great Search” to find Santa’s nine missing reindeer. With wide pathways, there is no fear of actually getting lost. And the giant golden reindeer are hard to miss. Just remember to mark them off on your scratch-card as you go. When you leave the maze your efforts will be rewarded with a sweet candy cane to savor.

Find Rudolf tucked among Enchant's hedges. Credit: Brenna Ciummo
Find Rudolf tucked among Enchant’s hedges. Credit: Brenna Ciummo

Tuck inside the glowing 240-foot-long purple tunnel that snakes its way through one end of the maze and wind past more sparkling trees and spires. Snap selfies at the stunning heart and candy-caned shaped displays, as well as the curtain of white lights. (Inside tip: If you’re looking for a spot to propose, there happens to be a huge diamond ring just begging for a photo op.)

Soak in thousands of lights as you wander through Enchant's glittering maze. Credit: Casey Boothman
Soak in thousands of lights as you wander through Enchant’s glittering maze. Credit: Casey Boothman

One of Enchant’s most celebrated features is the glistening 350-foot-long ice skating trail. Rent a pair of skates for a $10 fee or bring along your own, and glide past twinkling trees under glittering arches. A budding skater’s dream, there is something magical about cruising along the winding loop trail. Grab a seat on a bench beside the trail for the perfect spot to people watch as the skaters whiz past.

Take the kiddos for a lap or two around Enchant's magical ice skating trail. Credit: Enchant Christmas Seattle
Take the kiddos for a lap or two around Enchant’s magical ice skating trail. Credit: Enchant Christmas Seattle

Pop back upstairs to shop the stocking-worthy gifts ranging from handcrafted jewelry and stationary to PNW inspired pottery and chocolates. Just don’t forget to stop by Santa’s Landing to snap a photo with the jolly old elf himself. Or curl up with Mrs. Claus for a story, there is no better way to close out the evening.

Day 3

7:00 a.m. – Clipper Terminal at Pier 69

Before you know it, it’s time to hop back on the Victoria Clipper V for the 2 hour and 45-minute cruise back to Victoria. Climb aboard, relax in your reclining seat, and order a mimosa and locally made Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt to fuel your journey home. Curl up with a good book or check out that movie you’ve been meaning to watch, but not before one last look at the Seattle skyline as you skim across Puget Sound.

Soak in one last look at Seattle from the Clipper's back deck on your way home. Credit: Dalia Ryker
Soak in one last look at Seattle from the Clipper’s back deck on your way home. Credit: Dalia Ryker

 

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Featured Photo: Brenna Ciummo