Feel the Christmas cheer and charm with a visit to Washington State each December. Enjoy the spirit of a Hallmark Christmas movie through events like community parades, the most lit Christmas trees in one location, strolling Christma carollers, and town centers aglow with sparkling lights. Here are six endearing towns in Washington that feel like a Hallmark Christmas movie.
Some lodging information included in this article was obtained during a press trip. All opinions and ideas are my own.
Nestled in the Cascade Mountain Range approximately 135 miles east of Seattle, Leavenworth feels like a Hallmark Christmas movie with old-world Christmas charm. The Bavarian village celebrates the season with Christmas Lighting Festivals through February. The Village of Lights includes over half a million lights sparking downtown, live music, photo ops with Santa, chestnuts roasting, and holiday characters.
Visit also the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, just one mile north of the village. Farm tours are offered every 30 minutes and include hot chocolate and apple cider. Photo ops with Santa are available through December.
Hear the sounds of Christmas with the Festival Carolers featuring live music and strolling singers. Marvel at the antique nutcrackers at the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum. Can’t you just picture a Hallmark Christmas movie starring nutcrackers?
Check the beautiful accommodations at the Bavarian Lodge.
Known as “Christmas Town, USA,” Shelton is the epitome of a town that feels like a Hallmark Christmas movie. Shelton is located along the shores of Oakland Bay — just west of Olympia and about 20 miles south of Hood Canal. Shelton first became known in the 1960s as the area that supplied most of the Christmas trees for the entire nation.
Shelton holds the Guinness Book of Records for the “Most Lit Christmas Trees” in one location — a record 797 lit trees! Shelton broke the New York Hallmark record of 559.
Christmas Town heralds many Christmas scenes and activities, including the 32-foot-tall Santa initially built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, streets decorated with vintage decorations and lights, and each doorway sporting a welcoming wreath. Businesses vie for the title of Best Decorated Storefront. Crafting Workshops for children are held at Christmas Town Market. For adults, there are also daily wreath workshops.
Stay at the family-run Shelton Inn, located close to all the holiday action.
Celebrate Hometown Holidays right from a Hallmark movie and the theme of the festivities in Camas. Festivities include hometown entertainers, food vendors, photo ops with Santa in his magical sled, shopping at local businesses, and dining at area restaurants. Stop by the Main Festival Tent to receive a special craft kit to make at home. The street closure map is detailed on this link.
Camas is located on the banks of the Columbia River, along highway 14, a mere 10-minute drive from Vancouver, WA.
4. Port Townsend
Port Townsend, Washington’s Victorian City, is ready for a Hallmark Christmas movie. Cruise through the city and enjoy the architecture of Old-World Victorian Charm.
Santa arrives in town for the Christmas Tree Lighting. Afterward, children can meet Santa at the Pope Marine Building.
Enjoy the Key City Public Theatre annual production of Spirit of the Yule, a new twist on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Shows run throughout December. Also, watch for performances of Every Christmas Story Ever Told.
Climb aboard the trolley for Choo Choo Rides for Families.
You can also tour some of the historic inns and homes all decked out for Christmas. Stop by the Port Winter Holiday Farmers Market for unique gifts, delicious food, and arts and crafts for the children.
A historic accommodation right downtown is the Water Street Hotel.
Check this link for directions to Port Townsend from both Portland and Seattle and ferry schedules to reach Port Townsend.
5. Walla Walla
Just like in a Hallmark Christmas Movie, the Walla Walla Holiday Parade of Lights is where families join together in the spirit of the season to watch the annual parade. Look for Santa’s arrival on the final float.
A fun event for adults is the Love Christmas painting and sipping event at Brushes n’ Brix.
You can also enjoy the productions of The Nutcracker: Clara’s Adventure to the Land of Sweets and Ira Finkelstein’s Christmas at the Gesa Power House Theatre. The De Sales Catholic High School Theatre Department presents A Christmas Story.
Spend the night at the historic Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center, where you can walk to all the festivities at many tasting rooms and businesses.
Walla Walla is located in the southeastern portion of Washington State.
One of the highlights of the Christmas celebrations of the Yakima Valley is the Lighted Farm Implement Parade, the oldest farm implement parade in the nation. This parade highlights the importance of agriculture to the area and the Hallmark-type communities that come together to celebrate the season. Antique farm equipment from the Central Washington Agriculture Museum joins dozens of present-day tractors and combines; all dressed in their Christmas splendor with thousands of twinkling lights.
Check out all the holiday events, lights, and shopping throughout downtown Yakima here. Businesses are dressed in their best Hallmark Christmas decorations as they compete for one of the Winter Wonderland Awards. Check out both interior and exterior decorations, as there are awards for both.
The Yakima Valley lies in eastern Washington approximately 2 hours from Seattle and 3 hours from Portland.
Wherever you are visiting in Washington State, there are quaint, friendly towns that exude the feelings of a Hallmark Christmas Movie.
Read all the TravelAwaits‘ Hallmark Christmas articles and get into the spirit of the season. Plus, check out more Washington State information: