Some Seattle museums offer free admission on the first Thursday of every month. On the Free First Thursday of December 1, 2016, a trip to museums in downtown Seattle offers the additional delight of viewing holiday-season decorations in nearby hotels and stores.
The Seattle Art Museum, located in downtown Seattle on First Avenue at University Street, and MOHAI at South Lake Union offer Free First Thursday admission to their regular exhibits. Special exhibits may have an additional charge.
After taking in some “education” (smile) at a museum, take time to stroll through downtown Seattle to enjoy the holiday lights and decorations. One of my favorite things to do in December is to walk through downtown department stores and hotel lobbies to see how they are decorated.
One can’t-miss location is the Fairmont Olympic Hotel on University Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. The hotel stands on the original site of the University of Washington, which is the reason for the name “University Street.”
In addition to the enormous tree in the center of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel lobby, smaller trees were decorated and auctioned for charity, and they are available for viewing until the buyers come to take their tree. The beautiful ornate lobby of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel and the shimmer and shine of the decorations is one of the delights of the holiday season.
Another downtown Seattle hotel, the Sheraton at Sixth & Union Streets, hosts an annual Gingerbread Village. The event is free and is open 24 hours per day. Donations go toward the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Photos and more event info are here.
The Gingerbread Village is designed by local architecture firms and built entirely from gingerbread and candy by the Sheraton Hotel culinary team. The theme this year is “Celebrate the Magic of the Holidays,” portrayals of wizardry and magic with Harry Potter references.
A December stroll along downtown Seattle’s lighted streets, through hotel lobbies and department stores can light up your spirits in the season of darkness. With all we have been through as a nation in the year 2016, we still believe in the light of hope. We believe that the light always does shine through and the darkness cannot overcome it.