Family friendly events to festively celebrate the season, with twinkling holiday lights galore

click to enlarge Come for Coeur d'Alene's tree lighting — stay for the fireworks! - COEUR D'ALENE RESORT PHOTO
Coeur d'Alene Resort photo
Come for Coeur d'Alene's tree lighting — stay for the fireworks!

NOV. 29: COEUR D'ALENE LIGHTING CEREMONY PARADE

Mark the start of another holiday season with one of the region's biggest traditions, a holiday lighting ceremony and parade through downtown scenic Coeur d'Alene. This year marks the 29th annual parade, complete with floats, marching bands, music and dancing down Sherman Avenue to the Coeur d'Alene Resort. There, crowds gather for an official countdown to switch on the twinkling lights for the season, followed by a fireworks show. Options to view the holiday lights abound in the following month, including aboard a cruise boat on the lake during daily excursions. Find ticket prices, times and more details for those activities at cdaresort.com. Downtown Coeur d'Alene, free, 5 pm, cdadowntown.com (CHEY SCOTT)

THROUGH DEC. 23: SANTA EXPRESS

The holidays are an excellent time to stress the importance of gift giving and charity, and there are few better ways to impress that upon young ones than with Santa Express. Through Dec. 23, shoppers from ages 4-12 are welcome to come browse (with the assistance of an "elf") for inexpensive gifts for everyone on their nice list. Best of all, the proceeds support the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery which helps local kids in need. Parents can also shop at the Santa Express Boutique (this year located in the old Runner's Soul space in downtown Spokane) while they wait, but there's a strict no-peeking policy for gifts, so be warned. 221 N. Wall, open Mon-Fri 11 am-8 pm, Sat 10 am-8 pm, Sun 11 am-6 pm, santaexpress.org (CONNOR GILBERT)

THROUGH JAN. 1: WINTER GLOW SPECTACULAR

You might not enjoy setting up Christmas lights, but they're definitely great to look at. Winter Glow cuts out the hard part and gives you the best of both worlds. The 40-day celebration of all that is the holidays, complete with an abundance of bulbs, is coming into its sixth year in existence. This year the festivities are moving to Liberty Lake's Orchard Park for the first time. Walk or drive through dozens of light displays with animations and music that will keep the whole family entertained for the wonderful price of free. Liberty Lake's Orchard Park, free, spokanewinterglow.org (CG)

NOV. 29-JAN. 5: FESTIVE FUN IN DOWNTOWN SPOKANE

Between holiday shopping and other festive activities, take time to explore some of the seasonal sights and sounds spread throughout downtown Spokane. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, old-fashioned carriage rides are offered Friday through Sunday, creating an opportunity to slow down, sit back and enjoy the city's urban winter scenery. Rides depart from 221 N. Wall St. through Christmas Eve.

The next day, on Nov. 30, holiday window displays from the old Crescent department store are unveiled at the Davenport Grand Hotel, viewable on the building's Main Avenue side. Marvel at the cute woodland creatures, Nutcracker ballet dancers and other magical scenes. That evening, also on Nov. 30, and starting at 4 pm, Riverfront Park hosts a tree lighting celebration at the skate ribbon and main entrance to the park from Spokane Falls Boulevard. Leading up to the lighting of the park's iconic 60-foot spruce at 6:25 pm, families can enjoy performances by community groups, crafts and other activities. Downtown Spokane, free, times vary, details at downtownspokane.org (CS)

click to enlarge The best time to visit the Gaiser Conservatory, in our opinion, is around 4 pm.
The best time to visit the Gaiser Conservatory, in our opinion, is around 4 pm.

DEC. 13-22: GAISER CONSERVATORY HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Head up the South Hill to ooh and ahh at thousands of twinkling lights covering every leaf and branch of the warm weather plants inside Manito Park's balmy Gaiser Conservatory. For around two decades now, the Friends of Manito have hosted this magical holiday display, a favorite local tradition for all ages. While the conservatory is open at 8 am daily, the lights don't go on until noon after the plants are watered. The best time for viewing is around 4 pm when the sun sinks below the horizon, thus the greenhouse is open until 7:30 pm during the lights' 10-day display period. Don't forget a camera, and make sure to bundle up as there's usually a line to enter on peak nights. Manito Park, donations accepted, daily from 12-7:30 pm, thefriendsofmanito.org (CS)

DEC. 14-29: CAMPBELL HOUSE HOLIDAYS

Explore what it was like to celebrate Christmas, circa 1914, while visiting one of Spokane's grandest historic landmarks: the Campbell House. For 12 days this holiday season, the Kirtland Cutter-designed mansion on the MAC's campus is transformed into an early 20th century wonderland, complete with era-appropriate decor and a grand Christmas tree. Guests can explore the home at their own pace and observe local actors portraying various members of the household, including the family's cook and chauffeur. After your festive visit, head back over to the museum to explore the ongoing Norman Rockwell's America exhibit, which also highlights traditional American holiday celebrations over the years. Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, $7-$12, Dec. 14-15, 17-22 and 26-29 from 12-4 pm, northwestmuseum.org (CS)

DEC. 31: NEW YEAR'S EVE: BEETHOVEN'S NINTH

Join millions of revelers around the world also welcoming in the fresh beginnings of the New Year with a performance of Beethoven's triumphant Ninth Symphony. Most know this work — the composer's final complete symphony and one of the most performed symphonic works in the world — for its famous fourth movement, "Ode to Joy." The Symphony, under the direction of resident conductor Morihiko Nakahara, performs the complete work alongside guest vocalists and the Spokane Symphony Chorale during this annual culmination of the season. Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, $14-$65, 7:30 pm, spokanesymphony.org (CS) ♦

Re*Imagine Christmas Winter Festival @ Medical Lake

Sat., Dec. 14, 1-5 p.m.
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About The Authors

Chey Scott

Chey Scott is the Inlander's food and listings editor. She compiles the weekly events calendar for the print and online editions of the Inlander, manages and edits the food section, and also writes about local arts and culture. Chey (pronounced Shay) is a lifelong Spokanite and a graduate of Washington State University...