By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
Gingerbread villages. Model trains. Carousel rides.
Big bands. Youth choirs.
Ice skating. Ice sculpting.
Seattle’s Best Damn Happy Hour. Seattle’s best holiday photo contest.
Wow! There are so many reasons to visit Seattle in December.
Enter the ginormous snow globe, SnowGlobe Live!
“It’s a new attraction. We were looking for a fun element to add at Westlake Park,” said James Sido, spokesman for Downtown Seattle Association/Metropolitan Improvement District.
“The carousel brings people in by the thousands. We wanted to give them something else to do as well.”
Six people at a time can fit inside the 15-foot inflatable globe. There’s fake snow on the ground inside that kids can throw. The globe has a downtown Seattle backdrop, perfect for snapping holiday photos.
At Seattle Center’s Winterfest, visitors can take a turn controlling the model train through the snowy land of garlanded homes and buildings.
Talk about eye candy. The Gingerbread Village in the Sheraton Seattle Hotel lobby is made from about 1,200 pounds of dough, 800 pounds of icing, 200 pounds of white chocolate, 250 pounds of almond paste and hundreds of pounds of candy.
Kids get hands-on learning about other cultures at Seattle Children’s Museum.
Want to know how the culinary pros do it? Pike Place Market is offering free cooking demonstrations. In this season of giving, visitors also get an hour of free parking at the market.
Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St.
Winter Train &Village: A model train runs through an old-fashioned little village. Admission: $2.
Student Showcases: youth performance groups, through Dec. 31, Seattle Center Armory. Free.
Coca-Cola Winter Wish Wall: Share your wishes on the interactive winter wall, through Dec. 31, Seattle Center Armory. It’s free.
Winterfest Ice Rink: Skating daily through Jan. 5. Admission is $2 to $7, including skate rental. Closed Dec. 25.
Festivals of Light, Seattle Children’s Museum, 305 Harrison St., Seattle: Children explore the food, decorations, games, activities and the music of various cultures as they step into a holiday “household.”
Each week, the kid-sized dwelling space of a family changes to celebrate a new festival.
The festival continues through Jan. 5. Admission is $7 to $8.25 and free for age 1 and younger. For more information, go to www.thechildrensmuseum.org.
Seattle’s Best Damn Happy Hour, Armory/Center House main floor: Food, music, prizes, trivia, board games, giant Jenga and old school video games on tap from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 19, and the third Thursday of every month. No cover charge.
For more information, go to www. seattlecenter.com.
400 Pine St., Seattle
Carousel: Take a spin on the holiday carousel at Westlake Park, Fourth and Pine streets. Donations support Downtown Seattle Association and Treehouse, a nonprofit agency for foster kids (www.treehouseforkids.org).
SnowGlobe Live!: Hop in and snap your photos. Free with a $3 carousel donation. Give $1 for the snow globe only.
Ride the monorail to the Seattle Center and the Space Needle: For more information, go to www.westlakecenter.com.
Pike Place Market
85 Pike St., Seattle
Cooking demonstrations: Chefs from Sur la Table, DeLaurenti, Le Pichet, Andaluca and others do demos at Atrium Kitchen in the Economy Building from noon to 1 p.m. weekdays through Dec. 20.
One hour of free parking from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Public Market Parking Garage, 1531 Western Ave., through Dec. 24.
For more information: www.pikeplacemarket.org.
Santaland: Macy’s, 1601 Third Ave., has decorations galore and photos with St. Nick through Dec. 24. For more information, go to http://bit.ly/u0CtUQ.
Let it snow: Musical entertainment and Dickens-inspired activities for kids waiting to see Santa Claus. Snow flurries at 6 nightly at Pacific Place, 600 Pine St.
Admission is free. For more information, go to www.pacific placeseattle.com.
Gingerbread Village: The culinary staff of the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, 1400 Sixth Ave., teams up with architects and designers to bake and build elaborate gingerbread displays in the hotel lobby. The storybook creations reflect this year’s theme of “Nursery Rhymes,” with classics including “Humpty Dumpty,” “Old Woman in the Shoe” and “London Bridge is Falling Down.” Benefits the Northwest Chapter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (www.northwest.jdrf.org).
The displays continues through Jan. 1. Admission is free. For more information, go to www.gingerbreadvillage.myevent.com.
Holiday GooseChase: It’s a scavenger hunt for the best holiday photos from mobile phones.
Download the free GooseChase mobile app using the search term “Holidays in Seattle.” Select a task, snap a photo and click “Submit Evidence.”
Photos are automatically added to the activity feed so all participants can track their progress and keep an eye on the competition.
The contest is on from 10 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 14 and again on Dec. 15.
For more information about the contest or other events in Seattle, go to www. holidaysinseattle.com.
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; email@example.com.