Take a break from the holiday rush when you sit down to one of these magical shows in Seattle that were made for families
The winter holiday season is always a busy time for families. Between school events and days off, parties with friends and family, and experiencing all the city has to offer during the season, it’s a wonder there’s time left to do anything else. There’s one surefire way to slow the pace and take a much-needed break with the fam—head out to see one of our favorite shows in Seattle that will put you in the holiday spirit. From classic Christmas productions like The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol to new shows you’ve never seen and those you can’t wait to see, these Seattle shows have a little something for everyone. So, get out your calendars and starting checking dates, because these productions are here to spread holiday cheer.
Shows in Seattle: Where to see The Nutcracker
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
The Pacific Northwest Ballet is celebrating its 50 season this year. We couldn’t think of a better time to plan a family outing to see George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. The production features the ever-mesmerizing choreography of Balanchine, plus lavish sets and costumes designed by Ian Falconer (yes, that Ian Falconer, creator of Olivia the Pig) that pique the senses. Kids will be awed by the production elements, like a 40-foot-tall Christmas tree and more than 30-cubic-feet of snow that falls on stage during the snow scene in Act One. They’ll be glued to their seats. And oh, the costumes. With more than 154 different costumes to gaze at (including Mother Ginger’s magical skirt that weighs more than 60 pounds) they’ll be dying to play dress-up when they get home.
This full-length show is best suited for school-aged kids, but theatergoers of all ages will be riveted during the two-hour performance (including a 25-minute intermission) as they bask in the care and craftsmanship of this delightful event. If you want to avoid lobby lines during the brief intermission, consider reserving a Nutcracker Suite for your family ($40). It includes Nutcracker-inspired hot and cold snacks, desserts, and drinks to fill hungry tummies mid-show.
Good to Know: There is a sensory-friendly performance of the Nutcracker scheduled for Dec. 20 at 2 p.m.
Dates: Nov. 25-Dec. 27, 2022
Digital access: Dec. 19-27, 2022
321 Mercer St.
ARC Nutcracker Sweets
If you’re not quite sure your kids are up to seeing the larger-than-life performance at PNB, grab tickets to ARC Dance’s Nutcracker Sweets. With a run time of just 90 minutes, this family favorite is lovingly referred to as “the fastest Nutcracker in the West.” Specifically designed for younger audiences it’s a perfect starter Nutcracker (a.k.a. gateway show). The fact the Sweets showcases some of ARC’s student dancers alongside members of their professional company is an inspirational bonus for kids in the audience. In other words—don’t be surprised if this show has your Little asking for lessons afterward.
Good to Know: Families can enjoy this performance in Seattle or Shoreline.
Dates: Dec. 9-11 & 17, 2022
Shorewood Performing Arts Center
17300 Fremont Ave. N.
Fantastic Productions of A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
Now in its 47th year, ACT’s beloved production of A Christmas Carol is a local favorite for families. It’s the story everyone knows about the original grumpy old man himself, Ebeneezer Scrooge, and his remarkable transformation from heartless villain to redeemed savior. It’s a story of hope that most of us can relate to, even if we’re not visited by ghosts from our past, present, and future like Scrooge. But if there’s one thing parents and kids can relate to it’s that “bah, humbug” feeling eventually being replaced by a feeling of contentment and joy once we take stock of the gifts in our lives. Gorgeous costumes and music make this production a truly magical one for families. The show run time is 90 minutes with no intermission, and it has matinee productions that work well when theater-going with kids.
Good to Know: Kids ages 5 and up are invited to enjoy this family-friendly production. Younger children are not permitted.
Ages: 5 & up
Dates: Nov. 25-Dec. 24, 2022
700 Union St.
Other shows in Seattle to see this winter
Paddington Saves Christmas
Even the tiniest theater lovers will be able to enjoy this holiday show, starring their favorite clumsy Bear, Paddington. With his telltale red hat and blue coat, they’ll fall for Paddington’s innocent antics as he works to save Christmas from being a total disaster. It all starts out simply enough—with Paddington and Mrs. Bird making the holiday marmalade (for Paddington’s sandwiches, of course). But oops!—they’ve run out of sugar. A trip to borrow some from grumpy neighbor, Mr. Curry, turns into more than Paddington bargained for when he agrees to help out with household chores in exchange. Things sort of snowball from there, leaving poor Paddington to fix it all before December 25. The show runs for 70 minutes with no intermission.
Good to Know: There is a sensory-friendly performance scheduled for Dec. 11 at 11 a.m.
Ages: 3 & up
Dates: Nov. 15-Dec. 31, 2022
201 Thomas St.
Winter Shows with Seattle Symphony
Benaroya Hall is where you’ll find not one, not two, but three family-friendly shows your kids will want to see this winter. It all kicks off
200 University St.
Ease on down the road with the 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of The Wiz, starring Kataka Corn as Dorothy. This isn’t the Wizard of Oz of your youth (or maybe it is if you grew up watching the ‘70s movie starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson or the recent Live! version). It’s a reimagining of the classic that “celebrates and centers Black joy.” And from the minute you sit down to this production, let’s just say you’re not in Kansas anymore. The traditional score is replaced with soulful R&B and gospel-inspired songs, and Dorothy and Toto are on their way to see the Wiz, not the Wizard. The Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow are all along for the trip down the Yellow Brick Road. And you can still count on the two witches battling it out, as Dorothy and her entourage make their way to the Emerald City, hoping The Wiz can return school teacher Dorothy home.
Ages: 4 & up
Dates: Nov. 20-Dec. 23, 202
5th Avenue Theatre
1308 5th Ave.