11 Ways to Get Out There for the Holidays

The holidays shouldn’t be for hibernating. Instead, get out and celebrate the season. Whether you’re seeking nostalgic wonder, fun adventure, or a little bit of holiday magic, there’s something special to suit you. 

Jingle Bell 5K Run: Dress up in festive, colorful attire for this fun-run or walk on Dec. 7 at Spokane’s Riverfront Park to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation.  

Festivals & Tree Lightings: Regional events include Parade of Lights in Missoula (Dec. 7); Wallace Retro Christmas festival (Dec. 7-8 & 14-15); Holiday Fest & Tree Lighting in Pullman (Dec. 7), which includes a YMCA Kid’s Jingle Bell Fun Run; and the epic Christmas Lighting Festival in Leavenworth (Dec. 6-8, 13-15, & 20-22). 

Leavenworth // Photo by Brian Munoz, courtesy Leavenworth Tourism

Holiday Lights: Destinations include Manito Park’s Gaiser Conservatory  in Spokane, open Dec. 7-31 (extended dates this year); Luminaria Walk at Yakima Area Arboretum (Dec. 9-10); and Lighted Boat Parade along the Columbia River between Kennewick and Richland (Dec. 6 and 7). 

DIY moonlit fat bike, snowshoe, or cross-country ski adventure. The Cold Full Moon is December 12—also referred to as the “frost” or “long nights moon” according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.  

Fatbiking Pearrygin Lake State Park // Photo courtesy Methow Fatbike

Christmas Tree Hunt: Cut down your own tree at a Christmas tree farm or make the hunt a National Forest backcountry adventure. Purchase a tree-cutting permit from your local U.S. Forest Service ranger office and follow regulations to harvest your own rustic fir tree. More info at fs.fed.us. (Can also harvest trees on BLM land.)

Ice Skating & Yoga at Riverfront Park: Riverfront Park Skate Ribbon is open daily, with free ice-skating lessons every Sunday, 11 a.m.-noon, and there are free yoga classes at the Pavilion on Tuesday evenings.   

Photo courtesy Riverfront Park

Cross-country ski and fat bike in the city: When there is enough snow in Spokane and many other Inland NW towns, groomed trails may be available at select locations. In Spokane, that includes Indian Canyon Golf Course (ski only), Riverside State Park (ski and fat bike), and Dwight Merkel Park (ski and fat bike). All are free to use, except the state park requires a Discover Pass. More details at the City of Spokane website

Night Skiing/Snowboarding: Starting Friday, Dec. 20, Mt. Spokane’s alpine area remains opens for night skiing until 9:00 p.m. (earlier time this year), recurring Wednesdays-Saturdays through mid-March. (Note: Previous years night skiing ended at 9:30 p.m.) Sunsets and summit views of area city lights are spectacular. Other regional resorts also offer night skiing. 

Mt. Spokane // Photo by Amy McCaffree

Dress-up like Santa and ski/snowboard for free: On Dec. 21, Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park will host an all-day Holiday Party, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., as well as a Jingle Rails terrain park event. Anyone who dresses in a full Santa outfit receives a free lift ticket that day. Lookout Pass hosts its Santa dress-up and ski-free day on Dec. 22. 

Photo courtesy Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Area

Ski/Ride with Santa: On Dec. 23, Santa Claus will visit Schweitzer Mountain Resort to ski and ride with kids. Then on Dec. 24 he’ll fly to Lookout Pass, and also make time to visit Schweitzer on Christmas Eve for the annual kids’ balloon parade.   

Santa on the bunny hill // Photo courtesy Schweitzer Mountain Resort

New Year’s Eve Festivities: Watch (or ski in) the Torchlight Parade at Lookout Pass. Fun begins at 5 p.m. (see participation requirements online). Spokane’s Riverfront Park hosts a New Year’s Pavilion Party from 8 p.m.-midnight.

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