If traveling is in your winter or holiday plans, check out these events, activities, and programs around the region.

  • Polar Express: Santa magic and “hot-hot-hot hot chocolate” only comes once a year—experience it live aboard a Polar Express train ride courtesy of Mount Rainier Railroad, Mount Hood Railroad, or Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum. There’s also a Santa Train from the Northwest Railway Museum that departs from North Bend. If traveling to Portland, check out the Holiday Express.
  • Toy Train Christmas: At the Northern Pacific Railway Museum in Toppenish, Wash., families enjoy a caboose ride to see Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with more than 40 toy train sets and hands-on kids’ area.
  • Ski Idaho: With 18 ski mountains throughout Idaho State—from small ones like Bald Mountain and Cottonwood Butte, to large resorts, close to Boise, like Sun Valley and Tamarack—it might be hard to decide which to visit. And of course, Schweitzer, Silver, and Lookout Pass are close to home. The Ski Idaho association offers a Peak Season Passport for fifth and sixth graders, which provides three days of skiing at all 18 resorts for only $18.
  • Okanogan Valley: Holiday Tree Lighting & Santa Days in Conconully (Dec. 1); Christmas on Main in Omak (Dec. 8). Includes Jingle Bell Jog, Santa visit, Twilight Christmas Parade, and fireworks.
  • Yakima Valley: Lighted Farm Implement Parade in Sunnyside (Dec. 1), featuring all things tractor-related. In the city of Yakima, there’s a Christmas Lights Parade (Dec. 2); Santa Claus Trolley Rides and Luminaria at the local arboretum (Dec. 8-9); Old Town Christmas Parade in Union Gap (Dec. 9); Lighted Parade in Moxee (Dec. 15).
  • Kennewick: Christmas Lighted Boat Parade (Nov. 30-Dec. 1) on the Columbia River; Merry Little Christmas Village (Dec. 15) in historic downtown.
  • Western Montana: Take your pick of holiday celebrations on Dec. 7, hosted by both larger cities and small historic towns. Events include Whitefish Christmas Stroll, with a Tree Lighting Ceremony, kid events in Depot Park, carnival floats, and fire dancers; Kalispell Art Walk and Holiday Stroll; and Stevensville Country Christmas.
  • SE British Columbia: Kaslo Christmas Light Up Celebration (Dec. 1.) //