Many Seattle-area neighborhoods go all out for the holidays, but there’s none more adorably decorated than the row of 1920s-era Tudors lining Candy Cane Lane. With lights, music and moving objects, this sweet neighborhood has been a Seattle holiday institution for more than six decades. Whether you’re looking to take a trip down memory lane or want to start your own family tradition, grab your little elves and hit this decked out ‘hood. Read on!
photo: Kylie Kirkland
Set Your GPS
A Seattle institution since 1949, Candy Cane Lane (otherwise known as N.E. Park Rd., just off the main drag of Ravenna Blvd. at the cross street of 21st Ave. N.E. just north of University Village) is actually a curved row of 23 adorably decorated houses so sweet they look like you could have plucked them right off a gingerbread house display.
Expect to See
Sleighs, reindeer, blow up candy canes, mechanical decorations ‘round the traffic circle and traffic back-ups. Decorations usually share a theme (past events have centered on holiday classics such as the Nutcracker) and now there’s a multi-cultural approach with the charming “peace” ornamentation. In years past a real, live Santa has been known to make surprise appearances, passing out candy canes, of course!
photo: Melinda Wong
Where to Eat
The mecca of University Village offers aplenty, and it’s just five minutes away from Candy Cane Lane, so make an evening of it and head to the kid-friendly Veggie Grill or Delfino’s Chicago Style Pizza for a quick bite, followed by treats at Trophy Cupcakes & Party, Molly Moon’s Ice Cream or The Confectionary. Maybe take care of a ‘lil holiday shopping while you’re at it? Also nearby: Kidd Valley Burgers (can you say, milkshakes!) and if all else fails, there’s a drive-thru McDonald’s on 25th.
Where to Park
Technically, you don’t need to park at all. Candy Cane Lane is a drive by thing, with cars idling and inching along slowly as passengers snap pictures through fogged-up windows. Yet, if you want to fully experience the music, lights, mechanical decorations (the rain and the wind), park on a side street, bundle up and get out of the car. Ravenna Park, just a half block away, has about a dozen parking spots, or you can snag parking on a nearby side street. Psst! Buy the kiddies a cup of hot cocoa across the street at Seven Market & Cafe to make your evening stroll even more enjoyable.
photo: Marie B. via yelp
When to Go
The Christmas Ship and Parade of Boats is always a fun outing. Check the 2021 schedule and find out when the ship parade will stop by Matthews Beach, Magnuson Park or Madison Park, all within a few miles of Candy Cane Lane. Or go after a movie. Or when the relatives come into town. Or any rainy evening when the kids are acting up and need to be reminded of who’s on the lookout for those who have been naughty and who has been oh-so-nice.
The word on the lane is not to go before December 10. The neighbor elves are busy setting up everything for you in the meantime.
photo: Marie B. via yelp
Nada. It’s free! However, a canned food drive donation station usually sits at the end of the route and viewers can also leave donations at the nearby Seven Market & Cafe (2007 N.E. Ravenna Blvd).
Dates & Times
The houses are usually ready to go mid-December, but things are still a bit up in the air for 2021. Wander through between dusk and around 10 p.m. until the New Year.
photo: Mojdeh S. via yelp
— Kristina Moy & Allison Ellis
Read more: tinybeans.com