Looking to escape the city life and unwind at the coast during these cooler months? Seaside isn’t just a summer destination, which you can tell by the variety of family-friendly Yuletide events the city offers each holiday season.

At 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving Friday, Nov. 24, Seaside’s annual Parade of Lights and the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree will officially launch the 2017 holiday season. Starting on Necanicum Drive at 1st Avenue, the parade will head over to Broadway for the musical tree of dancing lights in the Carousel Mall. The tree-lighting will occur at the downtown Pocket Park on Broadway, just west of Carousel Mall. There will also be singing of Christmas carols and a cameo by Santa Claus himself (and his elves!), replete with cookies, candy canes, and hot cocoa or cider.

Also starting Nov. 24 and lasting through Nov. 26 is the Artisan Gift Fair, a 40-year tradition set in a festive ambiance at the Civic and Convention Center. It will feature original and handmade items from many vendors, plus a costume contest and Christmas booth displays. You can visit with Santa all three days.

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. each Saturday between Nov. 25 and Dec. 16, the Seaside Museum and Historical Society will host Gingerbread Tea at the historic Butterfield Cottage ($5 per person; $3 for 12 and under), transformed into a Christmas cottage for the festive occasion. Along with hot drinks and fresh gingerbread treats, there will be live music and weekly raffles (prizes to be awarded Dec. 17).

The First Saturday Art Walk, free and open to the public, is set for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 2 between Holladay Drive and Broadway in Seaside’s historic Gilbert District. Sample tasty appetizers, sip wine and meet the artists. There will also be live music.

Story by Michael H. Kew

Photo by Don Frank / Visit Seaside