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Winter Activities in the PNW

Seattle is rapidly approaching winter, it’s rainy season where residents are confronted with seemingly never-ending rainy weather combined with the shortest days of the year. Paired with a taxing block of school between Winter Break and Presidents Week with limited days off, this time of the year is when Northwest School students and faculty often find themselves cooped up at home, which has a variety of negative health effects that include both physical and emotional wellness. Oftentimes, people say that there is “nothing to do” during these months, but that couldn’t be further from the truth as there are a plethora of wide-ranging experiences if you want to stay in town, or go on a longer trip outside of Seattle. 

When faced with months-long soggy weather, many in our community are faced with a decision of how to spend their free time when outdoor activities are impossible, a decision I call ‘fight or flight’. For members in the Pacific Northwest, flying is the only way to experience warmer weather this time of year, and, for me at least, a great time to visit family members you don’t often see who live across the country and world. Unfortunately, air travel is expensive and only gives you reprieve from the rain and bitter coldness for a short period of time, meaning our community needs to hunker down and ‘fight’ the season through a variety of possible activities. 

Kraken Ice Rink publishinghaus | publishinghaus

As the holidays are rapidly approaching, there are more enjoyable and memorable activities than ever in Seattle and the surrounding area. Just the other day, I took the 15-minute drive to Bellevue and checked out their holiday ice rink, surrounded by skyscrapers, open until January 9th. Additionally, the city is offering a Snowflake Lane parade running nightly at 7pm until Christmas Eve. If you’re interested in skating, or even if you’re not, the Seattle Kraken are offering an even better experience at their practice facility, the Kraken Community Iceplex. If you want to skate where the NHL team practices during the holidays, then you’re in luck as they are offering public skating daily from December 20th to January 2nd.

Bellevue Ice Rink publishinghaus | publishinghaus

If you want to travel a little further out of town for snow and ice, there are multiple ski mountains within a drivable distance opening soon for the winter. You see, as it’s cold and rainy in Seattle, and the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges are getting hit with feet of snow, making it ideal for skiing and snowboarding. Also, this time of year there are many fascinating light shows around the city. Though it would be impossible for me to name all of them, a few weeks ago my family and I visited the WildLanterns display at the Woodland Park Zoo (open until the end of January) which I highly recommend for its elaborate lights as well as it being a great activity to get you into the holiday spirit.  

Crystal Mountain Ski Resort publishinghaus | publishinghaus

While these activities are great for the limited time surrounding the holidays, there are the expansive, dark months of January and February that get overlooked as many of these exhibits get wrapped up in the new year. One activity that I love to do when I’m weary, though I often have to force myself at the beginning, is going on a run. A great thing about the sport is that it’s very accessible, whether you’re on the Cross-Country team, or definitely not on the team and just doing it for fitness, like me. You can run in Seattle year-round and since no one’s watching you, there’s no pressure to go out of your comfort zone. Another enjoyable venture available to Seattle residents is going on a hike. A great advantage of living between two mountain ranges is that, surprisingly, you can hike up said mountains, and while that might sound like a daunting proposition, if you dig deeper into the matter, you’ll find out that there are a great variety of trails in and surrounding the Seattle area. Sure, there are the Mount Rainiers of hikes that yield extraordinary views but require months of preparation, but there are many more trails that immerse the hikers in natural beauty without the time commitments of training beforehand. This Curbed Seattle article lists transit accessible hikes around Seattle, including ones very close to the city center like Discovery and Carkeek Park.

Jackson S. '24 | publishinghaus

If you want to stay inside, Seattle also offers a wide variety of museums located around the city. Located next to the Sea-Tac Airport, the Museum of Flight showcases the history of aviation as well as multiple full-sized aircrafts used throughout history, including the Air Force One that Nixon used in the 1970’s. If you want to view art closer to the city center, popular options include the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit located across the street from the Space Needle that features amazing glass sculptures from the Seattle native, and the modern Museum of Pop Culture dedicated to featuring contemporary pop culture, from cinematic pieces to popular music. 

 Whatever your interests and hobbies are, I hope this article has shown that while the rain may keep you from participating in your favorite activities or sports outside, there are endless possibilities of winter activities both as we approach the holidays, and in the months afterwards. Seattle and surrounding communities have a variety of activities that anyone and everyone can participate in, so if you’re looking for something to do outside of your house, try checking one of these places out!

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