Few things put the happy in ‘Happy Holidays’ like small-town charm. From tree lightings and artisan fairs to holidays concerts and festivals, Christmas in the San Juan Islands abounds with things to do. These are some of our favorites.
Christmas in the San Juan Islands
November 18 – January 6: Holiday Art Show at WaterWorks Gallery (San Juan Island)
Located in quaint Friday Harbor, WaterWorks Gallery is a contemporary light-filled space. The gallery features artists from the San Juan Islands and throughout Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia.
During the 2017 holiday season, this local boutique is featuring a special show of unique gifts perfect for friends and loved one. The selection includes jewelry, ornaments, paintings, and sculptures.
November 24: Village Gathering & Holiday Lighting (Lopez Island)
Once the turkey’s been eaten and the leftovers stored, Lopez islanders gather to celebrate the start of Christmas. This annual event features a torch light parade, caroling, and the lighting of lights at Lopez Village. Food is provided by local businesses and warm clothing is strongly recommended.
November 24 – November 25: Olga Symphony, More or Less (Orcas Island)
For nearly 20 years, the Olga Symphony has celebrated the season with a musical extravaganza. This year’s performances will feature the guitar, fiddle, bass, banjo, mandolin, saw, and of course – vocals.
November 24 – November 25: San Juan Island Artisan Holiday Marketplace (San Juan Island)
For the 39th year, the best artists from San Juan Island will gather at the Friday Harbor Elementary School to share their work. Selections range from soaps, lotions, and island-made food to jewelry, paintings, and clothes.
Local caterer Paella will be providing snacks. And, proceeds will benefit the Island Artisans Scholarship Fund.
November 25: Holiday Festival of Arts (Orcas Island)
Held at the Orcas Senior Center, the Holiday Arts Festival on Orcas Island features hand-crafted works from artists throughout the region.
November 25: Holiday Bazaar (Lopez Island)
From gift shopping to live music, the 38th annual Lopez Pre-School Holiday Bazaar is holiday festivities are its best. 70 vendors are planning to attend. A special children’s corner will be set up with crafts and games. Raffle prizes will be distributed throughout the day. And, a bake sale will feature a variety of tasty treats!
December 1: Island Lights Festival (San Juan Island)
This magical Friday Harbor holiday celebration has become a favorite for those near and far. It features Santa pictures at Brickworks, crafts at the Whale Museum, and hot chocolate at the Riptide Café. Plus, there will be caroling, treats, and – of course – the tree lighting!
December 1: Eastsound Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting (Orcas Island)
Orcas Island locals and visitors will kick off the holidays with a healthy dose of small-town fun at the Eastsound Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in attendance. Live music will be playing. Hot cider and cookies will be served. And of course, the tree will be lit!
December 1 – December 3: Friday Harbor Winterfest 2017 (San Juan Island)
Step back in time. Experience a magical European-style Christmas at the Friday Harbor Winterfest. Held at Brickworks, you’ll have the chance to savor homemade soup, homemade mac and cheese, and freshly baked bread. Activities will be available for the little ones. Life holiday music will abound. A spirits garden will be open. And, local artisans will be showing off their wares.
December 1 – December 31: Rosario Resort 7th Annual Festival of Trees (Orcas Island)
Visiting the San Juan Islands in December? This is a can’t miss event. The old-world elegance of Moran Mansion will once again welcome the festive charm of Christmas Trees during Orcas Island’s annual Festival of Trees. Seven local non-profits will decorate a tree. For just a $1 per ticket, visitors will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite tree. Proceeds will benefit participating organizations.
While you can visit and vote throughout the month of December, a special Open House will be held December 8 through December 10, featuring complimentary hot apple cider and cookies.
December 2: Orcas Library Holiday Silver Tea (Orcas Island)
For the last 55 years, the annual Holiday Silver Tea has been a beloved tradition for Orcas Island residents and visitors alike. Held at the Orcas Island Public Library, this festive event features cookies, sandwiches, local music talent, and tea! Santa and Mrs. Claus will be stopping by to say hello. And, of course, your favorite librarians will also be in attendance.
December 2 – December 3: Artisan Fair at Odd Fellows Hall (Orcas Island)
Featuring 40 local vendors, this annual artisan fair offers a celebratory opportunity to shop for holiday gifts. Featuring 40 local vendors from throughout the San Juan Islands, you’ll find a wide range of carefully crafted items including: jewelry, clothing, body care products, ceramic and textile products, gourmet baked and much more. A special lunch will be provided at the Odd Fellows restaurant, located downstairs.
December 2 – December 3: Lopez Islander Resort Annual Holiday Craft Fair (Lopez Island)
Local Craft Vendors will gather to show off their artistic talents at this fun annual holiday craft fair. Come join in the Holiday spirit and accomplish your Holiday shopping.
December 13 – December 17: A Christmas Carol (Orcas Island)
We all have the power to become kinder, wiser, and more generous. That’s the powerful message of A Christmas Carol. The inspiring performances will feature uplifting music, the story of Scrooge, and lots of laughs.
December 16 – December 17: Nutcracker (San Juan Island)
It wouldn’t be Christmas without the Nutcracker. Presented by the Salish Sea Ballet, this world-famous holiday classic will delight those of all ages. Showcasing an original ballet choreography, the performance has been designed to celebrate San Juan Island’s culture while staying true to the Nutcracker’s classical roots.
December 20: The Nutcracker (Orcas Island)
As the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve, Marie’s wooden nutcracker on Orcas Island transforms into a prince. This Christmas classic ballet is a timeless story filled with enchantment and magic – featuring lively music and inspiring choreography.
December 19 – December 20: The Seven Joys of Christmas (San Juan Island)
Winter songs and holiday carols will abound as the San Juan Island Community chorus celebrates Christmas. Held at the San Juan Community Theater, anthems and poems will also be performed.
Discover More Fun Things to do in the San Juan Islands
If you’re San Juan bound, don’t miss your chance to snap a selfie by these epic lookouts, historic sites, and cute creatures!
With its craftsman style exterior and 1,972 pipe organ, Rosario Resort has often been praised for its old-world elegance. But since 2016, Raymond Southern took over the kitchen and the buzz surrounding this historic site has been a bit more edible.
Can’t you just imagine Rory and Lorelai relishing the quaint island getaway the is Friday Harbor? The Gilmore Girls would indeed nibbling (or gobble) their way through it.