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3 Reasons to see Ivar’s Clam Lights

3 Reasons to See Ivar’s Clam Lights

Renton, WA

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One of my favorite things to do, since I was little, is to go out and look at holiday lights. Growing up, every year we’d go to the Keizer, OR, Miracle of Christmas Neighborhood light show. You would bring a donation of food and drive through the neighborhood. Now that I am a mom, my son seems to be just like me. He loves looking at all the lights and seems completely mesmerized by their sparkle.

Prior to this year, I hadn’t heard of the Ivar’s Clam Lights. However, we moved around 6 months ago and our new home isn’t that far from the display.

Here are the top 3 reasons you should make it a holiday tradition.

Reason 1: They’re Free

The Clam Lights are 100% free. No donation, no entry free…just free free. With thousands of lights, you can walk the roughly one-mile loop that is professional decorated. Not only that, but parking is free too! There aren’t a lot of spaces, but the turnover is pretty quick. I was really impressed with how detailed the display was. The night before we went to another light display and for the money (again free!) this display was incredible. We had the benefit of having a clear night, which added to the charm. Across Lake Washington, you could see Mercer Island and enjoy their twinkling lights in the distance.

Reason 2: Local Restaurants on Site

Ivar’s Clam Lights are located at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park. At the entrance to the light display, you can enjoy dinner at Ivar’s (and?) or Kid Valley. Both are local favorites. I guess this is where you’d say that the clam lights aren’t free, but we didn’t indulge in hamburgers or famous clam chowder.

A couple of blocks away is Renton Landing, where you can find places like Red Robin (a Seattle original, by the way.) It’s an outdoor shopping mall, so if you need some time to kill it’s a great place to go. It’s also cutely decorated for the holidays.

Reason 3: The 1-mile Loop Boardwalk

The uniqueness that are the clam lights is that the one-mile loops jets out into Lake Washington. It’s beautiful. As I mentioned above, you can look out across the lake at Mercer Island, but looking back at the clam lights on land is absolutely stunning. The boardwalk is also strung with lights and you can see where, during the summer, you could picnic or take your Ivar’s./Kid Valley meal to go and eat in the warm sun.

Being on the water does require warm clothes. I would recommend bringing a jacket, hat and mittens. My son kept taking his off so he could ‘touch’ the lights, but we’d quickly but them back on his cold fingers. As for a stroller, I wouldn’t recommend bringing one. However, for tiny babies, it’s probably a good idea to bring a carrier, even if to just keep them warm.

Looking back at the Ivar’s Clam Lights from the boardwalk.





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