In a year of a whole lot of darkness, it makes sense that we would gravitate toward any sort of light, even if that means driving through a parking garage for it.

Starlight Lane is a holiday event at the Lumen Field (formerly CenturyLink Field) garage, with lights and lasers synchronized to music. It’s billed as “a rockin’ holiday drive-through experience.” Could it live up to the hype?

When we first entered the garage, we felt excited for what was to come, but also a little nervous about whether or not this would be worth it. An attendant scanned our ticket and told us to turn our radios to 90.5 FM. There are no concessions at the event and if you want to roll down your window for any reason, you have to wear a mask.

One of the first decorations you’ll see is concrete pillars adorned with wrapping paper and bows. If you’re thinking, “that sounds like a strange, wrinkly mess,” you’d be correct. In the words of my partner, it was “an idea.”

To be fair, I can imagine it’s pretty difficult to make a parking garage look, well, not like a parking garage. Our spirits lifted a little as we continued through and saw some lovely lit-up trees and reindeer sculptures. We really perked up when we saw an actual human dressed (and masked) up as Santa waving at us. It was a nice touch, as opposed to an animatronic or inflatable option.

Santa waves hello during a drive through Starlight Lane, a lighting and laser display synchronized to music at the Lumen Field garage. (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)
Santa waves hello during a drive through Starlight Lane, a lighting and laser display synchronized to music at the Lumen Field garage. (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)
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After we passed Santa, there was a fun section full of disco balls that really made me miss going dancing. The music, a playlist of Christmas pop songs, definitely added to the experience in a positive way, but there were times when it got staticky, dampening the mood. It was exciting, though, when we could see the light colors and movements change in time with the music.

Disco balls add some glitz to Starlight Lane in the Lumen Field garage.  (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)
Disco balls add some glitz to Starlight Lane in the Lumen Field garage. (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

At the end of the first floor we were worried it was over, because that alone would have been extremely disappointing, but thankfully there was another round. This was the best part for us. Here, laser light animations of different holiday images — a dancing Santa, drumming reindeer, people making a snowman — were projected on the walls. They synced up quite well with the music and we found ourselves dancing along and laughing.

At the end, guests can stop to hand off a toy donation for Seattle-based nonprofit Toys For Kids. We didn’t have a donation, but we stopped because someone was handing paper bags to drivers. The bags were full of candy — a nice touch.

Overall, Starlight Lane is a good way to get out of the house and safely entertain your kids for 20-25 minutes, but I’d save the $40 and drive around to see lights in neighborhoods for free instead.

Starlight Lane

Tickets available (as of this writing) for Dec. 21-23, 26, 30-31, Jan. 1-3 — times vary; $40/vehicle; Lumen Field Event Center Garage, 800 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle; starlightlanesea.com