The Christmas ballet was first performed outside Russia in England in 1934. Its first United States performance was in 1944 by the San Francisco Ballet, staged by its artistic director and Balanchine student Willam Christensen. The New York City Ballet first performed George Balanchine’s Nutcracker in 1954 but the holiday ballet did not begin to achieve its great popularity until after the George Balanchine staging became a hit in New York City. The now well known Christmas story has been published in many book versions including colorful children-friendly ones. The plot revolves around a German girl named Clara Stahlbaum and her coming-of-age one Christmas holiday. In Hoffmann’s tale, the girl’s name is Marie or Maria, while Clara – or “Klärchen” – is the name of one of her dolls. In the Great Russian Nutcracker, she is affectionately called Masha.


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For many young children, attending George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® is a wonderful introduction to the world of ballet: the dazzling costumes, colorful sets, enchanting music, and of course breathtaking choreography and dancing. The Nutcracker is central to many families’ holiday traditions, and continues to inspire the next generation of dancers.

However, how do you prepare a 5-year-old to sit through a two-hour live ballet performance? As Pacific Northwest Ballet rehearses for its performances of The Nutcracker this winter, read up on our expert tips to make sure your visit to McCaw Hall with your children is as exciting and magical as possible.

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

Here you will find information to enhance your visit to McCaw Hall and PNB performance. If you have further questions, please contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424.

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

  • About McCaw Hall: McCaw Hall history and detailed facts about the venue spaces, services, and accommodations.
  • McCaw Hall Guidelines & Etiquette: Information on booster seats, binoculars, and other resources, as well as guidelines for etiquette and courtesy while attending PNB performances.
  • McCaw Hall Box Office: Location and hours for the day-of-show box office at McCaw Hall.
  • Amusements Gift Shop: Located at McCaw Hall, a visit to the Amusements gift shop makes any trip to PNB complete.
  • Accessibility: McCaw Hall is fully ADA accessible.

getting there

Getting Here

  • McCaw Hall is located at 321 Mercer Street, Seattle, WA 98109.
  • Parking is available at Mercer Street Garage directly opposite and provides skybridge and wheelchair access.
  • Directions: Driving directions and maps to help you get to McCaw Hall.
  • Parking & Transportation: Parking, public transit, and traffic information and resources.

Dining and Lodging

  • Dining at McCaw Hall: Extend your visit by dining at McCaw Hall or at nearby restaurants before or after your PNB performance.
  • Local Lodging: View our preferred lodging options close to downtown Seattle or Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, or book accommodations at Seattle hotels through our lodging page and PNB will receive a portion of the rate!

Performance Events

  • Click Here to find out what Pre/Post Performance Events, Lectures, and Previews may be happening for your PNB performance!



  • Introduce your child to The Nutcracker – Read The Nutcracker story at bedtime, listen to the soundtrack by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and show them photos and videos of the production. Be familiar with the plot and characters yourself so you can answer any questions they may have.
  • Make a connection – The sets and costumes for The Nutcracker at Pacific Northwest Ballet have been designed by Ian Falconer, the celebrated author and illustrator of Olivia the Pig. For Olivia fans, The Nutcracker will be a real treat!
  • Prepare your child for the performance – Each performance is approximately two hours, including one 25-minute intermission. Let your child know there are a few moments in the performance that may be considered “scary,” such as Drosselmeier’s entrance and the battle scene.
  • Buy the best tickets – The performances for young children are the weekend matinees – but order early, as these performances sell out quickly!
    • Bonus insider tip: Ticket prices increase closer to the date of the show, so you save the most when you buy early.
  • Select your seats – Consider choosing aisle seats close to an exit in case of a bathroom emergency or a restless child. Please note that every family member must have a ticket, even infants.
  • Plan your outfit – Some people enjoy making their visit to the ballet a dress-up occasion, but many others dress casually. Most importantly, wear something you are comfortable in, and enjoy the performance!
  • Land of the Sweets – Pre-order your intermission treats at the Savor concession stands and take advantage of The Nutcracker Suites service. Please note food is not allowed in the auditorium.
  • Opening Weekend – If you attend opening weekend, we offer crafts, magicians and mini dance classes for children!

Our fleet Collection

The best way to experience our wide collection of vehicles is to visit our vehicle Page. Follow the aromas and choose the most enticing vehicle to satisfy.

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