12 Eastside Holiday Traditions


Photo courtesy of Evergreen City Ballet via Facebook

SEE THE NUTCRACKER(S) IN BELLEVUE The holiday season isn’t complete without watching Clara twirl during The Nutcracker. The Evergreen City Ballet and International Ballet Theatre will both present their ballets at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue in December — so you can go multiple times. meydenbauer.com 

THE ELVES AND THE TOYMAKER Catch the story of two elves hustling to meet their Christmas toy-making deadline, but running into a few hiccups along the way. This family show is playing at multiple venues this holiday season, including Kirkland, Seattle-Fremont, and Shoreline, so you have plenty of chances to catch this one-of-a-kind holiday experience. storybooktheater.org


Image courtesy of Snowflake Lane via Facebook

SNOWFLAKE LANE AND CELEBRATION LANE Every year, The Bellevue Collection puts on quite a show. Toy soldier drummers, sugar plum fairies, and Jingle Belle dancers parade down Bellevue Way nightly at 7 p.m. Nov. 27-Dec. 24. Snow falls on cue every night, so bundle up and enjoy this free event. The party doesn’t end after Christmas. Ring in the New Year with Bellevue Collection’s Celebration Lane Dec. 26-31. Enjoy Americana-inspired costumes, songs, dancing and drummers, and some more falling snow every night at 7 p.m. bellevuecollection.com

MOUNT RAINIER SCENIC RAILROAD AND MUSEUM’S SANTA EXPRESS Take a trip on the Santa Express on Nov. 28 and 29. The adventure begins at the North Pole (psst … it’s actually the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad and Museum in Elbe). Sip hot chocolate and tell Santa what’s on your list and climb aboard the Santa Express for a magical journey through the forests to Mineral and back. Tickets are $32 for adults and $18-$27 for kids.

ISSAQUAH REINDEER FESTIVAL Head to Cougar Mountain Zoo and welcome Santa and his reindeer at the Issaquah Reindeer Festival Dec. 1-23. Spend a day visiting Rudolph, chilling in Santa’s sleigh, and watching Santa’s helpers make candy canes. cougarmountainzoo.org

REDMOND LIGHTS The Redmond Lights celebration will be held at City Hall on Dec. 5. Start by shopping the holiday market at noon. At 4 p.m., park nearby or at Redmond Town Center and ride the shuttle to see the tree light up at City Hall at 5 p.m. Following the tree-lighting, wander down the luminary walk along the Redmond Central Connector. There you will see lots of luminaries and light displays. Warm your hands with steamy beverages and over bonfire barrels along the way. The magic continues at Redmond Town Center with carousel rides and a skating rink, kids’ craft stations, and entertainment from around the world. redmondlights.com

BELLEVUE’S BOTANICAL GARDEN D’LIGHTS The only thing more stunning than the Bellevue Botanical Garden in bloom is when it’s covered in twinkling lights. Take a walk though the glowing garden Nov. 28-Jan. 2. Tickets are $5 per person, and kids 10 and under are free.

IVAR’S ANNUAL CLAM LIGHTS IN RENTON Is there anything more Northwest than a dancing clam to kick off one of the area’s largest public light displays? The festive Ivar’s Clam Lights at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park in Renton has sparkled since the 1990s. A special ceremony will kick off the event at 6:15 p.m. on Dec. 4 and then the lights will go on at 7 p.m. See the lights every evening through the New Year — and don’t forget to get a bowl of clam chowder.


Image Courtesy of Bellevue Downtown Association via Facebook

BELLEVUE MAGIC SEASON ICE ARENA Enjoy the crisp outdoors ice-skating. Bellevue Magic Season Ice Arena will be back Nov. 27-Jan. 10. It’s the region’s largest open-air holiday ice-skating rink. Tickets are $12.

GINGERBREAD LANE Have kids who want to build a gingerbread house, but you’d rather not deal with the mess? KidsQuest Museum is taking one for the team. It’s providing a buffet of tasty building materials at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, and will clean up afterward on Nov. 27-28 (pre-registration required). Chefs, architects, and businesses are getting in on the fun, too. They’ll be building their own gingerbread houses you can view (but not eat). kidsquestmuseum.org

CHRISTMAS SHIP FESTIVAL Take a ride on a Christmas Ship with Argosy Cruises Nov. 27-Dec. 23. There are several to choose from and ships are decked out in lights and beautiful to watch from the shore, too. argosycruises.com

NEW YEAR’S AT THE NEEDLE Celebrate the arrival of 2016 at the base of the Space Needle and watch as the fireworks light the sky at the stroke of midnight.


is the managing editor at 425 magazine. Email her.
Find Out First
Learn about Eastside food,
fashion, home design, and more.
no thanks