The holidays are hardly complete without catching a performance of The Nutcracker. This year, you can watch the ballet at more than a half-dozen venues on the Eastside and beyond. Ballet schools and dance companies such as the Issaquah Dance Theatre, Bellevue’s Emerald Ballet Theatre, and Kirkland’s International Ballet Theatre will all present productions. Each company presents its own twist on the holiday classic.
Through Dec. 24
The Bellevue Collection has brought 15 years of holiday magic with Snowflake Lane, its jubilant, nightly parade that runs between Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square. Three hundred performers come together for the holiday spectacular, including toy drummers, stilt walkers, and St. Nicholas himself. Catch the dazzling performance at 7 p.m. every evening until Christmas Eve.
Through Dec. 29
Enchant Presents ‘Mischievous’
Returning for a second year, Enchant Christmas will transform T-Mobile Park into the world’s largest Christmas light maze. This season, Eddie the Elf, a mischievous little fellow, has hidden eight gifts within the maze and challenges visitors to find the gifts before Christmas Eve. Explore the Christmas market with more than 40 local artisan vendors, skate on the frozen river, enjoy seasonal dining, and more. Tickets start at $14.99.
‘Guys and Dolls’ at the Village Theatre
Spend a memorable evening at the Village Theatre watching the award-winning musical comedy Guys and Dolls.
Through Dec. 31
Bellevue Botanical Garden’s 25th annual Garden d’Lights features a half-million twinkling lights set into whimsical, nature-inspired formations. Open daily 4:30 to 9 p.m., tickets are $5 per person and free for children 10 and under. Ticket prices also include admission to the neighboring Gingerbread Village.
Through Jan. 4
Lumaze is a new indoor festival coming to Seattle’s Smith Cove Terminal at Pier 91, where families can enjoy lights and wander through a holiday fairytale to search for six hidden presents to win a prize. In addition to the lights (and stellar family photo ops), there are playgrounds, a bar for grownups, lots of food, live music, and a vendor market for shopping for gifts.
Through Jan. 20
Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink
In the heart of downtown Bellevue, get in the holiday spirit as you glide across the city’s seasonal skating rink. Sponsored by Symetra, the rink is open daily, and is the region’s largest at 9,000 square feet. General admission is $12 on weekdays and $15 on weekends and includes skates; discounts are available on weekdays, as well as for children and those who bring their own blades. Find a full schedule at bellevueicerink.com.
Through Dec. 21
Santa Train Ride
The Northwest Railway Museum’s Santa Train Ride turns 50 this season. The fanciful two-hour ride runs from North Bend to Snoqualmie and includes cookies, cocoa, storytelling, and scenic views. Each child aboard will receive a small gift from Santa. Tickets are $28 (required for children 2 and older) and include return passage to North Bend.
Dec. 1-23, 26-30
Issaquah’s annual Reindeer Festival kicks off the first of the month at Cougar Mountain Zoo. Now in its 31st year, the festival will run daily from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (or dusk), and until 3:30 p.m. from Dec. 26-30. Visitors can watch Santa and his helpers in action; wander through a magic forest; and, of course, meet Santa’s reindeer team. General admission is $15.50, with discounts available for children and seniors.
Bellevue Job Fair
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., companies from across the Eastside will set up at Bellevue’s Red Lion Hotel. Entry-level and seasoned workers alike can connect with potential employers in a variety of industries at this event, sponsored by JobFairX. Entrance is free.
‘O Christmas Tea: A British Comedy’
Award-winning, off-Broadway comedians James & Jamesy will bring two hours of holiday hilarity to the Edmonds Center for the Arts. When a Christmas tea party turns catastrophic, the comedians are charged with saving the day in this British comedy special. Tickets are $19-$44 and are available at edmondscenterforthearts.org.
Issaquah Historic Pub Crawl
Get a look into Issaquah’s colorful past at this historic pub crawl, hosted by the Downtown Issaquah Association. As participants bar-hop their way through downtown, they’ll hear tales of murder, mystery, and melee stretching back to the city’s pioneer days. The night will begin at
6:45 p.m. at the Issaquah Depot Museum and end with moonshine at the Historic Shell Station. Tickets are $50.
‘A Christmas Carol’
Second Story Repertory will present its adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol. Now in its seventh year, the production is rich with song, color, and dance, and is sure to enchant audiences of all ages. Tickets can be purchased online for $30, with discounts available at the box office.
St. Nick’s Taste the Season
In Woodinville, 25 breweries and wineries will participate in St. Nick’s Taste the Season. The three-day celebration will include plenty to taste and toast. Festivities begin Friday at 5 p.m. and continue Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $60 and include admission for all three days, a wine glass, and a Cellar Hopper Shuttle pass for transportation between tasting rooms. In the spirit of safety, a designated driver can tour with each group free of charge.
Dec. 6-8, 19-21
Fans of Frozen can catch a live showing of the holiday classic at the Redmond Performing Arts Center. Actors from the Redmond Academy of Theater Arts will bring Elsa and Anna’s story to life in their production of Frozen JR. Based on the 2018 Broadway musical, the show features hit songs from the film along with new tunes penned for the stage production. Tickets at brownpapertickets.com.
The festival is offering up doses of holiday cheer this season at the Marina Park in downtown Kirkland. From 3 to 6 p.m., the public can enjoy live music, pictures with Santa, and a tree-lighting ceremony.
Pet Pictures with Santa
Woodinville’s Homeward Pet Adoption Center will take festive pet pics from 1 to 5 p.m with Santa at the Castillo de Feliciana Woodinville Tasting Room. Suggested donation is $10 and comes with a free tasting ticket. Shelter essentials such as dry dog and cat food, peanut butter, and Ziploc bags also will be collected. Proceeds will benefit Homeward Pet Adoption Center.
Dec. 7-Jan. 7
Snoqualmie Winter Lights
A beautiful light installation in Snoqualmie kicks off with the city’s annual winter event, which includes music, selfies with Santa, an ice carving demonstration, horse-drawn wagon rides, and a winter market. The beautiful light display, which will adorn the downtown area — as well as The Salish Lodge — is a beautiful backdrop for evening strolls and holiday photos. Visit Facebook for more event details.
Redmond Lights Weekend
The City of Redmond’s annual lights festival will include two days of exciting events. On Saturday, enjoy interactive booths and live entertainment from 4 to 8 p.m., and gather ’round for a tree lighting at 5 p.m. Light and art installations will illuminate the Redmond Central Connection from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, making for a peaceful holiday stroll.
CeCe Winans’ Christmas Show
Edmonds Center for the Arts will host gospel legend CeCe Winans for a night of soulful Christmas cheer. The celebrated female gospel artist’s solo work and duets with her brother BeBe have secured her a place in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Hollywood Walk of Fame. Tickets are $39-$74.
A Celtic Christmas
Six-string violinist Geoffrey Castle will present two nights of Celtic Christmas favorites at the Kirkland Performance Center. With performances by the Seattle Irish Dance Company, special guests from the Seattle Opera, and vocalist and guitarist Dan Connolly, audiences are in for a rousing evening full of music, dance, and other surprises. Tickets are $42 at kpcenter.org.
Gingerbread and Gin
At the KidsQuest Children’s Museum’s Gingerbread and Gin, adults can tap into their creative sides to construct gingerbread masterpieces. The adults-only event perfectly pairs grown-up beverages with childhood nostalgia and will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $30.
Robert Chinn 33rd Anniversary Concert
Seattle’s Robert Chinn Foundation funds arts, culture, health, and youth development nonprofits that work with diverse communities in the Puget Sound. The foundation is honoring its 2019 grant recipients with a concert at Bellevue’s Carlson Theater. Soprano and violinist Maki Mae, who rose to stardom on America’s Got Talent, will perform songs from Puccini to Phantom of the Opera. Tickets range from $25-$50.
Third Saturday Market
While farmers markets are mostly dormant for the season, Bellevue is continuing the tradition with their Third Saturday Market series. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., vendors will setup in the Bellevue Presbyterian Church parking lot. With live music and traditional and holiday vendors, the final market of the year will have something for everyone, including last-minute holiday shoppers.
Dec. 28 & 29
Amazing Bubble Man
Louis Pearl has spent the last 30 years captivating audiences with his multi-sensory shows that highlight the art and science of bubbles. Nicknamed “The Bubble Man,” Pearl uses his performances to blend light, sound, and bubble artistry. Catch him at the Kirkland Performing Arts Center from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $12.50 for kids.
Will Run for Beer 5k
Sweat off the holiday goodies at the Will Run for Beer 5k, sponsored by Snohomish’s Run to be Fit. Held rain or shine, the casual 5k starts at 2:30 p.m. Once the race is done, those of age can follow up with their favorite beer at SnoTown Brewery.
Comedy Countdown to NYE
Ring in the new year with a side-splitting show at the Meydenbauer Center. Guy Branum, the creator and host of truTV’s Talk Show, will treat audiences to a comedy countdown at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25, and for the late show, include a drink ticket and a midnight balloon drop.
New Year’s at KidsQuest
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the KidsQuest Children’s Museum will host a new year celebration with plenty of hands-on fun for kiddos. Beyond the exhibits, special programming will include a story time, bubble wrap stomp, and crafts like painting and creating New Year hats. Admission is free for members and children under 1.