The days are shorter, the temperatures are colder, but – dare we say it – it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Here are some of our favorite (old and new) Eastside events to get you in the spirit. Queue the jingle bells!
Through Dec. 24
Snowflake Lane at The Bellevue Collection
Drumming toy soldiers, animated snow characters, glittering lights, vibrant floats, and even “snow” transform a four-block stretch of Bellevue Way into a magical, family-friendly celebration of the holiday season nightly at 7 p.m.
Through Dec. 25
Visit with Reindeer
Country Village Shops in Bothell will play host to two of Santa’s reindeer throughout the holiday season. Shop the charming small business stores for holiday treasures, stop in to visit with the magical beasts between Keepsake Cottage and The Pet Place, and enjoy lit displays as you take a stroll through the grounds.
Through Dec. 31
Garden d’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden
If you like the Bellevue Botanical Garden by day, you will love it illuminated with more than a half-million holiday lights at night. Walk the garden path between 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Admission is $5 for 11 and up; admission is free for kids ages 10 and younger. For more information call 425.452.6844 or visit Garden d’Lights online.
Through Jan. 15
Nothing feels more festive during the holiday season than ice skating with your loved ones. This year, the Bellevue Magic Season Ice Arena will be held at the recently completed Downtown Bellevue Park. Skate no matter the weather under a covered shelter and enjoy music, free skate Mondays, complimentary lessons, and more. For more information, visit Bellevue Downtown online.
Visit Cougar Mountain Zoo from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily for a photo with Santa. Feed reindeer, create and send a letter in the post office, wander through a magical forest, and hear a story from one of Santa’s elves.
A trio of holiday events begins at 4 p.m. with a tree lighting ceremony and holiday market at Redmond City Hall, followed by an illuminated, mile-long walk along the Sammamish River and Redmond Central Connector trails, and ending at Redmond Town Center, where plenty of family-friendly activities await.
For the last 47 years, the Snoqualmie-based Northwest Railway Museum has hosted the Santa Train, a unique event that has become a beloved tradition. Families will climb aboard and journey to the historic Snoqualmie Depot where they’ll meet Santa, drink hot cocoa, enjoy fresh cookies from coal-fired ovens, and receive a special holiday gift. Reservations are available online.
Dancing snowflakes, Christmas parties, a mouse king, a nutcracker prince – what’s not to like? The Nutcracker is a holiday classic. Here’s a few Eastside productions of the nutty tale.
Emerald Ballet Theatre in Bellevue
Dec. 2-3 and Dec. 9-10 at Northshore Performing Arts Center
Evergreen City Ballet in Renton
Nov.24-26 & Dec. 2- 3 at Meydenbauer Theatre
Dec. 9-10 at Auburn Performing Arts Center
Dec. 16 & 17 at Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center
International Ballet Academy in Kirkland
Dec. 15 – 22 Meydenbauer Theatre
Issaquah Dance Theatre in Issaquah
Dec. 8-10 at Interlake Performing Arts Center
*Did we miss one? email us!
Is Macy’s Santa real or just a guy in a suit? The Bellevue Youth Theatre at Crossroads presents the well-known family-friendly Miracle on 34th Street by Meredith Wilson. Tickets are available at the box office window or by phone at 425.452.7155.
Santa is checking his list twice, but first he and the reindeer are making a pit stop at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. your kiddo can enjoy brunch with the big guy, himself. Call The Club at Snoqualmie at 425.396.6000 to make a reservation.
Oh no! It’s Christmas morning and the toys for the children of the world have disappeared. How will the elves save the day? This magical musical from StoryBook Theater debuts at the Kirkland Performance Center at 11 a.m. Dec. 10 with additional performances throughout the month.
Still looking for that perfect gift? Attend the City of Bellevue’s porcelain workshop between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to create up to two projects. The cost is $45 for Bellevue residents, and all materials will be provided. Register by email at NWAC@bellevuewa.gov, or by phone at 425.452.4106.