Bellevue’s Magic Season: toy soldiers, skating, garden lights
Holiday attractions in Bellevue range from Snowflake Lane, with live toy soldiers, to the popular Garden d’Lights display.
Seattle Times staff
As part of what Bellevue bills as its Magic Season, holiday magic fills the city with lights, snow and ice at Snowflake Lane, an outdoor ice arena and the Bellevue Botanical Garden’s annual Garden d’Lights display.
Snowflake Lane’s extravaganza of music, lights, live toy soldiers and simulated snowfall draws crowds of fans daily through Dec. 24. New features this year include Little Princess Court, a spot just for little ones, with Snowflake Lane princesses and elves, just off Bellevue Way; and the Jingle Belles Stage, with dance performances nightly in the pedestrian walkway near Bellevue Arts Museum.
Take a spin at the Magic Season Ice Arena outdoor ice-skating rink daily at Bellevue Downtown Park. The large rink includes a sheltered area for skating in any weather, a concession stand, free lessons on Wednesdays, a Thursday stroller-skating hour (to push children in strollers) and two-for-one admission on Tuesdays. Rent ice skates or bring your own. Skate sharpening is available to enhance your spins. Hours vary through Jan. 13; rental for private parties is available during off-hours. Capacity limits can cause wait times, especially on weekends, school holidays and during special events.
Not far from downtown Bellevue, Garden d’Lights delights crowds with three-dimensional light sculptures inspired by nature’s flowers, shrubs and vines and whimsical characters including Charlotte the spider, in her web, and Snap d’Dragon. The display is open 5-10 p.m. daily through Dec. 31, including holidays, at Bellevue Botanical Garden. Advance tickets are available online to help avoid long lines. Reservations aren’t available for free nights, Nov. 26-29 and Dec. 3-6; usually everyone can be accommodated but there can be a wait for crowd control. The Garden’s Trillium Shop is open nightly for botanical and holiday-themed shopping.
Snowflake Lane: 7 p.m. daily through Dec. 24, then rethemed as Celebration Lane, 7 p.m. Dec. 26-31; along the sidewalks of Bellevue Way and Northeast Eighth Street, Bellevue.
Ice Arena: 3-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, 3-9 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 1-9 p.m. Wednesday, 3-9 p.m. Dec. 6, hours vary daily through Jan. 13; Bellevue Downtown Park, 10201 N.E. Fourth St., Bellevue; $10 includes skate rental, $7 if you bring your own skates; two skate for the price of one Tuesdays.
Getting there: From Interstate 405 via Highway 520 or I-90, take Exit 13B west onto Northeast Eighth Street or Exit 13A to Northeast Fourth Street, Bellevue; free parking.
Garden d’Lights: 5-10 p.m. daily, last entry 9:30 p.m., through Dec. 31, Bellevue Botanical Garden, 12001 Main St., Bellevue; $5, ages 10 and younger free. Free admission Nov. 26, 27, 28, 29 and Dec. 3, 4, 5, 6. No pets.
Getting there: From I-405, take the Northeast Eighth Street exit. Go east on Eighth, turn right onto 120th Avenue Northeast, then left onto Main Street. Parking at the garden $5, parking at neighboring Wilburton Park free.
425-452- 6844 or
Madeline McKenzie: email@example.com