Ice Arena Bellevue

Go ahead and stuff yourself silly with turkey. You’ll need the energy; the Christmas Countdown begins tomorrow with the annual Bellevue Magic Season! Newbies to the cherished holiday extravaganza will be blown away by downtown Bellevue’s transformation into a veritable winter wonderland – and if you’ve hit it before, you know how conductive the experience is to a mistletoe mood.

Start super early by visiting the Group Health Ice Arena, located in Bellevue Downtown Park, just next to the waterfall. This outdoor ice rink is the only one of its kind in the area, and features free skating lessons as well as a variety of special holiday events. Visit the nearby concessions stand to snack out on holiday treats! Stop by the Meydenbauer Center to drink down their magical holiday musical and dramatic performances by regional and local groups. For a real taste of the holidays, wander down to Gingerbread Lane – KidsQuest Children’s museum provides gingerbread house building workshops for the little ones. Photos with Santa, a children’s choir performance, and a chance to display your house to the public are included!

Starting Friday night at 7 p.m., the magical Snowflake Lane at Bellevue Way and 8th Ave. NE opens to a procession of life-sized toy soldiers drumming real drums, carolers, and a magic show; be sure not to miss classic holiday characters such as the Snow Queen and the Sugarplum fairies! The live music and dazzling lights will make this one holiday-themed event you won’t want to miss. Want to try something different? The Garden D’lights at Bellevue Botanical Gardens opens on Saturday at 5 p.m.; there’s no better stroller-friendly journey through hundreds and thousands of twinkling lights in all sorts of colors and shapes.

The Bravern deserves an entry to itself – don’t miss out on the magical activities showcased there this holiday season! The events kick off with the traditional tree lighting – a spectacle everyone agrees is more than worth the trip. Photos with Santa, kettlekorn, musical performances and nightly light shows – keep an eye on the calendar; they just keep coming! Storytime by the fireplace, live music, and the chance to write a letter to Santa – the activities culminate in a chance to have breakfast with the jolly old elf himself!