Bellevue’s holiday events — what and where

There’s magic in the air in Bellevue - Magic Season, that is. The city’s month-long collection of holiday events and displays kicks off its 12th annual season on Nov. 28.

There’s magic in the air in Bellevue - Magic Season, that is. The city’s month-long collection of holiday events and displays kicks off its 12th annual season on Nov. 28.

Activities include:

- Group Health Ice Arena in the Bellevue Downtown Park

- Garden d’Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden

- Snowflake Lane at The Bellevue Collection

- The Theatre at Meydenbauer Center

Here’s what you need to know to make the season merry and bright.

The Group Health Ice Arena will host “Learn How to Skate” nights, family skating, private parties and other exciting attractions for skaters and spectators alike.

The ice arena features a partial open-air rink (the only one in the Seattle area) – a portion is still covered for those rainy Pacific Northwest days – and a heated tent so spectators can watch while keeping warm.

The ice rink is open daily, Nov. 28 through Jan. 11. STAR 101.5, KOMO TV 4 and skating professionals are scheduled to make appearances throughout the season. Admission is $10 and includes skate rentals. Admission for skaters bringing their own skates is $7. Credit cards are accepted. Multiple skate discount passes also are available.

Free Skate Mondays will be offered compliments of Bank of America. People can pick up a free pass at a participating Bank of America branch.

Bellevue’s Garden d’Lights, supported by Classical KING FM 98.1, turns on its approximately 500,000 tiny twinkling lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden on Saturday, Nov. 29.

The event runs through Jan. 3 and turns the gardens into a winter wonderland every evening. Inspired by plants found in Northwest gardens, hundreds of volunteers bundle strings of commercial grade outdoor lights into three dimensional flowers, shrubs, vines, and critters. In November, these creations are ‘planted’ in the Botanical Garden and, with a flip of a switch, the holiday garden blooms every evening from 5-10 p.m..

In addition to artistic interpretations of plants, the volunteer team has created several animal characters. The large green frog remains a favorite and will be back by his pond in the Groundcover Garden.

There is no admission fee to the garden, but donations are welcome. Parking at the gardens is $5 although free parking is available to the east at Wilburton Hill Park. Parking fees support future Garden d’Lights.

The light show draws large crowds, but fewer visitors are there early in the season or mid-week.

Dogs or other pets and alcohol are not allowed in the garden.

The Garden gift shop, ‘The Trillium’ will be open 3-9 p.m. Nov. 29 - Jan. 3 (closed Christmas Day) with books, garden tools, accessories and decorative botanical items for the home.

Snowflake Lake in downtown has shows nightly at 7 p.m. from Nov. 28 through Dec. 24.

During the show, snow falls nightly as live toy soldiers and winter characters perform with music and a dazzling light show.

Santa makes his grand arrival at Bellevue Square at the Nov. 28 show.

Beginning Dec. 26 and continuing through Dec. 31, the event turns into nightly performances of Celebration Lane at 7 p.m.

The Theatre at Meydenbauer Center hosts a holiday series of musical and dramatic productions by regional and local performance groups, including the International Ballet Theatre, Ballet Bellevue, Bellevue Youth Theatre, Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra and Magical Strings.

Nov. 22 – 23: Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra presents Masterworks II. Tickets: 800-838-3006

Nov. 29 – 30: Bellevue Opera presents Hansel and Gretel. Tickets: 800-838-3006

Dec. 5 – 7: Bellevue Youth Theatre presents A Christmas Carol. Tickets: 425-452-7155

Dec. 7: Bellevue Youth Symphony presents Magic of Mistletoe. Tickets: 800-838-3006

Dec. 12 – 14 & 17 – 23: International Ballet Theatre presents The Nutcracker. Tickets: 800-838-3006

Dec. 15: Magical Strings presents A Celtic Yuletide. Tickets: 800-838-3006

Dec. 28 – 31: Ballet Bellevue presents The Snow Man. Tickets: 425-455-1345

Jan. 9: Let Your Music Shine presents Little Maestro Series. Tickets: 800-838-3006

Jan. 10 - 11: Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra presents Masterworks III. Tickets: 800-838-3006.