Across Sammamish, lights are being strung on homes, Christmas trees have been installed in shopping plazas, and Michael Bublé is playing at Starbucks. After being locked inside during the last holiday season, Sammamish residents are more than ready to start enjoying festive activities in-person. The Eastside offers an abundance of activities to get into the holiday mood for all ages.
Watch a parade down Snowflake Lane in Bellevue
“My favorite local holiday activity is Snowflake Lane because of the way it brings the community together to witness a beautiful event filled with wonder and awe. I have firsthand gotten to see the excitement of working on Snowflake Lane as my best friend was a drummer on it a couple of years ago and we all went to see him and the event in action.” — Mustafa Agha, 16
Snowflake Lane is an annual holiday parade sponsored by the Bellevue Collection. The parade is held on the street between Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square from NE 4th to NE 8th streets every night at 7:00 p.m. from Nov. 26 to Dec. 24. The show is free of cost, and features dancers, parade floats, twinkling lights, drummers, holiday music and even fake snow. The sidewalks get extremely crowded relatively early, so it is recommended to arrive at least 30 minutes before the parade starts to get a good view. Social distancing and masks are required.
Get a photo with Santa in Issaquah
From Nov. 26 to Dec. 24, Santa will be visiting the Issaquah Commons every day from 11:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. People have the opportunity to go into a pop-up lodge, stationed directly next to the entrance side of Panera Bread, and enjoy the beautiful lights and decorations while capturing their magic moment with Santa. Guests can take both socially distanced or sitting photos with Santa, depending on their comfort level. To keep Santa safe and healthy, all guests are required to keep masks on at all times. They will allow the mask to be taken off while the photo is being taken. Reservations are required, and can be booked online. You can reserve a space for $19.99, and that credit can be applied to cost of a photo package.
Walk through a garden of lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden
“Before the pandemic, my family and I would come here almost every year. The lights are so beautiful, and the entire set up makes it feel like you have been transported to another world.” — Nigar Suleman, 48
Bellevue Botanical Garden is naturally beautiful any time of the year, but during the holiday season, it turns into a light-filled wonder with over half a million enchanting lights that are sculpted into animals, plants, waterfalls, fountains and other features that go with the garden theme. This display turns on every night from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. and runs from Nov. 27 to Dec. 31. Tickets are required, cost $5, and can be purchased here for specific dates and times. The event is free for kids age 10 or younger. Masks are required at all indoor spaces in the garden, and are highly encouraged outdoors as well.
Stock up with decorations at The Christmas Shop at Timber Creek
“The Christmas Shop at Timber Creek is beautifully decorated, and the staff are extremely welcoming as well. For the half-hour I was in this store, it was as if I was in a winter wonderland. I definitely recommend for people who are looking for a cute, fun, but low key Christmas activity to do with family or friends.” — Sahya Bikkula, 17
Located off of Fall City Road, this cute store is the perfect place to go to purchase holiday decor and gifts. They sell a variety of items including home decor, fine art, clothing and accessories. Masks and social distancing are required, and they will check each customer’s temperature at the entrance. The shop is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. They also offer private shopping by appointment from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. To book an appointment, please send a text to (206) 755-2773.
Soak up the tunes with a concert at Village Theatre Issaquah
Village Theatre Issaquah presents their Welcome Home: A Holiday Concert — a night of live holiday music featuring favorites like “This Christmas”, “Santa Baby”, “Ma’oz Tzur/Rock of Ages,” and by popular demand of kids, “Let It Go” from Frozen. The concert takes place at the Village Theatre Mainstage every night from Dec. 8 to 26 (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) at 7:30 p.m. Run time is 80 minutes with no intermission. Tickets start at $37, with discounts for seniors and youth, and can be purchased here.
Guests can enjoy the show and also participate in an uplifting cause. Village Theatre is hosting a Heart of Washington holiday drive during the concert, which is a community mutual aid effort for farm workers throughout rural communities in Washington state. The drive aims to provide farming communities with culturally responsive food, household items and art supplies. Guests can bring these acceptable items for the holiday drive.