Bellevue - French for “beautiful view” - is enviably situated between sparkling Lake Washington to the west and the majestic Cascades to the east. A twenty-minute commute from Seattle, this city has transformed itself from an undeveloped outskirt to a high-tech, cosmopolitan city in its own right. Despite the growing number of sleek office buildings and towering skyscrapers, the beautiful views have been carefully maintained.
See & Do
Attractions here range from parks and gardens to expansive shopping malls and an extensive series of zip lines. The Bellevue Arts Museum (BAM) serves as the “Pacific Northwest’s center for the exploration of art, craft and design.” Although the museum doesn’t have a permanent collection, it hosts eight to 10 exhibitions a year. Don’t miss Downtown Park, seventeen acres of meadows and trails with a dramatic waterfall in the center, or sophisticated Medina, a waterfront area where local Microsoft mogol Bill Gates built his stunning mansion.
Downtown Bellevue boasts hundreds of restaurants, ranging from casual sandwich spots to four-star chef-owned destinations. While seafood reigns at kitchens across the Pacific Northwest, Bellevue also features a bounty of ethnic eateries, with Asian cuisine often stealing the show. In the Bellevue Collection, diners enjoy the recently-opened 13 Coins (open 24/7) and Tavern Hall, a lively restaurant and bar offering tasty fare, four shuffleboard tables, 30 flat-screen TVs plus cool, global décor relics.
In this city, nightlife options range from low-key wine bars and chic lounges to family-friendly movie theaters and 21-and-over comedy hubs. At the Bellevue Collection, the fun extends beyond the extensive shopping and dining scene; find a 16-screen premier cinema (IMAX and 3-D), Lucky Strike Bowling and the Parlor Live Comedy Club.
Safe, walkable and easily accessible, Bellevue provides a fusion of welcoming hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, green spaces, office buildings and world-class shopping options. Hotel guests enjoy being surrounded by pristine natural beauty (with access to Eastside hiking trails) while also enjoying big-city amenities made available at large hotels (that can often accommodate large parties).
Among the shopping options in Bellevue, visitors flock to the Bellevue Collection, an upscale shopping-dining-nightlife zone that consists of Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place and Lincoln Square. The venue features 250 shops, 30 eateries, a 16-screen cinema plus brilliant art installations, like the “End of Day Chandelier” by Dale Chihuly. Recent store additions include DVF and a newly-expanded Sephora; culinary gems range from JCoco–touting a philosophy called “couture chocolate”–to Beecher’s Handmade Cheese.