Adults and Kids Delight in Bellevue's Best Attractions

Located less than 10 miles from downtown Seattle, Bellevue boats a unique personality of its own, drawing businessmen and women, families and visitors. This mini-city located on the east side of Lake Washington provides a gateway to Seattle's appropriately-coined "Eastside"–and all the alluring options (like nearby hiking trails and boat rental companies) this region offers.

Safe, walkable and easily accessible, Bellevue boasts high-rise building and surrounding green; find businesses rangging from welcoming hotels to world-class shopping options and restaurants, nightclubs and comedy venues. From botanical gardens and zip line courses to comedy clubs and adult-only bowling venues, Bellevue features activities for all ages and to enjoyed during any time of year. 

As the holiday season approaches, Bellevue gets in the spirits with perks like the Bellevue Magic Season Ice Arena (from November 27 to January 10), the region’s largest open-air holiday ice skating experience. Then there's the Garden d’Lights: (from November 29 to January 2), which features more than a half million lights that transform the Bellevue Botanical Garden into a winter wonderland. Snowflake Lane at The Bellevue Collection dazzles visitors from November 27 to December 24; hosted nightly, this show features dazzling lights, holiday music and even falling snow! 

Warmer months bring seasonal events from plein-air movies to alfresco concerts in the park. 


Village Theatre

Based in Issaquah, with operations in Everett, Village Theatre proves a leading producer of musical theatre in the Pacific Northwest. Producing entertaining, quality productions since 1979, Village Theatre has grown into one of the region's best-attended professional theatres, with more than 19,300 subscribers. Through its Village Originals program, Village Theatre has been nationally recognized for its contribution to the development of new musicals, having launched 145-plus new works to date. According to their website, "Village Theatre also takes pride in nurturing tomorrow's audiences through its youth education programs, Pied Piper and KIDSTAGE, serving over 55,000 young people, families and schools annually."

This slumbering volcano is the second-tallest mountain in the continental United States after California's Mt. Whitney. Because of its northern locale and more extreme weather, though, Washington State's prime peak is used by many mountaineering groups to train for ascents of the world's most challenging climbs. In warmer months, flocks of climbers are cued up to challenge the summit's less strenuous routes, and throughout the year a variety of activities are available to extreme athletes and vacationing families alike. Hundreds of miles of hiking trails wind through dense past placid lakes and frothing waterfalls. The scenic Wonderland Trail encircles the entire park, catering to long-range backpackers. There are plenty of short, spectacular day trips, as well, whether hiking in summer of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter. Lodging is available on the mountain at the historic inn at Paradise, where the visitor center offers meals and interpretive natural history.

Issaquah Depot Museum

While Bellevue boasts many modern-day treasures, nearby Issaquah delves into the past. This historic depot was built in 1889 and continued to operate until 1958. A restoration in the 1980s left it in excellent condition and with many of its original features still intact. The modern-day museum showcases exhibits that explore the industrial revolution, travel, communication and the early economic development of Issaquah. While there, don't miss the vintage caboose, the restored stationmaster's office and the extensive collection of railroad and mining memorabilia. The museum opens Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Depot hosts the Issaquah Valley Trolley, which runs seasonally.

Gilman Town Hall Museum

While Bellevue boasts many modern-day treasures, nearby Issaquah delves into the past. Built in 1889, this building originally functioned as the Issaquah Town Hall from 1898 to 1928 (when the town was still known as Gilman). The museum's photo collection is one of its most popular exhibits, and folks love to pore over informative photographs that depict the region's changing shape during the past century. Visitors can also view tools, toys and artifacts that have been a part of local life over the years. The nonprofit that operates the museum also puts on events and history programs throughout the year (like interactive demos, lecture, local hikes and walking tours of historic Issaquah).

Bellevue Botanical Garden
Photo courtesy of Courtesy Visit Bellevue

With 36 acres of beautiful grounds and a vivid display of blooming perennials, this green space is one of Washington state's most beloved gardens. The city of Bellevue maintains the facility, keeping it in impeccable shape year-round. Explore unspoiled woodlands, Japanese gardens, and the conservation area. Don't forget to browse the garden lovers' gift shop or the botanical library, which has hundreds of books in stock. Guided tours are available. Special seasonal events include the Garden d'Lights: (from November 29 to January 2), which features more than a half million lights that transform the Bellevue Botanical Garden into a winter wonderland.

Bellevue Golf Course
Photo courtesy of Courtesy Bellevue Golf Course

Located in north Bellevue, the Bellevue Golf Course is a public 18-hole, par 71 course for golfers of all levels. Designed by David W. Kent, Bellevue Golf Course opened in 1968 and can be found in the Bridle Trails area of Bellevue. Thee public facility opens year-round and offers the following features: five sets of tee boxes to match each player's skill level; a recently-opened 46-stall driving range, heated and fully lighted; practice putting and chipping areas; a golf shop featuring the latest in equipment, apparel and accessories; PGA-certified teaching professionals, available for private lessons; The Bellevue Grill, a restaurant offering flavorful food and drink as well as a banquet room available for private bookings.

Bellevue Arts Museum
Photo courtesy of Courtesy Visit Bellevue

Dedicated to exploring the finest examples of craft and design, this distinctive museum by architect Steven Holl presents exhibitions of jewelry, calligraphy, furniture, clothing, glass, housewares and much more. Although the museum doesn't have a permanent collection, it hosts eight to 10 exhibitions a year. A program of lectures and events is offered in conjunction with the exhibition schedule. Now more than 60 years old, the Bellevue Arts & Crafts Fair calls the museum home and features over 300 outstanding artists and artisans annually. An engaging museum store features accessories, books, home accents and toys, all in keeping with the museum's commitment to the applied arts.

Winters House

Home to the Bellevue Historical Society, this large, Spanish-style villa was built in the 1920s. Now surrounded by the Mercer Slough Nature Park, the Winters House was the first home in Bellevue to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The site is also home to the Eastside Heritage Center, which focuses on sharing its collection with the community through exhibits, books, presentations and a wide variety of education programs. The Frederick W. Winters House, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1929 by Frederick and Cecilia Winters. (The Winters House is important for both its distinctive architectural character reflecting the Spanish Eclectic style and its association with bulb growing and the floricultural industry in King County and Washington State. It is one of the few buildings associated with the past agricultural activity in the Bellevue area that remains on its original site.)

Bellevue Downtown Park
Photo courtesy of Courtesy Visit Bellevue

In the center of the city, this tranquil, approximately 21-acre oasis of green attracts everyone from professionals and teenagers to families and senior citizens, all of whom want a dose of the outdoors on a nice day. This elegant centerpiece of the Bellevue Parks System features a one-half mile promenade, bordered by a double row of shade trees and a stepped canal as we ll as a 240-foot-wide waterfall that cascades into a reflecting pond. The ten-acre lawn area proves the perfect space on which to wile away an afternoon with friends or family--or to soak up some solo time and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Bellevue Zip Tour
Photo courtesy of Courtesy Bellevue Zip Tour

Just east of Seattle, a recent addition brings a bit of adventure to Bellevue: a family-friendly activity that all ages can enjoy. Thanks to Bellevue Zip Tour, groups can soar high together as they explore a maze of suspended zip lines and bridges. This adventurous attraction, located at Eastgate Park (just off I-90), features a series of seven zip lines and two bridges that hang amid a canopy of trees. Tours last approximately 2.5 hours. The zip lines reach as long as 600 feet and as high as 80 feet above the ground. The view from above proves stunning: a second growth forest of Douglas fir and broadleaf maple trees, plus sensational views of the downtown Bellevue skyline and the North Cascades, including Mt. Baker and Glacier Peak.


Meet Corinne Whiting

Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's...  More About Corinne