Travel is an open opportunity for indulgence, and downtown Bellevue is a perfect place to pamper yourself. At the east end of NE Eighth Street is the Shops at the Bravern, a Microsoft office tower/condo/retail complex devoted to the ultra chic brands of the world. Head west just seven blocks or so to find more high-end malls, with shops, restaurants, and galleries along the way.
The Bellevue Arts Museum presents collections of world-class art. — Photo courtesy of Bellevue Arts Museum
Situated about 20 minutes to the east of Seattle across the Interstate 90 floating bridge, on the far side of Lake Washington, Bellevue began as a tony enclave to the Emerald City. Neighborhoods of waterfront view homes were quickly joined by suburban expansion to the east, away from the water, and continued development has turned the once-sleepy suburb into a thriving urban scene with world-class shopping, dining, recreation, and cultural attractions. Today Bellevue is the fifth largest city in Washington. With a population of more than 122,000, it has grown into the high-tech and retail hub of the Eastside.
Culture, though, not commerce, draws crowds of shopping and dining enthusiasts to the area. The Bellevue Arts Museum is the perfect place to duck in out of the rain and take in paintings and sculpture on an international scale, while galleries such as Ming's Asian Gallery and Elements Gallery provide a chance to buy imported and locally produced art and jewelry. Bellevue Downtown Park provides recreation or relaxation in seventeen acres green lawns and graveled walking paths centered on a dramatic reflecting pool and waterfall. Just across the street, the Bellevue Collection comprises Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square, and Bellevue Place, a complex of interconnected (there’s a sky bridge) and neighboring shopping malls on the east end of NE Eight’s retail district. Among numerous dining options is Ruth’s Chris steakhouse, located in Bellevue Square.
Shops at the Bravern brings luxury shopping to Bellevue. — Photo courtesy of Shops at the Bravern
Both outside and throughout the malls, visitors enjoy a variety of public art, from carved totems and stone sculpture to Dale Chihuly glass art objects. Beyond the bound of the malls, the city also showcases works around town with a self-guided arts walk. Back at the other end of NE Eighth await the exclusive retailers of the Shops at the Bravern, including Neiman Marcus, Jimmy Choo, Karen Millen, David Barton Gym, Louis Vuitton, Salvatore, Ferragamo, Neiman Marcus, Tory Burch, Hermes and Wolford. Neiman has its own restaurant, Mariposa, but the anchor restaurant here is John Howie Steak, where the menu features buttery Wagyu beef presented by the regional star chef John Howie.