Whether you wish to extend your Seattle experience beyond the city center, or you're in the Puget Sound region on business, there are many reasons you'll want to spend time in Bellevue. Located across Lake Washington from Seattle, this eastside city has a thriving downtown and a wealth of outdoor spaces. Dedicated shoppers will enjoy the high-end retail options.
Here are my recommendations for fun things to do during your visit to Bellevue, Washington:
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Shopping in Bellevue
Bellevue offers some of the best shopping experiences in the entire Northwest. Most of the shops are within Bellevue's downtown core, but if you wander out into the neighborhoods you'll find interesting local retail stores and eateries, many that represent the city's diverse immigrant population.
The Bellevue Collection
You can spend a day or more exploring this shopping cluster the includes the Bellevue Square mall, Lincoln Square, and Bellevue Place. The mall includes departments stores such as Nordstrom and Macy's, lifestyle stores such as Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, and Williams Sonoma, and clothing stores like Eddie Bauer, Ann Taylor, and Gap Kids. Visitors to The Bellevue Collection will also find fine and casual dining, a movie theater, and several bars and lounges. Lincoln Square shops include The Container Store and Ex Officio, as well as several restaurants and entertainment. Art galleries and salons are among your options at Bellevue Place.
The Shops at The... Bravern
This relatively new high-rise development is home to several luxury shops and restaurants. Neiman Marcus, Brooks Brothers, Jimmy Choo, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton are just some of the retailers located at The Bravern.
South of Bellevue Square, this charming enclave of boutiques and eateries is a nice alternative to the hustle and bustle of the mall. Located mostly on or around Main Street just west of Bellevue Way, the Old Bellevue shop offerings include home furnishings, accessories, candy shops, and bakeries.
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Outdoor Activities & Parks in Bellevue
Located between two huge lakes - Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish - Bellevue is home to many parks and outdoor spaces where you can hang out and enjoy the views, stroll along the waterfront, or hike through nature. Your options include the Bellevue Botanical Garden, Mercer Slough Nature Park, and Kelsey Creek Farm.
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Bellevue's major meeting and event facility, Meydenbauer Center is also the performance venue for numerous local arts organizations. The 410-seat Theatre at Meydenbauer Center offers an ever-changing calendar that includes classical music, plays and musicals, ballet and dance, and documentaries and film. Here are just some of the many performing arts groups that you might see:
- Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra
- Lyric Opera Northwest
- Bellevue Civic Theatre
- Bellevue Chamber Chorus
- The Attic Theatre
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Focusing on fine craft and design, this downtown Bellevue museum displays the works of artists from the Northwest and around the world. During your visit, you might see ceramics, textiles, art jewelry, or found-object sculpture. Exhibits change throughout the year. The Bellevue Art Museum also has an outstanding gift and bookstore.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Special Events & Festivals in Bellevue
Here are some of the many popular festivals and events hosted each year in Bellevue:
- Wintergrass (Feb)
- Bellevue Jazz Festival (May)
- Bellevue Strawberry Festival (Jun)
- Bellevue Family 4th (Jul)
- Bellevue Arts Fair Weekend (Jul)
- Bellevue Magic Season - Snowflake Lane (Dec)
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Fun Things to Do Near Bellevue
Bellevue's neighbor cities offer additional activities and attractions for visitors.
- Woodinville - Western Washington's primary wine region
- Downtown Kirkland - charming local shops, galleries, and eateries on the shore of Lake Washington
- Marymoor Park - hiking and biking trails in a lush green setting along with numerous other park amenities
- Snoqualmie Falls- wander this small park that overlooks a grand waterfall and misty river canyon