Great Bellevue Eats

When you say you’re “going out” but really just mean “getting food,” we have wonderful news for you: you’re a foodie! Here’s a list of some of some great places for Bellevue’s resident foodies to try out.

1.     Watch Dumplings Get Made at Din Tai Fung

DinTaiFung

Come and taste what Forbes Magazine calls “The world’s greatest dumplings.” Founded in Taipai, Taiwan in 1958, Din Tai Fung has since grown into a renowned restaurant with a global presence. If you haven’t had dumplings before, what better way to start than with the best? Next time you’re downtown, stop by the Bellevue location, open every day of the week until 10pm.

 

 

 

2.     Dinner with a view at Daniel’s Broiler

DanielsBroiler

A lot of restaurants boast beautiful views, but how many offer them from a 21st floor deck? While dining on distinguished USDA Prime Steaks and other steakhouse favorites, guests of Daniel’s Broiler enjoy views of the Olympic Mountains, downtown Bellevue, and the Seattle skyline. Come for lunch or dinner, sip on some wine from their award-winning wine list, and see why Daniel’s Broiler defines steakhouse excellence.

3.     Try something from the Food Truck pod

FoodTrucks

Food trucks are proof that food doesn’t need a traditional restaurant setting to be great. Bellevue has a great line-up of food trucks that gather in a pod at 106th Ave NE and NE 6th St in the Barnes and Noble parking lot. Try something from the Roll OK Please or NOSH trucks and give your taste buds a wild ride. You can find a full list of Bellevue food trucks, locations, and times here.

 

4.     Dim sum brunch at Wild Ginger

WildGinger

From China to Indonesia, Malaysia to Vietnam, Wild Ginger at The Bravern in Bellevue offers carefully crafted traditional dishes from a variety of distinctive regions. For lovers of Chinese cuisine, their exquisite dim sum brunch is full of mouth-watering variety. Wild Ginger serves dim sum every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3pm.

 

5.     See what the ramen craze is all about at Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Jinya or Kukai

RamanCraze

We’re not talking about those packets of ramen at the grocery store—we’re talking about visually prepared, subtly flavored, lightly seasoned ramen soup. Bellevue has several ramen bars that demonstrate the true beauty of ramen. Try Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Jinya Ramen Bar, or Kukai Ramen & Izakaya, and you’ll never think of ramen the same way again.

Image #3 courtesy of Roll Ok Please, and image #5 courtesy of Hokkaido Ramen

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Get Face-to-Face with the Pacific Northwest on a Group Canoe Tour at Mercer Slough

16626_Washington-canoe-mercer-slough_-Credit-Merrill-Images
Paddling along the canal at Mercer Slough Nature Park. Photo by Merrill Images.

These days, convention attendees are looking to return home from their trips with much more than pages crammed with notes, stacks of business cards, and brains bursting with ideas. While the programming is certainly still a crucial component of the event, attendees also desire to step outside the meeting venue and experience the destination.

Bellevue is blessed to be located at the heart of the Puget Sound region, surrounded by a plethora of natural beauty. We believe there is no better way to experience our region than by getting outside and face-to-face with nature. Offering a group canoe tour is an excellent way to give attendees a true taste of our corner of the country.

Experience the Pacific Northwest at Mercer Slough

Believe it or not, just a mere minutes from the glistening towers of downtown Bellevue sits a tranquil 320-acre wetland. Because of its close proximity to the convention center and hotels, the wetland – Mercer Slough Nature Park – is an ideal playground for out-of-town visitors looking to embrace their inner adventurer.

The park contains numerous trails; one of which is a canal trail that can be explored via watercraft. Arranging a group canoe tour provides attendees a fun and memorable experience in Bellevue. Led by Bellevue park rangers, the tour will take your group on a 4 mile (approximately 3 hour) journey that starts at Enatai Beach Park on the shores of Lake Washington and winds up through the Mercer Slough canal to the Kelsey Creek Fish Ladder.

While your group is out and about, be sure to keep your senses tuned to see how many wildlife species you can spot or hear. The slough is home to a diverse habitat of more than 170 animals including otters, herons, turtles, frogs, beavers, and countless species of birds. A canoe trip through the slough provides an up-close look at an ecosystem in action and if you’re lucky, you might even spy a Great Blue Heron snatching his dinner right out of the water.

Those who would rather explore the park by foot (or who just haven’t gotten their fill!) can venture along the 7+ miles of interconnected boardwalks, soft surface trails and asphalt paths that wind through a variety of habitats including meadows, marshes, and wooded areas. During the summer months, the park’s U-pick blueberry farm offers another engaging excursion and visitors love to pick berries and purchase local produce.

Mix Up Your Meeting Space

Mercer-Slough-Environmental-Education-Center-Exterior---Courtesy-City-of-BellevueThe park is also home to the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center, a complex located on an elevated boardwalk overlooking the Slough.

The Center has meeting and event rental spaces, making it a fun location for small group sessions. In keeping with the park’s environmental focus, the Center incorporates numerous green building features and was constructed using renewable, recycled, and local materials, as well as sustainably harvested wood.  The complex boasts a visitor center with interpretive displays depicting the park’s history as well as local wildlife and plants.

If you’re looking for a fun way to mix up your next event and get your attendees out-and-about exploring Bellevue, then we highly recommend spending a day at the Mercer Slough!

Great Blue Heron photo courtesy Bellevue Parks & Community Services / Colin Walker; Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center photo courtesy of City of Bellevue.
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What’s New in the ‘Vue | Summer 2015

Bellevue, Washington is a vibrant, rapidly-growing city with new options for visitors and groups constantly popping up. From new hotels and revitalized meeting spaces to additional activities and unique dining experiences, here’s what we’re most excited about.

Hotels and Meeting Venues

Meydenbauer-Center-Renovation-Center-Hall-Lobby-RenderingA rendering of Meydenbauer Center post renovation.

Meydenbauer Center Renovation | If there’s one community that is constantly evolving, it’s the innovative, philanthropic, tech-savvy, coffee-loving urbanites of the Pacific Northwest.  To keep pace with such a dynamic bunch, Bellevue’s convention center – Meydenbauer Center – is currently undergoing a $12.5 million interior and exterior renovation. The center’s new design will exemplify the vibrancy of the region by introducing a flood of rich colors and warmer tones, creative and flexible design elements, and extensive technology upgrades. The revitalized space, scheduled to reopen in September, promises to redefine hospitality in Bellevue. meydenbauer.com

Seattle Marriott Bellevue | This July, downtown Bellevue will get its first full service Marriott hotel.  Developed with today’s business traveler in mind, the 384 room hotel will feature a modern guestroom experience inspired by the brand’s new urban residential lifestyle design. The hotel’s Great Room open lobby concept centered around Amuse Restaurant and Bar will provide a welcome atmosphere for guests to meet and mingle. With 21,000 sq. ft. of flexible event space including a 6,240 sq. ft. grand ballroom and 17 break out rooms, the hotel will be an ideal space for hosting events in downtown Bellevue. marriott.com

W Hotel | A 245 room W Hotel is scheduled to open in Spring 2017 in downtown Bellevue as part of The Bellevue Collection expansion.  The hotel’s contemporary design will be reflective of its position near the shores of Lake Washington and Bellevue’s history as a lakeside vacation destination.Throughout its spaces, W Bellevue will reinterpret modern luxury with cutting-edge design, signature amenities, and innovative programming around passions for music, fashion and design. lincolnsquareexpansion.com

Restaurants and Private Dining

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La Bu La’s contemporary space. Photo via labula-dining.com.

Fresh New Digs, Same Authentic Sichuanese Taste | Bellevue’s beloved Bamboo Garden Sichuanese restaurant has reopened in a new space with a new name, La Bu La. The restaurant boasts a contemporary atmosphere  with floor to ceiling windows and a sit down bar as well as new private dining options. As the name suggests (La Bu La translates to “spicy not spicy”), the restaurant caters to a range of tastes by offering both authentic Szechuan dishes and American-Chinese fare. labula-dining.com

Grab a Bite All Night Long | Looking for breakfast at 2am? You’re in luck. The iconic Northwest staple, 13 Coins, is now open in Bellevue, featuring a 24 hour menu and night owl drink specials. If you’d like a little entertainment with your meal, drop in during the live music performances on Friday and Saturday nights. 13coins.com

Dine Under the Summer Sun | When the sun shines, head outside to dine! During the summer months, many Bellevue restaurants open seasonal patios or outdoor seating areas. Here are of some of our favorite places to dine with a side of sunshine.

Activities and Attractions

Inside jcoco’s pop up shop at Bellevue Square.

Chocolate Goes Chic in Bellevue | Introducing jcoco, a new line of American couture chocolate by Seattle Chocolate Company. The chocolate draws inspiration from cultures across the globe to create a fresh, contemporary style and original flavor combinations that are always chic and approachable. Visit jcoco’s colorful pop up shop, open through December in Bellevue Square, for a hands-on, sensory experience unlike any other chocolate shop around. For an even richer experience, set up a group tasting event to learn about (and try!) creative ways to pair the bars with different beverages and foods. jcocochocolate.com

Hop Aboard and Spot an Orca | It’s never been easier to spot whales during your trip to the Puget Sound region!  Puget Sound Express has expanded their offerings to include daily whale watching tours departing from Edmonds, a seaside community just 22 miles northwest of Bellevue. The tour takes passengers on a 4.5 hour tour to the San Juan Islands and back, making it an easy excursion from Bellevue. seattle.pugetsoundexpress.com

On the Fashion Front | The Parisian luxury fashion brand, Hermes, opened an expanded 10,000 square-foot boutique in June at The Shops at The Bravern. Also new to the Bravern is Catimini , a high end French children’s clothing brand. Soft Surroundings, a laid back, breezy clothing store recently opened at The Bellevue Collection. Two trendy apparel retailers, Japanese retailer Uniqlo and Spanish retailer Zara, are opening locations this fall at The Bellevue Collection.

Boutique Concert Venue is Music to our Ears | Bellevue’s newest performing arts center, Resonance, is a small 3,200 square-foot venue that hosts concerts featuring local, regional and national performing artists and musicians. The space is also available for private parties, weddings, corporate events and fundraisers. Upcoming Resonance Events

Bellevue Visitors Ride Free with Uber | Visit Bellevue Washington and Uber have partnered together to offer Bellevue visitors their first ride free up to $20. Simply text VISITBELLEVUE TO 827-222 to redeem. View Offer

Outdoor Summer Entertainment | During the summer months, we try to do anything we can to spend time outside – cue this year’s lineup of outdoor movies at Crossroads Park and outdoor concerts at Marymoor Park and Chateau Ste Michelle Winery. View a schedule of upcoming concerts here.

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Attendance Promotion and DMOs – Your Partner In Growing Your Events

Article source: DMAI / empowerMINT.com
Meydenbauer-Center-Convention-Crowd

It goes without saying that attendees are the lifeblood of meetings and events. Strong attendance means more business gets accomplished, exhibitors are happier, educational sessions are well attended, hotel room blocks are filled and you maximize your ROI. But when it comes to promoting the most robust attendance possible, why go it alone when Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) are there to help you? From pre-promotion and website building to social media assistance and destination collateral, many DMOs offer a comprehensive range of attendee promotion services to help you build excitement and encourage event participation, either for free or at low cost. Here’s a look at some attendee-boosting services many DMOs are providing to help make your meetings bigger, better and busier!

Pre-Event Buzz

Promoting attendance is one thing, but encouraging and inciting attendance is another. After all, if you don’t make your meeting sound interesting and exciting, you may miss a big chunk of your potential audience! That’s where the DMO can bolster your pre-promotional efforts by creating buzz for your event well in advance.

Visit Bellevue Washington can provide groups with Bellevue materials to to assist with pre-event promotion.

Once your business is booked in their destination, many DMOs will make a point of attending your annual event the year before so they can engage with attendees, hand out visitor’s guides and brochures, answer questions about their destination and build  excitement about next year’s meeting. In addition, many DMOs will provide customized video presentations at opening or closing sessions to inspire future attendance.

“One year before the conference we’ll go to the annual meeting and talk about what’s coming up next in Minneapolis,” says Leslie Wright, senior vice president of destination sales and services at Meet Minneapolis. “We set up a booth, provide brochures and try to encourage engagement by showing a promotional video and downtown images on an iPad. That way attendees can ask questions, find out what’s going on at that time of year and get excited about attending in Minneapolis.”


 The Visit Bellevue Washington destination video is available for use by meeting planners.

Tech Assistance

As the meetings and events industry moves into the digital age, more and more DMOs are honing their technological skills and services in the form of website building, social media and mobile applications. Many DMOs can create customized event landing pages that not only promote the upcoming meeting but also provide attendees with helpful information about what to see and do while in the destination, including restaurants, events and attractions.

“We can create a microsite that has their housing link, things to do pre- and post-event, things to do while they’re in the city during the conference and maps and links for activities around the city,” says Kate Kurkjian, director of convention services for Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We’ll actually build the page for them along with their logo or any other information they want to include. We can also push the word out (about the event) with our Facebook page or Twitter feeds.”

And as more organizations and companies venture into social media to promote their meetings, many DMOs are staying in lock step with that trend. Case in point is the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau, which offers a range of social media attendee promotion services from basic to advanced and free to low-cost, depending on the needs of each event.

“We offer the very basic kinds of things to a more strategic approach to boosting attendance through social media,” says Steve Genovesi, ACVB vice president of sales. “For example, we can post on their Facebook page about what’s happening in Austin over the specific times of the convention.”

All the world loves a bargain and that’s why more DMOs, including Austin, are turning from paper and emailed coupons to mobile apps offering attendees a fun variety of discounts and special offers they can access on-the-go and take advantage of while in the destination.

Onsite Excitement

Besides providing brochures, visitors guides and maps to help attendees get around and plan fun things to see and do, DMOs can also assist with additional onsite promotion efforts that can make a big splash with very little effort, says Kurkjian.

“We can provide banners around the city, signage at the airport and more onsite stuff and link them with members that can provide additional advertising and messages while they’re here for the conference.” says Kurkjian. “For some meeting planners (attendee promotion) can be really tough because they’re going year over year over year and it’s a lot of work, so many may never have the opportunity to think about the extras that can really add to a meeting or conference.”

Bellevue-Banners-BrandingBanners for a convention in downtown Bellevue.

Everybody likes getting a little something for free, so DMOs can also provide groups withfun, destination-specific logo promotional items for attendee welcome bags or as special give-aways at the event.

Good Promotion Makes Good Cents

Although many of these services are complimentary, it doesn’t hurt to take advantage of those attendee promotion services that might cost you a little bit more, as long as it makes sense for your group. After all, when your event is well attended and successful, everybody wins: your organization, your participants, the destination and you!

“DMOs really capture the destination and if destination appeal is part of your marketing plan or part of what drives your attendees then it makes absolute sense to have the DMO help you with (attendee promotion),” says Lisa Dyson, director of conference services for TESOL International Association. “They allow you to do more marketing than you might otherwise be able to do on your own, particularly if you don’t have a full-time marketing staff.”

To learn more about how Visit Bellevue Washington can help you plan and promote your event in Bellevue, view our convention services information here.

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Get Active

GetActive

Your body loves to move, so get out there and move it! Set aside a little bit of time to try one of these 5 healthy ways to appreciate the day right here in Bellevue.

1.     Bike along the new 520 bike trail

520 Trail

The 520 bike trail has been around for a while, but as a result of the 520 bridge project, it’s been slowly expanding as new bits and pieces are added. Perfect for a solitary ride or a trip with your friends, cruise along any section of this lovely new path from the Evergreen Point Bridge all the way to Redmond.

 

 

2.     Pick up the walking tour map and learn about Bellevue’s history

OldBellevue

Walking isn’t just great exercise, it’s also the best way to learn about Bellevue’s history and discover its hidden treasures. Grab a brochure and embark on the self-guided Early Bellevue Walking Tour, presented by the Eastside Heritage Center. With loads of interesting historical facts and pictures, this is a great way for the curious-minded to be active and learn at the same time.

3.     Rent a paddle board from Enatai boathouse and explore Lake Washington

The best exercise is the kind that doesn’t feel like exercise. Paddle boarding is so much fun you won’t even realize what a workout it is! Stop by Enatai Beach Park, rent a paddle board from the boathouse, and start paddling around Lake Washington. With beautiful views of waterfront parks, homes, hills, and Mount Rainier, it’s one of the best ways to spend the day.

 

4.     Birdwatch at Lake Hills Greenbelt, Mercer Slough, or Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

Bird

Bellevue is dense with richly forested public parks—perfect for any birdwatchers among us.  Grab a pair of binoculars and a book on Washington’s native birds and walk around Lake Hills Greenbelt, Mercer Slough, Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, or any other of Bellevue’s beautiful public parks.

 

 

5.     Take a dip in one of the swimming beaches

SwimmingBeaches

The sun is out, which means no more indoor swimming pool! With Lake Washington to the West and Lake Sammamish to the East, Bellevue has a variety of beaches to dive into. Stop by Chism Beach Park and throw a picnic in their large grassy picnic area before running to the water, or explore Meydenbauer Beach Park, one of Bellevue’s best kept secret beaches. So come out, pick your favorite beach, and swim in the wild waters!

Paddle boarding photo courtesy of Taylor via Flickr.

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You’re Never Too Old to Play

Mox

“Youth” doesn’t depend on how you look, or even on how old you are—youth is a state of mind! Sometimes we forget that the true fountain of youth is the simple act of playing. Bellevue offers tons of ways for everybody, young and old, to play.

1.     Play a game on the jumbo chess board at Crossroads

Chess

Not a chess master? Doesn’t matter. The jumbo chess board in the Game Lane at Crossroads Shopping Area is fun to play with no matter your skill level. You can sign up for free 30 minute session to play on the 8 foot by 8 foot chess board. Drop by and challenge your friends to a match. Win or lose, it may just be the most immersive chess experience of your life. Open on weekdays from 4pm till close and 11am till close on weekends.

 

2.     Game in the tournament room at Mox Boarding House

MoxBoardingHouse

You’ve never been to a gaming store like Mox Boarding House before. Perusing their huge game library is just one part of the experience—they’ve also go artisanal dining (yes, artisanal) and a massive tournament room that hosts daily events. It’s both a dream-come-true for board game enthusiasts and a luxurious experience for the casual gamer. Open Monday through Friday from 11am to 12am, and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 12am.

3.     Play games at one of Uncle’s Games Board Game Nights

UnclesGames

Sometimes, that old, beat-up copy of Monopoly isn’t going to cut it. When it’s time to try something new, Uncle’s Games at Crossroads Mall hosts Board Game Night every Saturday evening at 6pm. Their store is chock-full of board games to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a quirky new place to game or meet other like-minded gamers, Uncle’s Games provides the perfect outlet. Check out their list of events, grab some friends, and make a night of it. Image courtesy of Uncle’s Games.

4.     Play at Crossroads Spray Park

SprayPark

Looking for a way to play with the kids? Cool off on hot summer days by running through the water spray playground at the Crossroads Community Park. They’ll have a blast exploring the water themed landscape of spitting frogs, spouting orcas, and squirting clams, and you’ll have a blast playing alongside them. If you’d rather not get wet, the 34-acre park also has basketball courts, tennis courts, horse shoe pits, and a large green space for soccer and Frisbee.

 

5.     Play shuffleboard at Tavern Hall

TavernHall

For those who like their tavern fare paired with some casual gaming, Tavern Hall has what you need. Grab a draught beer and one of the best burgers on the Eastside, and start a game of shuffleboard with your friends. With 4 custom-made shuffle board tables and 30 flatscreens located around the tavern, you won’t have any problems playing games or watching them. Eat, drink, and be merry—and stay as long as you’d like.

 

Photo credits: 2) courtesy of Mox Boarding House, 3) courtesy of Uncle’s Board Games, 5) image courtesy of Geoffrey Smith

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Treat Yourself

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Having a tough week? Sometimes you’ve just got to treat yourself… to some treats. Thankfully, Bellevue is full of tasty little luxuries. Try one or try them all—we all need to indulge our taste buds from time to time.

1.     Boehm’s Candies Tour

MoreCandies

Handcrafted chocolate bars, chews, soft centers, nut clusters, toffee, sea salt and caramel, and so much more. Boehm’s Candies has something to satisfy every sweet tooth. Just a short drive away in neighboring  Issaquah, Boehm’s Candies has been handcrafting sweets for the past 70 years. Take a tour of their facilities and watch fresh batches of candy being made. Enjoy views of the beautiful High Alpine Chapel as well as their authentic chalet where the founder lived. Self-guided tours are best done Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm, while guided tours must be reserved.

2.     Try a Peanut Butter Bacon Cheese Burger at Local Burger

LocalBurger

Peanut butter bacon cheese burger… sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it? But at the same time, it almost sounds too good to be true. You can always trust the chefs at Local Burger to push the boundaries of the burger without sacrificing taste or quality. Committed to sourcing the highest quality sustainable ingredients from local farmers, Local Burger takes their name seriously. Check out their menu of juicy burgers, cocktails, and desserts. They’re open from 11am to 10pm, every day.

 

3.     Gelato at Vovito

Vovito

Little known fact: gelato has less sugar, fat, and calories than ice cream. Yet, its flavor is more intense with a dense, velvety texture. Discover the beauty of gelato at Vovito, located at the Shops at the Bravern, where the gelato is handcrafted using age-old techniques and imported equipment from Italy. On top of that, it’s made without additives, preservatives, or artificial flavors. You know you’re getting the real deal. Don’t stop with the gelato, though—Vovito has sorbetto, coffee, tea, beer, wine and more! Open every day of the week with varying hours.

4.     Bananas foster at John Howie Steak

John Howie Steak

At John Howie Steak, they don’t reserve their culinary excellence for just the steak. Treat yourself to their delectable Bananas Foster, prepared with banana, brown sugar, butter, banana liquor, Cruzan “151” rum, and cinnamon, all served on vanilla ice cream. If you’re in the mood for something more savory, John Howie Steak also serves custom-aged steaks along with an award-winning wine list. Check out their hours and experience their unmatched level of service and attention to detail.

5.     Happy Hour Oysters at Monsoon East

Known for their exquisite Vietnamese cuisine and acclaimed barrel-aged cocktails, Monsoon East’s happy hour is one of the best deals on the Eastside. Indulging your love of seafood has never been more affordable with local raw oysters on the halfshell for just $1.50. Want more? They’ve also got $5 appetizers. Pair your food with a handmade cocktail, cold beer, or a wine from their award-winning wine list, and you’ve got one of the most affordable fine dining experiences in Bellevue. Happy hour at Monsoon East is Sunday through Thursday, 3pm to 6pm and 9pm to close.

 

(Images from top to bottom courtesy of Boehm’s Candies, Local Burger, Vovito, John Howie Steak, and Monsoon East)

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Soak up the Bellevue Sun!

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Five ways to get outside and enjoy the sunshine in and around Bellevue

Winter may be grey and rainy, but natives know that Washington actually does get sunshine in the summer. And on those sunny days, Washington’s beauty is unparalleled. Here are some great ways to get outside and soak up some vitamin D this summer!

1.     Camping at Vasa Park Resort

VasaPark

Located on the beautiful shores of Lake Sammamish, Vasa Park Resort is the perfect place to spend a summer weekend. It has everything from picnic areas to beach access with swimming, diving boards, and waterslides. Camp in a tent or hook up your RV, and spend the rest of the day relaxing in Vasa Park’s beautiful woodsy setting. Feel free to bring your pet and let them stretch their legs in the dog running area just outside the park! To make a reservation, call Vasa Park Resort today at 425-746-3260.

2.     Discovery Backpack Program

DiscoveryBackpack

Packing a backpack is tough work. At Mercer Slough, they do it for you. Stop on by and pick up one of their Discovery Backpacks for a self-guided tour through the Mercer Slough Nature Park. Packed with binoculars, magnifying lenses, and easy-to-use nature guides, you can track wildlife, bird watch, and identify water creatures on your very own. Get in touch with your wilder side and satisfy your curiosity through 7+ miles of trails in the largest of Lake Washington’s fresh water wetlands.

3.     Experience farm life at Kelsey Creek Farm

KelseyCreek

Escape from the urban jungle and immerse yourself in Kelsey Creek Farm Park’s serene countryside. Built back in the 1930’s, Kelsey Creek Farm is full of old country charm and rural beauty, complete with white-rail fencing and green pastures. Walk along the paths and see ponies, sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, rabbits, and waterfowl. They offer tours and classes where you can interact with the animals and learn more about the farm’s history. If you’re just looking for a calm place to relax and enjoy the day, the farm is open every day from 9:30am to 3:30pm, while the playground, picnic tables, and picnic shelter are open from dawn to dusk.

4.     Stroll thru Bellevue Botanical Garden

BotanicalGarden

With 53 acres of diverse gardens, meadows, wetlands, and forests, it’s impossible to see everything the Bellevue Botanical Garden has to offer in one day. Stroll around and gape at the beauty on your own, or come for a guided tour to learn about healthy gardening and plant practices. In addition, the Bellevue Botanical Gardens are a great place for plant sales, community celebrations, concerts, and art exhibits. Open daily from dawn to dusk, with the Visitor Center open from 9am to 4pm.

5.     Soar through the Forest on the Zip Tour

ZipTour

Lots of people walk through forests, but not many people fly through them! Zip through the tree tops with family and friends on the Bellevue Zip Tour. With a skilled staff from Northwest Teambuilding that puts safety first, and 6.5 zip lines, cast fear aside and get wild high above Bellevue. To register, visit: www.MyParksandRecreation.com and enter “ZIP” in the search field or call (425)-452-4240.

 

(Photos from top to bottom courtesy of KomoNews.com, Mercer Slough Nature Park, Kelsey Creek Farm Park, and Bellevue Zip Tour)

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5 Things to do With Your Kids in Bellevue

Courtesy of KidsQuest, for use in media and social media

Bellevue is full of fun ways to spend time with your children. These activities are sure to bring out the inner-child in everyone!

1.     Find retro video games at Pink Gorilla

My husband's old NES games and controller. Walked into the game room because it's full of goodies and came out with this picture. :)

Relive the glory days of video gaming at Pink Gorilla. Though they sell all the modern systems and games—PS4s, XBOX Ones—they also have an impressive inventory of all the classics. And by impressive, we mean they’ve got popular and obscure games for nearly every console all the way back to the Atari 2600. Children can learn how fun video games were even before 3D graphics were a thing, while adults can play all their favorite games that they thought they might never see again. And hey, the kids might even learn a little history in the process. The Pink Gorilla is open every day from 11am to 7pm.

2.     Go to a baseball game – Seattle U or Mariners

Baseball

There’s no better way to appreciate a hot summer day than to go see a baseball game. A love for baseball transcends all ages. Make a day of it and take your family to a Seattle Mariners at SafeCo Field in downtown Seattle, or stay in Bellevue and see our very own Seattle University Redhawks play at Bannerwood Park. Grab some hot dogs and get ready to cheer our teams to victory! You can find a schedule of home games for both teams here.

3.     Let your inner speed demon lose at K1 Speed

K1Speed

No driver’s license is necessary to experience the thrill of driving at K1 Speed, which offers some of the best indoor go kart racing in the King County area. Let your inner speed demon lose as you race your family and friends! The height requirement for junior racers is 4ft (48”) in order to race, and the height requirement for adults is 4ft 10in (58”). K1 Speed has Junior Kart hours 7 days a week, Monday through Thursday from 12pm to 10pm, Friday from 11am to 12am, Saturday from 10am to 12am, and Sunday from 10am to 10pm.

4.     Pump, splash and create music at KidsQuest

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Encourage a love of learning by taking your children to the KidsQuest Children’s Museum, where play and education come hand in hand. With an emphasis on whole-family learning and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), KidsQuest is a whole-body, whole-brain experience. Geared toward children from birth to age ten, children can explore huge birdhouses, splash through the Waterways, experiment with air at Whoosh!, tinker inside the Construction Zone, and so much more! Plan your visit today.

5.     Pro belay at Stone Gardens

StoneGardens

It’s not just great exercise—climbing is an activity people of all ages can enjoy. If you’re looking for an active way to spend time with your kids, check out Bellevue’s Stone Gardens. They’re chock-full of junior programs and fun summer programs for kids. If you’re new to climbing, they offer a fun and rewarding pro belay class where anyone can come and learn how to handle the ropes and learn a few climbing tricks. Stone Gardens is open Monday through Friday from 6am to 11pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 10pm.

(Photos from top to bottom courtesy of KidsQuest Children’s Museum, Arielle Fragassi via Flickr, Bernard Delmundo via Flickr, KidsQuest, and Stone Gardens)

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You Can Sleep in the Fall

By Monica Fischer
Meydenbauer Beach Park by Merrill Images

The Pacific Northwest is known for its active inhabitants, hearty enough to brave any weather condition with a little Gortex and a lot of determination. But when the long, light days of summer finally arrive, even we sometimes surprise ourselves with our zest for getting out there!

We’re all too aware that shorter days will arrive before we know it, so we take advantage of every last minute of daylight— jogging, boating, dancing, biking, eating, drinking, golfing and cheering our favorite teams!

Bellevue Strawberry FestivalWe don’t have nearly enough space to mention all of the wonderful things taking place this summer, so be sure to check our events calendar for more fun.

If you’re the festive type, mark your calendar for the Main Street Choc Walk (May 30), the Bellevue Strawberry Festival (June 27-28), the Bellevue Arts Fair (July 24-26) and the Taste of Main (August 22). Music lovers should take note of Bellevue’s Live at Lunch performances, as well as outdoor concert series at Chateau Ste. Michelle and Marymoor Park.

Sports fans will head to the pitch for Seattle Sounders FC and Seattle Reign soccer matches, the ballpark for Seattle Mariners baseball games or Key Arena for Seattle Storm basketball games. And as summer stretches into fall, football fans by the carload—and boatload—will flock to Century Link Field for Seahawks games and Husky Stadium for UW football games.

For those who would rather participate than spectate, Bellevue offers the Lake to Lake Bike Ride (June 13) and nearby Kirkland introduces the Sounders Rave Green Run, a 9K at Juanita Beach Park.

Bellevue Outdoor Movies - Credit Bellevue Parks & Community Services - Colin WalkerYou still have free time?! In that case, we suggest tours at the Bellevue Botanical Garden, a visit to the farmers market, Movies in the Park, or an unforgettable Independence Day celebration with your kids—and your dogs—at Bellevue Family 4th and Four on the 4th Dog Jog and Walk.

And last but not least, raise a toast to your fabulous Northwest summer while you sample Washington’s award-winning wines at one of Woodinville’s many wineries, at Kirkland Uncorked (July 17-19) or the Auction of Washington Wines (Aug. 13-15). And if your brain is still buzzing with wonderful memories after you leave Bellevue, take heart: There will be plenty of time to sleep in October.

 

 Photo Credits: Girl eating shortcake courtesy Bellevue Strawberry Festival; Bellevue Outdoor Movies in the Park courtesy Bellevue Parks & Community Services / Colin Walker
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