Try Something New

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It doesn’t matter how adventurous we are—there are some things we just don’t think to do! If you’re looking for some fresh experiences, have no fear: there’s always something new to do in Bellevue!

1.     Sing Karaoke at Stone Lounge

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Head to downtown Bellevue for some upscale—that’s right, upscale—karaoke. Stone Lounge is equipped with 11 private VIP suites stacked with state-of-the-art karaoke equipment. Fueling your wild singing is gourmet food created Executive Chef Jason Velasquez. Check out their website to plan your next night out with friends.

 

2.     Watch a horse show at Bridle Trails

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Have you ever seen a horse show? Bridle Trails hosts plenty of shows run by Bellevue’s community of passionate equestrians. Maybe you want to see some Jumper Fun Shows where horses glide over obstacles? Or maybe you’d like to catch a Hunter Fun Show? Whatever your preference, Bridle Trails has a show to make you fall in love with these majestic creatures. Bridle Trails is located in Northeast Bellevue and includes Bridle Trails State Park which focused on equestrian activities.

3.     Try the weekly experiment at Lunchbox Laboratory

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What’s the weekly experiment, you say? No, Lunchbox Laboratory isn’t a science lab, but it’s just as inspired. Check out their menu of weekly experiments, full of mouthwatering foods with a subtle twist. Maybe you want MegynKelly’s Nose, a taco-spiced signature blended beef patty with pico de gallo, aged manchego cheese, and chipotle mayo, washed down with a Summer Peach Shake? Give your taste buds something to talk about.

 

 

 

4.     Live at Lunch Outdoor Concert

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Join the Bellevue residents and workers at the Bellevue Downtown Association for Live at Lunch, every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from Noon to 1:30pm. From Beatle’s tribute bands, to genres like reggae and blues, Live at Lunch has a variety of music for everyone to enjoy. So bring some food, coworkers, and spice up your afternoon!

 

5.     Cougar Mountain Zoo

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Nestled into the side of Cougar Mountain, just under 10 miles from Downtown Bellevue, is Cougar Mountain Zoo, a beautiful patch of land full of exotic creatures. Take a step into the peculiar and marvelous worlds of endangered species like Lemurs and Bengal Tigers. This zoo is home to many beautiful species, sure to provide delight and discussion for the whole family.

 

Images courtesy of Stone Lounge, Lake Washington Saddle Club, Lunchbox Laboratory, musicians Ben Hunter & Joes Seamons via Bellevue Downtown, and Cougar Mountain Zoo

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Let’s Go Exploring!

There’s so much to see and so much to do! Maybe you’re not running through jungles seeking an ancient treasure, but you can always explore unique stores, new recipes, and unknown histories.

1.     Find hidden gems at Haystack Antiques

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Haystack Antiques is full of fascinating treasures that you can’t find anywhere else. Discover the perfect decoration or household item while wandering the isles of hand-crafted beauties from years past.

 

 

2.     Pick Blueberries

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Want to get your hands dirty with tasty fruit juices? Make sure to stop by one of Bellevue’s many U-pick blueberry farms before the summer season ends! Explore the fields of Mercer Slough and Larson Lake, plucking blueberries, popping them into your basket or your mouth.

 

 

3.     Try a new recipe at Uwajimaya or HMart

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One of the most exciting frontiers: food! For all the cultural foodies out there, Bellevue has plenty to satisfy a varied culinary desire. With grocery stores like Uwajimaya, H Mart, International Deli, and La Superior Mexican Grocery, there are plenty of ways to create an exciting dish you’ve never had before.

 

 

4.     Find unique items made in the Northwest at the BAM store

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So much art is mass-produced; it’s hard to find unique pieces anymore. At the Bellevue Arts Museum, you can find plenty of distinctive pieces crafted right here in the Northwest. Sure, you could shop online, but there’s nothing like travelling around the actual store and seeing each piece before your very eyes.

 

5.     Visit these historic spots around Bellevue

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Historic cabins, rustic railroad trestles, quaint farms—take a journey through Bellevue’s history with Eastside Heritage Center’s self-guided tour of historic sites. There’s plenty to see and learn, so get out there!

 

 

 

 

Image 1 courtesy of Haystack Antiques, image 4 courtesy of Bellevue Arts Museum, and image 5 courtesy of amy via Flickr

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Soul Food

Slow down, take a breath, and relax. Aside from all its great eats, Bellevue is also full of wholesome food for the soul. Art installations, spa treatments, retail therapy…we have what you need to rest the spirit.

1.     “In the Realm of Nature” at BAM

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In the Realm of Nature brings together two of the most revered artists in American craft history: Bob Stocksdale, a master of woodturning, and Kay Sekimachi, who creates unbelievable complex weave structures. Witness the history of their creative partnership from novice artists to their marriage together.

 

 

 

 

2.     Find a candleholder that matches your mood at Glassybaby

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Full of minimalist candleholders, Glassybaby has a huge variety to suit any mood. There are hundreds of colors to choose from, perfect to create ambient lighting for a bubble bath, romantic evening, or whatever else you need. As an added bonus, 10% of every glassybaby purchase is donated to organizations the help people, animals, and the environment—now that’s some soul food.

 

3.     Recoop spa treatments

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No matter who you are, everyone—EVERYONE—should experience the tranquil bliss of a spa. Recoop offers several different spa treatments, ranging from traditional treatments like “Girlfriends Getaway,” to male specific treatments like “Man Cave.” Take a look through some of Recoop’s options and pamper yourself accordingly.

 

4.     Visit the historic Winters House

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For people who love history, Frederick W. Winters House is the only place in Bellevue on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1929, it has retained its architectural integrity, remaining on its original site. Available for just a day visit or a rental, it’s a great place to explore Washington’s horticultural history and marvel at its beautiful Spanish Eclectic style architecture.

 

5.     Shop at Bravern while kids have Little Bookworms story time

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Sometimes, the best soul food comes in the form of retail. If you ever need a break, every Wednesday from 11:00am to noon, Seattle Nanny Network hosts Little Bookworms. Children get to enjoy stories, songs, and nutrient-dense snacks while you treat yourself.

 

 

Images courtesy of the Bellevue Arts Museum, Glassybaby, Recoop Spa, the City of Bellevue,  and the Bravern

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Earth, Wind, and Water

Sorry—no fire. The ban is still in effect, you know. Still, Bellevue has plenty of exciting ways to experience the elements. Check out these 5 fresh and interesting ways to experience Bellevue.

1.     Mural at Bellevue Skate Park

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Catch some air, or just watch other people—either way, the Bellevue Indoor Skatepark is a fun place to go. If skateboarding just isn’t your thing, they’ve got a zesty new mural by artist Todd Lown that’s a feast for the eyes.

 

 

 

2.     Kenmore Air Tour

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Most of us have driven and walked through the greater Bellevue area’s beautiful locations, but how many of us have through a bird’s eye view? Kenmore Air offers stunning flight tours over the San Juan Islands, Victoria BC, Seattle, and many more.

 

3.     Putt putt at the Rusty Putter at Newcastle Golf course

Nothing quite gets you as intimate with the landscape as golf. At Newcastle’s Rusty Putter putting course, you get to enjoy unbelievable views while navigating your golf ball through turf, sand, and water traps. Find out more here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.     Go for a jog at Mercer Slough

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With more than 7 miles of boardwalks, soft surface trails, and asphalt paths, Mercer Slough is a great place for runners looking for scenery wilder than their neighborhoods. Jogging through forests, wetlands, and meadows will make you feel closer to the earth than ever.

 

 

5.     Rent a boat on Lake Washington

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See what Bellevue looks like from the water. If you don’t have your own boat, there are plenty of places to rent from in town. Escape from land and float away on Lake Washington’s waves.

 

 

 

Images courtesy of City of Bellevue Washington via Flickr, Kenmore Air, Newcastle Golf, and SounderBruce via Flickr

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Stroll Bellevue

 By Megan Hill  | This article originally appeared in the 2015 Bellevue Visitor’s Guide
Coal-Creek-Park-BridgeCoal Creek Trail

For those more into leisurely ambles than aggressive ascents, Bellevue offers amazing strolls through botanical garden paths, massive parks, and even a slough.

1. Bellevue Pedestrian Corridor: The boulevard created to make the area more walkable has transformed the city’s core. The corridor passes shops, restaurant patios, and downtown’s more than 120 works of public art. From the pathway, you can connect to Bellevue’s Downtown Park.

2. Ardmore Park: A thick canopy of Douglas fir and hemlock obscure the city surrounding this 28-acre park in east Bellevue. The park’s main trail runs for almost two miles, climbing several hills and crossing small streams. Details

3. Lake Hills Greenbelt: These trails traverse 172 acres of varied terrain, from wetlands to cedar forest. Park rangers lead family-friendly hikes, instructing visitors on topics like local wildlife, fungus, and watershed restoration.

Dahlia-Garden-at-Bellevue-Botanical-Garden-by-Sea-Turtle-via-Flickr4. Bellevue Botanical Garden: The 53 acres of gardens, forest, and wetland are open dawn to dusk daily, and entrance is free to all. In addition to peaceful strolling, the garden hosts summer concerts and a holiday lights festival.

5. Mercer Slough: This park encompasses 320 acres of Washington’s largest wetland and seven miles of boardwalks, soft-surface paths, and asphalt trails. Rangers guide nature walks every Saturday at 2pm, and in summer, canoe trips from Enatai Beach Park.

6. Weowna Park: This park’s 90 acres protect old-growth forest and open spaces with views of the Cascade Mountains. The 2.5 miles of trails crisscross Weowna Creek as it tumbles through a deep ravine toward Lake Sammamish.

7. Coal Creek: A well-maintained network of trails crosses through thick second-growth forest along Coal Creek. You may spot artifacts from the now-defunct mining activities that once took place here, including an old mineshaft.

8. Lake to Lake Greenway Trail: This greenbelt runs between Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington and links several Bellevue parks with some 10 miles of paved paths. Look for the blue bollards that mark the way from Weowna Park, Wilburton Hill Park, and Kelsey Creek Park.

9. Lewis Creek Park: This 55-acre park preserves wetlands, grasslands, and forests surrounding Lewis Creek and its tributaries. Walk the half-mile loop through all three ecosystems, or join a ranger-led hike—including nighttime tours to search for owls and other nocturnal wildlife.

Photo Credits (from top to bottom): Coal Creek Trail by 若昔难得 via Flickr | Bellevue Botanical Garden by Sea Turtle via Flickr
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Great Breakfasts for Good Mornings

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The importance of breakfast is no secret; and now, neither are the best breakfast spots in Bellevue. Start the day off right by stopping at any one of these restaurants for a full, healthy breakfast.

1.     Get breakfast at 2am at 13 Coins

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Who knows why you’re out and about at 2 in the morning? Whatever your reason, 13 Coins has a 24-hour breakfast menu made with you in mind. Get rid of those late-night cravings with their famous benedicts or omelets. Of course, their 24-hour menu includes non-breakfast items, but as far as we’re concerned, anything eaten that early in the morning is still breakfast.

 

2.     Down-home breakfast at Chace’s Pancake Corral

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If you like your breakfast simple, Chace’s Pancake Corral has exactly what you need. Their menu is full of classic, perfectly-prepared breakfast items. Open Monday through Friday from 5:45am to 2:30pm, Saturday from 6am to 3pm, and Sunday from 6:30am to 3pm, come and find out why Chace’s has been a Bellevue favorite since 1958.

 

 

 

 

3.     Eat Breakfast Outside at Gilberts on Main

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Enjoy a high-quality breakfast in Bellevue’s fashionable West End. Gilberts on Main’s charming venue offers outside seating, perfect for bright summer mornings. You may even run into owner Steve Gilbert, the ‘Bagel Legend’ himself, who goes out of his way to make Gilbert’s a memorable experience for everyone who stops by.

4.     Share a Massive Cinnamon Roll at Lil’ Jon Restaurant

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It may be unconventionally huge, but after your first bite you may not want to share your cinnamon roll from Lil’ Jon Restaurant. Their menu also includes enormous pancakes, hearty omelets, and plenty of other breakfast staples. Come with an appetite!

 

 

 

 

 

5.     Try Freshly Baked Pogacha Bread at Café Pogacha

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Friendly staff, quick service, and tasty, reasonably priced food—what more could one ask for? How about pogacha bread, baked fresh in an applewood fired oven every day? Stop by Café Pogacha and enjoy a breakfast sandwich made with their famous pogacha bread, along with a cup of coffee or espresso.

 

 

1) Courtesy of 13 Coins, 2) Courtesy of Chace’s Pancake Corral, 3) Courtesy of Gilbert’s on Main, 4) Courtesy of Lil’ Jon Restaurant, 5) Courtesy of Café Pagocha

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Bellevue Summer Bucket List

Summer in Bellevue is…. perfection. The only problem is, it just never seems to last long enough! Here’s our bucket list of 10 things (in no particular order) that you absolutely MUST do in Bellevue before the sweet sunny days have all come and gone.

1. Kayak the Slough

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Rent a kayak or canoe from the boathouse at Enatai Beach Park and paddle your way up through the serene waters of Mercer Slough, Lake Washington’s largest remaining wetland. Be sure to keep an eye out for local wildlife such as blue herons, beavers, turtles, frogs, and otters!

2. Browse One-of-a-kind Finds at the Bellevue Arts Fair

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Every year during the last weekend of July, Bellevue becomes a haven of handmade goods and artsy finds as the Bellevue Arts Fair takes over downtown. You never know what treasures you’ll find or fascinating artists you’ll meet as you weave through the hundreds of stalls.

3. Spend a Day on the Farm

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Get a glimpse of country life on the farm at Kelsey Creek Park in Bellevue. A trip to the park makes the perfect family outing and kids will love seeing the horses, goats, sheep, goats, and other animals in the barnyard.

4. Take Off on the Bellevue Zip Tour

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What better way to get outside during the summer months than by soaring through the trees on a zipline? Don’t worry, we won’t judge you if you get the urge to pretend for just a bit that you’re superman as you’re swinging high above the ground.

5. Enjoy Sips and Sounds Under the Sun

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What’s the perfect way to wind down after a busy summer day? You’ll find us sipping on handcrafted cocktails and listening to local bands play on the very spacious patio at Bake’s Place or one of Bellevue other local eateries offering live music and outdoor seating.

6. Hit the Beach

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With Bellevue’s prime location on the shores of Lake Washington, you’re pretty much required to hit one of the city’s seven beach parks at least once during the summer. We don’t care if you’re building sand castles, cannon-balling off the dock, or simply sitting back to watch the sunset, we just want to make sure that you get yourself there.

7. Get Golfing

The Golf Club at Newcastle - Credit Flickr User Seattle-Amateur

Whether you’re the next Jordan Spieth or you still can’t tell your putter from your driver, there’s a golf course to suit your style in or near Bellevue. Challenge yourself on one of the scenic championship courses at The Golf Club at Newcastle, have a laid-back day out at the Discovery Trail putt putt course at Willows Run, try your hand (well, actually your foot) at foot golf at the Crossroads Par 3 course, or brush up your skills at the new driving range at the Bellevue Golf Course.

8. Splash, Spray and Play

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On a warm summer day take the kids to cool off at the water spray playground at Crossroads Park. Your little ones will get plenty of energy out as they splash and play on the spitting frogs, spouting Orcas, and squirting clams.

9. Taste Your Way Down Old Main

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Experience the charm of Old Bellevue’s Main Street at this annual Bellevue tradition on Saturday, August 22. Grab a group of friends and head to the Taste of Main for a day filled with fabulous food, live entertainment, shopping, and plenty of fun!

10. Skip the Grocery Store and Head to the Market

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Stock up on all the fresh, summer fruits and veggies (and sweet treats!) you need for your backyard barbecues at the Bellevue Farmer’s Market. The market is open Thursdays and Saturdays all season long and you can find out what’s fresh by taking a look at their harvest calendar.

Photo Credits:  1. Mercer Slough Kayakers courtesy Bellevue Parks & Community Services / Colin Walker | 2. Bellevue Arts Fair by Kaitlyn Brajcich | 3. Kelsey Creek Park Courtesy Bellevue Parks & Community Services | 4. Bellevue Zip Tour courtesy Bellevue Parks & Community Services / Colin Walker | 5. Bake’s Place Patio by Sharon Linton | 6. Chism Beach Park courtesy Bellevue Parks & Community Services | 7. The Golf Club at Newcastle by Seattle-Amateur via Flickr | 8. Crossroads Spray Park by Sharon Linton | 9. Taste of Main courtesy Detlef Schrempf Foundation | 10. Tomatoes courtesy Bellevue Farmers Market
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It’s Not Summer Until You…

Summer

Sometimes seasons just fly by, and by the end we’re left wondering if it happened at all. Each of us has certain things we need to do for it to feel like summer. Here are some of our favorite Bellevue activities!

…See an outdoor movie

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Outdoor movies aren’t a thing of the past, at least not in Bellevue. Drive out to Bellevue’s Hidden Valley Park or Crossroads Park and enjoy free outdoor movies with your family and friends! Not only will you have a blast watching family-friendly movies under the stars, but you’ll be supporting a great cause. Every movie night supports a different charity, so remember to bring the suggested donations. You can find this year’s schedule here.

…Float the Snoqualmie River

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When the sky is clear and the sun is blazing, one of the best ways to cool off, relax, and enjoy the day is to float down the Snoqualmie River. All you need are some friends and your very own floaty! If you want to get creative: stock up a cooler with your favorite beverages and snacks and pop the cooler onto a floaty.

 

…Have a picnic at one of the beach parks

Picnics are an age-old staple of summer. Perfect for romantic getaways, family gatherings, friendly hangouts, or just a solitary, quiet day with a book, there’s a picnic for every occasion. Bellevue has plenty of whimsical beach parks to settle down in on a sunny day. Whether you’re looking for a big park like Newcastle or a hidden gem like Meydenbauer, your ideal picnic is just a short drive away.

 

…Find locally grown fruits and vegetables at produce stands

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What’s better than a finishing off the day with a summer salad made with crisp leafy greens and a mix of fresh fruit? Not much! Though, wandering around the farmers market and picking out local produce is definitely a pleasurable part of the experience. Check out our list of Bellevue farmers markets, as well as our event calendar to check when each site is open.

 

…Learn to Sail

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Haven’t we all dreamed of escaping to the seas and sailing off towards the horizon? Well, if you don’t have a boat and don’t know how to sail, Island Sailing wants to help. Island Sailing is a Kirkland company that loves sailing so much, their mission is to instill that love into others. If you like your summers colored with adventure, check out their classes and experience life beyond the shore.

 

 

Outdoor Movie image courtesy City of Bellevue via Flickr, Snoqualmie float image courtesy of Fall City Floating, and produce image courtesy of Bellevue Farmers Market

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5 Bellevue Must-Dos

By Angelina Caplanis | This article originally appeared in the 2015 Bellevue Visitor Guide.

1. Shop Till You Drop

Photo courtesy The Bellevue Collection

Bellevue’s collection of expansive shopping centers has earned it a reputation for being a one-stop-shop city. Bargain buys abound at the Marketplace at Factoria, upscale fashion holds court at The Bravern, and The Bellevue Collection has a mix of everything with department stores and designer showrooms.

2. Visit Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden by Lynn via Flickr

Natural beauty continues to impress at the beloved botanical garden. Take a free tour of the 53 acres year-round. Gardens include the traditional Japanese Yao Garden, the Rhododendron Glen, and the Fuchsia Garden, where a visitor in the summer might spot a hummingbird enjoying the flowers, too. During the holidays, half a million lights transform it into an illuminated wonderland.

3. Stroll Downtown Park

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Bellevue Downtown Park by Michael Walmsley

Think of it as a park and an art gallery rolled into one—Bellevue’s Downtown Park is a nature oasis in the middle of the bustle and buildings. It’s a local favorite for its some 20 acres of greenery, half-mile-long strolling path along a canal, and numerous sculptures.

4. Take a Historic Walking Tour

     Whaling boats docked in Meydenbauer Bay, Bellevue, ca. 1925; Photo courtesy Eastside Heritage Center

Before the soaring skyscrapers and the big tech boom, Bellevue was a tiny town of timber and family farms. Relive those bygone days during a self-guided Early Bellevue Walking Tour. Download a map from the Eastside Heritage Center, and set aside two to three hours to retrace the history of the city. There are even some remnants from the past—like the headquarters for the American Pacific Whaling Company fleet—still standing today.

5. Try A Zip Line

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Bellevue Zip Tour Courtesy Bellevue Parks & Community Services / Colin Walker

Experience the area’s parks a little differently—from up in the air — on the Bellevue Zip Tour. Soar between a forest of Douglas firs and maples at Eastgate Park, where six different zip lines offer high-flying adventure from up to 80 feet off the ground. Just don’t be surprised if time zooms by on a 2.5-hour guided tour.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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