Your Complete Guide to Bellevue ARTSfair Weekend 2018

One of our favorite weekends of the year, Bellevue Arts Fair Weekend will be taking center stage in Downtown Bellevue on Friday, July 27th through Sunday, July 29th, 2018! Each year, the Bellevue Arts Fair Weekend attracts more than 300,000 attendees to Bellevue for one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest arts and crafts celebrations. This extensive guide will cover some basics tips for navigating the city during this busy weekend and will also provide information on hotels, restaurants, and things to do to help you plan the perfect weekend getaway in Bellevue, Washington.


BAM ARTSFAIR

Bellevue Square & Bellevue Arts Museum | (425) 519-0742 
Friday & Saturday: 9:30am – 9:30pm | Sunday: 10:00am – 6:00pm 

The Bellevue Arts Museum plays host to this award-winning arts & crafts festival in the Pacific Northwest. With a strong commitment to quality, handmade excellence, BAM ARTSfair supports designers, artists, and craftspeople at the local, regional and national levels. With over 300 inspiring artists showcasing their unique, handcrafted works of art, BAM ARTSfair showcases an eclectic mix of modern, traditional, and emerging artists, craftspeople and designers. Since 1947, BAM ARTSfair has been the annual gathering place for creators and community members and serves as a great way to connect to the world of art, craft & design.

In addition to this unique shopping experience, BAM ARTSfair offers free programming including BAM Exhibitions, KIDSfair, the Sound & Movement Stage, food trucks, and much more.

Parking Information & Directions to BAM ARTSFAIR: 
Valet service available at:

Bellevue Square: Northeast & Northwest Parking Garages on Level 1
Bellevue Place: Hyatt Regency Bellevue
Lincoln Square: Westin Bellevue


Bellevue Festival of the Arts

10300 NE 8th St. Bellevue, WA 98004 | (206) 363-2048 | info@bellevuefest.org 
Friday & Saturday: 10:00am – 8:00pm | Sunday: 10:00 am – 6:00pm

Celebrating its 34th year in 2018, The Bellevue Festival of the Arts features 175 of the most talented and popular artisans, musicians and craftspeople from the greater Pacific Northwest region and beyond. Produced by the Craft Cooperative of the Northwest, the festival is entirely organized by artists and supports a variety of local and global non-profit organizations with proceeds from the festival. The Bellevue Festival of the Arts remains a committed community partner and works with various local educators and features local non-profits in the festival. Located along NE 8th in the lot of Cost Plus World Market at 10300 NE 8th St. Bellevue, WA 98004.


6th Street Fair

6th Street, Bellevue, WA 98004 | (425) 453-3110
Friday & Saturday: 10:00am – 8:00pm | Sunday: 10:00 am – 6:00pm

Produced by the Bellevue Downtown Association, Bellevue’s 6th Street Fair showcases the original work of over 100 artists of sculpture, jewelry, wood and glass work, home décor, fabrics and more. The fair features a street-side layout adjacent to the Bellevue Connection with convenient access to nearby freeways, transit center and parking. Various brick-and-mortar restaurants and food trucks are located in close proximity to the fair. 6th Street Fair is located next to the Bellevue Connection and Compass Plaza along NE 6th Street and 106th Avenue NE.


Things to Do in Bellevue

If you need a break from the Arts Fairs, Bellevue also offers the ultimate in shopping, dining, and cultural attractions, all surrounded by natural beauty and outdoor spaces. Just a few steps from the bustle of the Art Fairs is Bellevue Downtown Park, located between NE 4th and NE 2nd street just west of Bellevue Way. And if you want to explore further, miles of nature trailspublic parks, and swim beaches are walking distance from downtown for a workout or unwinding. Numerous spas, museums, and art exhibitions are located in Bellevue.  Bellevue is your gateway to the entire Puget Sound Region.

Learn more about all the different types of activities in Bellevue.


Restaurants

Looking for a quick bite to eat between events? Or maybe a formal, sit-down restaurant when the night winds down? There are hundreds of restaurants in downtown Bellevue and much more across the city ranging from casual sandwich spots to 4-star chef-owned restaurants and well known national chains.

Click here to learn more about Bellevue’s diverse range of casual to fine dining options.


Hotels

Bellevue, Washington’s hotel accommodations include more than 5,500 guest rooms with options from luxurious 4-star downtown hotels to peaceful suburban retreats. Hyatt RegencyWestinHiltonSheratonCourtyard by Marriott, Hilton Garden InnMarriott Residence Inn and Seattle Marriott Bellevue are among the major hotel brands from which visitors can choose.

Click here for a complete list of Bellevue’s hotels.


Traffic Notices & Street Closures

With some downtown streets shut down for the festival, travelers should expect some congestion. Street closure locations and times include:

  • 100th Avenue NE, from NE 8th Street to NE 10th Street, will be closed in the southbound direction from 6am to 9pm on Thursday and from 5:00pm to 10pm on Sunday.
  • 100nd Avenue NE, from NE 4th Street to NE 8th Street, will be closed in the northbound direction from 6am to 7am on Thursday and from 5pm to 10pm on Sunday.
  • 102nd Avenue NE, from NE 8th Street to NE 10th Street, will be closed in both directions from 8am Friday to 9pm Sunday.
  • 106th Avenue NE, from NE 4th Street to NE 6th Street, will be closed in both directions from 6pm Thursday to 10pm Sunday.
  • NE 6th Street, from Bellevue Way to 106th Avenue NE, will be closed in both directions from 6pm Thursday to 10pm Sunday.
  • NE 10th Street, from 106th Avenue NE to 108th Avenue NE, will be  closed in the westbound direction from 5pm to 9pm Thursday.

Getting to Bellevue Art Fairs by Public Transportation
BAM ARTSfair is easily reachable by bus. Visit www.ChooseYourWayBellevue.orgMetro Transit or Sound Transit to plan your trip today!

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Bellevue’s Best Outdoor Dining (Part 1)

Food, fun, and sun all in one place: Bellevue! Summer is the best time to enjoy a meal outdoors at one of the many delicious restaurants in Bellevue. With so many walkable options, outdoor dining in Bellevue is a must see…and a must eat!

Check out some of our partner affiliates and other local eateries that offer amazing outdoor dining options!


Lot No. 3

460 106th Ave NE | 425.440.0025 | lotno3.com

Lot No. 3 Patio SeatingWhat we love: The comfort food!

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, take a moment to sit down at Lot No. 3 and enjoy exciting takes on traditional comfort foods like mac & cheese, peanut butter & jelly & bacon sliders, or even just a plate of bacon. It’s sure to fill your tummy and bring a smile to your face. The sunset view from 106th Avenue NE isn’t too shabby, either!


520 Bar & Grill

10146 Main Street | 425.450.0520 | 520barandgrill.com

520 Bar & Grill Private PatioWhat we love: The private patio!

Feel like you’re out of the city and in your own oasis over at 520 Bar & Grill. The patio is surrounded by greenery and at night the white lights create a beautiful ambiance. In addition to the amazing food and handcrafted drinks, you are in for an incredible outdoor experience.


Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi

10400 NE 4th St #3100 | 425.625.2080 | ascendprime.com

Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi 360-degree ViewsWhat we love: 360-degree panoramic views!

The newly opened Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi, located on the 31st floor of the Lincoln South Tower, boasts breathtaking 360-degree views of Bellevue from the extravagant Vista Patio. Not only will you be amazed by Bellevue’s booming skyline, the gastronomical delights will certainly have you coming back for more.


Palomino

610 Bellevue Way | 425.455.7600 | palomino.com

Palomino-PatioWhat we love: All night happy hour!

Located downtown across from Bellevue Square and the Bellevue Arts Museum, the patio at Palomino’s is your spot to grab a bite, have a refreshing drink and enjoy the view. Oh, did we mention happy hour every day from 3pm – close?


El Gaucho

450 108th Ave NE | 425.455.2715 | elgaucho.com

El-Gaucho-BellevueWhat we love: The outdoor fire pits!

Low lights, smooth music, fragrant smells, and delectable dishes create the perfect dining experience at El Gaucho Bellevue. The walls of windows showcase the patio space at El Gaucho, where the glowing warmth of the firepit tables surround diners as they enjoy their meals outside. Sit back and enjoy this warm and inviting dining experience.


Bake’s Place

115 108th Ave NE | 425.454.2776 | bakesplacebellevue.com

Bakes-PlaceWhat we love: The live music!

Bake’s Place is the go-to outdoor spot, live music included! Not only is the seasonal menu amazing, but the atmosphere takes it over the top. With live music most nights and 3,500 square foot patio, you are sure to enjoy a night out at Bake’s Place.


Bellevue Brewing Company

1820 130th Ave NE | 425.497.8686 | bellevuebrewing.com

Bellevue-Brewing-CompanyWhat we love: The craft beer, of course!

As Bellevue’s first, locally-owned craft brewery, Bellevue Brewing Company has been a pioneer for the craft beer scene in Bellevue. Try one of their daily specials that pair with the current beers on tap, or enjoy a hard cider or glass of wine if you fancy.


Of course, this list is just the tip of the iceberg! New opportunities to dine in the sun and under the stars pop up all the time in Bellevue. For more sidewalk seating, decks and patios, visit our outdoor dining guide and stay tuned for Part 2 of our list of Bellevue’s Best Outdoor Dining.

Photos courtesy of Lot No. 3,  520 Bar & Grill, Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi (Credit Suzi Pratt), Palomino, El Gaucho Bellevue, Bake’s Place, Bellevue Brewing Company
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Bellevue Hotel Profile: AC Hotel by Marriott

With more than 5,000 guest rooms throughout 29 hotel properties, Bellevue, Washington is the place to stay whether for a night or twelve. From luxury suites to budget-friendly rooms, this city is eager to extend hospitality to our visitors. Get to know our “roomier” side this year as we profile newly opened properties.


AC BELLEVUE

Newly opened in 2017, the AC Hotel (by Marriott) added 234 guest rooms and a flourish of European style to Bellevue’s hotel scene. It must first be noted that, in this case, AC does not stand for “air conditioning” or the first half of metal rocker band ACDC. Instead, AC pays tribute to the hotel’s roots in Spain where Antonio Catalan first developed the brand in the late 1990’s. Marriott acquired the brand and opened its first AC Hotel stateside in New Orleans in 2014.

Living Wall at AC Bellevue Hotel - Bellevue, WA

Living Wall at AC Bellevue Hotel

Local Flair

Each AC Hotel incorporates local flair – art, spirits, and culinary partners – while maintaining European roots in the furnishings, layout, and breakfast buffet. The lush 15-foot living wall refreshes guests with oxygen as they make their way to the front desk at AC Bellevue, boasting a spacious open-plan lobby. To the left of the front desk hangs a collection of ceramic plates by artist Saya Moriyasu, each conveying a different black and white portrait. Ample seating in a variety of warm neutral tones and textures spreads throughout the lobby ending with a row of leather-wrapped bar stools to the right with club chairs and white cocktail tables filling the rest of the bar.

Cocktail at AC Bellevue Hotel Bar - Bellevue, WA

Cocktail at AC Bellevue Hotel Bar

Every evening when the clock strikes six, the bartender can be found pouring nips of bourbon from Woodinville Whiskey Co. into an array of small white espresso cups while coffee brews in a device that looks like it belongs in an apothecary – blue open flame heating a water-filled glass sphere with coffee grounds in a separate vessel above. A nightly ritual is part of the AC Hotel brand and at AC Bellevue, it is a Spanish Coffee spiked with bourbon and a hit of cayenne pepper. Other local food and beverage partners include Fremont IPA on tap, cans of House Wine and a colorful array of Seattle Chocolates bars in the AC store.

AC Bellevue bedroom

Guest Rooms and Amenities

After a refreshing inhale at the living wall, it’s easy to exhale any traveling stress upon opening the door to your room. Clean lines and clutter-free, AC Bellevue guestrooms have been designed without unnecessary items allowing the eyes and body to relax. Modern design, luxury linens, and USB ports right where you need them were thoughtfully woven into each of the hotel’s king and double queen rooms. Two dozen alternative king rooms flip the bathroom design on its head, pulling out the sink and vanity giving the room a more spacious feel. A “Hydration Station” on each floor features glass carafes that guests can fill and take to their rooms eliminating the use of plastic water bottles. The AC library offers two computers and a printer plus actual books for guests to peruse, a spacious fitness center with a variety of popular gym equipment and free weights,.

The AC Kitchen

The daily breakfast buffet ($15) leans European. Think meats sliced fresh with a counter-mounted red Berkel slicer, cheeses, croissants, egg tarts, and Nutella. Covered outdoor seating wraps the southern end of the building complete with heat lamps (and blankets upon request), as Northwest weather requires.

Small bites are available in the bar, and hotel staff is quick to refer guests to local coffee shops, restaurants, and bars including Fika House Kafé, Bake’s Bar & Bistro across the street featuring live music, food and drink, and Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar.“We love personalizing guest experiences here at AC Bellevue,” said Director of Sales and Marketing Rachel Park – like congratulating a nursing school grad with a teddy bear sporting a cast on his leg signed by the staff. Or, when a little girl accidentally left her favorite stuffy behind, the staff took photos of her bear all around the property before reuniting it to its owner along with a photo album of its adventures while they were separated.

Meeting Spaces

AC Hotel Bellevue Meeting Room

AC Hotel Bellevue Meeting Room

Other rooms in the hotel include two media salons (mini boardrooms) featuring an integrated communication hub, whiteboard, and television each with room for up to seven people. The AC’s largest space, with room for 50, can be configured for a board meeting, presentation or reception. A full catering menu is available from the AC Kitchen.

Images courtesy of AC Bellevue.

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Health and Wellness in Bellevue

Whether visiting Bellevue for business or pleasure, we know how important it can be to keep up a fitness regimen. Spring is the perfect time to explore the city’s pedestrian pathways whether for a stroll or training for a race.

For a quick two-mile route starting at the Hyatt Regency, follow Bellevue Way south toward Bellevue Downtown Park tracing the park’s perimeter until the south end, then veering around the inner loop before exiting on the southeastern border and heading back to the Hyatt on Bellevue Way. (Note: Bellevue Downtown Park’s circular promenade is 0.5 miles around making it easy to add extra laps to the route.)

Bellevue Downtown Park

Bellevue Downtown Park- 1/2 mile loop path

SR 520 Bridge Bicycle and Walking Path

SR 520 Bridge Bicycle and Walking Path

For a longer and more scenic run through the city’s neighborhoods past Overlake Golf & Country Club and Medina Park, try this six-mile round trip route. Head west on 8th Street NE from Bellevue Square for nearly a mile before the road bends right becoming 1st Street NE, then bends left becoming 12th Street NE. Turn right on Evergreen Point Road and follow until reaching the Evergreen Point Park & Ride at mile three. There is a viewpoint of the Olympic Mountains and the University of Washington facing west over the 520 bridge. Or, if you are more ambitious, try the 15 mile loop shown in the map above that crosses Lake Washington twice and ends up right back in Bellevue.

And if the weather prohibits outdoor activity, Bellevue is home to numerous fitness studios ranging from barre, cycling, and yoga to traditional gyms. Here’s a list of some that offer drop-in and visitor rates as well as some group buy-out options.


Head to the Barre

With over 120 studios nationwide, barre3 sees its share of visitors, according to Bellevue studio owner Anna McEvers. The studio features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the grassy green expanse of Ashwood Playfield across from the Bellevue Public Library. Known for its toning repetition of small muscle movements, a barre3 workout hits all the right spots. Visitors can register for drop-in classes online or in the studio. At Pure Barre, out-of-towners are welcome to drop in for a single class ($23) with specials for members of Pure Barre in other locations. Private classes can be booked for a $100 flat rate. ClassPass accepted at both Barre3 and Pure Barre studios.

The Fitness Cycle

Spin away the calories at SoulCycle BLVU, a full-body indoor cycling workout set to a high-energy beat. The candle-lit darkened room and rhythm-based program provide a meditative experience designed to benefit the body, mind, and soul. “We call it a cardio party. With every pedal stroke, our minds clear and we connect with our true and best selves…our riders share a Soul experience,” says Camilla Whitmore, SoulCycle field marketing manager. SoulCycle offers a special 2-for-1 promotion for new riders called the First Time Pack for $28. At Flywheel, the focus is on performance-tracking tech that allows guests to measure progress over time. In addition to a competitively-edged spin class, the FlyBarre class incorporates light weight training and core exercises for a total-body sculpting effect. Flywheel offers an introductory drop-in credit of $15 for first-timers – please create an account online before dropping in.

(Email soulbellevue@soul-cycle.com for information on advance group bookings and private classes)

The Healthy Way of Life

Opening at The Shops at The Bravern in mid-April, Life Time Fitness offers a full array of fitness classes with five specialized studios, a 10,000-square foot training floor, a boutique day spa and a healthy-fast-casual eatery. Members of a Diamond- or Diamond Premier-level club elsewhere in the country can use their membership at the Bellevue location. Otherwise, Life Time offers 1- and 5-day guest passes for $35 and $150, respectively.

Lifetime Fitness - Bellevue, WA

Lifetime Fitness Opening April 2018

Hotel Fitness Centers

Many of the local hotels boast superior-grade gyms. Hyatt guests enjoy complimentary access to its Stayfit Fitness Center including a wide selection of gear like strength bands, box jumps, kettlebells, battle ropes, balance balls, and free weights. Stay connected with a Peleton bike workout at The Westin or make your own full-body routine utilizing the gym’s TRX suspension trainers, kettlebells, strength bands, and more. The fitness center at AC Hotel by Marriott is spacious with several treadmills, elliptical machines, free weights, and balance and medicine balls.

Hyatt Regency Bellevue Stayfit

Images courtesy of Lifetime Fitness, Hyatt Regency Bellevue.

Posted in Bellevue Indoor Recreation, Bellevue Parks, Downtown Bellevue, Fitness, Newsletter, Outdoors | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bounce Around Bellevue With a Spring In Your Step

It’s that time of year again when everything awakens from its winter sleep. We’ve been looking around our city and found some swoon-worthy sights that we can’t wait to share with visitors – mountain, lake, and skyline vistas from the top floors in Bellevue, the most scenic hole in golf, and up close with blooming botanicals. Be sure to share your viewpoint with a #MyBellevue on Instagram. With summer right around the corner, we’ve got your fitness goals covered with running route suggestions, drop-in classes at local barre and cycling studios, a fabulous new full-service gym, and a peek into the city’s best hotel fitness centers.

Unwind after a day of meetings with a glass of Washington wine – look for specials at wine-focused restaurants during March as we celebrate Washington Wine Month. For a deeper dive into the state’s diverse range of wines, consider a day trip to Woodinville just up the road, home to more than 120 tasting rooms. And we would love to host the whole family over Spring Break with local activities for everyone from tots to teens and suggestions for exploring further afield in nearby Snoqualmie Valley. So, stay a little longer and refresh that bounce in your step with a spring visit to Bellevue.

Wine and Trees

Images courtesy of Bellevue Botanical Garden, Wine and Trees by Sharon Linton

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Spring Break in Bellevue

Bellevue may be a business hub, but it’s also a prime place to bring the whole family for some leisure time. Spring Break is a great excuse to explore Bellevue and the beauty of the surrounding area.


Bounce Around Town

From toddlers to teens, fun activities are close at hand. Spend a morning at KidsQuest Children’s Museum perfect for stimulating those early childhood minds and bodies with interactive climbing and water exhibits, an art studio and learning lab, plus hundreds of classes each year. At Mox Boarding House, it’s easy to engage in a little old-fashioned fun. Borrow a game (and an associate to explain the rules if the game is unfamiliar) and head to the adjoining restaurant where large tables offer plenty of space for gaming and noshing.

Giant Chess at Crossroads Bellevue

Kids love the life-size chess pieces at Crossroads Bellevue. Challenge them to a game on the giant board or pull up a seat at one of the many surrounding tables for a regular-sized chess game. Crossroads also features a carousel, a soft-play playground at WiggleWorks Kids, Alter Ego Comics, and everything from board games to brain teaser puzzles at Uncle’s Games. Across the parking lot, drop in at Stone Gardens, one of the finest climbing facilities in the region with more than 21,000-square feet of climbing terrain suitable for all ability levels. There is even a climbing “ship” for the littlest climbers.

Stone Gardens Rock Climbing

Lincoln Square is a one-stop pop for entertainment from arcade-style games at Power Play to bowling at Lucky Strike Lanes. Catch a movie at the traditional theater upstairs or watch in style at Cinemark in Lincoln Square South featuring back rocker chairs and dining services. Bellevue Square, across the street features all of the shopping you can imagine plus the Kid’s Cove play area for little tykes and a game area that includes Jenga, beanbag toss and giant chess. At Bellevue Arts Museum, peruse the exhibitions or get crafty with the kids on Saturdays during the free weekly sessions from 1-3 p.m.

Explore Further Afield

Nestled against the Cascade Mountain foothills about 35 minutes east of Bellevue, scenic Snoqualmie Valley is a worth a day trip. A family-friendly itinerary is available at savorsnoqualmievalley.org with recommended stops from Duvall to North Bend beginning with a warm beverage from Duvall Coffeehouse and a baked treat at Grateful Bread. Permanent art installations dot McCormick Park along the Snoqualmie River. Ten minutes south in Carnation, a 500-foot suspension footbridge spans the river at Tolt-Macdonald Park leading to miles of forested trails.

 

 

Lunch options range from a sandwich or hot slice of pizza at Blake’s Pizza, a full menu of comfort food and locally brewed beers at Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom, to organic grab-and-go items at Heirloom Cookshop in downtown Snoqualmie.

Spend the afternoon exploring how railroads changed the landscape of the region at the Northwest Railway Museum, including a two-hour round trip train ride on Saturdays and Sundays, April through October. Since kids possess a keen sense of sugar-radar, they’ll likely march you right across the street to Snoqualmie Falls Candy Factory for a treat or three necessitating a whirl through Tollgate Farm Park in North Bend to burn off the excess energy.

Rattlesnake Lake

Georgia's Bakery - North Bend

Georgia’s Bakery – North Bend

Or start the day in reverse with a legendary maple bar or savory slice of quiche at Georgia’s Bakery in North Bend before heading up the trail to Rattlesnake Ledge – a steep but relatively short hike with big views at the top. Reward those hikers with an old-school burger or ice cream at Scott’s Dairy Freeze Ice Cream in North Bend or a slice of cherry pie at Twede’s Café made famous in the cult classic television show “Twin Peaks.”

If there is only time for one stop, don’t miss iconic Snoqualmie Falls visible from the top at the Salish Lodge or a quick hike to the bottom with views back up at the falls. During spring, it should be roaring with recent snowmelt.

Images courtesy of Crossroads Bellevue and Stone Gardens.  Rattlesnake Lake by Kaitlyn Brajcich.

Posted in Bellevue Indoor Recreation, Downtown Bellevue, Family, Newsletter, Outdoors, Things To Do | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

360 Degree Belle-Views

Ascend Prime Steak and Sushi - Bellevue, WA

Future Home of Ascend Prime Steak and Sushi

As our name implies, Bellevue is home to some beautiful vistas from soaring views atop a growing number of skyscrapers to landscapes both cultivated and wild. The most hotly anticipated view this spring belongs to Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi crowning Lincoln Square South at The Bellevue Collection. The luxury dining experience encompasses the entire 31st floor of the building affording 360-degree views through two stories of floor-to-ceiling windows that include Lake Washington, the Olympic Mountains, the Seattle skyline, with Downtown Bellevue Park in the immediate foreground looking west.

Daniel’s Broiler, located on the 21st floor of the Bank of America building, has long been a favorite dining destination in part because of the lovely west-facing views from the lounge. Sip on a glass of bubbly or a Manhattan while the sun sets – a perfect backdrop for a romantic evening.

Surely the most scenic park-and-ride in town, Evergreen Point makes the most of the 520 bridge’s location. Set above the freeway, the westward-facing viewpoint looks across Lake Washington toward the University of Washington, Seattle, and the jagged snow-capped Olympic Mountains in the distance. Park and look or continue along the 520 pedestrian path out onto the bridge span for views south where Mt. Rainier holds court on clear days. It is fascinating to watch the water react to the bridge – sometimes choppy with whitecaps on the south side and calm on the north side.

Bellevue Downtown Park

Bellevue Downtown Park and Skyline

As if the lush greens and magnificently landscaped courses at Newcastle Golf Club weren’t enough of a visual treat, check out the view of the Seattle skyline from Hole 10 on the China Creek Course, or play a game of putt-putt at the Rusty Putter.

Bellevue Views

Views of Seattle and Bellevue from Newcastle Golf Course

Take in a close up with nature at Bellevue Botanical Garden where colorful flowers and foliage carpet the edges of pathways that wind through the forest an a 150-foot suspension bridge crosses a ravine filled with ferns and moss-covered trees.

Future viewpoint: We are looking forward to the newly reimagined Meydenbauer Bay Park set to open by the end of 2018 that includes a pedestrian pier that juts out into the water giving visitors a look back at the 700-foot waterfront beach and hillside. The park will be the beginning point for the city’s Grand Connection pathway connecting the bay with downtown Bellevue through to the Wilburton and the Eastside Rail Corridor.

Images courtesy of Lincoln Square South by Sharon Linton, Downtown Bellevue Park by Merrill Images, Newcastle Golf Course.

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March Is Washington Wine Month

Washington Wines Cast Iron Studios - Bellevue , WA

Washington Wines

In celebration of Washington Wine Month, the Washington Wine Commission and Visit Seattle host Taste Washington, the nation’s largest single-region wine and food event featuring more than 235 wineries, 65 restaurants, and 60 culinary exhibitors. Events span several days beginning with the swanky Red & White party at AQUA by El Gaucho on March 22, followed by farm tours and a new vintage tasting event on March 23, with two days of wine and food indulgence opportunities at the Grand Tasting on March 24 and 25 at CenturyLink Field Event Center. Relish the comfort of lodging in Bellevue, just a brief Uber or Lyft ride away from the main events.

Where to Enjoy Washington Wines in Bellevue

Bellevue may be best known for its cocktail culture, but there are plenty of spots to enjoy a glass or bottle of Washington wine. Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar has maintained a great reputation for its wine list thanks to company wine director and Advanced Sommelier Erik Liedholm. A recent renovation put the wine cellar front and center – a glass-fronted environmentally controlled room displaying the restaurant’s impressive collection of wines from Washington and around the globe. During March, Seastar will feature wines from three of the state’s most prominent winemakers: Mark McNeilly of Mark Ryan Winery including the 2013 and 2014 John Howie Cuvee’s, his collaboration with John Howie Restaurants from top vineyards in Walla Walla; Chris Figgins of Leonetti Cellars, one of Washington’s first and best wineries with several vintages of the Reserve, Cabernet/Merlot, and Sangiovese wines on offer; and Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen of W.T. Vintners whose Chenin Blanc grape pomace was the source of Liedholm’s Arande Grappa at Bothell-based Wildwood Spirits.

Wine bottles are arranged floor to double-high ceiling in the semi-circular central bar at Purple Café and Wine Bar. Purple will feature Washington wine throughout the month of March in bottle, glass, and flight forms. The wine bar will also be giving away a pair of tickets to Taste Washington’s Grand Tasting on Sunday, March 25.

Swiftwater cellars - Bellevue, WA

Swiftwater Cellars

Based near Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Washington, Swiftwater Cellars recently opened a restaurant and bar on Main Street in quaint “Old Bellevue.” The wine list features glass, bottle, and carafe pours of its signature wines from the Columbia Valley. At Cypress Lounge & Wine Bar located at the lobby level of The Westin Bellevue, the focus has always been on premium Washington wines available by the glass, bottle, and flight. The creatively curated wine list highlights the state’s range of varietals. During March, Cypress will be discounting bottles of Washington wines by 10% and offering tastings with local winemakers once a week.

Cypress Lounge at Westin Bellevue - Bellevue, WA

Cypress Lounge

Wander Up to Woodinville Wine Country

Just 13 miles northeast of downtown Bellevue, Woodinville has the highest density of wine tasting rooms in the world. Between the Hollywood and Warehouse Districts, there are nearly 120 locations to taste the state’s wines from the original and grandest experience at Chateau Ste. Michelle to truly boutique operations at places like Adams Bench and Kevin White Wineries. Stop in at the Woodinville Visitor Center during March as they explore the state’s AVA’s featuring a weekend pop-up tasting from 11 am-3 pm on March 17.

New this spring, Certified Sommelier and wine educator Shelly Fitzgerald is hosting an evening series called Woodinville Wine Diva starting March 8 with “A Sense of Place” diving into Red Mountain characteristics, followed by “The Blinds” on April 5 where guests learn to recognize the smell and taste of specific varietals. The final session on May 3 is all about “Food and Wine Pairing” featuring bites by Chef Bre of newly opened Heritage Restaurant and Bar.

Novelty Hill

Images courtesy of  Cast Iron StudiosSwiftwater Cellars, Cypress Lounge, and Novelty Hill Januik.

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Spend Valentine’s Day in Bellevue

Love is in the air in Bellevue. Whether your significant other or your friends are in the mood for a special dinner menu, chocolate tasting, or couples cooking class, we’ve got you covered this Valentine’s Day. 

Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Beautiful Bellevue.  Here are some of Bellevue’s best places to dine out and feel the love this Valentine’s Day.

Frans Chocolates 

Pick up a heart-shaped box of chocolates at Frans Chocolates on Main Street in Old Bellevue. Visit Fran’s Bellevue location on Main Street for award-winning salted caramels, decadent drinking chocolate, and luxurious gift assortments.

Third Culture Coffee 

Indulge in some Dark Decadence and slurp down a warming latte at Third Culture Coffee. Emerging as one of Bellevue’s beloved cafes, Third Culture Coffee celebrates diversity through delightful coffee, dessert, and food; it’s the perfect place to enjoy a quic Valentine’s Day treat!

Whisk 

Spend a few hours at Whisk in Bellevue’s Main Street District, and you’ll unearth a new appreciation for cooking and entertaining with your significant other. Whisk’s inviting retail store and kitchen make for a perfect Valentine’s Day experience in Bellevue.

 

Central Bar + Restaurant

Central Bar + Restaurant will be holding a candlelight dinner for a special Valentine’s Day dining experience. Bring your special somebody and enjoy a four-course meal prepared for Valentine’s Day including specialty cocktails.

Bellden Cafe 

Enjoy some specialty brunch items at Bellden Cafe this Valentine’s Day. The perfect location for a mid-morning Valentine’s Day treat, Bellden Cafe offers scrumptious snacks and warming beverages.

Midori Bakery 

Midori Bakery is ready for Valentine’s Day with a wide selection of sweet treats including Honey Cinnamon Whiskey Macarons, Strawberry Basil Lime Tarts, Dark Cholocate Raspberry Gateau and so much more!

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Wintergrass Festival

Wintergrass Festival 2018

Outside the Hyatt Regency in downtown Bellevue, it’s a damp, dark February evening as the city’s tech workers and mall shoppers pull up their hoods and tighten their scarves. But, inside, the jam is on as multigenerational bluegrass bands spring up impromptu in the hallways, landings, and just about anywhere they can find a spot to set up. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018, the Wintergrass Festival descends on Bellevue February 22-25 with a musical culture of the community, collaboration, education, and fun.


Wintergrass is a prime example of how to instill arts and culture into a community better known for its corporate persona. A family-friendly event, the festival features 30 bands from the USA, Canada, and Sweden and offers 60 workshops ranging from “Banjo 101” to “How to Grow a Band.” Headliners like Ricky Scaggs, Sam Bush, and David Grisman mingle and even jam with attendees when not performing on stage.

“The sense of music is everywhere. It’s like watching a hive,” says Wintergrass development and publicity director Wendy Tyner.

Bluegrass comes in many iterations at Wintergrass including traditional, modern, “jazzgrass,” gospel, and country. Instructor Rushad Eggleston comes to bluegrass with his cello – unconventional instruments are welcome. Even attendees without instruments can join the fun thanks to a stash of harmonicas in a range of keys available to borrow.

The festival has prompted many award nominations including Director Beth Fortune’s 2015 Grammy nomination as best musical director for her work with Wintergrass and as a teacher at Washington Middle School. Wintergrass won Event of the Year in 2005 from the International Bluegrass Music Association. But, the festival is most proud of its educational component working with underserved youth. Nearly half of the kids are given scholarships to attend the festival and participate in group workshops, bands, and get to see accomplished musicians make bluegrass magic. And kids under 12 can attend for free regardless of participation in workshops.

Approximately 250 youth are served by the following programs: Pintgrass (ages 4-7), Youth Academy (ages 7-14), Youth orchestras (6 regional middle schools), and the Rock City Songsters (ages 16-20) including a mentoring program where they learn about sound, the stage, and marketing. Wintergrass founding executive director Patrice O’Neil has been the creative spark in creating educational programs to inspire young musicians, says Tyner.

The festival draws 12,000-16,000 visitors annually according to Tyner. In addition to attendees, that number includes a huge number of volunteers, some of whom receive teaching accreditation hours for their service. Currently, more than 80 percent of visitors come from the Puget Sound area, but the festival would like to see that demographic expand to include people from all of the Northwest, West Coast, and Alaska. They are also hoping that Bellevue residents increase their presence this year.

“We are proud to be in Bellevue,” says Tyner noting that the festival brings in 2-3 million dollars in revenue for local hotels and businesses. “People come for the festival and then stay and visit Bellevue museums, restaurants, and stores.”

Though headliner shows frequently sell out on Friday and Saturday nights, most of the bands play twice during the festival. Thursday night and Sunday generally have the capacity to sell more tickets. Children’s groups perform on Friday night and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for one day up to all four days of the festival with reduced prices for military, Canadians, and seniors.

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