Brunch Without Boundaries in Bellevue

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Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but brunch is by far the most fun. We think it’s because there aren’t any rules for brunch: You are not required to wake up early. You aren’t forced to choose between breakfast and lunch. And you are heartily encouraged to have a mimosa or bloody Mary to kick-start your weekend day.

Whether you dine after yoga, before a football game or in between nothing more pressing than The New York Times and a trip to the dog park, you’ll find the freedom to brunch without boundaries at these lovely local restaurants.

99 Park99-park-brunch

Brunch at 99 Park is the perfect post-script to a brisk morning walk in Bellevue Downtown Park, or as a launching point for shopping on Main Street. The contemporary brunch menu features Washington oysters, kale salad, eggs benedict, crepes, chilaquiles, a Wagyu burger, housemade donuts and banana brioche bread pudding. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

520 Bar & Grill520-bar-grill-patio-server

Main Street’s favorite watering hole serves brunch Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Alongside the house favorite Spanish burrito are traditional breakfast scrambles, French toast, and steak and eggs. And as you’d expect from the neighborhood purveyor of craft cocktails, the 520 mixes some creative libations for brunch, from the spicy Green Chile Mary to the exotic and fruity Tropical Mimosa.

Lot No. 3lot3-food_matthew_sumi_photography

At casual, comfortable Lot No. 3, brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Choose from breakfast favorites like biscuits and gravy or pork belly benedict, or tuck into lunch specialties like fried chicken banh mi or the Cuban sandwich. The inventive brunch menu also features the daring Smoking Pig Bloody Mary, composed of jalapeno-bacon infused vodka and house Mary mix.

Cactuscactus-brunch

Cactus in Bellevue Square serves brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with festive preparations like Tres Leches French Toast, the legendary Migas and the vegetarian Santa Fe enchilada. You’ll also find all of your favorite southwestern-inspired main dishes, like fajitas, enchiladas and braised brisket tacos. Fuel up, then browse the 250-plus stores of the Bellevue Collection.

Monsoon Bellevue
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Blending traditional Vietnamese cuisine with Pacific Northwest innovation, Monsoon Bellevue on Main Street serves a unique dim sum brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Choose from such delicacies as shrimp dumplings, steamed barbecue pork buns, daikon cakes, banh mi and a delicious selection of rice noodle bowls. Linger in the chic dining room, or order online and take your order to-go.

Vivo 53Vivo 53 Brunch

This classy joint on Bellevue Way serves brunch with an Italian twist. Join them Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3pm for tasty italian sausage fritattas and smoked salmon pizze. Wash everything down with a bottomless mimosa and indulge in some cinnamon sugar beignets or one of Vivo 53’s signature “Insane Sundaes” to properly curb the sweet tooth.

Tavern HallTavern Hall Photos

If you like brunch with a side of sports, then spacious, flat screen-rich Tavern Hall should top your list of mid-morning weekend destinations. Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and includes a bacon and ham strata, a fried egg sandwich, brick-oven baked eggs and a heavenly malted Belgian waffle. From 10 a.m. to noon, bloody Marys and mimosas will set you back just $3.

EquesEques Signature Eggs Benedict

A visit to Eques at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue means distinctively Pacific Northwest flavors, all-you-can-eat style. This inventive breakfast and brunch buffet was named one of the best brunch restaurants in America by OpenTable, and features breakfast classics with a fresh twist. Think Dungeness crab eggs benedict and tiramisu pancakes. Get a taste Saturday from 7am to noon, and Sunday 7am to 1:30pm.

Local BurgerLocal-Burger-Hillbilly-Burger

A burger joint that serves brunch? That’s just the kind of out-of-the-box thinking we love! Local Burger brings its commitment to local, sustainable food to the charmed hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Selections range from a spicy sausage, egg and jack biscuit to a seasonal vegetarian omelet and the restaurant’s signature Hillbilly and Seoul burgers.

Written by – Monica Fischer

Photo Credits, Top to Bottom – Crab Benedict Closeup via Pixabay, Pancakes and Coffee via 99 Park Restaurant, Brunch on the Patio via 520 Bar & Grill, Eggs Benedict via Lot No. 3, Brunch Spread at Cactus via Rachel Burch, Group Dining via Monsoon Bellevue, Smoked Salmon Pizze via Vivo 53, Tavern Hall Interior via Tavern Hall, Dungeness Crab Eggs Benedict via Eques, Local Burger Interior via Local Burger

Posted in Culinary and Wine, Downtown Bellevue, Family, Hidden Gems / Local Picks, Newsletter, Things To Do | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fresh Fall Fun in Bellevue

North America, United States, Washington, Bellevue.

Because it’s the season when kids head back to school and the rest of us relax back into our post-summer routines, fall often feels like the season of familiarity. Our favorite network TV shows return to the airwaves, our favorite football teams return to the field, and our favorite fall sweaters return to our closets to keep us cozy as the days become shorter and cooler.

But this fall in Bellevue feels anything but familiar. Exciting new stores are getting ready to open. Expectations are running high for the University of Washington Huskies and Seattle Seahawks football teams. New fall fashion trends are infiltrating our shops and boutiques. And local chefs are introducing inventive new menus to showcase fresh fall produce.

If you’re joining us in Bellevue this fall, you’ll experience the best of the tried-and-true and the brand-spanking-new. Below is just a sampling of what’s taking place. For a full lineup, visit our events calendar.

Seahawks v 49ers 9-15-13 7 Photo Credit Kaitlyn Brajcich

Fall is a particularly bountiful time for sports enthusiasts, with football, soccer, baseball and women’s basketball all on the menu. Football fans (known locally as “12s”) flock to Century Link Field to watch the always-contending Seattle Seahawks, and tailgate at Husky Stadium hours before cheering on the nationally ranked UW Huskies. The home game against Stanford (Sept. 30) is shaping up to be a matchup for the ages.

Seattle Sounders FC are unlikely to make the playoffs this year, but a home game is nonetheless a memorable experience, drawing the largest crowds in the MLS. As of press time, the Seattle Mariners were a long shot to make the post-season, but their annual Oktoberfest game (Oct. 1) is still a fun way to wrap up the season at Safeco Field. Across town, the Seattle Storm of the WNBA will be closing out their season at Key Arena.

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As we slip off our flip-flops and pull on our boots, we also hit the local malls and boutiques to shop for fall fashion. The signature event for the stylish among us is Fashion Week at the Bellevue Collection, which celebrates local designers and the season’s must-have trends Sept. 21-25 at venues throughout town. We’re also counting the days to the opening of three wildly popular local and national retailers: Washington’s own REI, HomeGoods and Trader Joe’s. (We also recently welcomed Athleta to Bellevue Square, our favorite new destination for athleisure wear!)

We’re especially excited to have a beautiful, spacious, adventure-inspiring REI store right in our own backyard. The new 40,000-square-foot retail space will feature a bike shop, snow shop and the top gear and apparel brands we’ve come to love.

The grand opening takes place Sept. 23-25 with REI Outdoor School classes and activities, snacks, beverages and a photo booth; doors open at 10 am. Friday, 9 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday. The first 200 people (18 and older) through the door on each day of the grand-opening weekend will receive a limited-edition CamelBak water bottle with a $10, $50 or $100 REI promotional card inside.

JM Cellars Wine Glass - Althea Conyers Achem

For local wineries, fall also heralds the most important event of the year: Crush, when grapes are harvested from the vineyard. Though most of the action takes place in Eastern Washington where the grapes are grown, most wineries in nearby Woodinville celebrate with dozens of events and tours. Restaurants, too, embrace the return of fall, with comforting dinner and decadent brunch menus.

Mercer Slough Bellevue Fall -Courtesy City of Bellevue

Perhaps more than any time of year, in fall, nature calls. Parks, trails and forests are bursting with colorful foliage, and cooler days make for comfortable hikes. Just steps from downtown, the Bellevue Botanical Garden offers the best view of the changing season, with free guided tours Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. through October.

Whether Bellevue is your home, or your home away from home, we hope you’ll discover something new that’s worth returning to.

Photo Credits, Top to Bottom – Downtown Bellevue Sign via Merrill Images, Seahawks Game via Kaitlyn Brajcich, Front Row Fashion Show from Fashion Week at The Bellevue Collection via Vivian Hsu for Team Photogenic, Wine Glass at JM Cellars via Althea Conyers Achem, Fall at Mercer Slough via City of Bellevue 

 

Posted in Downtown Bellevue, Events, Family, Fashion, Hidden Gems / Local Picks, Insiders Tips, Newsletter, Shopping, Things To Do, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Must-Do Experiences in Bellevue

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Let’s be honest: You have only about a month and a half before spending money on yourself will become frowned upon. Once the holidays approach, you’ll be shopping to make someone else happy. Before you embark on that noble endeavor, we suggest that you gift yourself with a few fantastic local experiences that you’ll remember for many seasons to come.

Our recommendations are available all year round, so you can enjoy them yourself while you’re in town this fall, then come back and experience them again with friends or family members. And many of these businesses offer gift cards or certificates, so you can wrap them up for a loved one over the holidays. If you look at it that way, treating yourself to a Bellevue experience is a very unselfish act.

Soar high above the treetopszip_tour_sbcc_015-credit-bellevue-parks-community-services-colin-walker

You don’t have to trek to Costa Rica or New Zealand to find a thrilling ride above a lush forest canopy. The Bellevue Zip Tour, which has drawn unanimously rave reviews on Trip Advisor, features a half-dozen zip lines in Eastgate Park that range in length from 78 to 458 feet. Riders (who must be at least 9 years old and weigh between 60 and 275 pounds) catch glimpses of Mount Baker and Glacier Peak while racing up to 35 miles per hour up to 80 feet off the ground. Register online or call 425.452.4240.

Have a beautiful daySpa Day

Gene Juarez Salon & Spa at the Bellevue Galleria offers the indulgent opportunity to do nothing all day except feel beautiful. The luxurious, six-hour Day of Beauty package ($460) includes makeup application, an expert blow dry, a catered lunch, a 90-minute relaxation massage, a 60-minute signature facial, and a spa manicure and pedicure.

Yuan Spa, also downtown, ups the ante by two hours with the eight-hour Eternal You package ($670), which bundles hydrotherapy, a signature Chinese body ritual, a radiant foot treatment, a Hollywood HydraFacial, a manicure and pedicure, and a catered lunch. You’ll finish up just in time for happy hour, where you can show off the beautiful and balanced effects of all that pampering.

Whip up a delicious memorycooking-class-78

Spend a few hours at Whisk in Bellevue’s Main Street District, and you’ll unearth a new appreciation for cooking and entertaining. Autumn is the perfect time to fall back in love with food because there is such a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from. Stop by the Bellevue Farmers Market (Thursdays, 3-7 p.m., through Oct. 27) for a sampling of local produce, then head over to Whisk’s inviting retail store and kitchen for a tasty tutorial (most classes are $95).

Fall highlights include the Make-Ahead Three-Course Dinner Party on Sept. 18 and Oct. 9, 22 and 23; and the Local Harvest Dinner on Oct. 6 and 20. Or whip up dishes from around the world at classes that visit Spain (Sept. 15 and 23), Cuba (Sept. 16 and Oct. 7), India (Sept. 20), Mexico (Sept. 21 and Oct. 21), France (Sept. 22 and Oct. 5 and 12), Italy (Sept. 24, Oct. 1, 9 and 23, and Nov. 2) and Greece (Sept. 30).

Get a crush on Woodinville Wine CountryUSA, Washington, Woodinville. One sunny weekend in Woodivnille Wine Country.Fall is a magical time for wine. It is the season of crush, when grapes are harvested from the vineyard, transported to the winery and transformed into wine. While much of the action takes place in the eastern half of the state where the vineyards are located, there are plenty of events at the 108 wineries and tasting rooms of Woodinville Wine Country to make you fall in love with Washington wine while you’re on this side of the Cascades.

The best way to immerse yourself in wine country is through an all-inclusive tour with a knowledgeable local guide. Barrel Wine Tours offers half- and full-day private tours that include luxury transportation with a professional driver, and tastings at three to four Woodinville wineries. Full-day tours even include a delicious three-course lunch. The company is a co-op of Washington wineries, so you’ll get the inside scoop and plenty of education about our booming local wine scene.

Take the ride of your lifeimg_4062

Ever since Tom Cruise’s character, Joel, commandeered his dad’s Porsche 928 in “Risky Business” – with Lana riding shotgun and Guido in hot pursuit – we’ve been fantasizing about an exhilarating ride in an exotic sports car (minus the illegal activity, of course).

So we were thrilled to learn about Zadart Exotic Car Rentals, a new local business with a fleet of rent-by-the-day dream machines that includes a McLaren 12C Spider (MSRP $315,000!), a Lamborghini Huracan and a Ferrari 458, among other assorted Aston Martins, BMWs and Bentleys.

Daily rates ($150-$1,200 per day) reflect the cars’ lofty pedigrees, but Zadart offers a couple of great specials: Walk in the same day and choose any available car in the lot, and you’ll save 40 percent off the hourly rate or 30 percent off the daily rate. With the date-night offer, you get 16 hours for the price of only four when you call the same day to make your reservation.

Cruise the Kirkland waterfront or Alki in Seattle, or for longer jaunts, visit the Washington State Department of Transportation website for an interactive map of scenic byways. We love the pretty North Cascades Scenic Highway, which stretches 140 miles from Sedro-Wooley to Twisp and hugs the stunning, jewel-green Diablo Lake along the way.

And because a hot car requires cool shades (à la Tom Cruise’s signature Ray-Bans), before you buckle up, stop by Eye Society at the Bravern or Sunglass Hut at Bellevue Square for your own distinct eyewear.

Written by – Monica Fischer

Photo Credits, Top to Bottom – Bellevue Skyline via Marv Heston, Bellevue Zip Tour via City of Bellevue, Spa Stones via Pexels.com, Cooking Class via Whisk, Woodinville Wine Country Tour via Sandra Lee, Diablo Lake via Monica Fischer

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Bellevue Washington: Hiking Boots to High Heels

 

 Written by – Sharon Linton

I was that 8 year old girl who wore shorts under my dress so I could climb a tree or do a cartwheel during recess. I grew up to be a woman who is comfortable both on the trail or out for a glamorous night on the town and will gladly do both of those things in a single day.

If you can relate to this lifestyle then you might want to make a visit to Bellevue, Washington. It is the perfect place for people who like to go from urban exploration to outdoor adventures and back again.

Let me tell you about a perfect couple of days I spent in Bellevue and beyond last fall to give you an idea. It was quite the successful weekend that I plan to re-live again and again!

Friday Night : Bowling and Beers

“Friday nights are all about winding down after a workweek. This weekend I met up with some friends at Lucky Strike Lanes at Lincoln Square in downtown Bellevue for some friendly competition on the lanes. We enjoyed tasty bites (like mini pigs-in-a-blanket and shrimp skewers) from Lucky Strike’s menu and stayed hydrated with  pitchers of some of our favorite Northwest brews.”

Bellevue Farmers Market2

Fresh produce at the Farmers Market

Saturday : Outdoor Adventures Nearby

“After lounging around with the newspaper and a cup of coffee Saturday morning I was off to the Bellevue Farmers Market to pick up a selection of favorite fruits and vegetables, a bag of locally produced granola and a bright bouquet of flowers. I was almost finished when the line in front of the Aura Bakery booth caught my eye. Self control went out the window and next thing you know I had a chocolate-almond croissant in hand. It was the size of a dessert plate, warm with soft chocolate inside and covered with a sprinkling of almonds and powdered sugar. One bite and I knew that this would make the perfect energy boost for my next adventure – a hike.

We embarked on our trip toward the Cascade Mountains about 1pm; our destination; the Taylor River Trail near the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River.  To get there we drove east on I-90 about 30 minutes to North Bend then north another 12 miles to the trailhead. Within an hour of leaving downtown Bellevue we were in second-growth forest at the trailhead. (Check before you go for info about planned construction on this section of road.)

After consulting the map at the trailhead we decided to head toward Otter Falls, a little over four miles up the trail. We came across a few other hikers along the way, but for the most part it was just me, my husband, and the sound of the river rushing along.  We made good time other than numerous pauses to photograph the river, the jagged top of the Cascade’s Treen Peak, moss laden old growth cedar trees, golden leaves and orange, brown and white mushrooms bursting from the earth.

Huge boulders in the middle of a burbling creek provided a perch while we enjoyed some trail mix and water before heading back down the trail. There is nothing like an early fall day in the Pacific Northwest for beautiful scenery and solitude. All told, we covered nine miles in about three hours and returned to our car for the short drive back to Bellevue.”

Later Saturday: Happy Hour and High Heels

El Gaucho bar

The bar at El Gaucho

“Now was time to shower down, dress up and head out for a quick bite to eat and a cocktail before the rest of the evening’s events. We decided to check out the always popular happy hour at El Gaucho which offers a tantalizing array of happy hour food and beverages. I ordered up the Crispy Prosciutto and Fig Flatbread along with a glass of Columbia Valley red wine.

Of course, Saturday nights are all about nightlife, and on this night it was time for the annual Front Row Fashion Runway Show presented by Vogue. The show caps off The Bellevue Collection’s Fashion Week. I loved the insights into fall fashion trends and inspiring ideas for how I might wear them myself.  Smart scheduling by The Bellevue Collection left a couple of hours for shopping after the show.

From farmers market to fashion show, from hiking boots to high heels it was just the kind of weekend this Bellevue gal loves!”

 

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Bellevue Summer Convention Spotlight: GTOAA Nationals

pontiac-1384266_1920Summer approaches, and so does summer convention season in Bellevue! The team at Visit Bellevue Washington works to connect meeting planners with their perfect venue, hotels and activities, and while we love every season here at Visit Bellevue, we locals also know that the best time for an out-of-state convention attendee to experience the Pacific Northwest is during the summer months. The sun is out, the temperatures are perfect, the evergreens and the mountains are calling and Bellevue is bustling with outdoor entertainment and waterfront activities.

This summer, we are excited to welcome an especially fun crowd of attendees from around the nation to Bellevue for a convention that is sure to be a highlight: the 2016 GTOAA Nationals Convention. That is, GTO Association of America‘s celebration of the classic American muscle car coming to the West Coast this July for only the second time in 37 years.

Ted_w/GTO_RoadsterTo get the inside scoop on what is going to be a major event for GTO enthusiasts and Bellevue locals alike, we went to Ted Knapp, Northwest GTO Legends Club President (head of GTOAA’s local chapter). Ted represents these passionate, fun-loving car enthusiasts found among GTO owners, racers, and aficionados “to a T.” Hailing from our neighboring city of Woodinville, Washington, Ted has been a muscle car enthusiast since his high school days and has fond memories of driving his first GTO back to the Pacific Northwest from Nebraska with his mom and sister.

United States. Washington, Bellevue, Downtown Park, Meydenbauer Bay, Lake Washington and SeattleWhile Ted and his colleagues had their eye on the Pacific Northwest as their 2016 convention location from the start, multiple factors led them to choose Bellevue, Washington as their home base. “We toured the various venues in the Puget Sound Region.” Ted related, “We focused on hotel/convention facilities that had enough rooms, large enough convention facilities for registration, tech talks, banquets, etc. And most importantly, one that could handle both indoor parking for Concours cars and large enough parking for the Popular Vote cars. The Bellevue Hilton fit the bill.” On top of that, Ted noted Bellevue’s vibrant community and car and pedestrian-friendly streets as important selection factors.

Hilton Bellevue, WashingtonWhen asked what the GTOAA Nationals Convention is all about, Ted can lay out the goals for the entire event for you pretty simply: “The GTOAA Convention is an annual event to celebrate the GTO and provide an opportunity for Pontiac enthusiasts to gather and talk cars.” Many attendees will be driving their prized GTOs to the event to participate in either the “Concours” cars competition judged by a skilled set of judges, or the Popular Vote cars competition judged by convention attendees.

The best part? The viewing of cars is open to the public throughout the convention. “We welcome and encourage the public to join us. We like to promote the hobby. The public is also welcome to stroll through the indoor vendor space and purchase items offered there.” Ted adds.

Photo Courtesy of Bake's Place

And the fun doesn’t end after the car competitions. GTOAA has worked with Visit Bellevue Washington to offer attendees all kinds of excursions around town and in neighboring cities as well. Attendees will have to opportunity to leave their prized Pontiacs at the car shows and get out and about in Bellevue by taking shuttles through downtown to experience local food, parks and shopping and the acclaimed Bellevue Arts Museum Wednesday through Sunday (July 13-17). For those attendees wanting to explore the region further, there will be special shuttles going to the Museum of Flight, The LeMay Car Museum, and even an Alaskan Ship Cruise after the convention ends!

We couldn’t be more thrilled for GTOAA’s 2016 Convention attendees. They’re going to have the time of their life, and the rest of Bellevue with them!

Written by – Rachel Burch

Photo Credits, Top to Bottom – GTO Closeup via Pixabay, Ted Knapp with his GTO via Ted Knapp, Bellevue Downtown Park Arial View via Merrill Images, Bellevue Hilton Exterior via the Bellevue Hilton, Diners on the Patio via Bake’s Place

 

 

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The Bellevue Summer Festival Checklist

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It’s pretty easy to tell when summer has come to Bellevue, Washington. The sun is shining, and that means you will find the outdoors-loving Pacific Northwest inhabitant outside soaking up the vitamin D in a constant state of activity until sometime in late September. While we love the many holidays throughout the year, there’s something about the long lazy days and luscious greenery of summer around here that calls for celebration. That’s why in any given summer month you will find festival after fair after festival in and around Bellevue.

The choices of things to do and see can be overwhelming, so here is a shortlist of Bellevue summer festivals we love, along with an insider tip we’d add to your bucket list.

JUNE 25-26: The Bellevue Strawberry Festival – Crossroads Park [Free]

Strawberry Festival Strawberry ShortcakeThe Strawberry Festival is a beloved local tradition. This family-friendly weekend festival celebrates Bellevue’s agricultural roots as well as its diverse cultural past, present and future. The festivities include hands-on history experiences, food vendors, a classic car show, inflatable bounce houses, pony rides, live entertainment and more!

Don’t miss: participating in a strawberry shortcake eating contest! Join the fun and devour a bowl of delicious fresh strawberry shortcake as fast as you can and you just might win a prize!

JULY 4: Bellevue Family Fourth – Bellevue Downtown Park [Free]

9242593988_8f4ae84b30_o-Credit Bellevue Parks & Community Services, Colin WalkerBring family and friends to the beautiful Bellevue Downtown Park to celebrate America’s Independence Day in a big way! This year marks the 25th anniversary of Bellevue Family Fourth, the largest 4th of July celebration in the region. Join the fun, food, games, live music, and be prepared for a stunning fireworks display.

Don’t miss: the fireworks show at approximately 9:30 – 9:45 pm in the evening! Pro tips: Bring a few extra sweaters and blankets to get cozy pre-fireworks. If you have a camera handy, set the ISO to 50 or 100 and slow down the shutter speed to 2-3 seconds or longer to catch those fireworks in motion!

JULY 29-31: Bellevue Arts Fair – Downtown Bellevue [Free]

AChalk art Bellevue arts fairrt and crafts lovers, you don’t want to miss this one! Local artists show and sell their work in a three day extravaganza all over downtown. Technically, Bellevue Arts Fair is a combination of three arts fairs that cover the city with all sorts of vendors and activities in all colors, textiles, and patterns.

Don’t miss: fueling up at the kettle corn stand before seeing how many sidewalk chalk artist you can find at the festival! Take a look at the many vendors selling wearables as well for a unique piece of jewelry or clothing to add to your wardrobe.

AUGUST 5-7: Seafair Weekend – Genesee Park [Tickets starting at $10]

Seafair Boats - Credit Rod MarThere’s a familiar phrase you’ll hear the locals proclaim as August approaches, “The Blue Angels are coming!” Soon after, the sound of soaring jets fills the air as the U.S. Navy Blue Angels come to town for a weekend of aerobatic demonstrations in the sky while the world’s fastest powerboats race on Lake Washington. Get your tickets to Seafair Weekend and stake out a spot at Genesee Park to enjoy the show up close. Activities at the park include food vendors, booths, kids interactive activities, live bands, and more Pacific Northwest waterfront fun!

Don’t miss: getting a glimpse of the Blue Angels from our local parks here in Bellevue, especially if you’d rather avoid the larger crowds. You can dine in downtown Bellevue (or pack a picnic) and visit Medina Beach Park or the new Evergreen Point Park & Ride that weekend for a more peaceful afternoon watching the Blue Angels soar overhead.

AUGUST 20: Taste of Main – Main Street, Bellevue [Tickets starting at $15]

Taste-of-Main---Courtesy-Detlef-Schrempf-Foundation-(5)Buy a “passport” to Taste of Main and spend the day sauntering through Bellevue’s historic Main Street District tasting hors d’oeuvres from local chef-owned restaurants, local wines, spirits, chocolates and more! Not only will you try the best of Bellevue’s food and wine, you’ll also be supporting local children’s charities while you’re at it!

Don’t miss: discovering other local gems and boutiques on Main Street. While the opportunities to taste food and wine are endless, there are also independent designer shops like Jarbo and La Ree Boutique, cooking classes at Whisk, and many other local shops to explore.

Written by – Rachel Burch

Photo Credits – Top to Bottom: Bellevue Arts Fair via Bellevue Arts Museum, Strawberry Shortcake via Eastside Heritage Center, Bellevue Family Fourth via Bellevue Parks & Community Services/Colin Walker, Sidewalk Chalk Artist via Bellevue Arts Museum, Seafair Boats via Rod Mar, Taste of Main via Detlef Schrempf Foundation

 

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Channel Your Inner Olympian in Bellevue

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In anticipation of the Summer Olympics, which kick off in Brazil with an opening ceremony on Aug. 5, we’ve compiled a list of sports and activities that will allow you to channel your inner athlete—or cheer on your favorite competitors—in and around Bellevue.

We’ve ranked each pursuit as either gold, silver or bronze, depending on how many opportunities you’ll have to watch or participate. Even if you never get to pose on a podium, you can still break a sweat with the best.

Let the games begin!

GOLD-MEDAL ACTIVITIES

Gold-medal sports feature numerous opportunities to be both spectator and participant at venues throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Basketball

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The Seattle Basketball Pro-Am summer league draws current and former professional and collegiate ballers to Seattle Pacific University’s Royal Brougham Pavilion. Watch your favorite local players—like Jamal Crawford (whose foundation the league benefits), Nate Robinson, Isaiah Thomas and Spencer Hawes—compete in a laid-back, family-friendly and affordable environment ($5 for adults, kids 17 and younger are free).

The Seattle Storm, winners of two WNBA championships, lost star forward Lauren Jackson to retirement earlier this year, but welcomed back team leader Sue Bird, along with newly drafted UConn Huskies star Breanna Stewart. Games take place at KeyArena through September.

There are also plenty of local courts where you can hone your own hoop skills, or mix it up with other ballers during a pick-up game. You’ll almost always find action at Hidden Valley Sports Park; the Crossroads Community Center has some of the nicest courts in town; and the Lewis Creek Park courts come with a stellar view.

AVP Beach Volleyball 2

Beach Volleyball

Perhaps more than any other Olympic sport, beach volleyball screams summer. Soft sand meets hard bodies in two-on-two showdowns with spectacular views. You can watch some of the world’s most talented players at the AVP Seattle Open (June 2-5) at Lake Sammamish State Park in nearby Issaquah, while enjoying live music and great food.

If watching the pros has you hankering for a pick-up game of your own, head across the bridge to West Seattle, where you’ll find blistering local competition, from juniors to semi-pro, at Alki Beach. There’s even a camp (July 29) with 2004 Olympian and UCLA head sand coach Stein Metzger that’s open to adults.

 

Canoeing, Kayaking and Rowing

Carillon_Point_Waterfront_Adventures-Jean-Marcus_Strole_Photography-32There are bodies of water just about everywhere you look in the Puget Sound area, and most of them offer opportunities to row. You can rent canoes and/or kayaks in Bellevue at Cascade PaddleSports at Enatai Beach; in Kirkland at The Woodmark Hotel; in Issaquah at Issaquah Paddle Sports at Lake Sammamish State Park; and in Seattle at Northwest Outdoor Center on Lake Union.

Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) isn’t an Olympic sport just yet, but it could very well be in the future. Get a glimpse of the rapidly growing sport at the Round the Rock Stand Up Paddle Race (Sept. 17) that invites paddlers to travel 13 miles starting from Newcastle Beach Park in Bellevue.

Cycling

Sammamish River Trail 4- Sharon LintonThe Pacific Northwest is one of the most bike-friendly regions in the country, and there is no shortage of paved paths and bike lanes to tackle on two wheels. Visit the Cascade Bicycle Club website for bike maps, plus information on tips, tours, rides and rentals.

The club is instrumental in organizing the annual Seattle to Portland (STP) ride, the largest multi-day bicycle event in the Northwest. This year’s race takes place July 16-17, and will draw 10,000 participants to a 200-plus-mile ride through scenic valleys, forests and farmlands.

You can enjoy the drama of competitive track cycling at the Jerry Baker Velodrome at Marymoor Park in Redmond. The track’s Friday night races are the highlight of the week, and feature the fastest riders, great local beer and wine, food trucks, and hundreds of enthusiastic spectators.

Golf

Golf Club at Newcastle HEROIt may rain here a bit more than it does in other parts of the country, but that just means that we can boast about lush green golf courses come summer. There are dozens of local public and private courses that cater to golfers of every level, including the Bellevue Golf Course, the Crossroads Par 3 Golf Course and the Golf Club at Newcastle. Visit the Northwest Golf Guide for a comprehensive list.

If your swing could benefit from some tips from the pros, catch all the action at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 9-12) at Sahalee Country Club. Three-time winner Inbee Park will be going for a four-peat at this year’s tournament, one of the LPGA tour’s five majors.

Later this summer, the men will compete at the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, which features a whole week of charity events and clinics, plus a three-day (Aug. 26-28) PGA tournament that draws top-tier golfers like Scott Dunlap, John Riegger and defending champion Billy Andrade with a $2 million purse.

SILVER-MEDAL ACTIVITIES

Silver-medal sports feature opportunities to channel your inner Olympian by participating.

Swimming

BELLE_P103_pool_with_families_kids_65856_medWho says hotel pools are just for looks? If you’re staying overnight, why not take advantage of that lovely heated pool for an invigorating lap swim? You can also swim indoors at the Bellevue Aquatic Center, but if you prefer fresh water to chlorinated, slip on your suit, grab your goggles and head to one of our many swimming beaches.

 

Tennis

tennis-614183_1920Tennis enthusiasts will “love” the Robinswood Tennis Center, one of the best public facilities in the region. In addition to indoor and outdoor courts, you’ll find lessons, a pro shop, racquet and ball machine rentals, even restringing services if you get a little too, um, enthusiastic at the net. You’ll also find outdoor courts at more than a dozen city parks.

 

 

Track & Field

Columbia Winery Charity RunRunning is one of our region’s favorite pastimes, and Seattle and the Eastside are home to dozens of summer races and fun runs, including the Furry 5K (June 12); the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Seattle (June 18), the Michelob Ultra Seafair Pirate Run (July 30), Mud & Chocolate (Aug. 14) and the Columbia Winery Charity Run & Walk (Aug. 20).

It isn’t local, but if you’re in the Pacific Northwest for business in July, and don’t have to rush home, consider a trip to Eugene, Oregon for the U.S. Olympic Team Track & Field Trials. You can get there in about an hour by plane, four and a half hours by car or seven hours by train.

BRONZE-MEDAL ACTIVITIES

Bronze-medal sports feature opportunities to cheer on current, former and someday Olympians.

Gymnastics

Watch the Olympic gymnastics events on TV this summer, then go see a live encore from your favorite performers, like Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles and Aly Raisman, at the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions at KeyArena (Sept. 16, 7:30 p.m.). Tickets go on sale to the public June 23 at 10 a.m.

Soccer

1_soundersSeattle is home to both men’s and women’s professional soccer teams, so if you can’t travel to Brazil to cheer on the national teams, you can still enjoy “the beautiful game” right here. The Sounders FC men’s team hosts matches at Century Link Field, while the Seattle Reign FC women’s team welcome challengers to Memorial Stadium.

 

 

Written by – Monica Fischer

Photo Credits – Top to Bottom: Runner at Sunset via Pixabay, Crossroads Community Center Basketball Court via Bellevue Parks & Community Services, Beach Volleyball via AVP Beach Volleyball, Kayaking on Lake Washington via The Woodmark, Cycling on Sammamish River Trail via Sharon Linton, Golf Course View via The Golf Club at Newcastle, Indoor Pool via the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, Tennis Shot via Pixabay, Runners via Columbia Winery Charity Run & Walk, Sounders Game via Gregory Mauch Photography

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Spend the Day Solo in Bellevue

Fun in the Sun

Three Dog Night was wrong. When you choose to spend 24 hours doing exactly what you want to do, when and where you want to do it, one isn’t the loneliest number at all—it’s the loveliest! If you’re already away from home for business in Bellevue, why not take an extra day just for you?

Whether your leisure-time philosophy is to seize the day or take it easy, you will find dozens of distractions that will make you so happy to be so solo. We’ve crafted a carpe-diem itinerary for go-getters, sprinkled with more leisurely alternatives for those in search of solitude.

Good morning

Eques Signature Eggs BenedictKick off your day with an invigorating morning workout, like a run at Bellevue Downtown Park, a spin class at Flywheel or a drop-in, booty-kicking workout at jabX Kickboxing. Not only will it energize you for the rest of the day, it will erase any guilt you might feel about the delicious, decadent breakfast you’re about to enjoy at Eques.

Or take it easy: Skip the alarm and sleep in, then ease into the day with a yoga flow class at Shakti Vinyasa Yoga Bellevue, followed by a sweet French treat and coffee at Belle Pastry.

Good afternoon

mercerslough and canoe 2010Stock up on Vitamin D and soak up our photogenic panoramas with a paddle from Enatai Beach Park on Lake Washington to the Mercer Slough Nature Park. Cascade PaddleSports offers canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals, lessons and trips May through September.

Back on land, fuel up for the rest of your afternoon with a juicy burger and refreshing brew at Local Burger, which boasts a lively patio and inventive preparations; or visit the wildly popular Din Tai Fung for award-winning dumplings and noodles.

After lunch, learn how to make dinner (or dessert), brush up on your entertaining skills and meet other fun foodies at a cooking class hosted by Whisk. Topics range from “3 Haute Chicks,” featuring three boneless, skinless chicken breast recipes, to “Beach Shack Favorites,” which dishes up fresh tuna burgers with ginger, pickled onions and Wasabi soy mayo.

Or take it easy: Take a stroll while getting to know Bellevue, with a self-guided tour of the city’s public art installations or historical sites, or a guided tour of the Bellevue Botanical Garden. Get lunch to go and eat al fresco at Bellevue Downtown Park, then pamper yourself at a local spa and top off the afternoon with a rich, creamy pick-me-up at Fran’s Chocolates.

Good night

Lot No. 3 SmallIf you’re uncomfortable dining alone, seek out restaurants that serve their full menu at the bar and introduce yourself to the bartender. A good one will chat with you as often as he or she can, and a great one will also recommend his or her favorite local destinations. Hotel restaurants are smart choices because their staffs are accustomed to making visitors feel at home.

There are dozens of welcoming restaurants to choose from, but we’ve received a particularly warm reception at Lot No. 3, Seastar, 99 Park, Palomino Restaurant & Bar, Earl’s Kitchen + Bar, Cactus, Tavern Hall, Purple Café and Wine Bar and 520 Bar & Grill.

Wrap up your action-packed day with live music at Bake’s Place or—if you’re feeling brave—karaoke at Stone Lounge. After all, what better time to channel your inner Axl Rose or Nancy Sinatra than when no one who knows you is around to witness it?

Or take it easy: Two words: Room service. If you rarely get time to yourself, consider picking up a new novel or a stack of gossip magazines at Barnes & Noble, putting on your jammies and ordering in at your hotel. It may be the last time in a while that it’s all about you.

Good advice

Transit Center 2Bellevue is a safe, friendly and walkable city, but do use common sense when exploring on your own. Wear a life jacket and sunscreen on the water; walk alone only in well-lit public places; take uber, a cab or a hotel shuttle if you’re traveling more than a mile or two; and keep your mobile phone handy for photos, directions and sharing your experiences on social media.

 

Written by – Monica Fischer

Photo Credits – Top to Bottom: Girl with Bicycle via Willows Lodge, Eggs Benedict via Eques, Kayaking on Mercer Slough via Visit Bellevue Washington, Bar Dining via Lot No. 3, Bellevue Transit Center via Marv Heston 

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The Definitive Guide to Summer in Bellevue

9242662168_cc92c279aa_o(1)-Credit Bellevue Parks & Community Services, Colin Walker

Here is our dilemma this summer: How will we swim, run, hike, bike, paddle, dance, eat, drink, golf, shop, cheer on our favorite teams and catch all the action of the Olympics? It’s going to take a Herculean effort, but we think we’re up to the challenge, and we have to admit: It’s a pretty great problem to have.

If you’re joining us in Bellevue this summer—on your own, with co-workers, or accompanied by friends or family—here’s how we suggest you tackle the sport we like to call “doing every fun thing under the sun.” And just in case we leave out anything, please visit our events calendar for more cool happenings.

Taste-of-Main---Courtesy-Detlef-Schrempf-Foundation-(5)If you’re the festive type, mark your calendar for the Bellevue Strawberry Festival (June 25-26); the Bellevue Family 4th (July 4); the Bellevue Arts Museum ARTSfair (July 29-31); the Kirkland Classic Car Show (July 31); Kirkland Summer Fest (Aug. 12-13); and the Taste of Main (August 20).

Meanwhile, music lovers should take note of the Live at Lunch performances (July 5-Sept. 8); and outdoor concerts at Chateau Ste. Michelle winery and Marymoor Park.

Walmsley Bellevue Summer Concert

Sports fans should head to the pitch for Seattle Sounders FC and Seattle Reign soccer matches, to Safeco Field for Seattle Mariners baseball games or to Key Arena for Seattle Storm women’s basketball games.

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.

Round the Rock 2015

For those who would rather participate than spectate, Bellevue offers the Four on the 4th Dog Jog & Walk (July 4); and Round the Rock Stand Up Paddle Race (Sept. 17); nearby Kirkland hosts the Sounders FC Rave Green Run (July 17); and Issaquah welcomes the series finale of the Cascadia Dirt Cup (Sept. 17).

If your interests lean more toward raising a glass than breaking a sweat, we suggest the Washington Brewers Festival (June 17-19); Kirkland Uncorked (July 15-17); and the Auction of Washington Wines (Aug. 18-20).


Flower Vendor3
Still have free time? Kiss those lazy days goodbye and fill in your calendar with a visit to the Bellevue Farmers Market (Thursdays, 3-7 p.m.) or the Crossroads Farmers Market (Tuesdays, 12-6 p.m.), a tour at the Bellevue Botanical Garden, or a leisurely lunch or delicious dinner at a local restaurant. And while you can’t earn a gold medal in shopping, you can certainly give your gold card a workout at our inviting malls and boutiques.

 

 

Written by – Monica Fischer

Photo Credits – Top to Bottom: Fireworks at Bellevue Family 4th via Bellevue Parks & Community Services/Colin Walker, Taste of Main via Detlef Shrempf, Live at Lunch via Michael Walmsley, Round the Rock courtesy of Round the Rock Stand Up Paddle Race, Farmers Market Flowers via Crossroads Bellevue

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6 Stalls to Stop by at the Bellevue Farmers Market

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Summer is still a few weeks away, but one of our favorite warm-weather pastimes has already returned, and we couldn’t be happier. The Bellevue Farmers Market opened May 12, and we stopped by to soak up the sun, sample the goods and meet some of the hardworking local folks who toil in the soil so we can eat fresh all season long.

We heartily recommend you visit every single stall, but if you’re short on time, you might want to move these six sociable vendors to the top of your shopping list.

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Alvarez Organic Farms

This time of year, most of our favorite recipes feature asparagus, so we scooped up generous bunches of the vitamin-packed shoots—both thick and thin varieties were available—as well as onions and spring garlic from this family-owned farm based in Mabton, east of the Cascades.

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Geaux Brewery

How could you not love beer inspired by the Big Easy? The New Orleans-themed craft brewers from right here in Bellevue hooked us up with a lovely malty, melon-y IPA named Treme, and invited us to stop by their family-friendly taproom at 12031 Northup Way, Suite 203.

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Jonboy Caramels

The Ballard-based artisan confectionary showed off three varieties of their small-batch caramels, and while we appreciated the Fleur de Sel and Absinthe with Black Salt candies, our favorites were the Key Lime with Sea Salt caramels, which perfectly balanced citrus and sweet.

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Nino Blanco Foods

We were showing off and chose a sample of the spicy chipotle salsa made by Darren Donahue’s family-owned Maple Valley condiment company, and boy, did we pay for it! Fortunately, there are a handful of less-fiery but just as addicting salsa varieties to choose from.

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Seattle Pickle Co.

We were tickled to find pickles at the market, and thrilled to learn that this local company also produces a stellar Bloody Mary mix and relish, plus pickled asparagus, green beans and beets. If you can’t make it to the market, you can find their fine-brined goods in Bellevue at Pasta & Co.

Pops

Seattle Pops

It’s kind of genius to infuse popsicles with seasonal, local and organic ingredients, and positively brilliant to sell those fresh, refreshing frozen treats at the farmers market on a sunny day. Choose fruity or creamy varieties, in flavors from strawberry to coconut to chocolate banana.

The Bellevue Farmers Market is open Thursdays 3-7 p.m., through October 27, in the parking lot of Bellevue Presbyterian Church, 1717 Bellevue Way NE. You’ll find free and plentiful parking, and food trucks slinging cross-cultural cuisine. Bring shopping bags and cash, or buy a token with your debit card ($2 service charge) if you forget to stop by the ATM.

Written by – Monica Fischer

Photo Credits – Top to Bottom: Bellevue Farmers Market photos courtesy of Monica Fischer

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