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

skatepark_mural

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

kenmore air

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

mercer slough jog

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

rent a boat

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

Kayaking-Mercer-slough-summer-bellevue

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

BAM-ArRTSfair-2014---Dreidl-Vendor

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

Kelsey-Creek-Farm-Fair-Cow

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

Zip_Tour_SBCC_012-Credit-Bellevue-Parks-&-Community-Services,-Colin-Walker

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

Bakes-Place-Patio-Credit-Sharon-Linton

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

Chism-Beach-Bellevue-Wahington

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

Crossroads-spray-park---Credit-Sharon-Linton-(18)

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

Taste-of-Main---Courtesy-Detlef-Schrempf-Foundation-(5)

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

Bellevue-Farmers-Market2

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
Posted in Arts and Culture, Bellevue Parks, Culinary and Wine, Downtown Bellevue, Events, Family, Hidden Gems / Local Picks, Insiders Tips, Outdoors, Summer Fun, Things To Do, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

OutdoorMovies

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

Snoqualmie

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

Produce

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

Sailing

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

Bellevue-Downtown-Park-Waterfall-Stroll

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

Bellevue-Zip-Tour-Credit-Bellevue-Parks-and-Community-Services-Colin-Walker

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

DinTaiFung

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

 

 

 

2.     Dinner with a view at Daniel’s Broiler

DanielsBroiler

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

3.     Try something from the Food Truck pod

FoodTrucks

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

 

4.     Dim sum brunch at Wild Ginger

WildGinger

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

 

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

RamanCraze

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

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

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

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

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

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

Experience the Pacific Northwest at Mercer Slough

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

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

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

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

Mix Up Your Meeting Space

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

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

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

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

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

Hotels and Meeting Venues

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

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

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

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

Restaurants and Private Dining

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

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

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

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

Activities and Attractions

Inside jcoco’s pop up shop at Bellevue Square.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Attendance Promotion and DMOs – Your Partner In Growing Your Events

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

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

Pre-Event Buzz

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

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

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

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


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

Tech Assistance

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

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

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

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

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

Onsite Excitement

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

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

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

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

Good Promotion Makes Good Cents

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

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

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

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