By Monica Fischer
Catch a view of the Bellevue skyline while paddling down the Mercer Slough. Photo by Merrill Images.

When it comes to famous Pacific Northwest views, Bellevue doesn’t get a lot of press. The iconic Space Needle is on the other side of Lake Washington in Seattle, magnificent Mount Rainier is 100 miles to the south, and breathtaking Snoqualmie Falls shows off its waterworks in a small rural community to the east.

But Bellevue is no slouch when it comes to pretty panoramas. Local and not-too-far-away parks, trails and viewpoints—even a few bus stops—offer spectacular views of majestic mountains, peaceful streams, wild woods and dramatic sunsets. And on a clear spring day, you can even see a couple of those aforementioned icons—if you know where to look.

Whether you have 30 minutes between meetings, three hours before a flight or three days to explore the city, we’ve got something beautiful to show you.

The Bellevue skyline and points of interest

Bellevue Downtown Park

In the same way it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, it’s hard to see the city when you’re in the city. But there are a handful of places not too far from downtown Bellevue where you can appreciate its skyline.

Bellevue Downtown Park is just a stone’s throw to the south from the city’s high-rises. Take an invigorating walk around the half-mile loop trail, then snap a photo of the towering skyline.

Wilburton Hill Park sits just above the Bellevue Botanical Garden (more on that later) and offers a peek-a-boo view of downtown Bellevue. A short walk on the Lake to Lake Trail takes you to the historic and picturesque Wilburton Trestle, the longest wooden railway trestle in Washington.

Flora and fauna

The Ravine Bridge at Bellevue Botanical Garden. Photo Courtesy of Bellevue Parks & Community Services / Colin Walker

For views that are easy on the eyes—and the soul—head to the beautiful Bellevue Botanical Garden just a few blocks east of downtown Bellevue. The 53-acre sanctuary—a blend of gardens, woodlands and wetlands—bursts with blossoms and rushing streams in the spring. Be sure to walk the short nature trail to the Ravine Experience, where a dramatic, 150-foot suspension bridge is always ready for its close-up.

Panoramas and sunsets