Whether you prefer a more urban setting—or want to really feel like you’re “getting away,” Bellevue has some of the most beautiful places to picnic in the state.
How about a romantic meal at dusk for two with some fabulous food? Looking for family time and love a beach? Or do you prefer to wander out a little further and go for a hike to find just the right picnic spot? Read on and let us help you the perfect destination for what you have in mind.
An approximately 21-acre oasis of green in the heart of Bellevue, this park is the definition of an “urban oasis”. Bellevue Downtown Park has been undergoing some upgrades that will be completed in June, making it the premiere urban spot to picnic in daytime or evening. Our favorite way to do it? Grab a delicious gourmet sandwich or salad from Gilberts on Main and you’ll be just blocks away from the park. Or you can do a romantic dessert for two and pop into nearby Belle Pastry.
Other nearby food options include the new Beechers handmade cheese location that opened on the lower level at Bellevue Square. Grab an amazing cheese, fruit and cracker plate, one of their Panini’s or of course, a cup of their famous macaroni and cheese and you’re good to go on a fantastic picnic. Or, stop by the new Poke Mix, and build your own poke bowl to take with you. You can also check out the new 365 by Whole Foods in Bellevue Square. Grab some sandwiches, sushi or a fantastic stir-fry. This Whole Foods features Thai food to-go from local, award-winning Thai restaurant, Wild Ginger.
The ten-acre lawn area will invite you to throw out a blanket and maybe toss the Frisbee around after your picnic. And with a one-half mile promenade, you’re also in the perfect spot for a walk after enjoying lunch.
And just in time for summer, Downtown Bellevue Park will be opening its new, innovative play space in June. Expanding the current playground, the Inspiration Playground will span approximately 1.5 acres. Dedicated to fun, imagination and learning where kids of all ages and abilities can explore at their own pace. Look for whimsical play areas for the little ones as well as climbing structures and challenges for older kids.
Wheel chair accessible swings; interactive water features and sculpture gardens will engage the senses, create inclusiveness and delight your kids for hours of outdoor fun.
Enatai Beach ParkIf you want to venture out a little further than the mall, Enatai Beach Park is just a couple of miles south of Downtown Bellevue off of I90. Pack a lunch or pick one up on the way. Another one of our local favorites? Homegrown, an organic, sustainable sandwich shop has one of the best egg, local Beecher’s cheese and bacon sandwiches in town and they serve it all day. Or, try one of their gluten-free Quinoa bowls. You could also stop by Bellevue’s Asian grocery store, Uwajimaya for unique and tasty treats, including bubble tea from the Oasis Tea Zone.
There’s plenty of parking at the beach park and if it’s a warm day you can swim after your picnic. Canoe and Kayak rentals are also available once the summer season hits. You’ll enjoy great views from the beach and the kids will love all the ducks and geese.
If you’re thinking of spending some time with little ones, we have the perfect day planned for you. Head to beautiful Bellevue Library in the morning—with its terrific children’s section and ample parking, it’s a great way to spend a few hours. Check out the events calendar from King County Library ahead of time and see if there are any special programs going on—like children’s story hour, before you go.
When you’re done, you’re just a walk away from Ashwood Park. It’s located between the library and KidsQuest museum. If you don’t pack a lunch, grab a sandwich at Café Cesura or pick up a famous Top Pot Donut at their Bellevue location and get ready to spread out your blanket and relax while the kids enjoy some playtime at the park.
They also offer some fun programming for children of all ages during spring and summer months like the Four on the 4th Dog Jog & Walk to raise money for the Bellevue Humane Society.
Prefer more of a wilderness hike before relaxing? One of the best views is at Cougar Mountain Wildland Park. Driving just eight miles east on I90 from downtown Bellevue, Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is the gem of King County’s 25,000-acre park system. Discover our region’s unique historical, cultural and natural heritage on your hike. Trails are wide and well marked, many are relatively flat, a great place to bring your family or your dog.
Along the trails, there are several small attractions related to the area’s mining history, as well nice viewpoints and a couple of small waterfalls.
Try the Coal Creek Falls Trail for a gorgeous waterfall view while you enjoy your lunch.
Another hidden gem for a hike is Wilburton Hill Park. You can start by having lunch at one of the picnic tables than hop on the trail. There’s even a trail to connect you to the Bellevue Botanical Garden.
If you’re with the kids, stop by Kelsey Creek Farm nearby. Home to ponies, sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, rabbits and waterfowl, the farm dates from the 1930’s, complete with white-rail fencing, beautiful lawns and play fields. Look for special events that the kids will love like farm classes and the annual Sheep Shearing in April.
There are dozens of beautiful parks located throughout the city of Bellevue; perfect for a picnic or just about any outdoor activity you can think of. For a complete list along with ideas of things to do when you get there, just visit our website!
Written by – Tami Rogers
Photo Credits – Top to Bottom: Enatai View via Visit Bellevue Washington, Bellevue Downtown Park via Kaitlyn Brajcich, Enatai Beach Kayaking via Marcus Donner, Cougar Mountain Anti-Aircraft Peak View via Kaitlyn Brajcich, Kelsey Creek Farm Cows via Visit Bellevue Washington