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.
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.
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.
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.
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