Photo Worthy Spots in Bellevue

Selfies, panoramas, and artsy shots—snap them all in Bellevue.

  1. BELLEVUE COLLECTION SKY BRIDGE

The 110-foot glass-and-steel sky bridge connecting Lincoln Square to Bellevue Square offers an impressive vantage point of the downtown corridor.

2.CROSSROADS PARK

Capture your kiddos’ joy as they play in the spray park at Crossroads Park. Don’t miss a chance for a photo op on the life-sized orca sculpture that doubles as a fun spray element.

  1. SOUTH BELLEVUE COMUNITY CENTER

John T. Young’s “Temple of the Stones,” made of granite, steel, and cable at South Bellevue Community Center, is a gorgeous piece of public art that shoots well in all seasons, but particularly in the fall.

  1. COAL CREEK NATURAL AREA

Escape the hustle and bustle of downtown and explore this dense forest area that also serves as a natural fish and wildlife habitat. Watch for evidence of the area’s early coal industry along the trail.

  1. MEYDENBAUER BAY

The towering skyline of downtown Bellevue fits nicely with Meydenbauer Bay, a gleaming corner of Lake Washington, in the foreground.

Written by – Ethan Chung, published in the 2017 Bellevue Visitor Guide

Photo Credits – Top to Bottom: The Bellevue Collection Sky Bridge via Brian D. Casey, Crossroads Spray Park via Visit Bellevue Washington, South Bellevue Community Center Scuplture via Tosin Arasi, Coal Creek Natural Area via Flickr Creative Commons, Meydenbauer Bay via Merrill Images

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New Year, New Bellevue

What’s happening in Bellevue? Let’s just say Bellevue is taking the “New year, new you” mantra to a whole different level this year. 2017 has some major projects coming to completion across the city that are already bringing new residents, workers, visitors and experiences to Bellevue’s bustling downtown and beyond. Here’s our roundup of the freshest, must-visit destinations coming to Bellevue this year.

Accomodation

Not one, but three major hotel brands are coming to Bellevue in 2017.

Hilton Garden Inn – Opening June 2017

Just a short stroll away from Bellevue’s shopping and dining core, Hilton Hotels will open the Hilton Garden Inn Seattle Bellevue Downtown on NE 10th Street and 108 Ave NE, an upscale yet affordable hotel providing travelers the conveniences of home while on the road. For example, as a guest at Hilton Garden Inn you can order fresh, cooked-to-order breakfasts delivered to your room, unwind at a state-of-the-art fitness center or stop by their 24/7 “Pavilion Pantry” for healthy snacks, sweets, beverages or ready-made meals. The new Hilton Garden Inn will have 254 guestrooms total and flexible meeting space to accommodate up to 100 guests.

AC Marriott Hotel – Opening June 2017

In south downtown Bellevue on NE 2nd Street and 106th Place NE, one of Marriott’s newest brand concepts will establish a presence, AC Hotels by Marriott. This clean, minimalist hotel brand has Spanish origins reflected in its European-style breakfasts, shared spaces for networking and/or tapas and cocktails, and efficient use of space and design to appeal to the global traveler. Visitors staying at the 235 guestroom AC Marriott Bellevue will be able to further their European inspired travels with easy city walks to Bellevue Downtown Park or the charming Old Bellevue Main Street District.

W Bellevue – Opening June 2017

In the heart of downtown on Bellevue Way, a new W Hotel will join the forces that are Lincoln Square and Bellevue Square as a part of the Lincoln Square Expansion. Alongside other new shopping and dining options, the W Bellevue will have 220 guestrooms, 25 suites, 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and will be just a sky bridge away from world class shopping at The Bellevue Collection. The hotel rooms will combine cutting-edge interior design with the Pacific Northwest’s rugged outdoor heritage and tech-forward sensibilities. Guests will be able to amplify their senses at Chef Jason Wilson’s new farm-to-fork restaurant, explore Bellevue’s coveted cocktail culture at the speakeasy bar Civility & Unrest and wind down in the lounge area called The Library, a pulp pleasure parade of old-style gaming and cheeky fun.

Shopping/Dining/Attractions

Mark your calendar and be sure to come visit these new retailers, restaurants and experiences coming to Bellevue in the months ahead.

Lincoln Square Expansion – Various projects opening throughout 2017

Started in 2014, Lincoln Square Expansion is the all-encompassing name for a vast project adding 1.5 million square feet of space to Lincoln Square, Kemper Development Company’s mixed-use shopping center on Bellevue Way between NE 4th and 8th Street downtown. Over the coming months, companies like Valve Corp, Pokemon and WeWork will move into the new office tower named “400 Lincoln Square”, while new apartment owners move into “Two Lincoln Tower” next door. Below these new apartments and office spaces will be the W Bellevue hotel plus a host of new restaurants and retailers.

Winter 2017 – Lincoln Square Expansion 

Spinners rejoice! The first SoulCycle in the greater Seattle area is opening this January at the Lincoln Square Expansion. The indoor cycling gym has been sweeping the nation with their community approach to fitness and upbeat 45-minute classes. Sign-up for a class via their website and enjoy the ride.

Spring 2017 – Lincoln Square Expansion 

As the year warms up the Lincoln Square Expansion will welcome a host of new eateries. Henry’s Tavern, an American bar and grill with Portland roots bringing 100 beers on tap; Fogo de Chao, a well-known Brazilian steakhouse celebrating the art of ‘churrasco, fire-roasted meats delivered straight to your plate; and Japonessa Sushi, a sushi bar with Latin American flair are just naming a few. Other names slated to open in the spring include Taylor Shellfish, Wild Ginger, Baron’s Restaurant, Duke’s Chowder House, Parker’s Coffee and The Market. Chef Jason Wilson’s hotly anticipated new farm-to-fork restaurant and speakeasy cocktail bar concepts have yet to announce opening dates but are in the works for 2017 as well.

Fall 2017 – Lincoln Square Expansion 

Shoppers looking for a steal will be able to visit Nordstrom Rack, opening at the Lincoln Square Expansion in the fall.

KidsQuest – Opening January 2017

Calling all families! Bellevue’s interactive, non-profit children’s museum will be moving into a huge new and renovated space in downtown Bellevue this January. Conveniently located close to the Bellevue Library and local parks, kiddos ages 0-8 will be captivated here for hours on end. KidsQuest’s philosophy encourages early learning through play, especially when it comes to the sciences, technology, engineering, art and math. Come check out the new space complete with an outdoor gallery, water gallery, story tree area and stage for reading, a two-story climber, classroom spaces including an art studio, and more. Looking for the perfect space for a birthday party, or even a social for the grown-ups? KidsQuest is currently scheduling special events in their new space for March 2017 or later.

Renovated Bellevue Downtown Park – Fully Reopening July 2017 

The Bellevue Downtown Park has been a distinctive 21-acre oasis in the middle of Bellevue for years. Many visitors know the wide waterfall, stepped canals populated by ducks, shade trees and spacious lawn often frequented by Pokemon Go players. But this year, a construction project will wrap up just in time for the 4th of July, revealing a Bellevue Downtown Park come “full circle”. The project will complete the walkway and canal around the circular park to form a connected loop and add the new “Inspiration Playground,” an expanded playground that engages all the senses to create a space more inclusive of children of all abilities.

Photo Credits – Top to Bottom: City Hall Photo via Brian D. Casey, Guest Room via AC Hotels by Marriott, Hotel Exterior via Hilton Garden Inn, Living Room Lounge via W Bellevue, Downtown City View via Brian D. Casey, KidsQuest in Progress via Merrill Images, Downtown Park via Michael Walmsley

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Winter Hikes – from Urban to Winter Wonderland

In the Pacific Northwest we escape to the great outdoors year-round, and because the snow usually stays up in the mountains (about 45 minutes from Bellevue), a visit to Bellevue this winter means hiking opportunities ranging from snow-free urban vistas to white winter wonderlands. Just peruse our favorite winter hikes below, determine your timing, your level of desire for adventure and how bundled up you want to get. Then make your choice and get outside to enjoy the natural beauty that is so abundant here.

520 Bridge Biking and Walking Path    img_0024

Highlights:

  • Enjoy beautiful views of Seattle, Bellevue and Lake Washington as you walk west across the 520 floating bridge from the Evergreen Point Park and Ride. A 14-ft wide walking and bike path is separated from the adjacent freeway by a protective barrier. The path includes resting areas with benches and three scenic viewpoints providing information about Nautical and Maritime history of Lake Washington, as well as details about local fish and waterfowl.
  • While construction continues on the west end of the 520 floating bridge the trail is an out and back trail from the Evergreen Point Park and Ride.

Hike Distance: 2 miles round trip (or continue to the east and walk for several more miles along this same pathway)

Getting There:

  • Drive to the Evergreen Point Park and Ride just 3 miles west of downtown Bellevue
  • Catch the 555 ST Express Bus from the Bellevue Transit Center and get off at the Evergreen Point Freeway station.

Tips and things to know before you go:

This is a paved pathway with some elevation gain/loss as you transition from the park and ride area to the floating bridge level. Dress for the weather and have fun. The Evergreen Point floating bridge connects Seattle to Bellevue and holds the Guinness World Record title for the longest floating bridge in the world. The bridge originally opened in 1963 and was replaced by the new slightly longer, 7,708 foot bridge, in April 2016.

 

Mercer Slough Nature Parkimg_0033

Highlights:

The Mercer Slough Nature Park is a 320-acre wetland oasis, lushly populated with ferns, shrubs, flowers, several varieties of berries, distinctive wooden boardwalks and shaded pathways just a short distance from Bellevue’s bustling downtown. Stop by the Visitor Center at the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center  (on the east side of the park) to talk to the on-duty park ranger, view the interpretive displays and check out back pack with activities to help you learn about the park and its environs.

Hike Distance: There are three main trails in the Park: the 0.8 mile Bellefields Loop Trail, the 1.1 mile Heritage Loop Trail, and the 4-mile Periphery Trail. Canoers and kayakers can explore the 2.6 mile Water Trail that flows through the length of the park. Canoes and Kayaks are available for rent at Enatai Beach Park on Lake Washington.

Getting There:

Drive (or walk) just 2 miles south of downtown Bellevue’s skyscrapers to the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center and Bellefields trailhead on the east side of the park.

Tips and things to know before you go:

Mercer Slough Nature Park is the largest remaining stretch of wetland left on Lake Washington and it’s wetlands, meadows, forest, and bog are home or the seasonal destination of 170 species of birds and animals including Coyote, Beaver and Muskrat. Birds commonly seen in the park include: Great Blue Herons, many Ducks, Killdeer, Sparrows, Swallows, Red-tailed Hawks, Eagles, Towees, Kinglets, and Bushtits. Trails include boardwalks and well maintained pathways but there can be muddy spots.

 

Franklin Falls

Highlights:  A relatively short winter hike pays off big with an almost entirely frozen 135-foot waterfall creating a mist that covers everything and icicles that drip from the rock walls. While the falls are spectacular the journey is also worthwhile as you walk through snow laden old growth forest along the bubbling South Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

Hike Distance: The hike to Franklin Falls is easy. It’s a two-mile round-trip adventure with a 400′ elevation gain. In other words, it’s great for all ages and skill levels. You can make the hike to Franklin Falls year-round, but it’s especially stunning in the winter.

Getting There: From downtown Bellevue the trail head is just 45 miles and takes about 50 minutes to get there. Take I-90 east to exit 47 (Asahel Curtis/Denny Creek). At the top of the exit turn left. You’ll hit a T in the road; turn right. Take the first left (you’ll see signs to Denny Creek Campground). Stay on this road for about 2.5 miles. Take another left after the campground. The Franklin Falls trailhead is right there and it’s well-marked.

Equipment needed: Despite the short distance, winter hiking on this route is nothing to take lightly. Dress for the winter weather, wear boots with good traction and gloves and a warm jacket. Some portions of the trail get pretty slippery so hiking poles and snowshoes or ice grippers that can be put on your shoes can be helpful too.

Tips and things to know before you go: To avoid the crowds and finish your hike before dark its a good idea set off for this trip by 10 am on a weekend, by noon on a weekday. A Northwest Forest pass is required. A day e-pass can be purchased for $5. Just print it out ahead of time and place it on your vehicle’s dashboard.

 

Guided Snowshoe Walks at Snoqualmie Passfullsizerender

Highlights: Explore the Cascade Mountains and learn about winter ecology while snowshoeing on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest January through March.  No experience is necessary and the Forest Service provides snowshoes and poles.

Getting There: Snoqualmie Pass is just over 50 miles from Downtown Bellevue – about a one-hour drive.

Various Snowshoe walk options are offered Saturdays and Sundays.

  • Short Snowshoe Hike with Ranger
  • Extended Snowshoe Hike with Ranger
  • Winter Photography Outings
  • Kids in the Snow

Equipment needed: Participants should wear layered and insulated clothing, hats and gloves with sturdy, waterproof shoes or boots, hats and gloves. To offset the costs of the program, a donation is requested. Extreme winter weather may be cancel snowshoe programs. Please call ahead to make reservations and check on any cancellations.

 

Gear Up

Need the proper layers or equipment for the journey? Get geared up for your winter hiking adventures at REI in Bellevue and before you #optoutside.

Photo Credits, Top to Bottom: Sharon Linton

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Cool Stuff To Do in Bellevue – A Techie’s Itinerary

Let’s face it, the greater Bellevue/Seattle area is a technology hub quickly becoming its own kind of multicultural, game-loving, VR-wearing, hiking and beer-drinking variation of Silicon Valley. And wherever you find hundreds of tech workers living and playing, you find plenty of fun for the geek in all of us. So no matter whether you’re in town for an event like Emerald City Comicon, Pax West, BrickCon, Immerse Tech Summit, or just want to soak in the techie culture, these are some of the hot spots to visit when you’re in Bellevue.

An Inside Look

Being in Bellevue means you’re rubbing shoulders with the tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon and Google, gaming companies like Valve and Bungie, plus a host of startups you’ve never heard of but make a mental note to remember in case they jump to stardom in the next few years. Visit the place where some of the region’s leading technologies all began with a stop by the Microsoft Visitor Center. Located on Microsoft’s headquarters campus in Redmond, the visitor center is open Monday through Friday and contains a small museum of Microsoft and computing history, plus plenty of their latest gadgets to test out and interact with. Another local leader, Amazon, offers the Amazon Headquarters Tour of their Seattle campus every Wednesday. You’ll have to register for this one up to months in advance, but if you can score a visit you’ll enjoy a laid-back, behind-the-scenes tour of this impressive campus with plenty of fun facts and maybe even a trip to the notorious banana stand.

Is the startup scene more your vibe? Check out the events hosted every month by New Tech Eastside, the largest and arguably the most fun-loving meetup group in Bellevue.  Anyone from tech enthusiasts to developers, founders, investors and their friends can attend for an evening making great connections, enjoying food and drinks, learning cool things from new companies and just having a good time in general.

Fun and Games

Now that you’ve seen the sights and your event or tour is over, it’s time to kick back and relax. Tabletop gamers and informal players alike should head straight to Mox Boarding House. This extensive game store and adjoined restaurant are a board game paradise. Guests can wander back and forth between the store and the restaurant to pick up a game from the store’s generous library to play free of charge at their tables. Try one of the 20 beers on tap plus an order of poutine to share, and get to playing! Uncle’s Games in Crossroads Bellevue is another great stop to demo a tabletop game from their library or visit for one of their many “game night” events throughout the week.

Looking for an interactive activity to try as a group with friends or family? Put your heads together to solve a puzzle adventure with the mobile phone meets outdoor scavenger hunt game, Metrodemic. You’ll get to explore downtown Bellevue while following the mobile prompts and clues. Need a break? You can pause the game at any point along the way for a pit stop at a nearby restaurant or bar, and get back to the game at your own pace. Those wanting some extra adventure might opt for zip lining at Bellevue Zip Tour, operating April through October, or Adventura‘s outdoor challenge course. If the weather isn’t cooperating, opt for a round of “escape the room” at Bellevue’s Serial Mysteries, or at Conundroom in Redmond. Conundroom even has a virtual reality escape room quest where you and your team will use VR headsets to connect to your avatar at a faraway space station, fire lasers to protect yourself and more!

Fuel Up

End the trip with a proper round of food and drinks after your adventures. Beer enthusiasts looking for local flair will want to check out Bellevue Brewing Company or Geaux Brewing for a uniquely Bellevue brew. Bellevue Brewing Company is a neighborhood favorite known for pub food just as good as their distinctive flagship beers. Try one of their loaded sandwiches with a 425 Pale Ale, a stone fired pizza to go with your Scotch Ale, or an order of smoked ribs to accompany a hearty Oatmeal Stout. You’ll leave full and happy. Recently opened in the summer of 2011, Geaux Brewing has a more boutique feel, and still boasts a delicious selection of standard and rotation beers on tap. Their tap room has a look inspired by the French Quarter in New Orleans, and sports a selection of local and Louisiana-made food to accompany your Norwest brew.

Want some more substantial eats? Lunchbox Laboratory in Bellevue will have your mouth watering with their generously-sized experimental burger combinations and boozy milkshakes. See if you can spot their classic “Dork”(duck + pork) burger patty on the menu. Feeling like a particular cuisine, bar or quick bite at the Downtown Bellevue Food Truck Pod? Check out our website to find whatever fits your craving.

Photo Credits, Top to Bottom: Microsoft building via Marcus Donner, Game Library at Mox Boarding House via Visit Bellevue Washington, Zip Tour via City of Bellevue, Beer Taps via Bellevue Brewing Company, James West Burger via Lunchbox Laboratory 

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5 Bellevue Spa Experiences To Try In 2017

Spa Day

It’s a new year, and what better time to remind ourselves to make a fresh start when it comes to health and wellness? Maybe you’re looking to work out more regularly, eat better, or take a little more time for yourself. Whatever your 2017 goals are, there’s nothing like a good spa visit to give yourself a little getaway, decompress, relieve sore muscles and fight those winter blues with a burst of energy. These trending Bellevue spa packages and seasonal treatments are some of our favorite ways to do just that.

Recoop Sparecoop-spa-1

A modern, minimalist downtown spot, Recoop Spa was created for those of us who just don’t have the time to lounge at a spa for hours. Finally! Their full range of treatments includes a massage as brief as 30 minutes that can be a quick fix on its own or added to any body treatment. Try a relaxing massage after a long day or pamper your toes with their Milk and Almond Pedicure complete with a soak in hot almond milk and a moisturizing massage with sweet almond oil.

Yuan Spa

Yuan Spa’s elegant and calming space hearkens to their philosophies around holistic health and Eastern remedies. This is the place to try cupping, the Chinese medicinal technique used to improve circulation and ease muscle tension that became a hot topic at last summer’s Olympic Games. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to book a session here, and you may find the benefits of cupping to be just as game-changing. Not looking for a particular skin treatment or massage session? You can visit Yuan Spa to use the sauna, Eucalyptus steam room, and pools for just $45 without having to book an appointment.

Truce SpaTruce Spa Westin - wes1555sp.129045

Step into Truce Spa and you step into a luxurious tropical retreat. If you know the feeling of coming back from a trip in need of another vacation, Truce Spa is for you! Their spa menu includes treatments targeted at relieving the exhaustion and stresses that so often comes from traveling across time zones. Recover from your holiday travels with an Aroma Detox Massage using detoxifying essential oils to cleanse the lymphatic system and alleviate jetlag. The massage starts with oils drizzled along the spine, followed by a warm compress and ending with an invigorating lemon grass massage.

Float Bellevue

Finding an effective stress-management practice can be difficult, but don’t lose hope yet! At the recently opened Float Bellevue, you can literally float your stresses and aches away. The concept sounds too simple to be true. Book your session, arrive, shower, grab a pair of earplugs, and step into your very own float tank (also referred to as a sensory deprivation tank) for a 1-hour float in a warm salt-water. While floating can benefit anyone seeking a clear mind and relaxed muscles, these float tanks also help people who suffer from chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, migraine headaches and more.

Salt Mine Ariumsalt-mine-arium-kidsroomtrio

It’s that time of year when a nasty head cold can hit you hard. Good thing Salt Mine Arium’s Salt Room and Spa in Bellevue has the perfect remedy. The air in their salt rooms is saturated with micro salt particles that can be easily absorbed through the skin and deep into the lungs. Just pop-in to Salt Mine Arium (walk-ins are welcome) sit down, relax and breathe. The benefits of salt therapy include relief for allergies, asthma, cold, flu and insomnia. For a unique meditation or yoga experience, book a private session with one of Salt Mine Arium’s own instructors for a yoga + salt therapy fusion.

Written by: Rachel Encke

Photo Credits (Top to Bottom): Pexels.com, Recoop SpaTruce Spa, Salt Mine Arium

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Santa’s Coming to Bellevue

santa-photo-for-blogIt’s that magical time of year when the trees downtown twinkle with lights and snowflakes fall at the Snowflake Lane parade every evening in Bellevue, Washington. And whether you’re in town for ice skating, gift shopping or Garden D’Lights viewing this December, there’s someone the kids (and the young at heart) won’t want to miss. That’s right, Santa has come to Bellevue, in fact, he’s all over Bellevue! Get the details for each of the Bellevue Santa’s schedules below, and contact us at Visit Bellevue Washington for more holiday trip ideas!


crossroads-santaCrossroads: 
Photos with Santa are located near Hallmark and Party City: Dec. 3, 4, 8-11, 15-24. For more information, please visit http://www.crossroadsbellevue.com/SpecialEvents/PhotoswithSanta.

bravern-elfie-santaThe Shops at The Bravern: Take an “ELFIE” with Santa, Dec. 7-11 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, please visit http://thebravern.com/events/celebrate-the-season-with-style-3. He’s even taking pawsome pet photos on Sunday, Dec. 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.!

santas-workshop-bellevue-squareThe Bellevue Collection: Stop by and visit Santa at his beautiful workshop at Bellevue Square every day until Christmas. For full details, please visit http://www.santaphotos.com/locations/bellevue-square/.

marketplace-at-factoria-santaThe Marketplace at Factoria: Come see Santa for smiles, fun, and photos Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sundays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the holiday season. For reservations and details, please visit http://www.celebrateyourholiday.com/Reservations/.

Photo Credits, Top to Bottom – Header Image via Pexels.com, Crossroads Santa via Crossroads Bellevue, Take an “Elfie with Santa via The Shops at the Bravern, Santa’s Workshop at The Bellevue Collection via snowflakelane.com, Santa at The Marketplace at Factoria via celebrateyourholiday.com/Reservations/ 

 

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Five Bellevue Hotels that Place You in the Middle of it All

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Expedia.com teamed up with Visit Bellevue Washington to showcase several of the city’s downtown hotels that are conveniently located near all the action.

If you’ve always thought Bellevue was all work and no play, it’s time to reconsider. While this city certainly offers its fair share of tech businesses and trade shows, it also provides countless things to see and do after the work day is over. Between the peaceful nature areas and ritzy retail shops, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy, no matter if you’re vacationing in town after your business trip or bringing your family along for the fun.

Visit Bellevue Washington and Expedia.com teamed up to bring you five Bellevue hotels that place you in the middle of it all, from the gardens to the galleries. And better yet, because this area hosts business engagements during the work week, the hotels offer great values on the weekends.

courtyard-by-marriott

Courtyard by Marriott Seattle Bellevue
We can hardly think of a better way to shake off the stress of the work week than by dining on some seriously good food and sipping on local brews. Head to the laid-back and welcoming taproom at Bellevue Brewing Company to sample a toasty oatmeal stout or the refreshing 425 Pale Ale. Once you’ve feasted on stone fired pizza and smoked wings, retreat to the Courtyard hotel for a dip in the indoor pool or cocktails at Table 8.

sheraton-bellevue

Sheraton Bellevue
Whether you’re extending your business trip through the weekend or exploring Bellevue on your own, there’s some major retail therapy in store for you. When you stay at the Sheraton Bellevue, The Shops at The Bravern are less than a mile away, where you can spend your afternoon shopping to your heart’s desire. The rich luxury of designer shops like Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, and Gucci are certain to lure you here, while the promise of macarons and champagne at Trophy Cupcakes will keep you lingering. Round out your day of window shopping by dining at Bellevue Grille and viewing the city scene from the comfort of your hotel room.

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Hyatt Regency Bellevue
There’s so much to see and do in the area, why not stay in the heart of it all? Make yourself comfortable and book a studio suite at the Hyatt Regency, located on Bellevue Way, just north of the Bellevue Downtown Park. With 500 square feet of space and floor-to-ceiling windows, luxuriate after a day spent picnicking at Bellevue Botanical Garden and touring the grounds at Kelsey Creek Farm. Between viewing the flowers in the Yao Garden and petting the farm animals, you’ll experience a much more natural side to this business-focused city.

westin-bellevue

The Westin Bellevue
Power down your computer and treat your eyes to the unique exhibitions of arts and crafts at Bellevue Arts Museum. Sitting right across the street from The Westin Bellevue, this museum shows off rotating exhibits from both local and international artists. After getting a solid dose of inspiration at the museum’s Court of Light Sculpture Garden, do some more browsing at the museum gift shop and across the street at Bellevue Square—the only difference is that here you can actually purchase and take home what you like! Mosey around the more than 250 Bellevue Square retailers before returning to the Westin for a massage at Truce Bellevue Spa or a glass of vino at the on-site wine bar.

hilton-bellevue

Hilton Bellevue
While you’re in town, get your cultural kick at the Theatre at Meydenbauer Center. This performing arts theater, only a half a mile north of the Hilton Bellevue, invites you to spend the evening marveling at an elegant troop of ballet dancers or humming along with the musical talent on stage. With symphony performances and theater productions, there’s never a dull night at this venue. Before heading over to a show, have a bite to eat at Basil’s Bistro at the Hilton or unwind in the hotel’s hot tub on the outdoor pool deck.

Written by – Chloe Mulliner

Photo Credits, Top to Bottom – Expedia.com, Courtyard by Marriott Seattle Bellevue, Sheraton Bellevue, Hyatt Regency Bellevue via Michael Walmsley, Bellevue Botanical Garden, The Westin Bellevue, Hilton Bellevue 

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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
monsoon-bellevue

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.

Equeshyatt-regency-bellevue-eggs-ben

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 Pacific salmon eggs benedict or corn pancakes with smoked cheddar. 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

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