Festivals and Outings Perfect for the Kids (and Kids at Heart)

If you’re bringing the family to Bellevue on vacation, coming for business, or spending the weekend, fall is the perfect time of year to play in our neck of the woods. And now more than ever, Bellevue is a fantastic place to spend a week or a weekend. New luxury hotels in town like the W Bellevue and AC Marriott and great values on weekend stays at all our Bellevue hotel properties makes us truly the destination for staying and playing.

And this fall, there are great festivals to check out and a fantastic line-up of fun, family-friendly things to do throughout our city or just a short drive away.

Right Around the Corner

  • Be sure to take the kids to KidsQuest Children’s Museum in downtown Bellevue. A hands-on, interactive children’s museum that encourages learning through play. With activities both indoors and out, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon or entire day with the little ones all the way up to age 11 or so.
  • Enjoy a beautiful day outdoors with the family at one of our many gorgeous parks. The Bellevue Downtown Park reopened in July after a year of expansion and renovation. It’s an urban oasis in the middle of downtown Bellevue with water features, a ½ mile walking path and the new Inspiration Playground with new interactive features that engage the senses and accommodate children of all abilities.
  • Are you a family that loves to hike? Why not hop on a trail at the Mercer Slough Nature Park. With over 7 miles of trails to pick from, you’ll find the perfect path for an afternoon out with the entire family.
  • Looking for water views and other outdoor activities? Pick up a sandwich at Whole Foods in the Bellevue Collection and check out Enatai Beach Park for a waterfront view of Lake Washington while you picnic. After lunch, consider renting a canoe, kayak or paddle board and paddle around Lake Washington and into the slough.
  • For the perfect day indoors, look no further than Lucky Strike at Lincoln Square for an afternoon with the kids. There’s premium bowling on 16 spacious lanes, fantastic food, and a world-renown arcade game area.

Festivals and Fun

If festivals are your passion, here are some of our favorites in Bellevue or just a short drive away:

Kelsey Creek Farm Fair

Explore Children’s arts and crafts, inflatables, animal encounters, a petting zoo, entertainment, interactive children’s activities, tractor rides, and vintage tractor displays. Have a fun-filled day with the little ones while searching for a pumpkin in the pasture to decorate. Admission and many activities are free while some have a nominal fee.

Halloween on the Hill

Join the fun at a series of Halloween inspired events on Saturday, October 28 at Halloween on the Hill at South Bellevue Community Center.

This one-day festival features events like The Great Pumpkin Race and Jump; race or jump your decorated pumpkin on wheels; Carnival on the Hill; carnival games, food, bouncy houses, and entertainment; Haunted Movie on the Hill; enjoy buttery popcorn while watching a Halloween classic on the big screen.

Zip Scare Tour

The Zip Scare Tour takes place every evening October 13-28 on the Zip Lines at Bellevue’s Eastgate Park. You can enjoy scary, creepy fun zipping through the dark of night. There’s one suspension bridge and three zip lines to thrill you, while you step off a platform and coast along in darkness. But not to worry; riders and platforms will be brightened with lights and glow sticks.

Issaquah Salmon Days

Held over the course of two days, the Salmon Days Festival in historic Downtown Issaquah celebrates the return of salmon to local waters. Taking place October 7-8 and just minutes east of Bellevue off I-90, this award-winning festival embraces Issaquah’s unique history, culture, and ethnic diversity.

Look for a parade to kick it all off on Saturday as well as a kid’s entertainment stage. Treat yourself to delicious cuisine from over 60 food booths. If you’re an art lover or love to shop, you’re in luck. Over 270 arts and crafts vendors will be there displaying their work.

Hayrides, Hot Air Balloons, and Corn Mazes, Oh My!

Prefer some old-fashioned fun of the past? Just a short drive away from Bellevue—you and the family can be transported to the days of yore at these fun farms and corn mazes.

Serres Farm – Redmond, WA

A 24-acre working family farm in Happy Valley east of Redmond, Serres Farm has a pumpkin picking patch your kids will love getting lost in. Just put on your favorite boots and grab a wheelbarrow because it’s time to start the hunt for the perfect jack o’ lantern. A variety of pumpkins from miniatures to giant Great Atlantics grow in the field. Patch opens the last weekend in September and runs through Halloween.

And be sure to enjoy the spectacular cornfield maze. It’ll take about 15-20 minutes to navigate this giant hand designed puzzle. The kids will also delight in the animal train ride all around the farm. Of course, what would fall be without an old-fashioned hayride? You can even race your favorite duck in a water propelled duck race.

Jubilee Farm – Carnation, WA

Every Saturday and Sunday in October, you can visit the pumpkin patch, take a hayride and enjoy some hot spiced apple cider at Jubilee Farm.  About 20 miles east of Bellevue, Jubilee has thirty acres of farmland open to the public. Bring the kids to visit the animals, play in the hay maze or watch a cooking demonstration. They’ll delight while watching adults sling pumpkins with the homemade trebuchet. There’s even a concession area for a quick bite.

The farmers market is open to the public in the fall on this biodynamic farm. It has operated in Snoqualmie Valley for more than 20 years.

Prefer to get carried away?

How about checking out fall’s colors from hundreds of feet above Woodinville wine country? Hop aboard a balloon at Woodinville’s Over-the-Rainbow hot air balloon company and take you on a ride of a lifetime.

Enjoy spectacular views looking over Lake Washington and the Seattle skyline. Beyond that is Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountain Range. And to the south,  Mount Rainier, so big and beautiful it looks close enough to touch. It’s an experience unlike any other.

This is just a sampling of things that we like to do in the fall in and around Bellevue. Check out Visit Bellevue’s calendar of events and things to do for more fall visit inspiration.

Photo Credits, Top to Bottom: Bellevue Downtown Park via City of Bellevue, Zip Scare Tour via South Bellevue Community Center, Salmon Days via Issaquah Salmon Days, Farm via Serres Farm,  Hot air balloon via Pixabay.

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For The Fashionista In All of Us

Bellevue has emerged as a fashion center and magnet for some of the hottest stores in the country and around the world. And it’s no wonder. With Bellevue’s growing, diverse population and reputation as a business and technology hub; we’ve become a shopper’s paradise.

Whether it’s a high-end boutique or the perfect place for back-to-school shopping and scoring a great deal—you’ll find it here in Bellevue. From the Bellevue Collection to the new Nordstrom Rack in Lincoln Square South, DSW, TJ Maxx and other off-price retailers at the Marketplace at Factoria, or authentic Chinese and Indian wardrobe items at Grace Collection Galleries and Sakkhi Style Bellevue truly has something for every fashion forward shopper.

Fashion Week at the Bellevue Collection

Want to check out the latest looks for fall? There’s no better way than during Fashion Week at The Bellevue Collection, September 20 – 24, 2017.

This annual event delivers an extraordinary experience to fashion forward, contemporary and luxury shoppers. Look for exclusive runway shows, trend reports and demonstrations, chic parties and irresistible shopping. Enjoy the unique fashions of seven local designers at the Independent Designer Runway Show where these up-and-coming Northwest designers square off in an ultimate runway showdown. Posh Party Trend Show features a high energy runway of must have Fall trends and a chic pre-party with beauty tips and photo booth fun.

And this year, The Bellevue Collection introduces The Collective Runway Show, featuring premier brands, hosted by special guest Fashion Designer Christian Siriano.

Inspired? Why not go shopping! Beyond the hottest retail shops to explore at the Shops at the Bravern and the Bellevue Collection, Bellevue is also home to some of the best independent boutiques and local trendsetters in the state. And remember—Small Business Saturday is November 25th this year.

Here are a few of our favorite local haunts:


Jarbo opened their first boutique in Old Bellevue on Main Street seven years ago. Since then, they’ve expanded to 11 locations across the country including Oregon, Michigan, and California.

Featuring clean, European designs in fine fabrics, Sharon Roth, owner, and designer, first began designing clothes in Seattle and selling them to friends. Word got out, her customer base grew and many are still her most loyal fans.

One look inside this boutique and you can understand why. With classic, comfortable designs that fit just right, along with sumptuous fabrics sourced from Italian leather, cashmere, and Pima Cotton, Jarbo designs and manufactures 90% of the clothing themselves. That makes the succulent leather coats, soft cashmere sweaters, and gorgeous silks hard to resist. They also carry their own leather handbags, scarves and accessories to complete any ensemble.

And the Jarbo “look” can be dressed up or down making this line perfect for work, an evening out, or a comfortable day on the go. Jarbo is a “must visit” for the true fashionista.

Sakkhi Style

Located at Bellevue’s Crossroads shopping center, Sakkhi Style is a family run boutique featuring tastefully designed traditional Indian dresses for men, women, and children.

The dresses are designed in-home by fine craftsmen and tailored beautifully. The unique designs, fabric, and artwork used are all inspired by Indian lifestyle, culture, and beauty. Discover Sarees, Kurti, Salwars, children’s clothing and one-of-a-kind jewelry to compliment the beautifully designed attire. Stop by for a true Indian shopping experience.

La Ree Boutique

If you want to know what’s happening in the world of fashion, look no further than La Ree Boutique in Old Bellevue. Right off Main Street, La Ree specializes in brands and designers you won’t find in many of the big box stores. But it’s their attention to trends and detail that have helped this little shop build such a loyal following.

What to expect this fall? Cozy, oversized sweaters, plaids and flannel shirts, distressed denim, skinny and wide leg bottoms, bomber jackets, booties, flats and chic mule slides. According to Rachael, La Ree’s owner, also looks for lots and lots of velvet, leopard prints, high-rise bottoms and light hues of pink and blush.

The addition they’re most excited about this season? Le Kasha Cashmere. Warm and so soft, these are pieces you will go to for years to come. This brand has been around since 1918 and solidified its reputation when Coco Chanel chose them to make her first suit collection.

Shop for dozens of other top designers as well as accessories, bags, scarves and one-of-a-kind jewelry.

GCG | Grace Collection Galleries

This Chinese boutique is the first of its kind in North America. Located at The Shops at the Bravern walk in and you know you’re in for a special experience. With both custom pieces and ready-to-wear, the colorful silks are a feast for the eyes. And while you’re taking it all in, Grace Chu, GCG’s owner will make you feel at home with an offer of tea.

The clothing is simply breathtaking. Numerous items are handmade, reflecting colors and patterns that have been passed along for generations. Many of the embroidered designs are directly taken from the Royal family of China and have been carried down for more than 800 years.

In addition to the custom clothing,  GCG features a gorgeous, ready-to-wear line encompassing the same traditional Chinese design with a modern twist.

Also look for accessories that take you on a journey of Chinese heritage by designer Saint Joy, along with home furnishings and paintings by artists who have become masters of their passions. GCG has an astute eye for melding the global and traditional while combining it with a contemporary twist.

David Lawrence

Pushing the limits of the Northwest’s fashion scene since 1994, David Lawrence has mastered the art of styling men and women in the Greater Puget Sound area. They focus on accessible luxury–fusing design, fit and quality to create contemporary collections each season.

Step inside their boutique and it’s easy to forget that you’re in the land of khaki, flannel and polar fleece. The clothes tags here read like the credits from a GQ or Vogue fashion shoot, with no shortage of Italian labels.

Look for exclusive items from designers like Versace, Philipp Plein, Eton, Herve Leger, Les Petit Joueurs, Moschino and much more. You’ll find David Lawrence at The Shops at the Bravern.

Whether you’re shopping for a new fall wardrobe or just adding a few perfect pieces to update your look, Bellevue has you covered. Our shopping options include a range of price points from off-price to luxury and items from Pacific Northwest basics like jeans and sweaters to shops that cater to those seeking authentic Chinese and Indian wardrobe items.

Photo Credits, Top to Bottom: Fashion Week via The Bellevue Collection, Store Front via Jarbo, Dresses via Sakkhi Style, Signage via La Ree Boutique, Traditional dress via GCG, Models via David Lawrence.

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Bellevue Coffee Maker Spotlight – Meet Shawn

Combining unique, modern aesthetics with a commitment to providing quality, locally sourced coffee, Cafe Cesura has been recognized as one of the premier coffee houses in the Bellevue region. Boasting lofted ceilings and unique art pieces scattered throughout, Cafe Cesura offers a delectable variety of specialty coffees and tea beverages that are sure to satisfy your cravings.

Located on the corner of 108th Ave NE and NE 10th, this cool, urban coffee house is the perfect escape from the busy Bellevue streets.

What is your name?

Shawn Nickerson.

Which coffee shop are you with?

Cafe Cesura.

What inspires you to come to work every day?

Getting to make quality coffee and seeing our customers smile!

Signature coffee order?

I would have to say a Sunrise, which consists of freshly squeezed orange juice and espresso!

What is your favorite accompaniment to your morning coffee?

An Almond Croissant is pretty amazing; for me, it’s really the perfect pairing with a fresh cup of coffee.

When you’re not drinking coffee, what’s your go-to beverage of choice?

An Old-Fashioned from Lot No. 3.

Do you have a favorite place in Bellevue?

Outside of Cafe Cesura, it would have to be my home in Bellevue Towers.

If you were going out after work in Bellevue, where would you head?

I would head to my building’s gym for a good workout.

If a customer asked you where to go for “the best bite” in Bellevue, where would you send them?

There are so many options, but I would recommend 99 Park.

What, in your opinion, is the world’s best coffee creation?


What activity in or around Bellevue is a “must” for those visiting the region?  

Exploring the Bridle Trails State Park is at the top of my list.

Where’s your go-to happy hour spot?

Lot No. 3 or Purple Cafe.

Where do you go when you’re craving something sweet?

Fran’s Chocolates.

Where do you enjoy drinking your coffee when you can take it wherever you like?

Down by the lake in Meydenbauer Bay, or beside Lake Cle Elum.

What’s your favorite spring or summer event in Bellevue?

The Bellevue Arts Fair in July is a great event.

How would you describe Bellevue to visitors? 

A small town on the Eastside with shiny buildings.

Stay tuned for more Bellevue Coffee Maker Spotlights from Visit Bellevue Washington. Be sure to pay Shawn and his crew at Cafe Cesura a visit this summer and post your photos with the hashtag #MyBellevue to enter our summer photo contest! (Full details here.)

Photo Credits – Cafe Cesura 

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Your Complete Guide to Bellevue Arts Fair Weekend 2017

Bellevue Arts Fair Weekend takes center stage in Downtown Bellevue this Friday, July 28th through Sunday, July 30th, 2017. Each year, the Bellevue Arts Fair Weekend draws in more than 300,000 attendees to Bellevue over the 3-day arts and crafts celebration. This extensive guide will lay out some tips to navigating through the city during this busy weekend and also provide the necessary resources to plan your perfect weekend getaway in Bellevue, Washington.


Friday & Saturday: 9:30am – 9:30pm | Sunday: 10am – 6pm 

BAM ARTSfair Map

The Bellevue Arts Museum plays host to this award-winning arts & crafts festival in the Pacific Northwest. With a commitment to quality, handmade excellence, BAM ARTSfair supports designers, artists, and craftspeople at the local, regional and national levels. With over 300 inspiring artists showcasing their unique, handcrafted works, BAM ARTSfair represents an eclectic mix of modern, traditional, and emerging artists, craftspeople and designers. Since 1947, BAM ARTSfair has been the annual gathering place for creators and community members and serves as a great way to connect to the world of art, craft & design.

In addition to this unique shopping experience, BAM ARTSfair offers free programming including BAM Exhibitions, KIDSfair, the Sound & Movement Stage, food trucks, and much more.

Valet service available at:
Bellevue Square: Northeast & Northwest Parking Garages on Level 1
Bellevue Place: Hyatt Regency Bellevue
Lincoln Square: Westin Bellevue

Permit parking only in the Bellevue Arts Museum parking garage.

Phone: (425) 519-0742

Directions to Bellevue Square:

Bellevue Festival of the Arts

Friday & Saturday: 10:00am – 8pm | Sunday: 10:00 am – 6pm

Bellevue Festival of the Arts Map

Celebrating its 33rd year in 2017, The Bellevue Festival of the Arts features 200 of the most talented and popular artisans, musicians and craftspeople from the greater Pacific Northwest region and beyond. Produced by the Craft Cooperative of the Northwest, the festival is entirely organized by artists and supports a variety of local and global non-profit organizations with proceeds from the festival. The Bellevue Festival of the Arts remains a committed community partner and works with various local educators and features local non-profits in the festival.

Phone: (206) 363-2048

Located along NE 8th in the lot of Cost Plus World Market
10300 NE 8th St. Bellevue, WA 98004

6th Street Fair: A Taste of the Arts

Friday & Saturday: 10:00am – 8pm | Sunday: 10:00 am – 6pm

Click to enlarge

6th Street Fair Map

Produced by the Bellevue Downtown Association, Bellevue’s 6th Street Fair showcases the original work of over 100 artists of sculpture, jewelry, wood and glass work, home décor, fabrics and more. Various brick-and-mortar restaurants and food trucks are located in close proximity to the fair.

Phone: (425) 453-1223

6th Street Fair is located next to the Bellevue Connection and Compass Plaza along NE 6th Street and 106th Avenue NE.

Things to Do in Bellevue

If you need a break from the Arts Fairs, Bellevue also offers the ultimate in shopping, dining, and cultural attractions, all surrounded by natural beauty and outdoor spaces. Just a few steps from the bustle of the Art Fairs is Bellevue Downtown Park, located between NE 4th and NE 2nd street just west of Bellevue Way. And if you want to explore further, miles of nature trailspublic parks, and swim beaches are walking distance from downtown for a workout or unwinding. Numerous spas, museums, and art exhibitions are located in Bellevue.  Bellevue is your gateway to the entire Puget Sound Region.

Learn more about all the different types of activities in Bellevue.


Looking for a quick bite to eat between events? Or maybe a formal, sit-down restaurant when the night winds down? There are hundreds of restaurants in downtown Bellevue and much more across the city ranging from casual sandwich spots to 4-star chef owned restaurants and well known national chains.

Click here to learn more about Bellevue’s diverse range of casual to fine dining options.


Bellevue, Washington’s hotel accommodations include more than 5,500 guest rooms with options from luxurious 4-star downtown hotels to peaceful suburban retreats. Hyatt RegencyWestinHiltonSheratonCourtyard by MarriottMarriott Residence Inn and Seattle Marriott Bellevue are among the major hotel brands from which visitors can choose.

Click here for a complete list of Bellevue’s hotels.

Traffic Notices & Street Closures

With some downtown streets shut down for the festival, travelers should expect some congestion. Street closure locations and times include:

  • 100th Avenue NE, from NE 8th Street to NE 10th Street, will be closed in the southbound direction from 7am to 9pm on Thursday and from 5:30pm to 10pm on Sunday.
  • 102nd Avenue NE, from NE 8th Street to NE 10th Street, will be closed in both directions from 7am Friday to 11pm Sunday.
  • 106th Avenue NE, from NE 4th Street to NE 6th Street, will be closed in both directions from 6pm Thursday to 11pm Sunday.
  • NE 6th Street, from Bellevue Way to 106th Avenue NE, will be closed in both directions from 6pm Thursday to 11pm Sunday.
  • NE 10th Street, from 106th Avenue NE to 108th Avenue NE, will be  closed in the westbound direction from 5pm to 10pm Thursday.

Getting to Bellevue Art Fairs by Public Transportation
BAM ARTSfair is easily reachable by bus. Visit www.ChooseYourWayBellevue.orgMetro Transit or Sound Transit to plan your trip today!

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Bellevue Coffee Maker Spotlight – Meet Tony

Fresh air and fresh coffee – what more is there to ask for? Situated in the heart of the Bellevue Botanical Garden, Copper Kettle Coffee Bar offers tantalizing views of the surrounding botanical gardens while serving quality handcrafted coffee beverages and made-fresh daily food, including pastries and sandwiches in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

We are excited to introduce cafe owner Tony Frizelle, whose enthusiasm and welcoming spirit make visiting the Copper Kettle Coffee Bar a true joy!

What is your name?

Tony Frizelle.

Which coffee shop are you with?

Copper Kettle Coffee Bar.

What inspires you to come to work every day?

To be part of the Bellevue Botanical garden community. We have many regular and love welcoming new customers and visitors to Bellevue alike.

Signature coffee order?

I’d have to say Latte, either hot or Iced. Our beans are from Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters, Cannon Beach, Oregon. We call our order in Tuesday, they roast Wednesday and we get delivery Friday. We pride ourselves on fresh, organic, fair trade coffee.

What is your favorite accompaniment to your morning coffee?

Has to be one of our pastries delivered fresh every morning from Macrina Bakery……Buttermilk Biscuit with Strawberry Jam is sooo good.

When you’re not drinking coffee, what’s your go-to beverage of choice?

A pint of Guinness Paddy Coyne’s Irish Pub in Bellevue.

Do you have a favorite place in Bellevue?

Chism Beach Park with my wife Paula and kids Conor and Amy.

If you were going out after work in Bellevue, where would you head?

Crossroads Mall International Food Court with the family.

If a customer asked you where to go for “the best bite” in Bellevue, where would you send them?

John Howie’s Seastar Restaurant.

What, in your opinion, is the world’s best coffee creation?

Keep it simple….Black Americano.

What activity in or around Bellevue is a “must” for those visiting the region?

I am biased but I really have to say Bellevue Botanical Garden. What a beautiful, relaxing spot to stroll around with friends, family or by yourself. Right in the heart of the city….and its free.

Where’s your go-to happy hour spot?

Purple Café.

Where do you go when you’re craving something sweet?

The French Bakery.

Where do you enjoy drinking your coffee when you can take it wherever you like?

Enjoying a relaxing stroll around Bellevue Botanical Gardens.

What’s your favorite spring or summer event in Bellevue?

Downtown Park Movie night with the family.

How would you describe Bellevue to visitors?

Bellevue has great shopping, parks, beaches and lakes. Its proximity to everywhere is fantastic. It also has great family activities.

Stay tuned for more Bellevue Coffee Maker Spotlights from Visit Bellevue Washington. Be sure to pay Tony and his crew at Copper Kettle Coffee Bar a visit this summer and post your photos with the hashtag #MyBellevue to enter our summer photo contest! (Full contest details here.)

Photo Credits – Copper Kettle Coffee Bar 

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Bellevue Coffee Maker Spotlight – Meet Jenessa

Bellevue’s Cafe Trophy opened last summer at The Shops At The Bravern as the brainchild of local Trophy Cupcakes & Party founder, Jennifer Shea. Serving coffee, fresh French-style pastries, macarons and champagne alongside their locally-acclaimed cupcakes, the Cafe Trophy concept can best be described as a grown-up bakery-cafe-champagne bar.

Spacious, warm and stylish, the space at Cafe Trophy draws you in. But beyond being a chic meeting-spot for a little indulgence, Cafe Trophy embodies Jennifer Shea’s belief that every day should be a celebration. The friendly staff and attention to detail show the team’s dedication to making their customers’ day, no matter whether they’re looking for a birthday treat or just need a reason to celebrate. For this week’s spotlight we talked to Jenessa Thatcher, Cafe Trophy team manager, about what she loves best about Cafe Trophy and being in Bellevue.

What is your name?

Jenessa Thatcher.

Which coffee shop are you with?

Cafe Trophy.

What inspires you to come to work every day?

I get every ounce of inspiration from my amazing crew. We are just one little family here, and that love and support is truly what keeps our happy vibes rolling along.

Signature coffee order? 

The Undertow- 1 pump Vanilla, 2 shots espresso, w/ 1inch breve, served affogato.

When you’re not drinking coffee, what’s your go-to beverage of choice?

On-tap Prosecco from Cafe Trophy in Bellevue!

Do you have a favorite place in Bellevue?


If you were going out after work in Bellevue, where would you head?

Lucky Strike Bowling Alley!

If a customer asked you where to go for “the best bite” in Bellevue, where would you send them?

Lot No.3

What is your favorite accompaniment to your morning coffee?

A fresh baked butter croissant & the Seattle Times.

What, in your opinion, is the world’s best coffee creation?

Espresso espresso espresso!

What activity in or around Bellevue is a “must” for those visiting the region?

The Bellevue Japanese Garden at Bellevue Botanical Garden.

Where’s your go-to happy hour spot?

Blue C Sushi.

Where do you go when you’re craving something sweet?

Cafe Trophy of course! Can’t beat their cupcakes.  

Where do you enjoy drinking your coffee?

I take my cup of joe on the go!

What’s your favorite spring or summer event in Bellevue?

The Bellevue Farmers Market.

How would you describe Bellevue to tourists? 

As a bustling city center, with a huge dollop of Seattle flavor on top.

Stay tuned for more Bellevue Coffee Maker Spotlights from Visit Bellevue Washington. Be sure to pay Jenessa and her crew at Trophy Cafe a visit this summer and post your photos with the hashtag #MyBellevue to enter our summer photo contest! (Full contest details here.)

Photo Credits – Cafe Trophy

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Bellevue Coffee Maker Spotlight – Meet Natalie


Woods Coffee was established in 2002 by the Herman family of Lynden, Washington. With a dream of starting a chain of coffee shops, the Hermans pooled their talents and resources to create the first Woods Coffee shop in Lynden. After six months, they opened their second store in the same town. Since then, they have been on a steady growth track. The Herman family currently has a total of 19 stores in the Pacific Northwest including Bellevue, the first location in King County.

Woods Coffee serves handcrafted coffee beverages and made-fresh daily food, including breakfast, lunch and pastries and a warm inviting atmosphere.  Woods Coffee’s values focus on serving others, making a difference and having fun. We’re excited to introduce Wood’s store manager Natalie Marrs and show how she lives out the Wood’s values everyday

What is your name?

Natalie Marrs

Which coffee shop are you with?

Woods Coffee Bellevue Square

What inspires you to come to work every day?

Working for Woods Coffee helped me get my life back on track when I was at an all time low. I first started working for the company after getting very sick and having to medically withdrawal from Western Washington University. Feeling like I could never get caught up and was grasping for anything when I was lucky enough to get hired to work at the busiest drive thru location in Bellingham. After the first week I was so overwhelmed I was ready to quit. Working in coffee is hard. My manager at the time, Holly Nava, told me if this was going to be my last shift that was fine, but for today my goal was to make as many people smile as possible. That day I had so much fun connecting with guests and my teammates that I told her I wanted to stay. The store became my second home, my team a second family, and all the guests created a sense of community for me in Bellingham.  A couple months later I was able to start back at WWU to continue my sophomore year. From then on I worked at the Lakeway Woods while going to school full time until graduating with a degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Sports Psychology. In my classes I learned a lot about team psychology and focused most of my projects on employee wellness. Since graduating, my goal has been to create a healthy and positive family environment at work where my employees always feel supported and actually want to come to work. I love my baristas and I would do absolutely anything for them. I can’t wait to be a part of the Woods Coffee expansion and create a barista family in Bellevue.

Signature coffee order? 

Woods cold brew with a splash of nonfat milk

What is your favorite accompaniment to your morning coffee?

Banana bread from Woods Coffee

When you’re not drinking coffee, what’s your go-to beverage of choice?

Smoothie from Freshii at Bellevue Square

Do you have a favorite place in Bellevue?


Where’s your go-to happy hour spot?


If a customer asked you where to go for “the best bite” in Bellevue, where would you send them?

Nordstrom Cafe

What activity in or around Bellevue is a “Must” for those visiting the region?

Lucky Strike bowling/arcade

Where do you go when you’re craving something sweet?

Vivo 53 ice cream sundae

What’s your favorite spring or summer event in Bellevue?

Farmer’s market

Stay tuned for more Bellevue Coffee Maker Spotlights from Visit Bellevue Washington. Be sure to pay Natalie and the crew at Woods Coffee a visit this summer and post your photos with the hashtag #MyBellevue to enter our summer photo contest! (Full contest details here.)

Photo Credits – Woods Coffee

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Bellevue’s Hottest Spots for a Cold Treat

Is there anything better than a cold, refreshing sweet treat on a hot summer day? Whether you’re into ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato or prefer a cone or a thick shake or malt, we’ve rounded up the best places to visit during your stay in Bellevue.

I scream you scream….

Ice cream is where it’s at. We can’t get enough of the cold, rich, creamy stuff. And if you’re visiting Bellevue this summer, you can rest assured your favorite treat will be on hand.  Here are some of our favorite spots to drop in and indulge.

Vivo 53

Located at Bellevue Square, Bellevue’s Vivo 53 is best known for its variety of handcrafted, artisanal Italian dishes that feature a uniquely modern flair. However, their line of “Insane Sundaes” has become a favorite, garnering much attention since being introduced at their former Fort Worth restaurant in Texas. Standing just under a foot tall, these extravagant ice cream sundaes boast an exciting arrangement of traditional Italian flavors with an array of toppings that come in all colors, shapes, and textures. Next time you’re at Vivo 53, try one of these insane sundaes which are sure to make any dessert-lover giddy with joy.

Ben and Jerry’s

Visit Vermont’s finest, iconic ice cream shop in Bellevue Square, Kirkland or Factoria Mall locations. Pamper yourself with a classic like Milk and Cookies, Cherry Garcia, Peanut Butter Cup or one of our top picks: Chunky Monkey with bananas, fudge chunks and walnuts. Or choose from frozen yogurt, non-dairy and gluten-free flavors just as creamy and enticing. And you can feel good about indulging. Ben and Jerry’s is made only with fair trade ingredients.

Molly Moon’s

A Seattle favorite, Molly Moon’s has finally found a home on the Eastside in downtown Redmond, just a short drive east on Interstate 520. This local Seattle handmade ice cream shop has won numerous “best ice cream” awards since its inception in 2008. With locally sourced ingredients and unique flavors like Honey Lavender, local Stumptown Coffee and Theo’s Melted Chocolate, Molly Moon’s has built quite a fan base. Check out seasonal flavors like Sweet Cream Rhubarb Crisp. Our favorite? Scout Mint in a sundae topped with homemade hot fudge, thin mint crumbles, local Chukkar cherries and whipped cream. Gluten-free and vegan flavors are always on the menu as well.

Cold Stone Creamery

Located at Bellevue Crossroads, adjacent to the International Market, Cold Stone is always a top pick on a hot day in the Pacific Northwest. Create your own flavors or try one of their signature creations like Oreo Overload, Peanut Butter Cup Perfection or the Pie Who Loved Me made with cheesecake ice cream, Oreo cookies, graham cracker pie crust and fudge. How do you spell indulgent? If you prefer sipping your cold treat, you can create your own shake or smoothie.

Godiva Soft Serve

You had us at Godiva. How does the world’s best chocolate maker do soft serve ice cream? You can probably guess. It’s some of the creamiest, dreamiest stuff we’ve ever tasted. Located in Bellevue Square, you have to stop in for a swirl of Dark Chocolate, Raspberry Rose Anniversary Collection or White Chocolate Vanilla Bean.

Frozen yogurt anyone?

Indulgence without the guilt, frozen yogurt is here to stay. Here are some of the hottest shops to check out:

Red Mango

Located in Bellevue Square, you can treat yourself to some of the best frozen yogurt we’ve ever tasted. Red Mango offers up tart and sweet flavors like Madagascar Vanilla, Milk Chocolate and Pomegranate as well as special seasonal concoctions. Top it off with fresh berries, dark chocolate chips or our favorite—peanut butter cups with Ghiradelli chocolate sauce.


If variety is what you’re looking for in frozen yogurt—Menchies is the place to be. Located at Kelsey Creek on Main Street in Bellevue, choose from dozens of low-fat, non-fat, sugar-free and even low carb delicious flavors like Greek Vanilla Bean, Banana, Cookie dough, Pure Chocolate and Classic Cherry. And it’s all sold by weight so you can indulge as much or as little as you desire. Did you say toppings? How about every fresh fruit you can think of as well as your favorite candies, cookies and even mochi. If you love the “build your own” method of frozen yogurt—you may also want to visit Peaks Frozen Yogurt Bar and Yogurtland in Bellevue.

Pressed Juicery

Prefer a healthier cold treat? Look no further than a delicious Freeze from Pressed Juicery, located at the Lodge in Bellevue Square. The Freeze is the latest and greatest creation from these California juice-makers. Packed with the same nutrition found in their popular juice flavors, Freeze is a soft-serve frozen treat and the first of its kind: by using only juices from fruits and vegetables, almonds and coconuts, Freeze is a vegan, gluten and dairy-free dessert. But after your first taste, you’ll never believe it.

The Best Gelato on the Eastside

You don’t have to travel to the Italian Riviera to taste the world’s best gelato. Here are a few places to find this creamy sensation:

Sirena Gelato

Sirena Gelato is an oasis for gelato lovers located in beautiful downtown Kirkland. With the help of a third generation Italian gelato maker from Venice, Brian Ugurlu and his family handcraft unique recipes utilizing both exclusive specialty imports and local Northwest ingredients.  The result is a tasty and distinctive blend of old world favorites with a modern American flair. Indulge in delicious flavors like Red Velvet Cupcake and Amaretto. If you close your eyes, you can almost feel the breeze off the coast of Portofino.

Tutta Bella Pizzeria

Come for the incredible pizza but stay for the gelato. Better yet, just come for the gelato. Tutta Bella features gelato from Seattle’s own award-winning gelato shop, Bottega Italiano. Choose from scrumptious flavors like Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon, Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip, Nutella, Pear or whatever’s in season. Pizza and gelato go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Metropolitan Market

Located in Kirkland and a short drive east on Interstate 90 in Sammamish, is Metropolitan Market serving up fresh, incredible gelato by the cup or cone from Seattle’s own Pike Place Market favorite, Gelatiamo. Maria Coassin opened the doors of Gelatiamo in 1996, after dedicating years to learning the art and science of making authentic Italian gelato in her Italian hometown. Lucky for us, she now makes this delicious stuff in small batches in Seattle. Choose from from flavors like Pistachio, Dark Chocolate, Coconut and Almond.

Written by – Tami Rogers 

Photo Credits – Top to Bottom: Ice cream stock image via Pexels.com, Ben & Jerry’s server via Ben & Jerry’s Bellevue on Google Maps, Molly Moon’s Redmond storefront via Molly Moon’s, Cold Stone flavors via Cold Stone Creamery Bellevue on Zomato, Godiva soft serve via Godiva on Instagram, Freezes via Pressed Juicery on Instagram, Sirena gelato flavors via Sirena Gelato on Instagram, Tutta Bella gelato via Tutta Bella Bellevue, Gelatiamo flavors via Gelatiamo Seattle on Instagram

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19 Bellevue Must-Dos

Your bucket-list guide to fun, food, and culture

An excerpt of the first 19 Must-dos in Bellevue from the full list of 90 that appear in the 2017 Bellevue Visitor Guide

By Julie Arnan, Ethan Chung, David Clark, Deanna Duff, and Denise Sakaki

Nos. 1–3
Explore Mercer Slough

Lake Washington’s largest freshwater wetland offers plenty of education and recreation for all ages. From May to September, snag a canoe from Cascade Paddlesports’ convenient location at Enatai Beach Park to begin your aquatic adventure through the slough. This 2.6-mile water trail drops straight into the heart of the 320-acre park—paddle through water lilies and keep an eye out for turtles, herons, jays, and even the occasional eagle. During the summer, guided tours can be organized for the family (stop at the park’s U-pick blueberry fields after the tour to end the day on a sweet note). The Environmental Education Center is a point of collaboration between Bellevue and the Pacific Science Center (Seattle), where wetland ecology is the central topic. Enjoy the slough as a family with special programs like guided night walks that allow participants to call owls, learn about nocturnal animals, and enjoy hands-on sensory activities. If the grownups are looking for some alone time, try Parents Day Out, a supervised drop-off program that keeps kids occupied and learning with a day exploring the slough.

Nos. 4–9
Drink Local Cocktails

Lot No. 3 buzzes even on a Monday night—the cocktails are exceptional, particularly anything whiskey-based. A horseshoe-shaped bar corrals the faithful around a solidly knowledgeable bartender whose middle name might be “Craft.” The bourbon-forward Young Buck pairs nicely with a side of chicken and waffles. Or if you like it neat, stop in on a Wednesday for half-price whiskey pours.

Monsoon Bellevue boasts the largest bottle collection on the Eastside with close to 700 choices. Bar manager Jon Christiansen has even procured discontinued Japanese whiskies and other hard-to-find spirits. He is committed to fresh everything—syrups, garnishes, and juices are made in-house. For a truly special experience, try one of the barrel-aged cocktails like the smoky Mezadone made with mescal, poppy, riesling, and Madeira.
Under the deft hand of bar manager Dan Yeisley, 99 Park’s bar program has blossomed into a well of finely crafted options. The Ginger’s A Peach is the beverage equivalent of a gummy peach ring candy—only refreshing instead of cloying—while the Beso De Fuego packs a spicy punch from a few drops of Scrappy’s firewater tempered by grapefruit, lime, and tamarind.
Prime 21 Lounge is billed as a “bar within a bar” located inside Daniel’s Broiler. If the views don’t have you swooning, the carefully curated selection of bourbons, scotches, and rums will undoubtedly do the trick. The menu consists solely of spirit-based drinks, though beer, wine, and appetizers are available from the bar kitchen.

Civility & Unrest, located in the Lincoln Square Expansion, opened June 15, 2017 bringing a “speakeasy feel and serious approach to the exploration of cocktail culture.”
At Bake’s Place, drinks are accompanied with a side of live music featuring local musicians and national acts, and don’t miss the large outdoor patio during the warmer months.

No. 10
Have Some Farm Fun

A few minutes from busy downtown Bellevue sits Kelsey Creek Farm, a city-owned space perfect for families or adults looking to take a stroll away from the city. The 1930s-era farm houses ponies, sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens, pigs, and more. Kelsey Creek Farm has picnic tables, a picnic shelter, and a playground, all free for public use (no reservations required). The farm offers tours where you can interact with the animals and classes that teach kids about farm work, pioneer life, and animal care and handling.

Nos. 11–16
Take a Spa Day

Be sure to schedule a little “you time” while traveling. Bellevue is home to plenty of world-class spas that will help you recover from jetlag, fight off fatigue, and put you in the perfect mind and body space for your vacation. Seeking luxury? Yuan Spa’s unique Body Renewal Package is a five-and-a-half-hour experience that will leave you walking on air. Enjoy a Mai Tai pedicure or other special treatments from Recoop Spa. Book a traditional Hawaiian lomi lomi massage at Gene Juarez Salon and Spa or a rejuvenating facial at SkinSpirit. Float away your worries at Float Bellevue, a flotation therapy spa where you lay in an enclosed tank full of Epsom salt solution. Or try halotherapy, the art of healing using salt, in the salt room at Salt Mine Arium.

No. 17
Eat an Insane Sundae

Vivo 53 is known for its wood-fired pizzas with toothsome crusts and its freshly made pastas, but you can’t leave this restaurant without trying an Insane Sundae. These larger-than-life desserts are stacked with Willy Wonka-levels of sweet toppings. Don’t miss the Candy Esplosione with M&Ms, rotating ice cream, chocolate pretzels, rock candy, chocolate peanut butter brownie, Heath Bar, swirl lollipop, whipped cream, and chocolate drizzle. The menu says “It’s like licking a unicorn!” so how can you say no?

 Nos. 18–19
Visit Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden is open 365 days a year so visitors can enjoy its 50-acre splendor in every season. Grab a coffee from the locally owned Copper Kettle Coffee Bar and explore the grounds. Bask in the colors of the Fuschia Garden, meditate in the traditional Japanese Yao Garden, and stroll the Lost Meadow Trail. Annual events include Art in the Garden featuring garden-based glasswork during summer and Garden d’Lights, a winter holiday tradition with more than a million lights illuminating the night. Regular lectures, classes, and docent-led tours enhance the experience.

To see the other 71 Bellevue Must-do’s check out the 2017 Bellevue Visitor Guide or check back to this blog later in the summer.

Photo Credits – Top to Bottom: Mercer Slough kayaking via David Johanson Vasquez, cocktail bar at Lot No. 3 via Heavy Restaurant Group, Kelsey Creek Farm via Bellevue Parks and Community Services, spa lobby via Recoop Spa, Spumoni Sundae via Vivo 53, garden walkway via Bellevue Botanical Garden

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Bellevue’s Summer Festival Season

If you’re heading to Bellevue, Washington this summer, you’re in luck. We’ve got some of the most unique, talked-about summer festivals and street fairs in the country. And once you get a taste—you’ll want to make us a summer getaway destination every year.

The Strawberry Festival

Coming to Bellevue June 24-25, the Strawberry Festival at Crossroads Park is the perfect place to take the kids and enjoy the summer weather. While the main stage will feature music from big band to classic rock –performers will also be delighting festival goers with entertainment for kids and adults alike. Look for inflatable bouncers, pony rides, face painting, strawberry shortcake eating contests and much more.

Bellevue Arts Fair Weekend

Celebrating its 33rd summer, Bellevue Arts Fair Weekend will once again be bringing fine arts and crafts to the streets of downtown Bellevue. Coming July 28-30th, Arts Fair Weekend features three different arts fairs bringing in over 600 of the most talented and popular artisans, musicians and craftspeople from the Northwest and beyond. This is truly the event locals look forward to all year long.

In addition to a one-of-a-kind shopping experience from national as well as local artists, Bellevue Art Museum’s (BAM) ARTSfair offers free programming all weekend long including: BAM Exhibitions, KIDSfair, the Sound & Movement Stage, food trucks, and much more.

At 6th Street Fair, you’ll peruse an eclectic mix of arts and crafts from local artisans. This fair is the perfect place to find a gift or a treasure for yourself from baskets and beadwork to paintings and pottery that reflects the culture of the region. Bellevue Festival of the Arts  also features a variety of local Northwest artists, musicians and craftspeople. Plus the proceeds benefit various local and global non-profit organizations.

Bellevue Farmers Market

There’s no better way to explore the best of what the Pacific Northwest has to offer than at the Bellevue Farmers Market. The farmers market features amazing local produce, flowers, meats, fish and baked goods—but also entertainment for the entire family. There’s live music along with a whole host of food trucks to satisfy the desires of even the hardest-to-please foodie. Located in the parking lot of Bellevue Presbyterian Church, half a mile north of Downtown Bellevue,

the Farmer’s Market takes place rain or shine Thursdays from 3-7pm through October 11th.

Kirkland Uncorked

For wine lovers, you can’t beat Kirkland Uncorked. Taking place July 14-16 and just a short drive along Lake Washington to Kirkland, this event is in beautiful downtown Kirkland’s Marina Park, right on the water. Showcasing over 70 Washington wines, you’ll be sipping the best Washington State has to offer. Be sure and visit the beer tent and street fair while nibbling on delicious food from dozens of local vendors.

Kirkland Summerfest

Also in Marina Park August 11-13, is Kirkland Summerfest. An event for the entire family, Summerfest features kids activities all day Saturday and Sunday as well as live music, food, beer and wine throughout the weekend.

Enjoy family fun in the kid zone while listening to live music from great local musicians. Indulge in fabulous cuisine from a wide array of food trucks while you soak up the sun.

Live at Lunch

Downtown Bellevue’s favorite place to hang out on a gorgeous day, Live at Lunch is the perfect lunchtime destination. With different locations throughout downtown Bellevue, music and entertainment line-ups, it’s the best place in the city to relax in the summer sun.

Being in downtown also means a wide variety of quick and delicious lunch options to pick up and take with you to enjoy the music. Try the fresh and hearty sandwiches, salads and quinoa bowls at Homegrown. Or stop by Gilbert’s on Main for our favorite sandwich, the cold turkey and hot pastrami with swiss cheese, coleslaw and homemade Russian dressing. Truly heavenly.

Mark your calendars, Live at Lunch takes place July 11th-September 14th on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, Noon-1:30 p.m at plazas and parks throughout downtown Bellevue.

Bellevue Family Fourth

The 2017 Bellevue Family 4th presented by The Bellevue Collection will take place at the newly renovated Bellevue Downtown Park. The Eastside’s largest 4th of July event will honor America’s birthday for the 26th consecutive year.

Enjoy live entertainment, a Bellevue Parks Family Fun Zone with kid-friendly entertainment, jugglers, mascot characters, face painting and free interactive games, plus food vendors and a spectacular fireworks show synchronized to a live performance at 10:00 pm by Bellevue’s Youth Symphony Orchestra. It is truly a Fourth of July you will never forget.


Of course, no summer in the Pacific Northwest is complete without Seafair.

This non-profit festival was founded in 1950 to attract tourists to the Seattle region and promote marine events to enhance Seattle’s reputation as the Boating Capital of the World. Taking place this year August 4th-8th, events happen throughout Seattle and the Eastside and touch more than two million people throughout the summer.

Seafair’s Signature Events include:

  • Seafair Kickoff June 14th
  • Alaska Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & 1/2 Marathon, July 18th
  • Seafair Pirates Landing, July 8th
  • Seafair Summer 4th
  • Safeway/Albertsons Seafair Milk Carton Derby, July 15th
  • Swedish Seafair Triathlon & Kids Triathlon, July 23rd
  • Alaska Airlines Seafair Torchlight Parade, July 29th
  • Seafair Fleet Week & Boeing Maritime Celebration, August 1-6
  • Seafair Weekend featuring the Boeing Seafair Air Show and Albert Lee Appliance Cup, August 4-6

Check out the Seafair website for all the details.

Written by – Tami Rogers

Photo Credits – Top to Bottom: Bellevue Family 4th concert via Colin Walker, Bellevue Strawberry Festival slide via Eastside Heritage Center, BAM ARTSfair streetview via Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue Farmers Market streetview via Bellevue Farmers Market, Kirkland Uncorked at Kirkland Marina via Kirkland Uncorked Facebook, Glass Flowers via Kirkland Summerfest, Folk Band via Bellevue Downtown’s Live at Lunch, Fireworks at Bellevue Family 4th via Colin Walker, Seafair boats via Rod Mar  


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