Three Dog Night was wrong. When you choose to spend 24 hours doing exactly what you want to do, when and where you want to do it, one isn’t the loneliest number at all—it’s the loveliest! If you’re already away from home for business in Bellevue, why not take an extra day just for you?
Whether your leisure-time philosophy is to seize the day or take it easy, you will find dozens of distractions that will make you so happy to be so solo. We’ve crafted a carpe-diem itinerary for go-getters, sprinkled with more leisurely alternatives for those in search of solitude.
Kick off your day with an invigorating morning workout, like a run at Bellevue Downtown Park, a spin class at Flywheel or a drop-in, booty-kicking workout at jabX Kickboxing. Not only will it energize you for the rest of the day, it will erase any guilt you might feel about the delicious, decadent breakfast you’re about to enjoy at Eques.
Stock up on Vitamin D and soak up our photogenic panoramas with a paddle from Enatai Beach Park on Lake Washington to the Mercer Slough Nature Park. Cascade PaddleSports offers canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals, lessons and trips May through September.
Back on land, fuel up for the rest of your afternoon with a juicy burger and refreshing brew at Local Burger, which boasts a lively patio and inventive preparations; or visit the wildly popular Din Tai Fung for award-winning dumplings and noodles.
After lunch, learn how to make dinner (or dessert), brush up on your entertaining skills and meet other fun foodies at a cooking class hosted by Whisk. Topics range from “3 Haute Chicks,” featuring three boneless, skinless chicken breast recipes, to “Beach Shack Favorites,” which dishes up fresh tuna burgers with ginger, pickled onions and Wasabi soy mayo.
Or take it easy: Take a stroll while getting to know Bellevue, with a self-guided tour of the city’s public art installations or historical sites, or a guided tour of the Bellevue Botanical Garden. Get lunch to go and eat al fresco at Bellevue Downtown Park, then pamper yourself at a local spa and top off the afternoon with a rich, creamy pick-me-up at Fran’s Chocolates.
If you’re uncomfortable dining alone, seek out restaurants that serve their full menu at the bar and introduce yourself to the bartender. A good one will chat with you as often as he or she can, and a great one will also recommend his or her favorite local destinations. Hotel restaurants are smart choices because their staffs are accustomed to making visitors feel at home.
There are dozens of welcoming restaurants to choose from, but we’ve received a particularly warm reception at Lot No. 3, Seastar, 99 Park, Palomino Restaurant & Bar, Earl’s Kitchen + Bar, Cactus, Tavern Hall, Purple Café and Wine Bar and 520 Bar & Grill.
Wrap up your action-packed day with live music at Bake’s Place or—if you’re feeling brave—karaoke at Stone Lounge. After all, what better time to channel your inner Axl Rose or Nancy Sinatra than when no one who knows you is around to witness it?
Or take it easy: Two words: Room service. If you rarely get time to yourself, consider picking up a new novel or a stack of gossip magazines at Barnes & Noble, putting on your jammies and ordering in at your hotel. It may be the last time in a while that it’s all about you.
Bellevue is a safe, friendly and walkable city, but do use common sense when exploring on your own. Wear a life jacket and sunscreen on the water; walk alone only in well-lit public places; take uber, a cab or a hotel shuttle if you’re traveling more than a mile or two; and keep your mobile phone handy for photos, directions and sharing your experiences on social media.
Written by – Monica Fischer
Photo Credits – Top to Bottom: Girl with Bicycle via Willows Lodge, Eggs Benedict via Eques, Kayaking on Mercer Slough via Visit Bellevue Washington, Bar Dining via Lot No. 3, Bellevue Transit Center via Marv Heston