Things To Do in Bellevue
February 23, 2018
“Bellevue is just a small city, there’s nothing to do there,” said no one ever. In addition to being just east of Seattle, there’s actually plenty to do and see within Bellevue proper as well. From exploring the great outdoors to checking out some wonderful art to doing some shopping, there’s something for nearly everyone around here. The only thing that will really limit your options is how much time you have and whether you’d like to stay indoors or outdoors. No matter your preferences, though, every option embodies the spirit of the Pacific Northwest region, as you’ll soon find out.
Hit The Great Outdoors
The beauty of nature is all around, you just need to settle on a spot that you want to go to and enjoy. A choice option is beautiful Lake Sammamish, located just east of Bellevue. The seven mile long lake is also 1.5 miles wide, hits a maximum depth of 105 feet, a total surface area of 8 square miles, and provides plenty of room for on-the-water activities. Popular choices include boating and swimming, though you can find even more to do when you head over to Lake Sammamish State Park. You can rent some kayaks or paddleboards to hit the water, or grab a personal watercraft, do some water skiing, partake in some fishing – you name it. Beyond that, though, there’s plenty more to do within the park’s confines that has little to do with being out on the water: “Rather keep your feet or wheels on the ground? Bring bikes, walking poles, binoculars and bird books, or bring your GPS unit for geocaching, and explore the light-dappled trails.”
The park has a number of facilities, including:
- 1.5 miles of biking trails
- 1.5 miles of hiking trails
- Two horseshoe pits
- Two baseball/ softball fields
- Wildlife viewing
- Bird watching
There are several picnic/day-use facilities, in case you’re planning on throwing an event, that have some large grassy areas to spread out and volleyball courts so you can get some head-to-head competition started. If you’d prefer to camp, you should know that while the park has no individual camping, there is a group camping accommodation – the Hans Jensen Youth Group Camping Area: “It accommodates up to 200 people and up to 40 cars. There are 36 picnic tables, 12 stoves, a covered picnic shelter and four vault toilets.” And Lake Sammamish isn’t the only outdoor space you can enjoy around Bellevue. The Pacific Northwest is full of natural wonders to explore. You might also try checking out Cougar Mountain, Squak Mountain, Tiger Mountain, Olympic National Park, or even Wenatchee National Forest.
Head Over To A Museum
Bellevue does not want for cultural relevance. There are plenty of places you can go to view creative works, like BAM – The Bellevue Arts Museum. Located downtown on Bellevue Way, this large gallery does what you’d expect of any arts museum: hosting shows, installations, artists demos – all by way of talented regional and national masters. The current exhibits feature works from Humaira Abid and Walter McConnell, with upcoming exhibits set to display prints from the David J. Sellers Collection and glassworks at the BAM Biennial. The museum also hosts special events, like the Free First Fridays and the Artists Discussion Series, a public discourse aimed at teaching artists.
To view a different kind of beauty, though, you might try heading to the Bellevue Botanical Garden. Open daily from dawn ‘til dusk, this expansive space shows off some of the most attractive flora you’ll have the pleasure of seeing: “The Bellevue Botanical Garden is an urban refuge, encompassing 53-acres of cultivated gardens, restored woodlands, and natural wetlands. The living collections showcase plants that thrive in the Pacific Northwest.” In addition, the Botanical Garden features lectures for those who want to learn more about plants, has an educational center aimed at doing much of the same, and is free for those who want to tour the premises. You can also purchase guided journals and other collectibles from the Garden’s Trillium Store.
Do Some Shopping
There are plenty of places to do some shopping in Bellevue. For one of the finer options, though, you’ll want to head to The Bellevue Collection, a grouping of three distinct shopping areas: Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place, and Lincoln Square. It’s notable for being a veritable shopper’s paradise: “With more than 250 stores, 45-plus dining and entertainment venues and a constant buzz of activity, it's easy to see why The Bellevue Collection is a don't miss destination. At The Bellevue Collection, you'll find the best of style, scene and in between to dress your body and home.”
Those shops, by the way, include some of the most noteworthy brands around: Diane Von Furstenberg, Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Zara, Lorna Jane – the list goes on. On the dining and entertainment front, you’ll be able to enjoy fine options like Tavern Hall, Earls, Blue C Sushi, P.F. Changs, and many others. So, even if you aren’t a huge shopaholic, there’s a little bit of everything here for you to enjoy. If you are a shopaholic, though, prepare yourself, as you’ll be as close to shopper’s heaven as you’re going to get in the city of Bellevue.
Break Out That Camera
Taking your camera to places like Lake Sammamish is a no-brainer, but there are also plenty of places within the city of Bellevue that are picture perfect, like the Bellevue Downtown Park: “Bellevue Downtown Park is a 21-acre oasis of green in the heart of Bellevue. A one-half mile promenade, bordered by a double row of shade trees, and a stepped canal, brings one to the 240-foot wide waterfall that cascades into a reflecting pond.” It’s a near-perfect place to snap some photos, with downtown creating an amazing backdrop to frame the splendor of the park. It’s not Bellevue’s only such offering either, as there’s a long list of parks encompassing a wide range of settings. Then there’s the city itself. To the downtown area and beyond, there are plenty of places that beckon you to take a photograph. You can find a list of the best tours and sightseeing spots here.