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A neighborhood guide to Bellevue, WA

There’s plenty to do in the beautiful Eastside enclave

Bellevue, WA

While not as tall as Seattle’s, Bellevue still has a pretty impressive skyline.

Table of Contents

There’s always a lot of buzz in the news about Bellevue — whether it’s related to the growing business community or burgeoning real estate. With so much going on, we wanted to take a deeper dive into the area and rediscover why so many people — maybe even you — love to call it home.

💡 Need to know

Bellevue is known for housing the headquarters of prominent businesses like Bungie, Eddie Bauer, Pokémon, T-Mobile, and Valve. Other companies with major office branches in the city include Microsoft, Boeing, Nokia, and Samsung.

The city is also regularly featured on lists like “Best Cities to Live In,” “Cities with the Best Public Schools,” and “Safest Cities in America.

As for its residents, Bellevue is made up of one of the most diverse populations in the metro area with ~39% from 90 different foreign countries.

Bellevue, WA 1987

Aww, we just love baby pictures. Check out how cute Bellevue was in 1987.

Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives

🏗 The early days

Though not registered as a city until 1953, settlers moved to the area in 1863, which had been previously inhabited by the Duwamish. Lake Washington played a major role in keeping the town pretty isolated (it wasn’t personal, we swear) until the Leschi ferry was introduced in 1913 and the floating bridge in 1940.

Bellevue hit its stride soon after. From 1953 to 1970, Bellevue’s population grew from ~5,490 to around 60,000, and by 2000 — even with ~112,000 residents — there were more jobs there than locals. Today, the population stands at ~150,000.

👀 Can’t miss

A quick tour of the city isn’t complete without a stop in the Bellevue Downtown Park — a 21-acre green space nestled right in the heart of all the action with a creatively designed playground, 240-ft waterfall, reflecting pool, and gorgeous skyline view.

If you’re heading over during the holidays, trust us and do not leave until you check out Snowflake Lane. The organizers pulled all the stops with this holiday extravaganza that features daily parades, falling snow, and a beautifully decorated downtown strip.

🌳 Outdoors

  • Bellevue Botanical Garden | With 53 acres of flowers, this park is divided into 13 smaller gardens — all organized to build the most breathtaking experiences.
  • Weowna Park | This 90-acre park is a perfect spot to get away from city life — without the long road trip — featuring old growth forest trails, babbling creeks, and whimsical waterfalls.
  • Northwest Team Building courses | Take your coworkers, family, partner, or just yourself through two hours of aerial obstacle courses — or through the trees on a zip-line tour.

🍽 Eat + drink

  • Takai by Kashiba | Try cured + fermented dishes from chef Jun Takai, a pupil of famed Seattle sushi master Shiro Kashiba.
  • Monsoon | Seattleites probably know this restaurant by its Capitol Hill location, but we’re happy to know we’re never far away from its lovely lemongrass chicken on the Eastside.
  • Mercato Stellina | A pie with smoked mozzarella and fennel sausage should hit the spot for pizza lovers.
  • John Howie| Sometimes you just need a good steak — and this upscale restaurant has plenty of prime options.
  • June Bakery | The charming Crossroads cafe should satisfy whatever sweet tooth you have with its Korean cakes and treats.

🎟 Entertainment

  • Lucky Strike | Sure, there’s some pretty fancy looking bowling, but it also has an arcade, a restaurant, and billiards to enjoy.
  • Bellevue Arts Museum | In addition to itstraveling art exhibits, the museum has hands-on classes for young, emerging artists.
  • Reality Break Escapes| We think it’s good to regularly test your friends and family on their puzzle-solving skills (you never know when you’re going to have to diffuse a bomb in under an hour)..

🛍 Shop

  • Bellevue Farmers Market| Get your locally grown greens and produce at this year-round destination.
  • Made in Washington | Find the perfect gift basket for your friend who watched your dog for two weeks — or keep it yourself when you inevitably forget to give it to them.
  • Bellevue Square | With 200+ shops to choose from, you’ll walk away from this mall extra stylish.

🏡 Where to live

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