20 Things To Do In Bellevue

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With a population of more than 150,000 residents, Bellevue is a city in Washington State and the most populated suburb of the state’s largest city, Seattle. Bellevue was settled during the latter stages of the 1800s and was mostly a rural farming community before turning into King County’s eastern tech and retail hub during the 20th and 21st centuries.

Today, Bellevue is among the best places to live in the Pacific Northwest and one of Seattle’s top spots thanks to its collection of outdoor attractions, proximity to downtown Seattle, and world-class facilities and landmarks. Here are the best things to do in Bellevue. 

Bellevue, Washington State

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20 Things To Do In Bellevue

Bellevue City Scavenger Hunt Excursion by Operation City Quest
A clear panoramic view of Bellevue, WA with a storm passing at dusk.

1- Tour the Bellevue Arts Museum

Conveniently situated right in the heart of downtown Bellevue, the Bellevue Arts Museum is a world-class arts institution specialising in contemporary arts, crafts and design.

The centre first opened its doors to the public back in 1975 and operates today as a non-profit organisation that treats the residents of Bellevue to continuously rotating exhibits of works by some of the Pacific Northwest’s top artists.

The Bellevue Arts Museum has garnered a reputation as one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the Seattle Metropolitan Area and includes an on-site gift store where visitors can purchase unique crafts and hand-made items.

The Bellevue Arts Museum is at 510 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004.

Bellevue City Scavenger Hunt Excursion by Operation City Quest.

2- Stroll Through the Bellevue Botanical Garden

The sprawling 53-acre (21 ha) Bellevue Botanical Garden is the go-to outdoor attraction for the residents of Bellevue, treating visitors to a stunning collection of cultivated gardens, natural wetlands and preserved woodlands.

The gardens were first opened back in 1992 and are today jointly managed by several organisations and foundations from the Seattle Metropolitan Area.

More than 400,000 visitors stop by the free-to-visit Bellevue Botanical Garden every year, making it one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions among tourists and locals alike.

The Bellevue Botanical Garden is at 12001 Main St, Bellevue, WA 98005.

Bellevue Scavenger Hunt: Beautiful Views of Bellevue.

3- Join the Bellevue Zip Tour

Zipping across the treetops of Bellevue’s Douglas Fir and Maple forests, the Bellevue Zip Tour is a fun attraction that provides tourists with a whole new way of exploring the city.

The tour incorporates seven different zip lines spanning anywhere from 78 feet (24 m) to a whopping 458 feet (140 m) in length and can accommodate up to 10 riders each tour.

Reaching 35 mph (56 km/h), riders get to experience an adrenaline rush like no other while simultaneously gazing out over some of Washington’s most spectacular natural landmarks such as Glacier Peak and nearby Mount Baker.

The Bellevue Zip Tour is at 14509 SE Newport Way, Bellevue, WA 98006.

4- Shop and Dine at Bellevue Square

Attracting more than 23 million visitors every year, Bellevue Square is without a doubt one of the city’s busiest shopping destinations, with over 200 different stores situated inside this expansive 1.3 million-square-foot (121,000 m2) shopping venue.

Bellevue Square first opened its doors to shoppers on August 20, 1946, and was initially titled the “Bellevue Shopping Square” before being shortened just a few years later to its current name.

The square has undergone several renovations throughout the decades and today forms part of the Bellevue Collection, a series of shopping venues and attractions dotted around downtown.

5- Enjoy the Bellevue Skyline at the Bellevue Downtown Park

Covering an area of more than 21 acres (8 ha), the Bellevue Downtown Park is a popular urban public park that sits conveniently in the heart of the city’s bustling downtown district.

The park was completed in 1983 and features a promenade, a canal, a reflective pond and a 10-acre (4 ha) lawn for picnicking or playing sports.

Visitors to Bellevue Downtown Park can expect to be treated to 360-degree views of the Bellevue skyline, plenty of greenery and several pathways suited for walking, jogging or cycling.

Bellevue Downtown Park is at 10201 NE 4th St, Bellevue, WA 98004.

6- Spend an Afternoon In Lake Sammamish State Park

Lake Sammamish State Park is a 512-acre (207 ha) outdoor recreational space situated about 9 miles (14 km) outside downtown Bellevue that serves as a popular destination for hiking and swimming among Bellevue’s nature-loving residents.

The park straddles the southern shores of Lake Sammamish, one of the 2 lakes surrounding Bellevue, and boasts 2 distinct lakefront beaches for beachgoers to visit.

First opened back in 1950, the park is free to enjoy and comes complete with amenities such as soccer fields, summertime kayak rentals, an amphitheatre, volleyball courts and some 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of hiking and biking paths.

Lake Sammamish State Park is at 2182 NW Sammamish Rd, Issaquah, WA 98027.

7- Experience Charming Old Bellevue

As the name suggests, Old Bellevue is the oldest part of modern-day Bellevue, dating back to when the first settlers started arriving in the region back in 1863.

The district forms the centre of Bellevue’s cultural identity and is preserved much the way it was during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with charming shops, cosy cafes and trendy boutiques lining Old Bellevue’s Main Street.

Old Bellevue is situated in the centre of downtown Bellevue and borders the Bellevue Downtown Park, providing visitors with quick access to attractions such as Bellevue Square and Meydenbauer Bay Park.

8- Bring the Little Travellers to the KidsQuest Children’s Museum

The immersive KidsQuest Children’s Museum is a fully hands-on, wholly interactive museum in downtown Bellevue dedicated to teaching and inspiring kids about topics such as art, science, technology and engineering.

The centre opened its doors to the general public back in 2005 in the Marketplace at Factoria, moving to its current location in 2017 when the museum surpassed an average of 150,000 annual visitors.

More than 1 million kids and adults have passed through the centre’s doors since 2005, with the museum continuing to play an impactful role in motivating young kids in the Seattle area to learn more about STEM fields.

The KidsQuest Children’s Museum is at 1116 108th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004.

9- Go Horseback Riding in the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is a regional public park situated in Washington State’s King County that’s a haven for lovers of the great outdoors.

The park covers a total area of more than 3,115 acres (1,260 ha) and features some 38 miles (61 km) of nature trails for avid hikers to traverse.

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is also home to more than 12 miles (19 km) of equestrian pathways, which horse owners can utilize to enjoy the fresh air along with their 4-legged companions.

Downtown Bellevue’s Lincoln Square is a mix-use shopping, dining and entertainment venue that provides shoppers with a wide range of upmarket offerings and fine dining experiences.

The 1.2 million-square-foot (111,484 m2) venue opened its doors in 2005 and treats shoppers to a wide array of brand outlets and high-end boutiques to shop at.

Combining with downtown Bellevue’s other shopping centres to create more than 5 million square feet (464,515 m2) of total floor space, Lincoln Square is very much Bellevue’s upmarket shopping hub.

11- Gaze Out Over the Seattle Skyline from the Meydenbauer Bay Park

Seattle Harbor Cruise
Admiring the skyline across Lake Washington is one fo the things to do in Bellevue.

Along the picturesque shoreline of Lake Washington just southwest of downtown Bellevue, the Meydenbauer Bay Park is recognised as the city of Bellevue’s oldest public park, first opening back in 1953

The park was once the landing site for passenger ferries operating between Seattle and Bellevue before becoming the home of Wildwood Park, a popular dance hall during the early-to-mid 20th century.

Meydenbauer Bay Park treats visitors to spectacular swooping views across Lake Washington and the distant Seattle skyline, and is within walking distance from other Bellevue landmarks such as Bellevue Square, Old Bellevue and the Bellevue Downtown Park.

12- Eat, Drink and Shop At Spring District

The newest addition to downtown Bellevue is the Spring District, a 36-acre (15 ha) mix-use space that’s Bellevue’s all-in-one destination for shopping, living, dining, entertainment and public transportation.

Construction first began on the Spring District in 2013 and isn’t expected to be completed before 2028, however, many of the planned development’s key attractions and retail spaces are already in place and open to the public.

Once the Spring District is fully completed, it will resemble Portland’s famous Pearl District and will be filled with some of Seattle’s best art galleries, restaurants, upscale stores, designer boutiques and entertainment spaces.

13- Drink Beer At Bellevue Brewing Company

classic American burgers with hot grilled patty, melted cheese, tomatoes, onion, sauces, fried chips and beer.
Visiting a brewery is one of the popular things to do in Bellevue.

One of the first attractions that moved into the Spring District is the Bellevue Brewing Company, the first locally-owned craft brewery to set up shop in Bellevue.

First opened in 2012, the brewery has become a household name across Bellevue in just over a decade and aims to be the Spring District’s go-to ‘brewpub’ once the district is officially completed.

Despite specialising in craft beer brewing, the brewery also boasts a cocktail bar, a full dining menu and a 2,500-square-foot (232 m2) beer garden.

The Bellevue Brewing Company is at 12190 NE District Way, Bellevue, WA 98005.

14- Enjoy The Waves At Newcastle Beach Park

Newcastle Beach Park is recognised as the largest beach park in Bellevue and is situated on the shores of Lake Washington, roughly 5 miles (8 km) south of downtown Bellevue.

The park looks out over Mercer Island and provides beachgoers with a gently sloping beach complete with all the comfort amenities one needs to have a relaxing day out at the beach.

Visitors to the popular beach park can expect to be treated to rare sightings of the bald eagle, dedicated picnic and BBQ sites, and a 300-foot (91 m) dock that’s freely accessible to the public.

Newcastle Beach Park is at 4400 Lake Washington Blvd SE, Bellevue, WA 98006.

15- Catch A Show At The Meydenbauer Center

The Meydenbauer Center is a state-of-the-art convention centre in downtown Bellevue that’s capable of hosting large gatherings, functions and events across its 54,000 square feet (5,017 m2) of total exhibition space.

Owned and operated by the Bellevue Convention Center Authority, the venue first opened its doors back in 1993 and even features a 410-seat performing arts theatre for hosting concerts, plays and musicals.

The Meydenbauer Center is at 11100 NE 6th St, Bellevue, WA 98004.

16- Travel Back In Time At Kelsey Creek Farm

Situated in Bellevue’s Wilburton neighbourhood, the Kelsey Creek Farm is a charming 150-acre (61 ha) farmstead built during the early 1900s that provides visitors with a rare glimpse into typical Bellevue life during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The site was once the home of the Twin Valley Dairy Farm before being turned into a tourist attraction/public park that’s home to 2 barns listed on the State Heritage Barn Register.

Visitors to the farm are treated to wide open grasslands, thick forests, idyllic meadows and a couple of traditional farm animals such as goats and horses to interact with and learn more about.

Kelsey Creek Farm is at 410 130th Pl SE, Bellevue, WA 98005.

17- Enjoy the Calm Waters of Chism Beach Park

Chism Beach Park is an urban beach park situated on the eastern shores of Lake Washington that provides beachgoers with a more relaxed beach experience as opposed to the bigger but busier Newcastle Beach Park.

The beach park covers an area of about 18 acres (7 ha) and is sheltered by thick fur and pine forests, giving the beach a secluded and private feel.

Situated just a mile (1.6 km) from downtown Bellevue, the park features a gently-sloped lawn, a dock and dedicated play areas for the kids.

Chism Beach Park is at 9600 SE 11th St, Bellevue, WA 98004.

18- Reconnect With Nature at the Mercer Slough Nature Park

The 320-acre (129 ha) Mercer Slough Nature Park is a lush wetland preserve situated just 2.2 miles (3.5 km) south of downtown Bellevue.

First opened during the mid-20th century, the park is the largest remaining freshwater wetland along Lake Washington and is ideally suited for bird watching, hiking or kayaking.

Mercer Slough Nature Park boasts more than 7 miles (11 km) of nature trails for hikers to enjoy, making it one of the most ecologically and activity-diverse outdoor venues in Bellevue.

The Mercer Slough Nature Park is at 2101 118th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98005.

19- Go Blueberry Picking at the Larsen Lake Blueberry Farm

Ripe Blueberries (Bilberry) On A Blueberry Bush On A Nature
Going blueberry picking is one of the fun things to do in Bellevue.

The Larsen Lake Blueberry Farm is a fruit and vegetable farm near the shores of Lake Sammamish that allows visitors to hand-pick their blueberries to take home with them.

Established sometime during the 1880s, the farm was named after Danish immigrants Ove Peter Larsen and his wife Mary, who arrived in Bellevue during the late 19th century.

While the Larsens left their Bellevue farm a long time ago, it remains an ever-present attraction in the city, especially among city slickers hoping to escape into the ‘countryside’ while still being within 4 miles (6 km) from downtown Bellevue.

The Larsen Lake Blueberry Farm is at 700 148th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98007.

20- Explore Downtown Seattle

Beneath The Streets Underground History Tour
Exploring Downtown Seattle is one of the top things to do near Bellevue today.

With just 10 miles (16 km) separating Bellevue from the Emerald City, it’s the ideal destination from which to launch day trips into downtown Seattle to explore the sights and attractions of the Pacific Northwest’s largest city.

Seattle is renowned for its eye-catching landmarks such as the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, as well as its café culture and world-class museums and art institutions.

Much of Bellevue’s travel appeal is its proximity to the Emerald City, which visitors to Bellevue can fully experience without needing to spend the night in a downtown Seattle hotel.

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Mark Westwood is a Seattle-based writer who writes for various online blogs and travel websites. In 2017, he went on a 12-month road trip across the USA visiting many iconic landmarks and small towns along the way. Having explored over 20 countries, his favourite places to date are along the west coast of the USA but he is happiest anywhere where there are mountains and ocean.