To those not in the know, Bellevue is often eclipsed by the major metropolis that thrums right across Lake Washington: Seattle. But those who have journeyed into this city are aware that Bellevue is a jewel of its own — boasting gorgeous homes, immaculate parks, superb restaurants, excellent shopping, and an abundance of outdoor delights.
If you have recently relocated to the area, live in a nearby region, or are considering calling this city home, read on for Jeff Reynold’s guide on the finest ways to spend your free time in this Pacific Northwest beauty.
Picnic at Bellevue Park
Forage for blueberries at Mercer Slough Nature Park
Green open spaces are one of the biggest draws of Bellevue: the elegant city features more than 2,700 acres of green space and public parks. Mercer Slough Nature Park is one of the loveliest among them; here, 320 acres of foliage call people into its depths, where 170 wildlife species roam and blueberries can be found in spades. Before picking fruit at Mercer Slough’s blueberry farm, hike or bike one of the park’s enchanting trails or take a canoe out on the tranquil river.
The Pacific Northwest has become one of the leading spots in the nation for stellar craft beer. Learn more about its scene and the process behind turning hops into drinkable gold by engaging in a tour of the region’s leading breweries.
Start at Chaline Brewing Company, which is just minutes away from downtown Bellevue, to taste a wide selection of great beer, including trail gnome Indian pale ale and the Bavarian uptown Helles lager; on sunnier days, their patio is a great place to sit and enjoy the warmer weather.
Next up? The Pumphouse Bar & Grill, where in addition to artisan beer, you can try their excellent eats, from classic Reubens to fresh cod and chips.
A modern, industrial ethos reigns at Cascadia Brewery and Pizzeria, a vibrant Bellevue pub that seats over 200 people and offers oatmeal stout, Scotch ale, blood orange pale ale, and Baltic porter.
Feast your eyes at Bellevue Arts Museum
From Garth Stein and Jimi Hendrix to Lesley Frenz and Nirvana, the Pacific Northwest has long been a hotbed for artists in every genre. Bellevue Arts Museum pays tribute to the region’s fine artists at their three-story wonder. The museum got its start in 1947; to this day, it features contemporary splendors in visual design, paintings, ceramics, woods, and fiber.
Shop in style at The Shops at the Bravern
Luxury at its finest defines The Shops at the Bravern — a stunning outdoor shopping plaza featuring the most coveted brands on the planet. Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Prada, Oliver Peoples — these are just a sampling of the stores that make up this posh venue. Spice up your shopping spree with a pause at Whiskey by John Howie: the swanky bar and eatery features an array of bar bites, like parmesan truffle fries, marinated beets, and bourbon caramel corn, and an enormous and impressive selection of craft cocktails and, as their name implies, whiskeys from around the world.
Hit the beach
Grab your clubs
Bellevue is home to two pristine golf courses: Crossroads Par Three Course and the Bellevue Golf Course, which feature marvelous views and serene, verdant fairways. While the course leans towards the smaller side, it’s nonetheless challenging and ideal for both newbie and veteran golfers.
Spoil yourself with sushi
Bellevue’s FlO Japanese Restaurant & Sake Bar is the optimal way to celebrate. Why? Because their sushi resembles pieces of art and is just as delicious. Their chef-curated omakase sashimi platter is divine, and their rolls are inspired. Jalapeno hamachi with avocado and unagi, asparagus shrimp with chili mayo, spicy tuna, Negi, and masago — all are expertly crafted and superbly presented. Make it a night out on the town with one of their high-end sakes.