9 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Bellevue, WA
Just east of Seattle across the waters of the massive Lake Washington, Bellevue is the third-largest city in Washington, and despite not always being the first city associated with King County, it continues to be a staple of Pacific Northwest culture. Whether you are looking for first-rate shopping and dining experiences or a children's museum that will appeal to the whole family, Bellevue has plenty of things to do. The city also offers beautiful scenery and abundant outdoor space, making it rich with natural and urban resources for you to explore throughout the year.
1 Bellevue Downtown Park
First conceived in 1983, the 20 acres comprising the Downtown Park in Bellevue have provided a central open space among the urban crawl for more than three decades, and the park continues to be a vital part of the Bellevue community. Hosting a huge number of community events, including annual Fourth of July fireworks and a summer series of outdoor movies, the park also provides an unstructured moment away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It's a great place for a stroll on the manicured promenade, with views of a scenic 240-foot-wide waterfall, and it's also a stellar spot for a picnic overlooking the downtown skyline and distant Mount Rainier. It doesn't matter how you spend your time at the Downtown Park, you're free to do what you please, which is the intention of this celebrated urban respite.
Address: 10201 NE 4th Street, Bellevue, Washington
2 Bellevue Arts Museum
Referred to simply as BAM, the Bellevue Arts Museum hosts an impressive display of art and design from regional artists and international movement makers. Located among the bustling streets of the Bellevue downtown district, only a few blocks away from the Downtown Park, BAM provides rotating exhibits that display masterful art pieces and also give visitors a glimpse at the process it took to get there, achieving BAM's creative mission of making art a piece of every patron's daily conversation. Self-guided tours are available Wednesday through Sunday when the BAM is open, and trained curators also offer private tours.
Address: Bellevue Collection, 510 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, Washington
3 Bellevue Botanical Garden
Though Bellevue isn't lacking in natural attractions, perhaps the most concentrated view of Pacific Northwest flora can be found in the 53 acres encompassing the Bellevue Botanical Garden. Located on Main Street, this urban display of botanical beauty is open daily from dusk to dawn and gives locals and tourists the opportunity to tour native plant species and learn a bit more about their environment. Besides simply walking among the many gardens and displays found here, including the decorative Rock Garden and seasonal Dahlia Display, the best way to use this natural space is by participating in the classes and tours the garden provides throughout the year.
Address: 12001 Main Street, Bellevue, Washington
4 Mercer Slough Nature Park
Serving as one of Bellevue's largest city parks, the Mercer Slough Nature Park contains more than 320 acres of amenities and things to explore throughout the year. The park features more than six miles of trails that allow you to explore the wetland environment this nature park encompasses, as well as a 2.6-mile water trail that you can canoe through the park. Connected by the different trailheads, Mercer Slough Nature Park also hosts an on-site blueberry farm, selling seasonal produce, and a notable Winter House on the National Historic Register. Besides the wetland scenery, perhaps Mercer Slough's biggest attraction is the collaborative Environmental Education Center hosted by the city of Bellevue and the Pacific Science Center, which provides classes, programs, and exhibits to enrich your Mercer Slough nature experience.
Address: 1625 118th Ave. SE, Bellevue, Washington
5 The Bellevue Collection
The Bellevue Collection is three distinct shopping areas in the Bellevue downtown district that provides a dense concentration of shopping, dining, and overnight accommodations. Consisting of the Bellevue Square shopping mall with more than 200 retail locations, Lincoln Square with cultural dining destinations, and Bellevue Place with the four-star Hyatt Regency Bellevue, the Bellevue Collection hosts everything you need in a few blocks to keep yourself busy for many long weekends. If you happen to be exploring this part of town around the holidays, be sure to cruise through Snowflake Lane, just outside the Bellevue Square shopping mall, where the street is alive with the holiday spirit, including glittering lights, electronic animations, and always falling snow.
Address: 575 Bellevue Square, Bellevue, Washington
6 Lake Sammamish
While the seven miles that comprise Lake Sammamish seem like a puddle compared to the far-spreading waters of Lake Washington to the west, Lake Sammamish provides important recreational opportunities for Bellevue residents and its connected communities. On the north end of Lake Sammamish, you can find both a public water-skiing slalom course and Marymoor Park in the city of Redmond. On the southern shore, Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah offers outdoor adventures throughout the year, and in Bellevue, on the eastern shore of Lake Sammamish, Vasa Park Resort provides picnic areas; boat launches; and a perfect spot to swim, with diving boards and waterslides.
Address: 3560 W Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE, Bellevue, Washington
7 KidsQuest Children's Museum
Featuring a two-story Atrium Climber for kids to climb in, on, and around, plus eight other interactive exhibits designed to encourage development in children through play, the KidsQuest Children's Museum is every child's dream come true. Focusing on the key areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and math, the KidsQuest Children's Museum isn't about sitting down at a desk and writing on the blackboard but instead focuses on hands-on interaction with the different moving parts of life. With more than 650 programs offered throughout the year, including summer camps and whole-family science workshops, this excellent museum appeals to little ones and grown-ups alike.
Address: 1116 108th Ave NE, Bellevue, Washington
8 Meydenbauer Beach Park
The Meydenbauer Beach Park is not only a hidden gem of natural space in Bellevue, it also serves as a significant point in the city's history. Located on Meydenbauer Bay, on the shores of Lake Washington (King County's largest freshwater lake), this area was once the landing site for ferries running from Seattle and was pivotal in the development of Bellevue. Nowadays, the Meydenbauer Beach Park is tucked away in a residential neighborhood and provides a place for locals and tourists to get some sand between their toes or spread out the blanket for a picnic, maybe even take a dip into Lake Washington in the summer months, when the water is warm enough and lifeguards are on duty.
Address: 419 98th Ave NE, Bellevue, Washington
9 Bellevue Zip Tour
For a unique way to explore a natural side of Bellevue, the Bellevue Zip Tour will have you speeding among Douglas firs and broadleaf maples as you explore the scenery from above. Consisting of 6.5 ziplines, ranging from 70 to 450 feet, and operating every season except the winter, the Bellevue Zip Tour is owned by the city of Bellevue and can be found just west of the South Bellevue Community Center. Whether you are looking for a fun time for the whole family or a great place for a group getaway, the Bellevue Zip Tour provides a fast-flying way to see some Pacific Northwest nature from a new perspective.
Address: 450 110th Ave. NE, Bellevue, Washington