The Memorial Day holiday weekend marks the beginning of summer and outdoor activities. After the brutal winter and spring weather, any opportunity for outdoor activity will be welcome. While many people have holiday plans to visit ocean or mountain destinations, don’t forget there’s a lot to do in town. If you’re looking for some local activities here’s a partial list of what’s available in Bellevue.
With nearly 100 parks and recreation facilities, Bellevue offers plenty of green space. The city maintains 96 miles of trails and six beachfront parks.
Bellevue Aquatic Center has a lap pool, warm water pool and party room
Robinswood Tennis center offers programs and lessons for all ages
Crossroads water spray playground is a favorite destination for the younger set
Explore the lake – the SE 40th Street boat launch provides boat access to Lake Washington
Tune up your golf game – the Crossroads 9 hole/par 3 chip and putt course is great for beginners and the Bellevue Golf Course offers a more challenging 18 hole/par 7 course plus a 46 stall driving range
Visit the Mercer Slough – take a guided nature walk or canoe tour
Bellevue Botanical Gardens has 17 acres of display gardens, natural wetlands and woodland trails
Bellevue Arts Museum – visiting and permanent exhibits cover a wide range of arts and crafts and design elements
Shop til you drop at Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square, Old Main Street or The Bravern. You’ll find world class shopping, dozens and dozens of fine and casual dining options offering indoor and patio opportunities for lunch, dinner sweets, snacks and libations, cinemas, comedy and bowling.
There’s no need to leave town to find something fun and interesting to do during the next 3 days – just make it a safe holiday weekend.
Saturday, June 3rd is the fifth annual Lake to Lake Bike Ride. Two routes are available – both start and finish at the Lake Hills Community Park. The mostly flat 9 mile Greenbelt Loop takes riders through Bellevue’s award winning park system. A more challenging ride, the Lake Loop, follows a 22 mile route. Both routes are approximately 80% on-road and 20% off-road gravel surfaces.
Event pre-registration ($15) is available or $20 the day of the event. Participants receive a custom t-shirt. Registration opens at 8:00 AM and first riders depart at 9:00 AM. To register visit http://parksreg.bellevuewa.gov/ (activity code #117822) or call call 425-452-6885. For more information, or to volunteer for the event, visit the event website at http://bellevuewa.gov/lake-to-lake-bike-ride.htm, call 425-452-4882 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The event benefits Bellevue Youth Camp Scholarship Fund.
Rain or shine . . . this is a great opportunity to for kids of any age to enjoy a non-competitive recreational ride to explore the city’s award winning park system and lake views. Te event is recommended for ages 9 and up. Riders under age 9 must be in a tag-a-long or trailer.
A sure sign of spring – this Thursday, May 18th, is opening day for the Bellevue Farmers Market. Back at its familiar location, vendors will be setting up in the parking lot of Bellevue Presbyterian Church (1717 Bellevue Way NE just north of downtown) with ample parking available. The market will be open every Thursday from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, rain or shine, from May 18th through October 12th. (Pets are not permitted except service animals.)
Windermere Real Estate
A proud sponsor of the Bellevue Farmers Market since 2004.
Construction has been under way for months on the south portal site for the tunnel under downtown Bellevue. Part of the Sound Transit East Link extension, the tunnel will host light rail service in Bellevue and run between the future transit stations at East Main and Downtown Bellevue. What you might not know . . .
The tunnel will be approximately one third of a mile long when completed and will run between the East Main and Downtown stations, mostly under 110th Avenue NE
Excavation work should be complete in about two years followed by another year of construction to complete the tunnel interior
Crews are excavating at the south portal site at 112th Avenue SE and Main Street. Construction is on pace to dig 3 to 4 feet of tunnel a day. The north portal will surface at the light rail station at NE 6th Street near the current Bellevue Transit Center
The completed tunnel will be nearly 28 feet tall and run 30-60 feet below ground
The budget for the tunnel is $121.4 million
Instead of a tunnel boring machine, this tunnel is being built using the sequential excavation method (SEM). SEM uses an excavator and cutting equipment to take out soil. As soil is removed, lattice girders are installed and then pressurized concrete, called shotcrete, is sprayed onto the tunnel sides, ceiling and floor. This method, vs a tunnel boring machine, should minimize disruption to surface streets, homes and businesses.
East Link is scheduled to open in 2023 and is part of the 14 mile, 10 station light rail extension. When open a trip from downtown Seattle to downtown Bellevue will take about 20 minuted. The next extension is scheduled to open the following year linking stations to Redmond.
2023 will be here sooner than we expect. Access to light rail is going to be a game changer downtown, adding appeal, convenience, prestige and value to downtown Bellevue’s business and residential communities.
The last couple of warm-ish days got me thinking about ice cream. The big news, and I will make a trip to Capital Hill, is Portland’s Salt & Straw ice cream shop opening in the Capital Hill. Downtown Bellevue is missing a signature ice cream shop.
A long time downtown Bellevue resident, I remember the Baskin & Robbins ice cream shop downtown. Along with the Dairy Queen (both have been gone for years) these were the two “go to” stops for ice cream in the summer. Ben & Jerry’s is inside Bellevue Square and there are several places you can find gelatto, frozen yogurt or a milkshake, no destination ice cream shop in downtown Bellevue anymore.
The weather was great and we spent a lot of time outdoors this weekend walking the dogs and enjoying the colorful blooms downtown. It was fun to sit outside with a cup of coffee but it would have been fabulous to sit outside with a yummy cone of ice cream. I’m looking forward to summer and hopefully the arrival of a pop-up ice cream shop.
Three new eateries recently opened (or reopened) in downtown Bellevue, the first of many scheduled to open in coming months. Some are new to the area along with a local favorite.
Minamoto Japanese Cuisine opened in March at the Alley 111 Apartments. Minamoto’s menu focuses on Japanese cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner.
Peony Kitchen recently opened on Main Street adding a fresh interpretation of Chinese cuisine to the Old Main Street neighborhood. Peony is located at the Meyden Apartments where there is public garage and street parking available. Open for lunch and dinner.
Wild Ginger, after shuttering the Bravern location earlier this month, Wild Ginger has reopened at Lincoln Square. The new space is smaller and more intimate, but you can expect the same high quality Asian food and extensive wine list.
A long time downtown resident, I’m looking forward to sampling these and other new dining opportunities this summer.