What to Do in Bellevue this Weekend

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.

Ice Cream Season

ice cream

flickr/gordonramsaysubmissions

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.

New Dining in Downtown Bellevue

flickr/Lohb

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.

Bellevue Television

Did you know the City of Bellevue/Bellevue Television produces a monthly video, Lake to Lake, featuring news, projects, activities and events in and around Bellevue. Current and past videos are posted on YouTube – definitely worth watching to find out what’s happening, or what’s about to happen, in your city. Open the links below to take a look at this year’s videos.

Lake to Lake/January

Lake to Lake – February

KidsQuest Childrens Museum Opening Next Week

kidsquest

photo courtesy KidsQuest

KidsQuest Children’s Museum is scheduled to open its doors January 31st in its new location in downtown Bellevue at the corner of NE 12th Street and 108th Avenue NE (the former Rosalie Whyle Museum of Doll Art).

If you never had an opportunity to visit the museum’s former Factoria location, this is a “must do” activity for parents and children. The museum’s indoor and outdoor hands-on interactive exhibits are designed for exploration and experimentation with a focus on science, technology, engineering, art and math. If you’ve driven by lately the big rig truck cab is visible through the windows on the north side of the building. There are also three classrooms and an art studio with a kiln.

The museum isn’t just for kids  –  KidsQuest will continue to offer their popular “Recess on the Rocks”  –  after hours access for adults to enjoy the exhibits and activities accompanied by food and cocktails. You must be 21+ to play. The museum is also available to rent for evening events and dinners.

Downtown is Bellevue’s fastest growing neighborhood with new apartments and condos scheduled to break ground this year. What’s happening – and what’s about to happen – in downtown Bellevue’s real estate entertainment scene? I live and work in downtown Bellevue – contact me to find out what’s planned for 2017.

 

Duke’s is Returning to Bellevue

Long time Bellevue residents may remember when there was a Duke’s Chowder house in downtown Bellevue adjacent to the original QFC grocery store and Thompson Drugs on NE 8th Street and its later move to Lake Bellevue. Dukes closed that location and left Bellevue in 2001.

The ownership of Duke’s announced this week plans for a new restaurant opening next year in the new Lincoln Square expansion at The Bellevue Collection. The new location, targeted for a late April 2017 opening, will be on the second floor near the new W Hotel. Duke’s will be one of 12 restaurants in the Lincoln Square expansion.

Duke’s was a popular Bellevue destination  –  it will be great to have Duke’s downtown again.

What a Great Place to Live

park-waterfall-at-dusk

Thanksgiving week can feel rushed  –  its a short work week ahead of what, for some, will be a four day weekend, there’s housecleaning, shopping and prep for Thanksgiving dinner and family and friends arriving. The pre-holiday excitement and stress starts this week and this year Thanksgiving comes on the heels of a contentious election which for many has been stressful, adding apprehension or anticipation for what is to come.

This is a good time to pause, take a deep breath, and be thankful for the amazing place we live. We are lucky to be in the Pacific Northwest, one of the most livable places in the country and a region that enjoys a robust economic and and employment environment, benefits from nationally recognized public schools, has a wealth of heritage and diversity and is surrounded by breathtaking lakes and mountains. Its a great place to call home.

The shopping frenzy and the traffic starts Friday but its also the start of Snowflake Lane, Bellevue Magic Season and the Botanical Garden’s Garden d’Lights, Eastside traditions that turn Bellevue into a holiday wonderland. This weekend is Small Business Saturday;  don’t forget to visit Main Street and other area businesses and restaurants to support local merchants.

Forget shopping, traffic and turkey hangovers . . . GO HAWKS, HUSKIES & SOUNDERS. The Sounders play at home tonight in the Western Conference Finals, the Huskies travel to Pullman for the Apple Cup on Friday and the Seahawks are in Tampa Bay Sunday to play the Buccaneers.