Its arts and crafts fair time in downtown Bellevue. This weekend celebrates the 71st annual BAM ARTSfair, the largest arts event in the Northwest. This much anticipated event, with outdoor exhibits and events throughout Bellevue Square and the art museum, includes art exhibits, music, KIDSfair, a Sound and Movement Stage, BAMboozle Stage, Chalk It Up, food trucks and more.
I love this time of year (second only to Snowflake Lane). Starting Thursday afternoon exhibitors will que up for check-in and start setting up their booths, the main level of Bellevue Square’s west parking garage will close to traffic and hotels and restaurants will be filled with artists, exhibitors and visitors. The fair literally takes over downtown for three days and no doubt moving around, either as a pedestrian or driver, will be challenging, and local restaurants and bars will be crowded – but its only for 3 days. This is the largest and most well regarded juried arts event in the Northwest and yes, it will be a bit of a hassle, but it’s an honor to have an event of this caliber in our city.
Don’t miss the the other arts events this weekend – Bellevue is also hosting the Bellevue Festival of the Arts, located across the street from Bellevue Square at the Cost Plus World Market shopping area and the 6th Street Fair with exhibits along the Pedestrian Corridor and 106th Avenue NE.
Today is the grand opening celebration for Bellevue’s Downtown Park. Closed for the past year to complete a major renovation, the park will open just in time for the July 4th celebration and fireworks.
For nearly 30 years the popular park has existed with an incomplete circular promenade and canal. During the last year work has been completed to create a grand entryway, water feature and terraced seating at the south end of the park, enhanced lighting and landscaping throughout the park and a new Inspiration Playground designed for children of all ages and abilities which was made possible through a partnership with the Rotary Club of Bellevue.
Events include a ribbon-cutting with city officials, live music, including the Seahawks Blue Thunder band, food trucks and more. Free parking is available at Bellevue High School with shuttle service to and from the park.
Its going to be a beautiful afternoon. Get out and enjoy the park.
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.
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.
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.