What I Love About Bellevue

Bellevue Downtown Park canal 8-2017I moved to Bellevue 30 years ago and have lived downtown for the past ten years. I love living here and one of the things I love most are the beautiful and diverse parks throughout the city. I’m lucky enough to live within walking distance of ten parks which I visit frequently with my two pups. Did you know . . .

  • Bellevue has 2,700 acres of parks and open space with 80+ miles of multi-use trails
  • 45 parks have playgrounds
  • 6 waterfront parks have seasonal lifeguards
  • 17 parks have reservable picnic areas
  • 16 have tennis courts and six have pickleball courts (3 indoor and 3 outdoor)
  • Bellevue has an aquatic center, a tennis center and two golf courses (Bellevue Golf Course and the Crossroads Par 3 golf course)
  • Kelsey Creek Farm is home to ponies, sheep, goats, chickens, pigs and more

There are nearly 100 city maintained parks. The Dowtown Park, the city’s crown jewel, recently reopened after a one year closure for a major upgrade. The park is a 21 acre oasis in the heart of downtown Bellevue offering views of Mt. Rainier and the downtown skyline. A 1/2 mile groomed promenade circles a canal which is bordered by trees and dozens of benches and a 240’waterfall. The expanded Inspiration Playground provides innovative play space for children of all ages and abilities plus a fun water play space which was very popular this summer.

Nearly every community throughout the city has walk-able access to at least one park and many of the downtown office buildings have intimate public courtyards that offer a quiet respite in the city. I appreciate the time, care and maintenance city employees put into keeping our parks groomed, clean and planted with seasonal landscaping. Parks are a huge asset and contribute to the livability of a city and our local parks are a big part of what makes Bellevue s special place to live.

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It’s Arts Fair Weekend

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.

Downtown Park Celebration

Downtown Park fountain 6-2015Today 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.

Bellevue Lake to Lake

 

Take a look  –  here’s the June edition of the City of Bellevue’s Lake-to-Lake video. There’s a great overview and update about the Meydenbauer Bay Park construction, Bellevue’s gold courses and more.

The Meydenbauer Bay Park, scheduled for completion fall 2018, is going to be a fabulous addition to the city’s access to the lake and the connection it will create to the Downtown Park and beyond.

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.

Bellevue Downtown Park Expansion

Downtown Park Intersection Closure

photo courtesy City of Bellevue

The “Complete the Circle” project at the Downtown Park is underway with work scheduled to be completed in time for this year’s Fourth of July celebration. The expansion includes completion of the last section of the circular canal and tree lined promenade, creating a new entry and water feature at the south end of the park, upgrading the playground to create a universally accessible Inspiration Playground, adding landscaping and terraced seating and enlarging the parking lot on 100th Avenue NE.

Construction of the park’s new south entry and pedestrian crossing caused the closure of the intersection at NE First Street and 102nd Avenue NE this week. The intersection is expected to open again mid-to-late April.

The Downtown Park is a 21 acre oasis in the heart of the city and the centerpiece of the Bellevue Parks System. There’s something for everyone . . . a half mile level tree-lined promenade, canal, waterfall and reflecting pond, a ten acre lawn area, playground, picnic areas and formal gardens . . . all framed by views of Bellevue’s skyline and Mt. Rainier. It will be exciting to see the improvements and have the park open again 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