When a town derives its name from the French term, “belle vue,” which means “beautiful view,” you know you’ve got something special. Enter, the amazing Bellevue, Washington — the third largest city in the Seattle metro area.
The city of Bellevue offers awesome outdoor activities, shopping, dining, gardens, museums, beaches, and parks. What we’re saying is…you’ll never run out of things to do in Bellevue.
Here are 12 of our absolute favorite things to do in this amazing Pacific Northwest town.
MERCER SLOUGH NATURE PARK
Mercer Slough Nature Park is located a few minutes away from downtown Bellevue. It spans 320 acres, and features a wildlife habitat, agricultural land, forests, and freshwater wetlands. The beauty of the park makes it one of the most attractive destinations for families.
If you enjoy biking and hiking, you’ll be pleased to know that various trails lead into the forest. Some of these trails are easy and can therefore be ideal for just about every family member.
The boardwalks and paths that wind through the park are an excellent option for you if you just want take a stroll and enjoy the scenic views. You’ll even find rivers here, so canoeing is another great activity to try.
The Mercer Slough Blueberry Farm can also be found here, and offers U-pick opportunities seasonally. Additionally, you can relax on the lush lawns outside the historic Winter’s House.
The park offers a free guided tour on Saturdays, so you can get to see and learn more about the different animal species found here.
Details: 2101 118th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98005 | Website
Bellevue Square is one of the most popular malls in the city. It was built way back in 1946, and has hosted dozens of businesses since. Right now, it features almost 180 retail stores.
Here you’ll find everything from Macy’s to Tiffany’s, and from Nordstrom to Hugo Boss. It’s a shopper’s paradise.
Restaurants are also a big draw to Bellevue Square. You’ll find chains like P.F. Chang’s and The Cheesecake Factory, plus other amazing eateries like Japonessa Sushi Cocina.
Feel free to bring the kids along — Bellevue Square has an amazing kids play area that they’ll love
Details: 575 Bellevue Square, Bellevue, WA 98004 | Website
BELLEVUE BOTANICAL GARDENS
The Bellevue Botanical Gardens are an urban refuge where you’ll find 53 acres of cultivated gardens., restored woodlands, and natural wetlands. A simple stroll into this area will reveal a serene environment that will make you fall in love with nature.
The trees in this area feature different colors that make for a picturesque sight, especially for anyone who loves taking pictures. If you want to buy some plants for your garden, you’ll be pleased to find a wide variety on sale.
The Bellevue Botanical Gardens often host a wide range of community celebrations and summer concerts. If you love listening to top-quality music and enjoy watching live performances, this is the place for you to be.
If you’re visiting during the holidays, make sure to stop by to see the gardens decked out in lights.
Details: 12001 Main St, Bellevue, WA 98005 | Website
BELLEVUE ARTS MUSEUM
If you are the kind of person that loves everything art, crafts, and design, the Bellevue Arts Museum may be the right destination for you.
At BAM, you’ll find exhibitions from different artists and craftsmen throughout the year. A variety of programs and publications are available here too, so you can learn more about the museum and their featured artists.
You’ll find state-of-the-art furniture, sculptures, jewelry, glass art, and so much more. It’s a really interesting museum, that’s full of exhibitions to explore.
Kids will love visiting here too! Visit on one of the museum’s Free Family Days, or during their Get Crafty Saturdays. Workshops, events, lectures and more are held throughout the year for both adults and teens.
BAM takes pride in promoting the creative process, skill, and vision of today’s most talented makers.
Details: 510 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004 | Website
NEWCASTLE BEACH PARK
Newcastle Beach Park is characterized by beautiful treetop canopies, wide-open spaces, and a large sandy beach. The open spaces make it possible for you and your family or friends to engage in a wide variety of activities, including a game of football or frisbee. Let your children build sandcastles on the shore and then take a dip in the water.
Explore the area by going down the three-quarter-mile nature loop over wooden bridges and canopied forests. As you explore, you’ll come across various birds and different animal species. But don’t worry, most of the animals in this area are small and harmless.
A beautiful swimmer’s dock makes for an excellent place for you to relax while fishing or enjoying the warm summer sun.
Details: 4400 Lake Washington Blvd SE, Bellevue, WA 98006 | Website
LARSEN LAKE BLUEBERRY FARM
The Lake Hills Greenbelt is a wetland corridor in Bellevue where you’ll find three miles of trails, community gardens, picnic areas…and The Larsen Lake Blueberry Farm.
The blueberry farm was established in 1940, and offers U-pick opportunities seasonally (usually mid-July to early September). You’ll also find seasonal produce and fresh cut flowers during other times of the year. Make sure to visit the produce stand here!
After picking blueberries, explore the greenbelt itself. Tours of the greenbelt are offered throughout the year, or you can hike the 5-mile Lake to Lake Trail that bisects the park and explore on your own. You’ll find maps, interpretive displays, and more at the ranger station.
Details: 700 148th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98007 | Website
BELLEVUE ZIP TOUR
The Bellevue Zip Tour should be on the top of your list if you want to get an adrenaline rush. Located in Eastgate Park, just outside of downtown Bellevue, you’ll find seven ziplines taking you through the beautiful Washington State scenery.
One you’re done ziplining, take a walk on one of the two suspension bridges found here. You’ll get to bounce, jiggle and sway your way across. Afterwards, take one of their short hikes through the Washington wilderness.
Details: 14509 SE Newport Way, Bellevue, WA 98006 | Website
MEYDENBAUER BEACH PARK
Meydenbauer Beach Park is located along Lake Washington and features large open spaces ideal for relaxation. Set up a canopy, spread your blanket on the beach and enjoy. This hidden gem also has paved trails that will take you through various areas with birds chirping and relaxing breeze blowing through the trees.
Children will love the small playground here, too! Plenty of restaurants are located nearby, and there are also places to picnic along the beach.
Details: 419 98th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004 | Website
COUGAR MOUNTAIN REGIONAL WILDLAND PARK
The Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park spans over 3,000 acres of land in nearby Renton, WA. If you love hiking — this is the place to go. Here, you’ll find over 38 miles of hiking trails, and 12 miles of equestrian trails.
Looking for animals? There’s a reason this place is a wildland park! You may see mountain beavers, bobcats, coyotes, skunks, porcupines, and long-tailed weasels during your hikes here.
Dogs are welcome here, and you’ll find a spacious picnic area here too.
Details: 18201 SE Cougar Mountain Dr, Renton, WA 98059 | Website
Lake Sammamish is a freshwater lake that is located about 8 miles east of Seattle in King County. This lake is popular for boating and water sports. Public access is available from Lake Sammamish State Park and some private resorts.
You’ll find Lake Sammamish State Park on the lake’s southern shore. At the park, you’ll find two lakefront beaches, hiking trails, bird watching opportunities, kayak rentals, fishing, bike trails, an awesome playground, and various wildlife.
Lake Sammamish State Park also hosts community events throughout the year. Paddling and cycling events, obstacle courses for kids, holiday boat parades and summer concerts can be found here. The annual Parkadilly Fair is held here every summer.
Details: 2000 NW Sammamish Rd, Issaquah, WA 98027 | Website
HOP ACROSS THE BRIDGE TO SEATTLE
It only takes you 20 minutes to get to Seattle from Bellevue, making it a great double header. There’s so much to do in this amazing city, you could spend months and still not see it all.
First, make a stop at Pike Place Market. This place is the soul of Seattle, and is one of the oldest continuously operated farmer’s markets in the U.S. In addition to produce, fresh fish, and more, you’ll also find amazing restaurants and…coffee! A Pike Place visit is the perfect way to start your Seattle day.
Next up, the Seattle Art Museum. At SAM, you’ll see some of the most impressive works of art. You can learn about the region’s history, and come face to face with artwork by some of the most talented artists, both locally and nationally.
Take a stroll down to one of Seattle’s waterfront piers. There are nine historical piers, and they are filled with shops, restaurants, ice cream, and more. Kids will love the ice cream, vintage carousel, and the Seattle Great Wheel found at Pier 57. The famous Seattle Aquarium can be found at Pier 59.
After visiting one or more of the piers, make your way over to the iconic Space Needle. Here, you have the option of admiring the tower from outside, or paying to explore inside. If you go to the top, you’ll be sure to enjoy the amazing views of the Seattle skyline.
Another great place to visit is the Chihuly Garden and Museum, located next to the Space Needle. Here, you’ll be treated to a seamless intertwining of color and nature. Dale Chihuly, who is the glass artist responsible for creating this place, designed some of the most breathtaking large-scale glass sculptures you’ve ever seen.
Looking to relax? Consider Gasworks Park. Believe it or not, it used to be the city’s gasification plant, but it’s now a historic preservation. It features massive machinery and lush green grass, making it an excellent spot to sit down and enjoy a picnic.
Other awesome things to do in Seattle include dinner at the Crab Pot, taking photos of the Fremont Troll, exploring Pioneer Square, and more.
DAY TRIP TO MOUNT RAINIER
One of the great things about Bellevue, is it’s proximity to other amazing spots in the Pacific Northwest. Just a 2 hour drive from town, you’ll find Mount Rainier National Park — making it the perfect place to go for a day trip.
Mount Rainier, an active volcano, is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous United States. At the national park, you’ll find five developed areas: Longmire, Paradise, Ohanapecosh, Sunrise, and Carbon River & Mowich. Each serve as a base for exploring the park. Some areas feature just a campground and picnic area, while others feature hotels, restaurants, and visitor centers.
At this park you’ll find wildflower meadows and ancient forests, in addition to awesome mountain hikes and stunning lakes. Hiking, biking, climbing, fishing, and and boating are all popular activities here.
Hike the stunning Skyline Trail Loop that takes you around to the mountain’s south side. Depending on the season, you’ll either be hiking on snow-covered trails or grassy paths. Feeling particularly adventurous? The Wonderland Trail is 93 miles long and encircles Mount Rainier. This strenuous hike with lots of elevation gain and loss, will give you the ultimate bragging rights.
Tour the Longmire Museum, find a rainbow cascade at Narada Falls, go glissading in the snow, see one of the largest glaciers on Mount Rainier, snowshoe through the forest, go climbing, or take in the amazing views at Snow Lake. It’s the perfect place to spend the day.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO WASHINGTON STATE
- WASHINGTON STATE NPS: 15 Washington State National Parks, Forests & Monuments Adventurers Will Love
- TACOMA: 20 Super Fun Things To Do In Tacoma
- ALL THINGS WASHINGTON: 36 Phenomenal Things To Do In Washington State
- LEAVENWORTH: 15 Things To Do In Leavenworth, WA For Year-Round Fun
- SEATTLE BEACHES: 12 Sensational Seattle Beaches You Don’t Want To Miss
WHERE TO STAY IN BELLEVUE
Best Downtown. AC Hotel by Marriott Seattle Bellevue has Spanish roots, European soul and a global mindset. This boutique hotel is conveniently located near some of our featured downtown attractions.
Best Budget Option. Sonesta Select Seattle Bellevue is a comparatively less pricey option without sacrificing quality. It has an indoor pool and a great selection for kiddos.
Best for Couples. Cottage for Two is a one-bedroom bungalow, so don’t book this one for the large family stay. What it lacks in space it makes up for in quality and charm.
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Posts may contain affiliate links at no cost to you. Several of our trips are also compensated by the respective tourism boards for the city or state we are visiting. This never impacts how we share the destination with you – opinions are always our own and we pride ourselves on that. We do not sell links or accept unsolicited guest posts under any circumstances. Don’t even ask.
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