Photo: Bellevue
Photo: David Newman
Photo: David Newman

Bellevue/Eastside

Exploring beyond Seattle’s borders

Just across Lake Washington to the east of Seattle lies Bellevue, a city on the rise. Known for its outdoor spaces, growing downtown, and ample shopping opportunities, there are more reasons than ever to cross the bridge and explore.

Eat

Insane sundaes from Vivo 53 Photo: Vivo 53

Thanks to Bellevue’s diverse population, international cuisine abounds. For Taiwanese specialties like soup dumplings, Din Tai Fung is worth the wait, while the related jian buns from Dough Zone are delectable. Inside modern Monsoon, where Vietnam meets the Pacific Northwest, the Drunken Chicken strikes just the right balance of crunch and flavor. For sushi in a fashionable setting, look no further than Flo Japanese Restaurant & Sake Bar. On the sweet side, the Insane Sundaes from Vivo 53 are works of art. Take plenty of pictures before downing the Candy Esplosione, a sundae topped with a lollipop, M&Ms, rock candy, pretzels, a chocolate peanut butter brownie, and so much more. Also on the fun end of the spectrum, Lunchbox Laboratory serves up creative cocktails and boozy shakes, like the tasty Cinnamon Toast Crunk (vanilla ice cream and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal with a test tube of cinnamon whiskey). Slightly more understated, the sea salt caramels with a glass of tawny port is the perfect ending to a meal at Purple Cafe & Wine Bar.

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Shop

Bellevue Collection Photo: Mark Silverstein

Whether you just want to do a little window shopping or you have your heart set on something specific, Bellevue has the store for you. The Bellevue Collection is an excellent place to start, with about 200 retailers—think everything from Amazon Books and The Container Store to Apple, Microsoft, Anthropologie, and Nordstrom. At The Shops at The Bravern, find all the designer labels your closet could crave, including Gucci, Prada, and Jimmy Choo. Outside the malls, Main Street (known as Old Bellevue) houses a variety of cute shops. Whisk carries all the kitchen supplies your chef heart could desire. Down the street, Title Nine is a friendly place for women to get high-quality activewear, glassybaby sells coveted handmade candleholders that are a great Northwest souvenir, and home goods shop Hedge & Vine carries an array of eclectic wares.

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Play

Bellevue Strawberry Festival Photo: Bellevue Strawberry Festival

No matter the time of the year, Bellevue Botanical Garden always has something in bloom among its 53 acres. Indoors, relax in a sensory deprivation tank at Float Bellevue or indulge in hydrotherapy at Yuan Spa. In the evenings, let your competitive side shine with a game of bowling at vintage-meets-mod Lucky Strike, take in live jazz at Bake’s Place, and see an aerial performance every Friday and Saturday around 8pm at lounge Suite inside the Hyatt Regency. If you’re here in late July, don’t miss the BAM ARTSfair from the Bellevue Arts Museum, an annual tradition that dates back to the 1940s. During the event, 300 designers and craftspeople gather to display their handmade art that represents everything from classic to modern craft. And the annual Bellevue Strawberry Festival is a summertime tradition that celebrates the fruit and the city’s strawberry farming roots.

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Explore More Seattle Neighborhoods

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Cyclops Cafe & LoungePhoto: David Newman

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Stock Image/123rf.com

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