10 of The Best Things to Do in Bellevue

September 3rd, 2020 by

At Bellevue Nissan, we are BIG fans of Bellevue, and we believe that EVERYTHING is better in Bellevue!

Bellevue is a bit quieter than Seattle, but has tons of things to do. Visit the Bellevue Botanical Gardens or Bellevue Arts Museum. Bellevue can be a great choice, especially for families, as there are many great parks and playgrounds, such as Crossroads Park Water Playground. Bellevue has a few festivals, including an annual Strawberry Festival and Bellevue Sculpture Exhibition in Downtown Park. The biggest perk of living or staying in Bellevue is that all it takes to get to all the attractions and activities in Seattle is a trip across a bridge.

Bellevue also has no shortage of parks. Right in the heart of downtown is Downtown Park, a beautiful green space that makes an excellent place for a picnic. Crossroads Park’s water playground and Bellevue Botanical Gardens are both free and excellent for families. Meydenbauer Beach Park is another place where families can find a bit of everything—a playground, a small grassy area, and a small beach perfect for kids. Explore the city’s parks, and you’re sure to find one that suits what you’re looking for.

Bellevue’s largest school is Bellevue College, which offers two- and four-year degrees. City University of Seattle is also technically in Bellevue.

Bellevue Botanical Gardens
The Garden grounds remain open daily, dawn to dusk. All buildings, except restrooms, are closed until further notice. Please see their COVID-19 page for additional information.

Admission

Admission to the Bellevue Botanical Garden is free. Most classes and lectures, and some special events, require a fee to participate. See their calendar for more information.

Hours

The Garden is open dawn until dusk, every day of the year.

  • Visitor Center is open 9am-4pm, daily
  • Administrative offices are open 9am-4pm, Monday-Saturday
  • The Trillium Store has seasonal hours. Please visit our Trillium Store page for details.
  • Copper Kettle Coffee has seasonal hours. Please visit our Copper Kettle page for details.

Location & Directions

The Bellevue Botanical Garden is located at 12001 Main St., Bellevue, WA 98005. There are several ways to get here from I-405 and SR-520. We recommend consulting a navigation app to find the best route from your starting point.
General Directions:
From I-405, take exit 13A onto NE 4th St. and head east. Turn right on 120th Avenue. Go south approximately 1/2 mile to the stoplight at Main St. Turn left onto Main St. the Garden entrance is about three blocks up Main Street on the right.
King County Metro
To travel to the Garden by King County Metro bus, from the Bellevue Transit Center, take bus #271 and get off at the 116th Ave SE & SE 1st St stop. This is the closest bus stop to the Garden, and is a 1/2 mile walk from the bus stop to the Garden, and is uphill for the first 1/4 mile. Please consult the King County Metro Trip Planner for exact routes and times.

Maps & Guides

Garden maps are available at the Garden. If you would like to view these maps before arriving, you may download them here:
Garden Map & Guide
Children’s Self-Guided Tour

Parking

Free parking is available in the Garden parking lot, immediately adjacent to the Visitor Center and the Garden. When parking in the Garden lot, please lock your vehicle and take all valuables with you.
Large Vehicles
Our parking lot cannot accommodate buses, shuttles, or other large vehicles. Overflow and large vehicle parking is available at Wilburton Hill Park. Drive east approximately 1/4 mile to bend in the road and turn right into that lot.

Downtown Park
With heavy use and crowding in parks, the city has closed playgrounds,
sports courts, ballfields and picnic shelters until further notice. This follows social distancing recommendations from Public Health — Seattle & King County. The closure includes basketball courts, ballfields, picnic shelters and other active recreation areas where people may be in close contact.

Parks, trails, and beaches remain open for walking and activities that do not require close proximity and allow for the recommended social distancing that allows six feet between people.

Bellevue Downtown Park

Bellevue Downtown Park is a 21-acre oasis of green in the heart of Bellevue. A one-half mile promenade, bordered by a double row of shade trees, and a stepped canal, brings one to the 240-foot wide waterfall that cascades into a reflecting pond. A ten-acre lawn area invites one to pause for a picnic with Bellevue’s skyline and Mount Rainier in the background. The park’s delightful play area and formal gardens add to family enjoyment and serve as a backdrop for community events.

Inspiration Playground

The playground is open year-round, and typically sprays water from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. The playground provides for year-round enjoyment with or without spraying water.

Bellevue Square
Open now 11am – 7pm daily

With over 40 shops, Bellevue Square offers something for everyone! View their store directory here.

Meydenbauer Beach Park
Meydenbauer Bay Park is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

With heavy use and crowding in parks, the city has closed the pier at
Meydenbauer Bay Park until further notice. This follows social distancing recommendations from Public Health — Seattle & King County. The closure includes basketball and tennis courts, ball fields, picnic shelters, playgrounds, and other active recreation areas where people may be in close contact. All Bellevue Parks facilities are also closed, and programs are canceled at this time.

Visit Bellevue’s newest beach park, which includes a viewing terrace, hillside woodland, outdoor classroom, play area, beach house, PPV launch, whaling building update, pedestrian pier, shoreline restoration, daylighted channel, and ravine. Meydenbauer Beach Park
Meydenbauer Bay Park is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

With heavy use and crowding in parks, the city has closed the pier at
Meydenbauer Bay Park until further notice. This follows social distancing recommendations from Public Health — Seattle & King County. The closure includes basketball and tennis courts, ball fields, picnic shelters, playgrounds, and other active recreation areas where people may be in close contact. All Bellevue Parks facilities are also closed, and programs are canceled at this time.

Visit Bellevue’s newest beach park, which includes a viewing terrace, hillside woodland, outdoor classroom, play area, beach house, PPV launch, whaling building update, pedestrian pier, shoreline restoration, daylighted channel, and ravine.

Kelsey Creek Park and Farm
Kelsey Creek Farm’s barnyard and surrounding areas, playground, and picnic shelter are closed. Most walking trails are still open. We are currently in Phase 2 of the governor’s re-opening plan. Parks and trails are open, although playgrounds are closed. Community centers and other recreation facilities remain closed. We continue to work toward re-opening facilities and re-starting programming when phased in by the state’s Safe Start plan.

Open 365 days a year, Kelsey Creek Community Park features 150 acres of forest, meadows, and wetlands in Bellevue’s heart, offering a glimpse of this city’s rural past.

Barns

The farm’s two historic barns sit prominently on a hill’s crest, overlooking the shallow valleys to each side. These barns, listed in the Washington State Heritage Barn Register, were once home to the Twin Valley Dairy.

Park Features

Kelsey Creek Community Park features hiking and jogging trails, picnic areas, a playground, wetlands, open grassy areas, creeks, and forests. The historic Fraser Cabin sits on the hill adjacent to the park’s historic dairy barns. The Eastside Heritage Center hosts drop-in programs for visitors, and the city offers several log cabin programs.

Animals

Kelsey’s farm animals function as educational animals and are used in classes, programs, special events

Bellevue Arts Museum

Visitor Policies

We’re excited to welcome the public back into our building. Before you visit the Museum, there are some new visitor policies that we’d like you to know about:

  • Masks are required at all times in the Museum. This policy is critical to the safety of our staff and visitors. We appreciate your cooperation.
  • Remember to social distance. Give other visitors at least six feet of space while in the Store and Museum Forum.
  • The coat check and restrooms are temporarily closed.
  • Please don’t touch the merchandise in the Museum Store. Ask an associate for assistance.
  • Please exit through the gift shop and Community Education Gallery.

Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe and healthy!

KidsQuest Children’s Museum
KidsQuest does not currently have a reopen date. Keeping our patrons and staff’s safety as our number one priority, we are committed to consulting with state officials, medical professionals, and our Board of Trustees in all decision-making regarding reopening our facility to the public. All memberships will be extended for the duration of our closure. With safety and social distancing at the top of mind, we have decided not to hold camps, birthday parties, or field trips this summer. Our doors may be closed, but our mission remains open to all as we continue to innovate new ways to deliver the power of play to your doorsteps. We look forward to a summer filled with exploration, curiosity, and play!

KidsQuest has always been committed to our community’s well-being, and we will continue to be here for you. We are rolling out new ways to play and learn with us. Over the coming weeks, KidsQuest Children’s Museum will be posting videos to social media to bring playful and educational activities to children and families throughout the community, supporting your child’s learning and your family’s needs this difficult time.

Newcastle Beach Park
Enatai Beach and Newcastle Beach have re-opened. Meydenbauer, Chism, Chesterfield, Clyde, Newcastle, and Enatai Beaches are all open with lifeguards on duty.

Newcastle Beach Park, the largest beach park in Bellevue, creates opportunities for features swimming, sunbathing, and a nature trail. A 300-foot dock, colorful children’s play area, and convenient picnic facilities make it a popular family destination. There are 3 picnic areas that are able to be reserved. One includes a shelter and a BBQ. Disabled parking available.

For picnic and shelter reservations, please call 425-452-6914

The Shops at Bravern

Location and Parking

The Shops at The Bravern is conveniently located just off 1-405 at the intersection of NE 8th Street and 112th Avenue NE in Bellevue, Washington. Self-parking is free for six hours with validation. No purchase necessary. Valet parking is also available.

Shopping Hours

Monday-Saturday: 10:00am -8:00pm
Sunday: 12:00pm – 6:00pm
Restaurant and amenity hours vary.

The Bellevue Library
Curbside to Go pickup is available at the Bellevue Library. The book drop is open Tuesday-Wednesday 1pm-7:30pm and Thursday-Saturday 10am-4:30pm. Find out how to pick up and return items at kcls.org/curbside.

Hours

Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 1:00PM – 7:30PM
Wednesday: 1:00PM – 7:30PM
Thursday: 10:00AM – 4:30PM
Friday: 10:00AM – 4:30PM
Saturday: 10:00AM – 4:30PM
Sunday: Closed

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