Sometimes in America, we come across a few states that do not receive nearly as much credit for the contributions they add to the union. One of those states is Washington. Washington is home to Seattle, one of the most important cultural cities in the whole country. From eclectic music styles to delicious coffee to top environmental engineering, Seattle is a city to marvel at, and so is Bellevue, a suburb that is just 10 miles outside Seattle, and home to stage and television star, Megan Hilty (click on link or picture of Megan Hilty below to see our interview here on AStarWasBorn.com). Hilty, who blows audiences away with her voice on NBC’s hit series, Smash, is proud to call Bellevue, Washington her home.
Bellevue is less of a suburb of Seattle and more of a satellite city. It is the second largest city in Washington next Seattle. The city is set between Lake Washington and Sammasish Lake and surrounded by the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges making Bellevue live up to the meaning of its name “beautiful view”.
Born to Play
With Bellevue so close to a major American city, mountains, and lakes, there are endless possibilities of fun activities and sightseeing in the area. Bellevue has a few major attractions to call its own that tourists will definitely want to see. The first attraction is the Bellevue downtown park. It is a great place to enjoy a picnic or some sun for a little while. Although only a half a mile long loop, the quaint area has provided tourists with shade under its green trees and beauty from flowing fountains. Another major tourist attraction in Bellevue is the Bellevue Arts Museum. The museum showcases the works of regional artists and is worth a gander for at least a few hours of the day. The town also has the Bellevue Botanical Gardens that take about two hours to tour and are stunning sight to see. They feature a Japanese style garden and are usually lit up at night for a romantic stroll. Lastly because it is a sub city in a natural bowl of mountains, Bellevue features more than one hundred wineries in Woodinville Wine Country. The area is a great place to relax for a day while tasting some of the best wines in Washington.
Since Bellevue is between two lakes and two mountain ranges, there is no doubt that visitors will find fun in the great outdoors. A stress free way to see Lake Washington is aboard the Argosy cruise. There are a number of lake liners to see the lake on, and all of them take about two hours. A dinner cruise at sunset can be a romantic way to start the night or a themed cruise can be an interesting way to have some fun while taking in the breathtaking scenery. The lakes also provide typical water fun like water skiing, fishing, kayaking, boating, canoeing, and swimming. Both Bellevue and the surrounding mountain ranges have nature walks and biking trails that are scenic for the avid outdoors man. The popular nature trails in Bellevue, mostly in the Mercer Slough Nature Park, have all these features plus blueberry picking!
Of course with Seattle so close to Bellevue, there are plenty of sightseeing options. The most famous of the sights to see in Seattle is by far the Space Needle. The structure is the symbol of the Seattle skyline and is a great place to dine or to observe the city from above. Another fantastic way to spend a Seattle day trip is at the Pike Place Market. This open market is the godfather of all farmer’s markets and the perfect place to sample and purchase organic foods. Megan Hilty made a point of recognizing Pike Place Market as a place she frequented as a kid. She even took improv classes there growing up. After shopping at the market, feel free to cross the street and grab a cup of coffee at the first ever Starbucks (visitors can’t see Seattle without making a pit stop at the birth place of everyone’s favorite coffee). The San Juan Safaris are also a neat way to take in some wild life while in Washington. The San Juan Islands feature whale watching as a major sightseeing event but also offer different packages with other animals to see.
While all these activities are fun during the day, forget not that Seattle has some of the best night life in America. With its rich history in music, Seattle is home to some of the best bars and clubs on the west coast. From live music to eclectic dancing clubs Seattle never fails its patrons. Pioneer Square is a populated area of Seattle that offers an eventful nightlife. From here many people club hop since there is somewhere to party on every street. Bar crawls are often a popular way to see many different types of nightlife in Seattle.
Like any good city, Bellevue has delectable cuisines from all different cultures. However, if you’re looking for a good burger joint, take a recommendation from Bellevue’s own Megan Hilty (Star of NBC’s Smash) and go to Wibbley’s Gourmet Burgers, (pictured at left) which Hilty listed as one of her favorite places to eat when she returns home. Another great food achievement Bellevue has to offer is its “dishcrawl”. The dishcrawl starts in downtown Bellevue and is a cheap forty dollars to tour all of the best restaurants in Bellevue. The aim of the dishcrawl is to showcase Bellevue’s old and new restaurants, but regardless of the restaurants picked, participants should prepare their stomachs for some fantastic food.
For restaurants in Seattle, Seattle Magazine put out a list of the Reader’s choice of top eateries and Restaurants in 2012. The magazine lists many places, but some important ones are highlighted here. Little Water Cantina was rated Seattle’s best neighborhood for restaurants. The Columbia City Bakery was voted the best bakery in Seattle. Seattle voted the top restaurant for brunch the Portage Bay Cafe. And of course, possibly one of the most important things Seattle has to offer, its coffee: the best independent coffee shop in Seattle is Espresso Vivace. To see the rest of the list look here:http://www.seattlemag.com/article/readers-choice-2012-best-restaurants.
Born to Shop
What is a vacation to a new city without some shopping? Bellevue is home to some of the best shopping in Washington. There are malls, boutiques, and any type of store a tourist could want. There are five major shopping hubs in Bellevue alone. Bellevue Square is a mall that contains two hundred stores for every need. From home furniture to clothes, this is the place to shop at familiar stores, and one of Megan Hilty’s favorite places to shop when she is back in Bellevue. The Shops at the Bravern is an outdoor village filled with high end fashion and great places to eat. The Rodeo Drive of Bellevue, many love to window shop in this shopping district. Old Bellevue has some quaint boutique shopping for those who like to shop at one of a kind stores. The area has an old town feel that makes the shopping all the more fun. Crossroads Mall in Bellevue is great for international market shopping. It has live music Thursday through Saturday and is yet another delicious place to try for international cuisine and food marketplaces.
Bellevue is a small underrated sub city of Seattle. Its beauty and liveliness makes travel opportunities endless. This city is well worth a trip! For more information on Bellevue and Seattle take a glance at these websites:
To read more about Megan Hilty’s tips on Bellevue, see our full interview here on AStarWasBorn.com.
To learn more about Bellevue visit: http://www.visitbellevuewashington.com