When relocating to Seattle, here are ten reasons to look across the lake to Bellevue, Seattle's biggest suburb and city in its own right:
#1 Bellevue Public Schools
Bellevue high schools regularly rank among the top 100 in the nation. The Bellevue School district emphasizes AP (advanced placement) courses that gain a student college credit. Bellevue is home to a very popular Spanish immersion program that was started 24 years ago.
#2 Bellevue Parks System
Bellevue is known as the City in a Park. Its award-winning park system includes nearly 100 parks. Some of the varied parks include the area's best botanical garden, an indoor skate park, beach parks on the lakes, a water spray playground, a park where you can rent kayaks, a blueberry farm, historic houses, and much more.
#3 King County Library System
The King County Library System is the 2nd or 3rd busiest circulating library system in the country (depending on the online source you believe). The system is near the end of a decade long project to rebuild and update the technology at all of its branches. The Bellevue Library is the system's largest branch.
#4 Bellevue Employment Outlook
Bellevue is a major regional economic hub, with 140,000 people working in the city, more than the 120,000 residents. Major employers include Puget Sound Energy, Symetra Financial, Microsoft, Eddie Bauer, T-Mobile USA, Verizon, Expedia, Nordstrom, Overlake Hospital, and Bellevue College.
- City of Bellevue Economic Profile (City of Bellevue Maps, Outlook, Planning, Statistics)
#5 Innovative City of Bellevue Government
Good governance by the City of Bellevue contributes to the city's liveability and economic performance. Bellevue's diverse economic base lets it keep taxes and utility costs relatively low. The roads get paved in Bellevue. My mother worked for the state's largest asphalt paving company and used to say about a large city-I-will-not name across Lake Washington that if that city paved the road in front of your house today, you would not see them again for 40 years.
#6 Fashionable Shopping in Bellevue
Bellevue boasts a rich variety of shopping with three distinctive malls: 1.) Bellevue+Lincoln Square, located in the heart of downtown and one of the region's largest malls with 250 shops, 2.) The Bravern, a new high-end mall anchored by Nieman Marcus, and 3.) in East Bellevue the revitalized Crossroads Mall, which has become a vibrant community hub with live performance stage, ethnic food court, community center, and terrific new Crossroads Park.
#7 Trails or Bellevue by Foot
Continuing the City in a Park theme, Bellevue is criss-crossed by trails, linking up many of the parks and connecting the two lakes. Some favorites: 1.) the 9 mile Lake to Lake trail, connecting up Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish, 2.) the woodland walk at the Bellevue Botanical Garden, punctuated by the Yao Japanese Garden and the tremendous Perennial Border, and 3.) the extensive network of trails in the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, touching on southeast Bellevue.
#8 Community Centers
The parks department runs four community centers, an aquatic center, and arts center. Bellevue Parks provide programs for entertainment, community events, fitness, sports, after school, outdoor recreation, health, dance, safety, music, nature, heritage, and more. The four community centers have different emphases: at risk youth (Crossroads), senior services (North Bellevue), fitness (South Bellevue), and programs for the disabled (Highland).
#9 Location, Location, Location!
Bellevue sits in a marvellous location: between two major lakes (Washington and Sammamish) for recreation, nearby to Seattle for culture, and close to the mountains up the I-90 corridor for skiing and hiking. 268 foot high Snoqualmie Falls, one of the state's top attractions lies just 20 miles to the east. Two top tourist attractions located within the city are the Bellevue Square mall and Bellevue Botanical Garden.
- Bellevue Attractions Map (Bellevue Square Mall, Bellevue Botanical Garden, and more)
Bellevue features several popular summer and Christmas events. The venerable arts and crafts fair in late July draws 150,000 people.
- Bellevue Jazz Festival (June in Downtown Bellevue)
- Bellevue Strawberry Festival (June at the Kelsey Creek Center)
- Bellevue Arts Week (July in Downtown Bellevue) As a kid I knew this as the Bellevue Arts & Crafts Fair.
- Summer Outdoor Movies in the Park (July-August at the Bellevue Downtown Park)
- Bellevue Family 4th (July 4th at the Bellevue Downtown Park)
- Bellevue Christmas Events (November-December in Downtown Bellevue)
Bob Kelly is a Bellevue real estate agent with eXp Realty. He specializes in single-family investment property.