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The Complete Bellevue, Washington City Guide

The Complete Bellevue, Washington City Guide

Post last updated June 10, 2023

If there were a “capital” of the Eastside, it would almost certainly be Bellevue. The city not only has the largest population of all Eastside suburbs but is also a regional center for technology jobs, shopping, and hosts some of the best restaurants in the region. 

In this Bellevue, Washington guide you’ll discover everything the city offers. That includes popular activities, parks in the city, restaurants, entertainment options, places to stay, and different neighborhoods inside the city. 

Bellevue, Washington at a Glance

Bellevue, Washington is a short 10 miles drive from downtown Seattle. The city is separated from Seattle by Lake Washington, which borders Bellevue to the west. Because the city required either a ferry ride or an inconvenient drive around Lake Washington, it remained sparsely populated in the first half of the 20th century. 

However, in 1963 the 520 bridge spanning Lake Washington was completed and Bellevue’s population boomed. Between 1960 and 1970 its population skyrocketed from 12,809 to 61,196. By 2000 Bellevue had surpassed 100,000 residents. 

As it continues growing, Bellevue has developed its own unique identity from Seattle. It’s now an economic powerhouse that is home to some of Washington’s biggest companies and a regional shopping destination. The opening of light rail across the city promises to further transform Bellevue throughout the 2020s. 

Important Bellevue Statistics
IncorporatedMarch 31, 1953
Population149,440 (2021)
Size 33.46 Sq Miles (Land Area)
Average January High43 degrees Fahrenheit

Average July High
77 degrees Fahrenheit
Largest Employers Amazon, T-Moble, Microsoft, Paccar
Neighborhoods Downtown, Bel-Red, Overlake, Wilburton, Lake Hills, Cougar Mountain, Factoria, Newport
Notable Places Bellevue Downtown Park, Bellevue Botanical Gardens, Bellevue Collection, Bellevue Art Museum, KidsQuest Children’s Museum

Bellevue Neighborhoods 

Bellevue is about 40% Seattle’s size by land area. While many of its neighborhoods are new, they have unique characters and are increasingly being shaped by the region’s light rail opening 7 stations across Bellevue. 

Downtown Bellevue 

Downtown Bellevue from Seattle
Downtown Bellevue against the mountains (Image Credit: Oksana.perkins/Shutterstock)

Downtown Bellevue is the city’s most important neighborhood. While downtown covers less than a square mile, it has enough office space for 55,000 employees and is the city’s most densely populated area. Today, more than 15,000 residents call downtown Bellevue home, with many future condominiums planned. 

In addition, downtown is the commercial center of the city. The Bellevue Collection is a regional shopping center with the Seattle region’s most successful mall and dozens of restaurants. 

Downtown Bellevue is also home to most of the city’s hotel rooms if you’re staying in the city. There are about 4,000 rooms downtown, which is about ¼ the number found in downtown Seattle. 

If you’re visiting Downtown Bellevue, we suggest taking a trip to Downtown Bellevue Park. Its seen extensive renovations in recent years and is very relaxing. After a stop at the park, continue on to Old Bellevue. This part of the city is located near the water and has a number of excellent restaurants and cafes to enjoy. 

Bridle Trails 

Seattle Forest - Bainbridge Island
Bridle Trails is filled with undeveloped forests (Image Credit: John Grinter/Shutterstock)

Bridle Trails State Park borders Kirkland and Bellevue. The 493-acre park is unique in that it’s just a 5-minute car ride from downtown Bellevue but provides a 28-mile trail system through evergreen forests. 

The area surrounding Bridle Trails is more rural than other parts of Bellevue and used to be filled with equestrian businesses. If you look at the state park and surrounding neighborhoods on Google Maps, it’ll look more like a giant forest in the city than a place people live! Bridle Trails is a beautiful neighborhood to visit and live in. 


Overlake (Image Credit: Shutterstock/ Ian Dewar Photography)

Overlake sits on Bellevue’s northeast corner where the city borders Redmond. The neighborhood has long been notable for being the home of Nintendo of America and parts of Microsoft’s headquarters. The center of the neighborhood featured several strip malls. 

Today, Overlake is being transformed. Large parking lots are being replaced by parks. The neighborhood used to be home to the largest Sears west of the Mississippi, but that building was torn down in 2022. In its place is a large mixed-use development that combines apartments with ground-floor retail. In short, the area will soon house a lot more residents and be substantially more pedestrian friendly. 


Bellevue Botanical Garden (Image Credit: Shutterstock / maybelleza2015)

Located across Interstate 405 from downtown, Wilburton houses some of Bellevue’s best natural beauty. Within the Wilburton neighborhood, you’ll find the Bellevue Botanical Garden as well as Kelsey Creek Park. 

In the years ahead, the Wilburton neighborhood will be vastly changed. Currently, the Interstate cuts Wilburton off from downtown Bellevue, but there are plans to connect the two parts of the city in a much more pedestrian-friendly way. 

In addition, Bellevue is rezoning Wilburton to accommodate up to 5,000 housing units in the coming decade, which would more than double the neighborhood’s population. The catalyst for this rezoning is the opening of the Wilburton Light Rail Station, which is currently scheduled for 2024. 

Spring District

The Spring District is officially a part of Bellevue’s Bel-Red neighborhood. It’s notable because a decade ago the space was zoned for industrial use. However, it has been entirely rebuilt around a mixture of apartments, office space, and retail. In total, the Spring District will house more than 5 million square feet of leasable space and 1,500 new residential units. 

We’ve mentioned how neighborhoods like Wilburton and Overlake are going to change dramatically in the years to come. The Spring District is the model for how these neighborhoods will evolve in the future. Bellevue is creating new zoning regulations that make the areas around its metro stations denser, with plenty of apartments and mixed-use developments. 


A neighborhood known for its diversity, Crossroads sits at the geographic center of Bellevue. The centerpiece of Crossroads is a shopping center under the same name. This unconventional shopping center has a large food hall filled with ethnic food vendors and very few franchises. 

Inside Crossroads, there are boba drinks, Korean BBQ, several Indian restaurants, Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Russian, and much more. Trust us when we say you won’t forget the fragrances that waft across the food court as you move from vendor to vendor! 

Best of all, Crossroads is a true gathering spot for the community, with tables spread out and large chessboards that encourage people to gather. If you come on a weekend night, there’s a good chance you’ll find live entertainment on the market stage that overlooks the food court.


Factoria sits at the intersection of Interstate 405 and Interstate 90 and is known for being the home of T-Mobile and a large shopping plaza that serves nearby neighborhoods like Somerset and Newport. In recent years, the Factoria Mall fell on hard times as vacancies skyrocketed. 

However, the neighborhood is now in the midst of a massive redevelopment that should reinvigorate it. 

Other Bellevue Neighborhoods 

  • Cougar Mountain: Located next to Issaquah, Cougar Mountain is home to about 12,000 residents and is mostly single-family homes located on relatively steep hills. 
  • Lake Hills: Bellevue’s most populated neighborhood, Lake Hills is located south of Crossroads and extends to Interstate 90. It’s mostly single-family homes and includes Robinswood Park and Bellevue College. 
  • Newport: Located at Bellevue’s southern end. Newport extends to Newcastle’s downtown and includes much of the Coal Creek Natural Area. 
  • Northeast Bellevue: Located on the border with Redmond, Northeast Bellevue is mostly single-family residences and includes Interlake High School. It extends from Microsoft’s campus to Lake Sammamish. 
  • Northwest Bellevue: Includes Clyde Beach and Meydenbauer Parks on the Lake Washington waterfront. Northwest Bellevue includes the neighborhoods north of downtown. 
  • Somerset: Set on a large hill by the same name, Somerset is a sprawling neighborhood that offers spectacular views of the Puget Sound region. 
  • West Bellevue: Home to tight-knit neighborhoods like Entai, West Bellevue includes the areas south of downtown Bellevue. Make sure to visit Chism Beach if in the neighborhood, it’s an absolute gem. 
  • West Lake Sammamish: Home to beautiful homes off West Lake Sammamish Parkway and a long stretch of parkland with trails near the lake.
  • Woodridge: Located south of Wilburton, Woodridge is known for its spectacular views of downtown Bellevue. 

Bellevue Parks and Activities 

There are more than 100 parks across Bellevue, some of which include large trail systems. In total, Bellevue boats 2,700 acres of park space, which is more than 10% of its total land area. Some of its more notable parks and natural areas include:

Downtown Park 

Downtown Bellevue park
Downtown Bellevue Park’s play area (Image Credit: Seattle Travel)

Bellevue’s Downtown Park is about 20 acres and sits just south of Bellevue Square Mall. The park was created after the city purchased the property from the Bellevue School District. 

The park is unique in that it has a large circle with walking paths and a water canal that runs around it. It’s also one of the best parks in the area for families. In 2017 the city added the Inspiration Playground to Downtown Park. You’ll be amazed if you take kids to this park! It’s sprawling in size and includes playhouses, large slides, incredible decorations, a climbing wall, a soft foam mat throughout, and a splash pad in the summer. 

The only way to do this park justice is to see it in person! It provides the entertainment many indoor play places charging $30 would provide but is completely free to attend and outside. 

Chism Beach Park

Chism Beach Park
Chism Beach is an excellent spot for picnics (Image Credit: Seattle Travel)

Located just south of downtown Bellevue in a residential area, it’s not easy to find Chism Beach Park! In fact, many longtime locals we talk to aren’t even aware of its existence. 

However, never visiting this park would be a huge mistake! That’s because Chism Beach Park is one of the most beautiful locations to relax in the city. There’s an actual beach area that’s crowded with kids and families during the summer. However, there’s also an upper lawn area that’s maintained and perfect for relaxing with a prime view of Lake Washington or having a picnic with friends or family. 

Bannerwood Sports Park 

Bannerwood Sports Park (Image Credit: City of Bellevue)

Ever caught a baseball game in Bellevue? Many don’t know this, but there’s a baseball team that plays in the city! Since 2010, Seattle Univesity has played its home games in Bellevue’s Bannerwood Park, which is located between the Woodridge and Lake Hills neighborhoods. The stadium can seat 300 spectators with plenty of room for standing. Check out Seattle University’s baseball schedule if you’re interested in catching a game! 

Bellevue Botanical Garden 

Bellevue Botanical Garden (Image Credit: Shutterstock / Amehime)

Located in Bellevue’s Wilburton neighborhood, Bellevue Botanical Garden is one of the city’s premier attractions. You can view a map of the garden here for more details, but it contains a variety of gardens including a traditional Japanese garden. Crossing is the park is a series of trails that wind around a lake and different exhibits.  

Admission is free, although events may cost extra. One great event the park hosts is its ‘Garden d’Lights’ festival around Christmas. The entire park is lit up and you can take a leisurely stroll around it at night. It’s one of the best Christmas light displays in the Seattle region. 

Bridle Trails State Park

Bridle Trails State Park (Image Credit: Washington State Parks)

This park is located on the border of Kirkland and Bellevue and covers 493 acres of largely undisturbed nature. The showpiece of Bridle Trails State Park is a large area where equestrian events are held. 

However, even if you’re not riding a hose, the park is a hidden gem. That’s because there are 28 miles of trails that will make you feel like you’re in the middle of the wilderness even though you’re just a short drive from downtown Bellevue. If you’re interested in visiting the park, Washington State Parks created a helpful brochure with more information on the parks’ history and trails. 

Kelsey Creek Park  

Kelsey Creek Park, barns and pastures (Image Credit: Shutterstock / knelson20 )

You wouldn’t expect to find a barn in the middle of Bellevue, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Kelsey Creek Park!

Kelsey Creek is a 150-acre park that has a large farm with well-preserved barns. These barns used to be part of a dairy farm, and today host a number of camps and educational events for kids. You can see Kelsey Creeks Spring 2023 brochure for an example of all the activities hosted at the park.  

Beyond its robust calendar of events, the park also hosts a variety of animals, playgrounds, and walking trails that make it worth a visit. 

Lakes in Bellevue

The two largest lakes surrounding Bellevue are Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish. However, there are some smaller lakes that offer recreational opportunities.

  • Phantom Lake: Located near Lake Sammamish, there’s a nearby park that offers greenspace for picnics. The park is also home to Lake Hills Farm, which sells fresh produce and gardening space.
  • Larsen Lake: In the Lake Hills area, Larsen Lake connects to the Lake to Lake Trail and also has a blueberry farm that allows you to seasonally pick blueberries.
  • Lake Bellevue: Near downtown, Lake Bellevue is completely surrounded by apartments and restaurants. One of the best sushi restaurants in Bellevue – I Love Sushi – is located on Lake Bellevue.

Shopping in Bellevue 

Bellevue is a regional shopping destination. Its largest cluster of retail is in downtown Bellevue, but there are many neighborhoods in the city offering large numbers of shops, restaurants, and services. Let’s examine the biggest retail centers in the city. 

Downtown Bellevue Shopping

Bellevue Square was Bellevue’s first shopping mall and opened in 1946, a time when less than 5,000 people lived in the city. As the Eastside grew, Bellevue Square expanded into a large enclosed mall that was among the region’s largest. 

In the 2000s, the owner of Bellevue Square (Kemper Freeman Jr) began expanding into surrounding blocks. He built large condo and office towers with more retail at their base and connected them to Bellevue Square via sky bridges. 

This new retail is a significantly higher mix of restaurants and entertainment, including several very popular movie theaters and high-end restaurants. 

Beyond the Bellevue Collection, downtown Bellevue has shopping and cafes spread across its area. Old Bellevue on Main Street host more than 15 restaurants and a handful of home goods and clothing boutiques. 

The Bravern is another shopping destination. It used to host a Neiman Marcus (closed in 2020), but still maintains a high-end roster of shops like Hermes, Gucci, Bottega Venetta, and Prada in addition to several restaurants and services like spas and gyms. 

The Shops At The Bravern (Image Credit: Shutterstock / VDB Photos)

Crossroads Shopping 

As we noted when talking about the Crossroads neighborhood, its shopping plaza is known for being a gathering center with an incredible international food court. 

Beyond the food court, Crossroads Mall hosts several stores like groceries, home goods, bookstores, gyms, and a movie theater. 

Overlake and Bel-Red Shopping

The centerpiece of Bel-Red and Overlake used to be a multi-floor Sears that was its largest location west of the Mississippi River. Today, that Sears location has been torn down and the neighborhood is becoming much more mixed-use. However, you’ll still find plenty of strip malls that remain in the area. 

These strip malls make Overlake an excellent area when searching out international food, especially Indian, Japanese, and Chinese. There are dozens of restaurants in the neighborhood encompassing almost every type of food you can imagine. Overlake also maintains some larger retail tenants such as Fred Meyer, Trader Joe’s, and several other grocery stores. It also has several discount clothing and home goods chains (Marshalls, Ross) as well. 

Factoria Shopping

Factoria was long Bellevue’s second largest mall after Bellevue Square. However, like many non-destination malls across the country, its struggled since the advent of online shopping and has been labeled a “dead mall.” 

There have been several renovation proposals for the mall, and it’s likely Factoria Mall will eventually become much more mixed-use with apartments. For the time being, the mall is anchored by a Target and has numerous outlets like the Nike Factory Store, Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack, and TJ Maxx. 

With much of the mall underutilized, vendors like playgrounds for kids and mini golf places cycle in that can be good for taking a family on a rainy Seattle day. 

Bellevue Restaurants 

Bellevue is quickly becoming a regional dining destination. That’s a far cry from the turn of the century when Bellevue’s main restaurants were mostly national chains. Today, Bellevue’s specialty is in two areas, the high-end and low-end. 

Specifically, Bellevue has some of the best steakhouses in the region that often provide incredible views and some of the best service you can find (high-end restaurants). Those are the types of restaurants that often won’t make “best of” lists looking for more eclectic food options, but they’re extremely popular options

Then on the “low-end,” Bellevue has some of the best international food you’ll find in the Northwest. Great international restaurants are spread throughout the city, but there’s a particular concentration in downtown, Bel-Red, Overlake, and Crossroads. These restaurants are often inexpensive and overlooked on “best of” lists as well, but Bellevue has them in abundance. 

Let’s dive a bit deeper into some examples of the best restaurants Bellevue has to offer. 

The Best Expensive Restaurants in Bellevue 

Since restaurants in Bellevue can vary greatly in price, for each one we’ll list its neighborhood and pricing range. 

Ascend Steakhouse

  • ($$$$/Downtown Bellevue)

If you’re looking to celebrate or splurge on a very expensive meal in Bellevue, Ascend Steakhouse is your spot. The space inside Ascend is extremely stylish, but it’s the views you’ll remember. The restaurant is on the 31st Floor of Lincoln Square South and has a sweeping view that includes Downtown Bellevue Park, downtown Seattle, and the Olympic Mountains. 

As far as what to expect from your food, all the dishes will be artfully plated. Entrees range from sushi (of which they have an expansive menu) to giant tomahawk ribeyes. You’ll want to save room for dessert as well, because it can be quite the spectacle. 

John Howie Steak

  • ($$$$/Downtown Bellevue) 

Bellevue’s high-end dining scene was kicked off by John Howie when he opened Seastar in the 1990s (more on that restaurant in a moment). His latest restaurant is a luxury steakhouse located in Bellevue’s Bravern development. 

The specialty at John Howie is simply high-quality meats. The restaurant has a special menu just for Wagyu cuts, with American, Australian, and Japanese options. Beyond steaks, there are other house specialties like halibut and king salmon, but the real reason to eat at John Howie their exceptional steaks. 

Takai By Kashiba

  • ($$$$/Downtown) 

Sushi fans rejoice! Bellevue is now home to one of the best sushi restaurants in the Northwest. Take a look at any “best of” list of Seattle restaurants and you’re likely to see Sushi Kashiba. In fact, the restaurant made our list of Seattle restaurants that are worthy of a Michelin star

The chef of Sushi Kashiba – Shiro Kashiba – has made it his goal to mentor the next generation of great chefs, and Takai by Kashiba is a new restaurant from Kashiba’s apprentice Jun Takai. At Takai by Kashiba, you’ll enjoy a 22-course omakase experience that is more global than Sushi Kashiba’s focus on Northwest ingredients. 

There are other surprises at Takai By Kashiba, such as the inclusion of aged fish, but the bottom line is that it’s the best sushi experience on the Eastside. 

Daniel’s Broiler

The Bar at Daniels Broiler in Bellevue
The bar at Daniel’s retains a classic steakhouse feel (Image Credit: Seattle Travel)
  • ($$$/Downtown)

Danie’s Broiler is one of the original Seattle area steakhouses. They have locations in Leschi, South Lake Union, and downtown Seattle, but the Bellevue location is our favorite. Located on the 21st Floor of the Bank of America Tower, Daniel’s has a sweeping view of the area. 

Daniel’s is a great atmosphere but is far more casual than Ascend. Its steaks are less varied than John Howie’s, but are still incredibly rich with a “melt in your mouth” quality. Simply put, Daniel’s may not be the newest or most high-end steakhouse around, but it remains the quintessential steakhouse of the Seattle area. 


  • ($$$/Downtown) 

Seastar opened in the 1990s and kicked off a trend toward fancier Bellevue restaurants that weren’t chains. While the restaurant has outlasted almost all its peers, the quality of the food remains top-notch. 

Seastar’s menu is seafood-focused, but it’s also a menu that changes with the seasons. Each month features new specials. In addition to the entrees you’d expect from a high-end seafood restaurant (salmon, halibut, bass), there’s also a wide selection of raw bar items and seafood-focused appetizers. 

El Gaucho

  • ($$$$/Downtown) 

El Gaucho is another entry to Bellevue’s deep roster of excellent steakhouses. The menu at El Gaucho isn’t especially deep. Entrees consist of steaks and seafood. 

Instead, what makes the restaurant special is the experience. El Gaucho is a tableside restaurant, meaning much of the menu is prepared right next to where you’re dining. Servers will whip up everything from caesar salad, to certain cuts of steak, to deserts and drinks right by where you dine. Throw in high-quality cuts of meat and you can see why El Gaucho is a must-try experience. 

The Best Cheap Eats and International Food in Bellevue 

While downtown shines for high-end restaurants, when you venture out to Bellevue neighborhoods like Crossroads, Bell-Red, and Overlake, you’ll discover hundreds of international restaurants. Here is just a short selection of some of our favorites. 

Supreme Dumplings

  • ($$/Overlake) 

Bellevue has some of the best dumplings you’ll find. Whether it’s from Supreme Dumplings, Dough Zone, or Din Tai Fung (more on them in a moment), there are some seriously great dumplings in the city. 

Supreme Dumplings specializes in delicious soup dumplings, which are called Xiao Long Bao. However, beyond that specialty, they also have incredible pan-fried buns, wontons, and noodles. My personal tip when dining here is to try the Shangahi Spicy Xiao Long Bao. It’s an item you won’t find on Din Tai Fung’s menu and is extraordinarily flavorful. 

El Rinconsito

  • ($/Bel-Red) 

Oh, thank heavens for delicious tacos! There are a number of excellent options on the Eastside, but El Rinconsito is near the top. Whether you’re ordering steak, pork, or other cuts like tripe, the meat at El Rinconsito is moist and flavorful. 

With each taco, the restaurant also serves a generous accompaniment that includes radishes, jalapenos, grilled onions, and pickled vegetables. You can also further garnish your tacos with their fresh salsa bar. 

Senor Taco

  • ($/Overlake) 

We’ll stick with tacos for our next cheap eat in Bellevue. Senor Taco does many things well, but make sure to try their baja fish tacos, which have attracted quite the following online. Beyond tacos, the restaurant serves up truly massive California burritos and other options like tortas. 

My personal recommendation: try the birria. The broth is excellent and you won’t be disappointed with this option. 

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

  • ($$/Overlake) 

Tonkatsu broth is made by simmering pork bones at a low temperature for more than 20 hours. This “low and slow” cooking method produces a buttery broth that’s extremely rich and satisfying. 

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka specializes in Tonkatsu dishes. You won’t find a great variety here, but what you will find is extreme dedication to the craftsmanship of creating Tonkatsu broth. While the restaurant is extremely popular in Japan, it has just a handful of U.S. locations. If try Hokkaido Ramen Santouka out and are having a hard time making a decision, keep in mind their Shio ramen has an army of dedicated fans in Japan. 

Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung in Bellevue
The Xiao Long Bao at Din Tai Fung (Image Credit: Seattle Travel)
  • ($$/Downtown Bellevue) 

Din Tai Fung is the second addition to our list where you absolutely need to try the Xiao Long Bao. The Taiwanese restaurant’s focus on the dish will be evident the moment you walk in, a large window shows a room where dumplings a being folded by hand in a long line. 

This devotion to quality led Michelin to give the Hong Kong location of Din Tai Fung its coveted Michelin star. Din Tai Fung is one of my personal favorite restaurants, but be advised that wait times can get pretty long. Beyond the Lincoln Tower location in Bellevue, you can also find Din Tai Fung in Southcenter, University Village, and downtown Seattle. 

Transportation in Bellevue 

Sound Transit Link Light Rail tram car (Image Credit: Shutterstock / EQRoy)

Bellevue has grown substantially across the past 50 years, so it shouldn’t be surprising that traffic has also worsened during that time. 

Bellevue is first and foremost a city built around cars. There is bus service throughout the city but most people get to work by driving. Some of the most important roads include:

  • Interstate 405: Runs north to south through the center of Bellevue and is the freeway servicing Bellevue’s downtown. 405 breaks off from Interstate 5 and runs 30 miles from Tukwila to Lynnwood. It’s the main freeway for traveling across the Eastside suburbs. 
  • Interstate 90: Runs east to west through the city. After originating in downtown Seattle, Interstate 90 is the longest interstate in the country, running for 3,021 miles and terminating in Boston. I-90 runs next to Bellevue neighborhoods Factoria, Lake Hills, and Cougar Mountain before continuing on to Issaquah. 
  • State Route 520: Runs east to west and is the main route from northern Bellevue into the city of Seattle. State Route 520 is the main route to Microsoft’s campus as well as neighborhoods like Bel-Red and Overlake. It can get extremely congested at rush hour. 

Mass Transit in Bellevue 

The city of Bellevue is being reshaped by mass transit. The Seattle region has an expanding light rail system that is expanding coverage to include Bellevue and the Eastside. 

Light rail stations in Bellevue are expected to begin opening in 2024, they’ll include:

  • South Bellevue: A station located next to the South Bellevue Park & Ride that’s located south of Bellevue’s downtown. The station will be the first stop after the light rail leaves Mercer Island. 
  • East Main: A station on the outskirts of Bellevue’s downtown, East Main is located near Main Street and 112th Ave. East Main will provide access to the south end of Bellevue’s downtown including numerous planned projects and hotels that are in the area. 
  • Bellevue Downtown: Likely the most used station on the Eastside, Bellevue Downtown is being built in the heart of Bellevue’s downtown where the Bellevue Transit Center is currently located. 
  • Wilburton: Located across Interstate 405 east of downtown Bellevue, Wilburton provides access to Overlake Hospital. 
  • Spring District: A new station in the Bel-Red neighborhood between 120th and 124th avenues. The Spring District used to be zoned for industrial but a massive neighborhood with offices, retail, and apartments has been developed around the station. 
  • Bel-Red/130th Station: Another location in Bellevue’s Bel-Red District. The station is currently in a mostly industrial area, but should see heavy development around it in the years to come. 
  • Overlake Park: Technically located in the city of Redmond, this station will provide light rail access to the Overlake neighborhood. Large redevelopments are already underway to make the area significantly more pedestrian-friendly. 

Major Employers and Companies Headquartered in Bellevue

Microsoft office in Bellevue, WA (Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ian Dewar Photography)

The economy of Bellevue has been one of the nation’s strongest over the past decade. The technology sector continues creating high-paying jobs, and many high-profile companies have set up outposts in Bellevue. 

Yet, Bellevue’s economy also has several large companies in the city that aren’t in the technology industry. Let’s take a look at some of the major employers in the city. 

  • Amazon: Before a hiring slowdown in 2023, Amazon was rapidly taking over downtown Bellevue with a series of leases on large office towers. The company at one point envisioned 25,000 employees in Bellevue, but that total may decline as Amazon pauses several high-profile projects. Currently, there are about 10,000 Amazon employees in Bellevue. 
  • Microsoft: The main campus of Microsoft sits right off the border of Bellevue in the Overlake neighborhood. The company established a broader presence in Bellevue in downtown and the Lake Hills neighborhood, but has since begun backing out of several large leases. As of 2021, there were about 8,700 Microsoft employees in Bellevue. 
  • T-Mobile: One of the city’s biggest employers, T-Mobile is headquartered away from downtown in the Factoria neighborhood. There are more than 6,300 employees in Bellevue that work for the wireless giant. 
  • Paccar: Headquartered in downtown Bellevue in a distinctive tower near Lincoln Square. Paccar is a Fortune 500 company that produces medium and heavy-duty trucks. 
  • Eddie Bauer: Clothing retailer whose headquarters is in Lincoln Square. 
  • Apptio: Software company headquartered in Bellevue that has 1,200 total employees. 
  • Bungie: Video game studio behind Halo and the Destiny franchise. 
  • Valve: Another video game studio that’s famous for Half-Life, DOTA, Left 4 Dead, and other franchises. Valve owns Steam, which is the largest online storefront for video games. 
  • Outterwall: Owns brands like Coinstar and RedBox. Headquartered south of downtown in West Bellevue. 
  • Concur: A division of SAP, Concur handles travel and expense management. Their headquarters is in Bellevue near the Transit Center. With 1,700 employees, Concur is one of the 10 largest employers in the city. 
  • Salesforce: The company that revolutionized SaaS has built up a large presence in downtown Bellevue with about 1,300 employees. 
  • Symetra: Provides retirement plans, employee benefits, and life insurance. Symetra employs more than 1,000 in downtown Bellevue and has its name on one of the city’s more prominent buildings.
  • SmartSheet: Software company headquartered in downtown Bellevue. SmartSheet employs more than 3,000 employees worldwide. 
  • Pokemon Company International: Headquartered in Lincoln Square South. This video shows their crazy headquarters in detail.  
  • QFC: A regional grocery chain that’s headquartered in Bellevue. 

Where to Stay in Bellevue 

Westin and W hotels in Bellevue Washington (Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ian Dewar Photography)

There are more than 5,500 hotel rooms across Bellevue. The majority of rooms are located in downtown Bellevue, but there are several areas of the city you can stay. 

Let’s examine each area in detail. 

Hotels in Downtown Bellevue 

There are about 4,000 hotel rooms in and near downtown Bellevue that serve a number of price points. Here are a few of our top selections. 

  • Westin (4-star): Located in Lincoln Square, the Westin provides easy access to the Bellevue Collection. While the Westin is one of the more expensive options downtown, it’s located next to Eddie Bauer and Microsoft offices. 
  • Hyatt Regency (4-star): An option that’s normally cheaper than the Westin, the Hyatt Regency is connected to the Bellevue Collection via skybridge. Has access to a large fitness center and heated pool. 
  • W (3-star): Located in Lincoln South, the W sits next to some of Bellevue’s best restaurants and lounges including Civility & Unrest, Ascend, and Wild Ginger.  
  • Hilton (4-star): Located in South Bellevue near the planned location of the East Main Light Rail station. Hilton isn’t as convenient to downtown as hotels in the Bellevue Collection, but it’s a sprawling hotel with an excellent pool and amenities. 
  • Marriott (4-star): An excellent option if you have a convention at Meydenbauer Center. 
  • Hilton Garden (3-star): The Hilton Garden is an excellent hotel if visiting either Amazon or Salesforce’s offices. It’s affordable, but also close to dozens of dining options. 

Hotels in Overlake 

Overlake is a popular hotel area as it’s close to Microsoft’s campus. Most the hotels in the area are geared to business travelers. If you’re looking for a walkable option to Microsoft’s campus, the Aloft hotel is your best option. Other hotels like Fairfield, Residence, and Solesta Select are all close as well. 

  • Sonesta Select (3-star)
  • Aloft (3-Star)
  • Fairfield Inn (3-star)
  • Residence Inn (3-star) 

Hotels in Eastgate and Lake Hills 

The third hotel district in Bellevue is around Interstate 90. These hotels largely serve businesses in the area. Beyond the headquarters of T-Mobile, there’s also several technology parks close to the freeway. Some of the best places to stay include:

  • Embassy Suites (3-star)
  • Silver Cloud (3-star)
  • Hyatt House (3-star)

How far is Seattle from Bellevue?

Without traffic, its a 10 mile trip from downtown Bellevue to downtown Seattle that can take as little as 15 minutes. With traffic, this commute can take up to an hour. The two main routes are via WA-520 or I-90, both of which are bridges that connect Bellevue to Seattle.

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