Founded in 1869 by baker William Meydenbauer—whose name would become the inspiration for the city’s convention center—Bellevue feels secluded, despite its proximity to the greater Seattle area. The city is located between Sammamish and Washington lakes and surrounded by the Cascades to the east, Mount Baker to the north and the massive Mount Rainier to the south. And while Bellevue’s population has tripled in the last 15 years, the city still has the tranquil atmosphere of the bedroom community it once was.
In the past, Bellevue was known as a quick jumping-off point to someplace else: it’s nine miles to Seattle, about 30 miles to the area’s ski resorts and only fifteen miles to the wine country of eastern Washington. Today, three high-end shopping centers—Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place and the new Lincoln Square—all connected to each other and to the city’s Westin and Hyatt hotels—make Bellevue a shopper’s paradise. The new Bellevue Arts Museum (bellevuearts.org) has brought cutting-edge works to the area, while a proposed 2,000-seat Performing Arts Center Eastside could provide further options after dark. (ci.bellevue.wa.us)
Meetings in Bellevue typically convene in Meydenbauer Center (meydenbauer.com), with 36,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space plus nine meeting rooms totaling 12,000 sq. ft. It draws some 250,000 attendees annually.
Three adjacent developments anchor downtown Bellevue: Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place and the newly developed Lincoln Square. The combination offers very high-end shopping, several good-size hotels and condominiums as well as office buildings—all in a three-million-square-foot cluster dubbed The Bellevue Collection.
Bellevue has a total of 3,100 hotel rooms. Bellevue Square (bellevuesquare.com) offers more than 200 shops and restaurants to explore.
One of Bellevue’s best-known destinations, The Golf Club at Newcastle (newcastlegolf.com) has more than two Robert Cupp/Fred Couples-designed 18-hole courses. It also provides some of the most beautiful vistas in the greater Seattle area, a resource of which the people of Bellevue are fiercely proud.