Explore the Pacific Northwest

Bellevue, Washington

Explore the Pacific Northwest

World-Class Dining, Shopping and Entertainment Create a Holiday Wonderland

bellevue snowflake lane parade

As home to a vibrant arts scene, bustling restaurants, a growing tech-industry presence and one of the Northwest’s premier shopping destinations, Bellevue buzzes with activity every day. But the holiday season seems to truly be its magic season, with a plethora of family-friendly events complementing world-class shopping and dining in its centralized retail-and-entertainment corridor.

2018 Holiday entertainment

bellevue ice arena

The annual Snowflake Lane parade (above), which takes place nightly, Nov.–Dec. 24, is a perennial family favorite. The nightly show and parade transforms Bellevue Way into a holiday wonderland, bringing elves, snow princesses, performers dressed as toy soldiers and Santa Claus up the street, under a flurry of snowflakes created by about 50 snow machines. At Bellevue Botanical Garden, Garden d’Lights (Nov. 24–Dec. 30) is an awe-inspiring light show. Organizers use more than 500,000 LED lights to create stunning depictions of plants and animals, such as poinsettias, bees and many other figures. Young and old can show off their moves at the Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink presented by Alaska Mileage Plan (open Nov. 23–Jan. 13), the largest outdoor holiday skating rink in the region (it's covered to allow skating in all weather conditions). For a grown-up night at the movies, Lincoln Square South’s Cinemark Reserve (21 and older) offers a “dine-in” experience and lounge-chair seating. Order elevated pub food, such as pulled-pork nachos and seasonal flatbreads, plus beer, wine and cocktails, to enjoy while watching those holiday releases.

Shopping made simple

glassybaby votives

Find the city’s retail core at The Bellevue Collection, three interconnected complexes filled with shops, restaurants, entertainment venues and more. The collection’s mall, Bellevue Square, is home to a who’s who of noteworthy brands, including Apple, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Coach and Anthropologie. You can even shop for a car at the Tesla showroom (test drives are available).

About a half-mile east, The Shops at the Bravern is home to the Northwest’s only Neiman Marcus, plus a number of other high-end retailers, including Prada, Hermès and Salvatore Ferragamo.

For a more old-fashioned vibe, head to Old Bellevue’s Main Street. The tree-lined neighborhood offers a mix of boutiques, cafés and restaurants. Shop for artisan confections at Fran’s Chocolates or glass votives, hand-blown by local artists, at glassybaby (above). Apparel stores range from Wee Tots for kids to Jarbo for grown-ups. And if food is a bigger draw, check out Whisk, a kitchenware store that offers fun cooking classes led by talented chefs.

Revered restaurants

duke's bellevue oysters rockefeller

The latest expansion to The Bellevue Collection's Lincoln Square brought a new suite of dining choices to the city’s already robust restaurant scene. Among the most unique is Lincoln South Food Hall. The space houses six mini-restaurants with offerings such as Hawaiian poke (Avo-Poké), bao sandwiches and ramen (Fat & Feathers), street tacos (Barrio Luchador) and more. Nearby, Duke’s Seafood & Chowder warms winter appetites with its award-winning chowders, and Taylor Shellfish dishes fresh oysters from its Northwest farms at its oyster bar. This pair of restaurants represents a growing contingent of Seattle-born establishments that have migrated east to open downtown Bellevue locations in recent years. Others include Monsoon (Vietnamese), Wild Ginger (pan- Asian), 13 Coins (American) and Carmine’s (Italian).

In the northern portion of Lincoln Square, Taiwanese dumpling sensation Din Tai Fung’s Bellevue location has been a hit since it opened in 2010. Its popular soup dumplings are toothsome droplets of steamed dough encasing a delicious mix of broth and seasoned ground pork. Since the restaurant does not take reservations, consider a late lunch or early dinner to avoid long waits, or, if you’re sans kids, head straight to the bar, where seats are first-come, first-served.

For a special night out, consider Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi. In addition to its opulent menu, the restaurant features floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a 360-degree view of the Seattle skyline, the Olympics and the Cascades, from 31 floors up. For farm-to-table excellence, make a reservation at The Lakehouse, helmed by James Beard Award–winner Jason Wilson.

—Written by Ethan Chung

The Essentials

Bellevue is located on the east shore of Lake Washington, about 10 miles east of Seattle. The Hyatt Regency Bellevue, W Bellevue and The Westin Bellevue are among the city's many AAA Diamond rated hotels and inns. Call or visit your nearest AAA store for maps, guidebooks and other travel-planning resources, including assisstance from one of our expert Member Travel Counselors. Map it.