Welcome to Bellevue

Bellevue, Wash., is a city of 122,363 located less than 10 miles to the east of Seattle and Mercer Island over Lake Washington. To the east of Bellevue are Lake Sammamish and the cities of Sammamish and Issaquah. Kirkland and Redmond sit to the north, and Renton is to the south. Bellevue was incorporated in 1953 and is the sixth-wealthiest community in the state. The median income for a family here is $99,822.

The city's population has exploded twice. Each time was the result of a bridge opening that made trips to and from Seattle much easier. The 520 Bridge that takes travelers from Bellevue through Medina and into Seattle's Montlake neighborhood opened in 1940. Bellevue's population went from 1,177 that year to 7,658 in 1950. The Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge opened in 1963, allowing access from Bellevue to Seattle via Mercer Island. Bellevue's population was 12,809 in 1960 before ballooning to 61,102 in 1970.

The epicenter for shopping in the city is Bellevue Square. It has a downtown location and has been there since 1946 when it opened as Bellevue Shopping Square. There are 180 stores at Bellevue Square, including J. C. Penney, Macy's and Nordstrom. More than 16 million people visit the mall annually.

Bellevue Arts Museum's roots date to 1947. It moved into its own building in 2001 after spending 18 years in Bellevue Square. It now sits across the street from the premier shopping center. The museum focuses on Northwest artists and their arts, crafts and designs. It is open on a daily basis with the exception of Mondays.

Bellevue Botanical Garden is located a mile east of downtown and is open 365 days a year. Admission is free to this incredible 53-acre display of gardens, woodland and wetlands. Every holiday season, the garden plays host to the Garden d'Lights. More than 500,000 lights brighten the garden and place it in an incredible winter setting from the Saturday following Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve.

The Meydenbauer Center is a convention center that also serves as the home of a 410-seat theatre, the epicenter for performing arts in Bellevue. There are several organizations located in or near Bellevue that perform here on a regular basis. These include Bellevue Civic Theatre, Bellevue's only professional theatre company, Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra and International Ballet Theatre.