Standing on the shores of Lake Washington on a temperate evening, admiring the magnificent Seattle skyline from the relative calm and serenity of Bellevue, Wash. it’s hard to imagine wanting to be anywhere else. Recognized by CNN, Forbes, and Money Magazine as one of the most desirable places to live in Washington and the country, this city of some 125,000 people clearly has a lot to offer. H
Here’s what makes Seattle’s largest suburb a desirable place to live, work, and play.
Bellevue’s lakefront is spectacular, but it’s only one of many places in the city that foster a sense of appreciation for one’s surroundings. Beauty abounds throughout the city, both in the commercial center and low-rise residential areas. A combination of well-maintained green space, a brilliantly designed commercial center, and the exquisite facades of the shops in Bellevue Square are evidence of a city people care about. Add to this the grand Western hemlocks and other evergreen trees that keep the air fresh and invoke feelings of a natural wonderland on every block, and finding fault in the city’s physical appearance becomes all but impossible. Sandwiched between beautiful Lake Sammamish in the east and Lake Washington to the west and punctuated by beautiful wooded areas, Bellevue is often called “a city in a park.” Close to 100 designated green spaces such as Bellevue Downtown Park offer residents dozens of multi-use recreational paths, sports fields and courts, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
The beauty of Bellevue extends beyond its physical attributes. Bungie, Drugstore.com, Eddie Bauer, Expedia, Savers, Symetra, and T-Mobile USA all have their headquarters here. Additionally, the city is home to large offices for Boeing, eBay, HTC Corporation, and Microsoft. Together, these companies employ tens of thousands of people and contribute to the thriving economy. Over the past several years, the city has been ranked the best place to live and launch a business by CNNMoney, recognized by Forbes as the best city for tech jobs, and for several years residents have reported high satisfaction with their quality of life and the public services they enjoy.
As in much of Western Washington, taxes are high, but market research suggests citizens view these as a premium for the high living standards they enjoy. It is safe and clean, with well-maintained roads and manicured green spaces. It also has one of the better public school systems in the country. All five of the city’s comprehensive high schools have been ranked on the Newsweek list of top 100 high schools in the country. Public schools have also appeared high on similar rankings generated by The Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report.
Culture and Diversity
Bellevue’s diversity extends beyond its economy to the makeup of its population. A mix of ethnic heritages and backgrounds benefits the city’s cultural affairs and cuisine offerings. Highly anticipated events such as the Bellevue Jazz Festival, 6th Street Fair, the Bellevue Arts & Crafts Festival, and Rockaraoke Challenge are fun for attendees of all ages. These festivals, along with places of interest such as the Bellevue Arts Museum and KidsQuest Children’s Museum, demonstrate the city’s commitment to the arts.
Excellent Housing Options
In addition to natural splendor, a blend of architectural styles contributes to the beauty of Bellevue. Grand colonial revival homes on the water mesh with traditional bungalow-style homes which give way to a whirl of modern architectural styles downtown. An array of single-family homes and luxury apartment communities make the city amenable to a range of household sizes and types. Located across the street from Bellevue Downtown Park, AMLI at Bellevue Park boasts amenity-rich apartments. Residents who work for Microsoft and dozens of other firms with offices in or near downtown can walk or cycle to work in less than 15 minutes. The boutiques and restaurants of Bellevue Square are even closer than the commercial center, giving residents easy access to tasty foods and high-quality home decor. Beautiful Lake Washington and the stellar views of Seattle that come with it are just three blocks away.
With a name that means “beautiful view,” Bellevue is the sort of place you might expect to be wowed. Even so, this Seattle suburb manages to exceed expectations for just about everyone who lives and works in the area.
Are you a Bellevue resident? What makes the city a perfect place to live?