Bellevue doesn't fly high on the radar for most travelers, but this city, just a stone's throw from Seattle proper, has plenty of unique charms that make it a perfect spot for a girlfriend getaway. With excellent restaurants, less expensive accommodations than Seattle, and brilliant nature nearby, it's a fantastic place to spend a weekend away.
Hotels in Bellevue are spread out across the city but the biggest concentration of quality places to stay is downtown. You will find the usual suspects like the Westin, Embassy Suites, and the Hilton. Since prices here are significantly less than in nearby Seattle, you may want to splurge on something a little more luxurious. The Coast Bellevue Hotel is a nice option that offers small luxuries like complimentary breakfast and free wine happy hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
There are quite a few AirBNB rentals available in the area for those looking for a more relaxed feel. A second option is the Extended Stay America, which offers apartment style rooms with full kitchens, so that you can cook meals yourself.
Part of what makes Bellevue great for a girlfriend getaway is how easy it is to pamper yourself. There are quite a few luxurious spas in the area. Head to the Spa at Willow Lodge for a Lomi Lomi massage, or Black Bird Wax Spa for some pampering. For the adventurous, the Salt Mine Arium is totally devoted to halotherapy- the healing powers of salt using salt caves.
Bellevue also has a number of great shopping spots. The Bellevue Collection is a consortium of three high-end malls and 250 stores connected by two sky bridges so you never have to risk the rain. For a more unique experience Old Bellevue's Main Street has plenty of local stores and small restaurants.
If shopping and spas aren't your thing, there are plenty of other things to do in town. The Bellevue Art Museum features artists from around the Northwest, and there are several small galleries around town featuring new artists. There are many public parks and easy hikes in and around the city, and Washington's wine country makes for an easy day trip.
For a secondary city, Bellevue has some fantastic dining options that rival even Seattle. The large immigrant population means that Asian food options are particularly great: think Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean. One excellent choice is Din Tai Fung, a legendary Chinese restaurant that originated in Taiwan and specializes in Shanghai soup dumplings.
In the summertime a restaurant with outdoor seating is a must to take advantage of the Pacific Northwest's brilliant weather. Try Lot No.3 for craft cocktails, Bake's Place for live music, or Black Bottle Postern for great, casual food.
There are also some really terrific steak houses in the area, as well as quite a few cocktail bars. For a swanky night out head to 520 Bar and Grill, Blue Martini or Cypress Lounge and Wine Bar.
Have you been to Bellevue? What's your favorite thing to do there?
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Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.
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