Seattle's little sister can be found just over the I-90 and 520 bridges in Bellevue, WA. This sister city may be small, but it is bursting with great weekend hotel deals thanks to its business traveler status (Microsoft has offices here, along with the Expedia headquarters and several other tech companies). Shopping is the main activity, but the museums are top notch and the food will keep you satisfied.
Where to stay
The location of the Westin Bellevue makes it the ideal spot to stay while exploring the city. It is right on the main drag, Bellevue Way, next to the Bellevue Arts Museum and central to most food and shopping in the area. Your kids will flip over the indoor pool, and mom should not skip out on a trip to the in-house spa. The breakfast buffet at Cypress Lounge takes the guesswork out of what to feed the kids, and the staff is always happy to see little ones at the hotel.
What to do
Bellevue Square is the central shopping area in the city. Kids spend their allowance at the LEGO and Disney Stores, while parents load up on tech at the Apple and Microsoft stores.
If you aren't up for shopping and the kids need to blow off some steam head over to the KidsQuest Childrens Museum. Make no mistake parents, this museum is not about you, it is all for your kids. The Bellevue Art Museum is a great alternative if the entire family wants to play together, especially on a rainy day. Every first Friday of the month entrance to the museum is free and often times there is special kids programming.
On sunny days drive a few minutes out of downtown to the Bellevue Botanical Garden. Walk the trails and see what is in bloom while you let the kids run off some energy. Parking and admittance are free, making this a great option for the budget conscious.
Where to eat
Chain restaurants dominate Bellevue, but there are a few local spots to brighten up the mix. Sushi Maru is a family favorite, offering conveyor belt style dining and a variety of rolls to choose from, while Lunchbox Laboratory should be your go-to stop for burger lovers. Din Tai Fung is always packed on the weekends thanks to their tasty noodles and dim sum, but you can usually squeeze in during the day or on weeknights easily. If your sweet tooth needs to be satisfied a stop at Trophy Cupcakes, one of Seattles top cupcake shops, is a must. If you need coffee and something sweet to perk you up in the morning Belle Pastry on Main Street is the place to go. Tables fill up fast, but you can usually find yourself a spot even in the morning rush.
Bellevue may be Seattle's sister city, but she can hold her own for a weekend of shopping, family fun and eating until you think you will burst. Weekend hotel deals also make it a great spot to set up when exploring Seattle and the Cascade Mountains without having to drive too far to either one. Just remember to kick back and relax a bit. You are here to have fun, but also get some rest from your everyday hectic lives.
What local places do you like to explore?
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