8.1 out of 10

Bellevue

Ranked 2nd best city in Washington
47.5878878721562 -122.144899596114
Great for
  • Parking
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Cost of Living
  • Shopping Options
  • Safe & Sound
Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Pest Free
  • Childcare
  • Neighborly Spirit
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Schools 5/5
Mar 20, 2016

"Best high schools in the state"

Bellevue has the best high schools in the state. This is according to the US NEWS rankings. The top school in the state is the International School on 128th st in Bellevue. Second is the International Community School in Kirkland (north of Bellevue). Third is Bellevue High School, and then Newport High School, which is also in Bellevue. 6th is Interlake High School, also in Bellevue. They all have a college readiness index much higher than other schools in the state. This is very important to us, so that our daughter is very prepared for when she attends University.

It is interesting that Bellevue High School, Newport, and Interlake are all public schools. Usually the top schools are private schools that have more money. But in Bellevue, both the public and private schools are top. Probably it is because Bellevue is a wealthy city, and in Washington schools are funded with the property tax.

Our family considered living here for the good schools. But the culture for us is preferable in Shoreline, and also the commute to South Lake Union. Perhaps we may consider moving here in the future for our daughter to attend high school.
Pros
  • Excellent high schools
Cons
  • Cost of living
  • Traffic and tolls
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Mar 16, 2016

"Needs more music!"

I’ve lived in Bellevue for awhile now and it’s pretty good. There’s plenty to do, places to eat out, shopping, etc. The buildings are generally pretty nice and new.

What I am not happy with though is that there aren’t as many live music venues as I’d like. There are a couple of jazz places, Eastside Jazz Club and Bake’s Place. Bake’s Place is definitely more reliable, but honestly, it’s still a jazz club and I feel super young when I go. Resonance is a concert venue for the older crowd, with lots of classical music and sometimes even (gag) magic shows. Not exactly my scene.

Honestly the best music in Bellevue are the shows that come to Marymoor Park. And that’s technically in Redmond.

You can see some comedy at The Parlor, but their seating is uncomfortable and they pressure you to buy drinks.

For just going out for drinks, the main place is at the mall. There’s some bars and restaurants like Paddy Coyne’s and Black Bottle, but everyone in their 20s ultimately ends up at Lucky Strike—the dance club/bowling venue in the mall. It’s kind of strange that for such a cool city, right next to Seattle which is known for music, this is some of the best nightlife in town.

The good things about Bellevue are that it’s close to work, it’s clean, there’s all the usual things you might need close by like shopping and coffee and groceries and restaurants. But I end up driving over to Seattle to hear music every week because there’s hardly any here. Seriously considering moving to Seattle and just dealing with the horrible commute to Redmond.
Pros
  • Clean
  • New
Cons
  • No good live music scene
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
Mar 04, 2016

"Modern city full of shopping"

I really like the feel of Bellevue as a city, particularly the residential areas near Lake Washington, and the area on the east edge near Lake Sammamish, which have a strong neighborhood community feel to them. The downtown core has a very modern atmosphere, which makes sense, as it’s younger than Seattle. The buildings are relatively new, and the wide roads are well-designed.

Shopping is the main reason I frequent Bellevue. “The Bellevue Collection” mall has curated a slightly more high-end collection of stores than the other malls in western Washington, with stores like Burberry, Armani Exchange, Vera Bradley, Anthropologie, BCBG, and so on.

In my experience, the downside of Bellevue is twofold: The cost of living, and the commute.

The cost of living, according to friends who do live there, is generally higher than in Seattle. True, the buildings tend to be newer, but that doesn’t quite seem to justify it. The fact that it’s higher than Seattle is slightly puzzling, because overall Seattle still has more amenities. I suppose it’s likely due to the strong economy and wealthy companies in Bellevue. The housing is more affordable the further east and the farther away from downtown you get.

The other downside is the commute. If one worked and lived in Bellevue, that would be ideal. But for those who work in Seattle, the commute would be dire. Traffic on the two bridges over Lake Washington often is stop and go during rush hour. That being said, I can absolutely see the appeal of being closer to the mountains. If I lived there, it would shave 20-30 minutes off my travel time to go skiing or hiking.
Pros
  • Clean
  • New
  • Shopping
Cons
  • Cost of living
  • Traffic and tolls
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Jan 08, 2016

"Seattle’s wealthier cousin across the lake"

If Seattle is known as a laid-back city where people wear jeans and a Northface to work, Bellevue is its cousin across the lake that’s a bit more concerned with suits and status. Rent is higher, roads are wider, and cars are shinier. The reason? Many of the residents here are higher-income than Seattle, and definitely higher-income than Washington overall.

As a rather extreme example, Medina, widely known as the millionaires (and billionaires) neighborhood, is right next to Bellevue’s downtown hub, on the shores of Lake Washington. This is where Bill and Melinda Gates live. The neighborhood has it’s own golf course and country club.

Housing:
Expect prices to be high, as one of the most expensive places to rent and buy in the state. Apartments tend to run about 5-10% higher than in Seattle, in general.

Employment:
Examples of big employers nearby are Microsoft, Expedia, Nordstrom, and T-mobile, among others. Bellevue Community College employs a large amount of staff as well, and has been growing very quickly. There are also quite a few smaller tech startups and businesses, and of course the mall, restaurants, and hospitals.

Commuting:
You will have to change your definition of what traffic is if you move here. Anything where your car is moving at least 20 mph, even if it’s on the freeway and you should be going 70? Pshaaaw. That’s not traffic, amateur.

About a month ago, commuting to or from Bellevue just got a whole less attractive, because tolls were introduced into the carpool lanes in both directions on highway 405, which is the main north/south highway through Bellevue. Though the carpool lanes are still free if you have two or more people in your car, you have to register as a carpool car in advance. But people *not* sharing a car can now essentially buy their way into the carpool lane by paying a toll. The prices change depending on traffic, starting at $0.75 for no traffic, to $10 (!!) for extremely heavy traffic. It’s all controlled by cameras in the carpool lane that snap a photo of your license plate as you drive by, and send you a bill. Very few people are happy about this, as you can imagine.

If you’re headed to Seattle, you’ll have to take one of the bridges over Lake Washington, 520 and I-90. 520 also has tolls, and though I-90 doesn’t, it’s really not a good option either, because traffic is notoriously bad. So ideally, if you live in Bellevue, you also work in Bellevue.

However, plenty of people who work in Bellevue live either in Seattle or in the suburbs to the north, east, or south, because the cost of living is so high here. I guess the hassle of the commute is still worth it for some, to save on rent and other expenses.

Nightlife:
The bar and club scene is pretty different from in Seattle. Bellevue’s nightlife is centered around the Bellevue Mall, which is nice in some ways, because it’s easy to walk from one place to another, but awkward in other ways, like when everything starts closing down at the end of the night and you have to take the escalator to get out, blinking under the fluorescent lights. Overall, a very different feel from Seattle’s neighborhood-centric scene.

Perks:
Living in a well-off, relatively young city, there are perks as well: excellent schools, plenty of medical centers, nice parks, and low crime. Plus, being close to Lake Washington is great, especially in the summer. Make some friends in Medina who have yachts, and you’re all set.
Pros
  • Clean
  • New
Cons
  • Traffic and tolls
  • Cost of living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
Jan 06, 2016

"Growing city becoming more trendy and less suburban"

A few years ago I lived in the downtown area and loved it - it was convenient, I could walk a lot of places, and it was 10 minutes from my office. As a growing city there were lots of options for dining, shopping, gyms, and even nightlife. The best part was that parking was FREE!

However, year to year that is changing. When I came back to look for apartments in Bellevue the rent had sky rocketed for the same building (and all the others I looked at, too). As the city grows, so is the demand for housing and it's hard to find good options on a budget, especially if you want to be anywhere near downtown.

The downtown area has new buildings, hotels, shops, and restaurants popping up all the time. This makes it a place that is increasingly becoming a destination for people in the Seattle area. It also means that the crowds are diversifying and so are tastes. Additionally, with the increase of businesses on the Eastside, there are more and more young professionals choosing to live in Bellevue.
Pros
  • Shopping
  • Clean
  • New
Cons
  • Cost of living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
DrewM
DrewM Damn housing costs, why they gotta always be going up? :(
Jan 07, 2016
Add a comment...
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
Dec 18, 2015

"Shiny and Prosperous"

I’ve lived in a lot of places in western Washington, but I haven’t lived in Bellevue. The city is prosperous, expensive and simply out of my reach. It’s a great place to live if you can afford it and I do have a few friends who have lived in Bellevue for brief periods. Most folks I know, though, have since moved to Seattle or to nearby Redmond. I do visit Bellevue often. It’s a great place to go shopping, especially around the holiday’s.

Character
Bellevue is much newer than Seattle so it has less historic charm and a much more modern feel. It is separated from Seattle by Lake Washington. It grew from a farming community to a quiet suburb following completion of the Lake Washington Floating Bridge in 1940. The city was incorporated in 1950 and has since evolved into a large city with a jumble of mega office complexes. It is a high-tech hub with a shiny corporate feel. Today, it is home some of the largest and fastest growing companies in Washington State.

Bellevue is a prosperous city and has attracted a large number of immigrants, with Asian’s accounting for nearly ¾ of the non-white population. The city’s strong job market, low crime rate, and high-ranking schools have attracted a lot of immigrants from both abroad and from other parts of the U.S.. It is growing fast but doesn’t show the same signs of strain as other cities. It isn’t just keeping up with the growth. It’s improving.

Cost of Living
Bellevue is more expensive than Seattle. In 2011, Coldwell Banker ranked it as the second most expensive housing market in Washington State (second to Mercer Island) and prices have continued to climb over the past several years. The median home value is slightly over $650, 000. Rents are like those in downtown Seattle. An average two bedroom, two bath apartment downtown will cost around $2500 a month. Neighborhoods to the east of the downtown core are much cheaper than living downtown, but they are still quite expensive.

Traffic and Parking
Getting around Bellevue isn’t any easier than getting around Seattle. The city was born in the early years of the American suburban sprawl and has always been auto-centered. The Recent development of mixed residential, office and shopping centers are transforming it into a more pedestrian friendly place. But it is still a sea of sedans and SUVs and it’s not nearly as bike and pedestrian friendly as Seattle. The city is newer, though, so there is more parking than in Seattle.

Most folks work and live in Bellevue. It’s close to Seattle, but commuting east to west is not a good idea. The cities are linked by two bridges the SR520 bridge and the I-90 bridge. Traffic across both of them is terrible. WSDOT has been working on expanding and improving the SR 520 and I-90 bridges, but construction is slow-going and only adds to the congestion. To fund construction, tolls are collected in both directions of the SR 520 bridge so a lot of traffic crowds onto the I-90 bridge.

Shopping and Restaurants
Bellevue does have some good restaurants, but nothing compared to Seattle’s robust foodie scene. Still, you’ll find a good mix of cuisines including the usual burgers, pizza, Thai, Mexican and BBQ and a plethora of Indian and Chinese restaurants. Aside from stopping for lunch while shopping, I haven’t eaten out in Bellevue. But I hear great things about Din Tai Fung, a Taiwanese restaurant specializing in soup dumplings and noodles, and Hokkaido Ramen Santouka which serves up hot bowls of delicious Japanese ramen.

Bellevue is known for it’s shopping and there’s plenty of it. It has thrived as a shopping destination since the late 1940’s. There are three main shopping areas downtown: Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square, and Bellevue Place. Combined, they boast hundreds of retail and specialty stores combined with luxury hotels and apartments, restaurants, entertainment and office space. Just east of downtown is Crossroads, an enormous indoor mall, and cross-cultural hub. To the south is Factoria, a mixed-used neighborhood and one of the city’s best commercial districts.

Weather
Everything you’ve heard about the rain in Western Washington is true. In the winter, it is dark, wet and gloomy most of the time. But, Bellevue is close to some of the best skiing in the state. The summers are pleasant and mild, and Lake Washington is beautiful in any season.
Pros
  • Clean
  • New
Cons
  • Cost of living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Dec 09, 2015

"One of the best cities in the country."

Bellevue, Seattle’s neighbor across Lake Washington is consistently ranked as one the top cities in America and is known for its affluent residents, good schools, and low crime.

Bellevue is perfect for families, overall the schools are better than Seattle, which can be hit or miss. There are plenty of parks and crime is almost nonexistent.

If you’re young and single Bellevue has its areas that are fun, but it is an entirely different animal compared to Seattle. If you prefer clubs over pubs and valet parking is your ideal method to park, then Bellevue might be exactly what the doctor ordered. Currently there is a boom for high rise apartments and condos.

If you’re working in Seattle and need to commute from Bellevue I would highly recommend riding the bus. Many companies offer a subsidized bus pass and commuting to a park and ride station for most is quick and the bus will be so much faster (and cheaper) than commuting by car.

My favorite places:

John Howie Steak – I can’t afford a steak here, but the burger is amazing. It’s only served during lunch so plan accordingly.

Din Tia Fung – The go to place for dumplings.

Seastar Restaurant and Bar – Their Seattle location closed, making this the only location for this favorite PNW style seafood.

Bellevue Square – A huge mall with everything and plenty of choices to eat.

Lincoln Square – Another mall but this one has a bowling alley, a pool hall, and a gigantic movie theater.

The Bravern – More shopping, but only this mall has stores like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, so don’t forget your wallet.

Who should live in Bellevue? Anyone that can afford it! Bellevue was named the 2nd best city to live in according to a 2014 USA Today survey. Resident’s value space, safety, convenience, peace and quiet, along with the finer things life has to offer.

Comparing two equally priced homes in Seattle and Bellevue the Seattle home will be smaller in square footage and lot size. The home in Bellevue will have a large yard, while the one in Seattle might not even have a yard. Also it is very common for Seattle home to only have a single car garage, and require a parking pass from the city for street parking. While a Bellevue home would have a full drive way and parking to 2 or more cars.

The downsides to Bellevue? The cost of living is the only downside. The city has one of the highest income per capita rates in the state of Washington, which makes the housing market just out of reach for many folks, pushing them further north or south.
Pros
  • Clean
  • New
Cons
  • Cost of living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"Great schools, neighborhood (Bridle Trails), convenience to everything - right in the heart of Bellevue"

- Great schools (Bellevue School District)
- Large, quiet lots - but within 5 minutes of shopping, freeways, etc.
- Part of Bridle Trails community - trails for walking, horseback riding; Bridle Trails state park is 5 minute walk
Recommended for
  • Families with kids

Travelling to Bellevue?

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Unranked Neighborhoods in Bellevue

"Horses are welcome here"
47.6430513850497 -122.170601733922

Crossroads

3.5/5
"Family friendly community with relatively affordable housing"
47.6216355455052 -122.138754863617
"Two beautiful lakes and a lot of nature"
47.5860250132632 -122.118205897967

Factoria

2.5/5
"Major Commercial Center"
47.5714873432141 -122.16628569957

Newport

3.5/5
"The best high school in the state"
47.5622363962597 -122.18340265939
47.6330940022822 -122.120496981553

Somerset

4/5
"The best neighborhood in Bellevue"
47.5561447589441 -122.148193664944
"A nice family-oriented neighborhood, rich in diversity"
47.5949968012996 -122.143200049815

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