We all have heard that the best things in life are free, so I’ll tell you about a few free things in Bellevue Washington and you can see for yourself. Bellevue is such a beautiful place to visit if you’re in the Seattle area-there is good shopping, beautiful parks and lots to do for families. We recently spent a night there for a Mom and Me Staycation and it was a relaxing way to do a getaway that felt refreshing even though it’s thisclose to Seattle where we live. And being from Seattle, the nicest, most wonderful thing about Bellevue is:
I don’t think I’ve ever paid for parking in Bellevue. Please don’t tell me if this isn’t true but it feels like there is free parking everywhere. Even the parking garages at the malls sometimes have little ticket booths and tickets that might need validation (I think I always have to get a stamp at the Bravern) but even that just feels like it’s ceremonial just to make us Seattleites feel like we’re at home. Just the other day I paid for parking in Seattle and it cost me nearly as much as my lunch. It is so nice to go somewhere and be able to use the money I usually pay for parking to pay for something lovelier like coffee.
We are huge fans of Dale Chihuly art and we are so lucky he has roots in Washington. Now if you really want to see a huge free Chihuly installation drive to Tacoma where you will be absolutely stunned on the walkway to the Museum of Glass, but there are two beautiful installations I know about in Bellevue that are quite lovely and deserve a visit if you’re in town. The first is in Lincoln Square near the bridge where you walk between Bellevue Square to Lincoln Square because you’re probably going to Din Tai Fung if you’re in Bellevue with your family. Din Tai Fung used to be the main reason why we were in Bellevue in the first place because this was where the chain first landed in the Pacific Northwest. The second Chihuly sculpture is in a building on 112th Ave NE where you will find The French Bakery (Downtown Bellevue Location) The French Bakery is worth a visit anyways on its own, but the indoor/outdoor feel of this building and the Chihuly sculpture makes it a real hidden gem.
FREE FOOD FOR KIDS
Now in the same vicinity as the 2nd Chihuly sculpture above, you will find Lunchbox Laboratory. It’s a great burger and milkshake place that we love going to in Seattle and I didn’t realize there was one in Bellevue until I was hosted there a few weeks ago on our overnight trip. They have fun things like tots with their burgers and fried pickles and my kids really love their macaroni and cheese. The coolest thing I learned there recently was that kids eat there FREE on Wednesdays if their grownups order food: one adult burger = one kid’s meal for someone 12 and under. So with two boys who have also started to eat a significant amount of food, I have definitely tucked this bit of info away into my brain. We need to plan on eating in Bellevue on Wednesdays now that’s for sure.
FREE BOTANICAL GARDENS
We just spent a bit of time in Australia and I was supremely jealous about all their botanical gardens and how they were free to visit. Well now I’ve learned that Bellevue also has a FREE Botanical garden and it even has a small supsension bridge too. I always think of this Botanical Garden with it’s winter decor because we’ve headed their for their winter light displays, but I didn’t realize that this garden was free to visit year-round. The kids and I had a fun time walking around and we even spotted a bunny so everyone was thrilled. There is a little ‘hobbit-like’ door that the kids had fun trying to find too. Have you seen it?
If you are ever in Bellevue on the first Friday of the month, you can visit Bellevue Arts Museum for free from 11am-8pm. The proximity of Bellevue Arts Museum to the Bravern and Bellevue Square and all the restaurants and shops is perfect and makes for a creative and inspiring afternoon.
My kids’ childhood centered around Kelsey Creek farm. It is so cool that in the heart of bustling Bellevue there is an idyllic farm with goats, cows, chickens, horses and sheep and my kids and I loved spending time together here having picnics, wandering around and playing at the little pocket-sized playground. Writing this reminded me we haven’t been here in too long-if you have little ones I can’t recommend the Farm School program highly enough.
Have you visited Bellevue Washington? Do you have any favorite places to visit here or any free things to add?
(PS. Although Kelsey Creek Farm, Bellevue Arts Museum and Bellevue Botanical Gardens are technically free to visit, they accept donations of all sizes and memberships to help keep their programs running and I’m always a big fan of supporting local organizations.)
(PPS. As stated above, I was hosted for lunch at Lunchbox Laboratory but the opinions are my own.)