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Seattle Post Intelligencer April 2006

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So Much To Beautiful Bellevue

The city of Bellevue is so wide-spread there are actually 3 separate shopping malls (Bellevue Square, Crossroads, and Factoria) and close to 100 parks where you can explore playgrounds, trails, beaches, the sprawling Kelsey Creek Farm, and even do some berry-picking in the summer.  Currently, the downtown is bustling with new shopping & dining areas and near-constant construction, which just means there will be even MORE to do in the coming years! Our round-up below highlights the best places to play, dine (with kids & date night), and shop!

  • PLAY:
    KidsQuest Museum at Factoria Mall
    4091 Factoria Blvd. SE
    Exhibits and activities for many age groups. The “Backyard” offers exploration for babies & toddlers and all kids love the “Waterways” exhibit. The museum can also handle birthday parties and field-trips. Bonus: OshKosh and Old Navy are just across the way.

    Dizzy's Tumblebus & Bus Stop
    3205 148th Ave SE, Suite E
    The Bus Stop, a large play space with a cool bus theme and gorgeous NW murals, is an extension of the tumblebus theme. If offers an array of movement classes, drop-off childcare, a recreational therapist ot assist children with autism and PDD, open play times and cool birthday party packages..

    Mommy Movies: Mother's Day Thursdays at Lincoln Square Cinemas
    700 Bellevue Way, 3rd level of Lincoln Square
    New moms with infants can still be current on the latest flicks! Every Thursday at 10am, this theater offers a few movies to choose from for mommies with babes-check the schedule as it changes weekly. The lights are a little brighter and the sound is a bit softer than usual. Bonus: Bellevue Square is right across the street.

    Crossroads Mall Play & Learn-Drop In Play
    Crossroads Mall-15600 NE 8th St
    A play program geared to kids ages 2-5 (and a parent or care-giver). Drop in on Wednesdays from 10:00 am to 11:30 am at the center stage area inside Crossroads mall for songs, stories, art projects, and games.  Meet a friend and stay for lunch as the food court is just steps away.

    Factoria Mall Activity Time - Drop In Play
    Factoria Mall - 4075 Factoria Blvd SE
    Free activities for kids every Thursday from 11 am - 11:30 am sponsored by the Lake Heights YMCA.  (Parent/caregiver stays too) After some playtime, Little One might have a little extra steam to accompany you to one more store!

    3-2-1 Bounce - Drop in Play
    13434 NE 16th St Ste 110
    Plan a party, host your playgroup, or just Drop-In to burn off lots of energy! Drop-in times are held in two sessions on Mondays and Tuesdays: 9:30am-10:45 am or 10:45am-Noon. Ages 2 and up!

    Bellevue Aquatic Center
    Check the schedule for open swim times. The warm therapy pool is often open for open swim and is a great place to swim with your little one! Another great option for birthday parties too!

    Community Centers in Bellevue
    Check here for your local community center. They often have drop-in playtimes for toddlers on weekdays during the school year. A great place to spend a rainy day. They also offer classes for all age ranges.

    Blueberry-Farms (U-Pick) in Bellevue
    Mercer Slough Blueberry Farm (Just off Bellevue Way SE)
    Larsen Lake Blueberry Farm (Lake Hills Area)
  • Artsy Fartsy
  • Bellevue Libraries & Story Times:
    For a list of all Bellevue Parks & amenities
    • Kelsey Creek Farm - 410 130th Pl SE
      E-I-E-I-O. Kids love visiting the cows, horses, bunnies, chickens, sheep, pigs and more at farm in the heart of Bellevue. The playground is the perfect size for toddlers with swings, seesaw, and climbing toys. Walking trails wind through the park, over the creek, and by the pastures. The farm often offers classes & camps for children. Check it out for birthday parties too. The farm holds two yearly festivals which are a ton of fun-one in the spring and one in the fall at pumpkin time!
    • Meydenbauer Beach Park - 419 98th Ave NE
      Can be a little hard to find, but this hidden gem is just a few blocks from Bellevue Square. Features include: a great playground for tots, sandy beach on the shores of Meydenbauer Bay with restrooms and a grassy picnic area. Bring the stroller, it’s a bit of a walk to the car.
    • Downtown Bellevue Park - 10201 NE 4th
      Reward Junior for sitting in the stroller while you wandered Bellevue Square by taking him across the street to this vast park with a great playground & huge grass fields. The walking path is also great for moms pushing babies in strollers. 2 times around is a mile!
  • EAT:
    A selection of RT faves for when you're out and about with Little One. These picks are for dining options ALL of you will enjoy!

    • Pogacha
      119 106th Ave SE - 425.455.5670
      Parents and kids love the “pogacha’s” – Croation for delicious flatbread “pizza’s”. Wide selection of other menu items include pasta, salads, seafood and the house specialty, “the purple dish”. If you go for lunch, get there right when they open to avoid the corporate lunch rush. While there isn't a specific kids menu, the chef's are flexible and can make kid-friendly noodles, pogachas, and more. Get out the crayons, and doodle on the paper-topped tables! (Another location in Issaquah)
    • Pagliacci Pizza at Bellevue Square
    • Gilberts on Main Street in Old Bellevue
    • Chace’s Pancake Corral
      1606 Bellevue Way SE (an old-fashioned diner, not fancy, great pancakes, prepare to wait on the weekend)
    • Crossroads Mall Public Market
      (Something for everyone, sitting area is surrounded by the food court which features multiple options from around the world!)
    • California Pizza Kitchen
      595 106th Ave NE   (Barnes & Noble is across the street-get lunch after story time!)
    Sometimes you can get a break for a few hours and, when you're really lucky, you can get away for the whole night! Here are some RT picks for fabulous date might just have to make this a regular occurrence!

    • SEASTAR Restaurant & Raw Bar
      205 108th Ave NE - 425.456.0010
      Enjoy delicious seafood preparations in the elegant dining room or just chill with drinks and ceviche in the happening raw bar at chef John Howie’s Bellevue restaurant. Choose something “plank-cooked” from the expert.
    • Daniels Broiler (21 floors up to the best views in the city. Lively piano bar is great for people watching!)
    • Bellevue Collection (There are so many great new restaurants at the Bellevue Collection - right around the Square. Check here for a full listing. Just a few include: Joeys, Trader Vics, McCormick & Schmicks, Manzana, Maggiano’s Little Italy and many more)  
    • The Melting Pot (Celebrate date night with fondue! Cheese, chocolate and so much more.)
    • Performing Arts Center Eastside -coming in 2010
  • SHOP:
    In addition to the plethora of shopping opportunities you'll find at the local malls such as Bellevue Square (with stores including Babystyle, Oililly, Baby Gap, Gymboree, Janie & Jack, Mimi Maternity, and many more), Crossroads Mall  (with Old Navy, Kids Club, and a great food court), and Factoria Mall  (with OshKosh, Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack, and the KidsQuest Museum), here are a few more picks for stores that stand alone and are a little more "off the beaten path".

    • Merry Go Round Children's Store
      1014 116th Ave. N.E. - 425.454.1610
      (RT Favorites)
      If a little light shopping's your thing and your children share your passion, Merry Go Round's the place for you. Known for miles as the place to shop for stylish yet practical items, this children's store combines life's necessities (furniture, feeding items, educational toys) with styles so gorgeous it almost seems rude not to buy them. There's a dedicated children's play area over by the strollers so that little ones are entertained whilst you browse for that perfect purchase you've suddenly realized they need. Bonus: It's a three-minute walk from Whole Foods (directly to the south) where you and your little ones can pick up snacks or lunch and, if the weather's nice, dine outside on the cafe tables. Also, the Women’s Clinic boutique at Overlake is across the street where you can find nursing apparel & bras.
    • Go To Your Room
      13000 Bel-Red Road 425.453.2990
      Specializing in furniture, bedding, and accessories for nurseries & big kid rooms. Huge selection of brands including Paintbox designs, D.L. Mayra, Canwood, Greenfrog Art and many more!
    • Lamb’s Ears Children's Boutique
      820 102nd Ave NE 425.688.1080
      Beautifully-tailored special-occasion apparel for boys and girls. The store usually carries a wide range of Catimini, a brand we dig.
    • The Right Start
      10635 NE 8th St 425.451.2445
      Tons of GEAR including carseats, strollers, safety gear, potty supplies, toys and more.  They also carry this great shower gift.
    • Lakeshore Learning Store
      11027 NE 4th St 425.462.8076  
      Educational toys and learning supplies. Shop where the teachers shop! Free crafts for kids every Saturday from 11 am - 3 pm with a different theme each week!
    • Posh on Main (Shoes for Moms only)
      10245 Main Street 425.454.2022
      Stocking a range of fabulous handbags and shoes by brands such as Alexandra Neel, Michael Kors, Emma Hope and Missoni, this shop is incredibly stylish and yet welcoming. These of-the-moment accessories will provide the perfect boost to your (neglected?) wardrobe for any season.
      BONUS: Stroll Old Main Street and poke around the many stylish boutiques (don't miss the new La Ree Boutique which just opened March '07) and restaurants.
  • Bellevue Farmers Markets
    • Crossroads Farmers Market -
      Tuesdays from Noon -5:00 pm through Oct. 9
      Crossroads Mall Parking Lot (near Circuit City)
    • Bellevue Farmers Market -
      Thursdays from 3-7pm through Oct. 11
      Bellevue First Presbyterian Parking Lot 1717 Bellevue Way NE
  • LINKS: