Moving to Bellevue, WA? The Go to Guide
Bellevue means “beautiful view” in French. Early settlers to our city named it after their hometown in Indiana.
No, wait. The city got its name from the picturesque landscape visible from the first post office’s window. Or not.
The origin of Bellevue’s name is debatable, but few people would argue about how terrific the city is. Long-time residents are devoted to the area, and newcomers learn to love it quickly. You’ll find there’s a lot to love.
To give you a hand, our movers in Bellevue put together this moving guide. It’ll walk you through Bellevue so you can familiarize yourself with your new hometown. There’s so much here. No time like the present to start sifting through all the information. We hit only the high points… but you can see by the length of the list that Bellevue has a tremendous amount to offer.
Chapter 2: What’s The Weather in Bellevue Like
Chapter 3: How’s The Food in Bellevue
Chapter 4: Employment and the Local Economy
Chapter 5: Transportation and Local Driving
Chapter 6: Best Areas and Places to Live in Bellevue
Chapter 7: Local People
Chapter 8: Things to Do in Bellevue
Chapter 9: Required Reading Before Moving to Bellevue
The Most Important Things to Know About Living in Bellevue, WA
Where to start, where to start… There’s so much to tell you about Bellevue, because of its size. With a population of more than 130,000, it’s Seattle’s largest suburb and one of the biggest cities in Washington State. Bellevue’s growth happened relatively quickly. At the turn of the 20th century, the city had only about 400 residents!
What makes Bellevue so appealing? Again, where do we start? Mild weather, great food, healthy economy, beautiful neighborhoods, easy commuting: what’s not to love? You must also be aware that, because of state regulations, recreational marijuana use is legal. Bellevue has a few stores that are permitted to sell the drug. No matter where you stand on the issue, you need to know the law.
What else should you know? Try these websites:
What’s The Weather Like in Bellevue
When it comes to temperature, Bellevue doesn’t usually go to extremes. July and August are typically the warmest months. The average high is about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, while the low dips down to 56 degrees. Temperatures during the coldest months — December and January – generally range from 47 degrees to 36 degrees.
Precipitation is another matter. Though very little snow falls, Bellevue gets its fair share of rain. Most rainfall comes during the winter months, but spring and fall days can be a bit damp, too. November, December, and January each average more than five inches of precipitation. Total annual precipitation is nearly 40 inches. During the year, Bellevue residents can expect more than 150 days of precipitation.
See just how important an umbrella is by looking through these sites:
What Type of Food is Popular
Bellevue has literally hundreds of food venues that cater to just about any preference. Sizzling steak? Leisurely brunch? Fresh seafood? Local brewpub? Vegetarian fare? Indian or Italian? Vietnamese or Mexican? You’ll find high-end restaurants, family places, and very popular food trucks.
Want to try out your new kitchen? Why not go to one of Bellevue’s local farmers’ markets for some ingredients? Vendors show up from late spring to early fall.
The Bellevue Farmers’ Market, which supports small family farms, is held once a week in a church parking lot. The Crossroads Mall also hosts a weekly farmers’ market. What do you need? Local honey, cheeses and meats; fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish; beer, wine, and hard cider: the market has all this and more.
Whet your appetite with these websites:
- The 10 Best Restaurants on Seattle’s East SideBellevue Restaurants
- The Best Places for Lunch You’ll Love in Bellevue
- Downtown Bellevue Restaurant Guide
- The Top 10 Places to Grab Breakfast and Brunch in Bellevue
- Eat Up, Seattle and the East Side! Best New Cheap Eats for 2015
- 10 Best Foodie Cities: #7: Bellevue
- Health Food, Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants in Bellevue, WA
- Bellevue Farmers’ Market
- Farmers’ Market at Crossroads
Employment and The Economy in Bellevue, WA
The news isn’t bad. In February 2016, Bellevue’s unemployment rate was 5.3 percent, which was slightly better than the national average. Health and educational facilities are some of the area’s biggest employers: Bellevue College, Bellevue School District, and Overlake Hospital Medical Center. Businesses with big payrolls include Boeing, Microsoft, Safeway, and T-Mobile. Tech companies in particular have grown in the region.
The local construction industry had been in a downturn, but it’s working its way back up. More residents are coming to downtown Bellevue because of new apartment and condo construction. In fact, the construction sector is bouncing back all over the state.
Find out more about Bellevue’s economy:
Driving and Transportation in Bellevue
Sure, you can drive in Bellevue, but how else might you like to get around? Bus system? Got it. Light rail commuter lines? Done. Biking? Bellevue is biker-friendly… the buses even have racks so you can combine transportation methods. City and county governments also provide information and assistance to encourage car and van ride sharing.
But Bellevue doesn’t stop with ordinary transportation methods. You can stay off the roads and still get where you’re headed. How? Take a water taxi! Residents hop aboard boats headed for Vashon Island or Seattle.
If you need to fly somewhere, you’ve got choices nearby. Sea-Tac airport is an important hub to Asia, which helps make it one of the busiest terminals in the United States. King County International Airport – or Boeing Field – serves small commercial airlines, as well as private, military, and corporate aircraft.
Learn all about your transportation options:
How to Uncover The Best Places to Live in Bellevue
The city boasts more than 10 distinct neighborhoods. Whatever living environment you prefer, you can find it in Bellevue. For instance…
Like a quiet pastoral setting? The Bridal Trails neighborhood is a semi-rural wooded area with many pastures and horse paths. West Bellevue and Downtown are at the other extreme. You’ll find a mixture of residences, retail stores, offices, and cultural opportunities. West Hills neighborhood mixes single and multiple family homes with natural wetlands. Muskrats, coyotes and songbirds are also residents here.
Bellevue’s police department uses an interactive crime-mapping site so residents can keep an eye on recent illegal activity reports near their homes. The map identifies the time and location of each crime.
Discover the ins and outs of Bellevue’s neighborhoods with these websites:
How to Fit In With The Locals
So far, you’ve seen that Bellevue has a lot of diversity. It’s the same with its population. Forty percent of its citizens are a minority race or ethnicity. There’s a balance among families, couples without children, and single residents. While the median age is 38.5 (half of the citizens are older, half, younger), there are significant numbers of people between 45 and 64 and under 20.
Many of those younger folks attend Bellevue College, which has a student population of almost 33,000. A bit more than half are women, and over 70 percent identify as either White or Asian/Pacific Islander. In fact, Bellevue tends to have well-educated residents. In 2010, over 60 percent had at least a Bachelor’s degree.
Look through these sites to discover who else lives in Bellevue:
- City of Bellevue: Demographics
- Latest Information on Community Demographics: The Changing Face of Bellevue
- Downtown Bellevue Gets Younger in a Hurry, With Much More Growth on the Way
- Bellevue Demographics Profile
- About Bellevue College
- Eastern Washington University at Bellevue College
- Bellevue School District
Things to Do in Bellevue
Year-round mild weather makes outdoor activities popular in Bellevue. However, the rain might drive you inside some days. The city’s residents are lucky, because there’s a lot to do either way.
Bellevue has over 30 parks. Go to a marina, golf course, botanical garden, beach, sporting facility… even a blueberry field! If you’re so inclined, fly your drone at Marymoor Park Airfield. Or participate in the geocaching craze.
Head inside to shop at the Crossroads. Not only are there dozens of stores and restaurants, special events are held just about every day. If you’re looking for a little culture, see who’s presenting a performance at the Meydenbauer Center, or check out the exhibits and programs at the Bellevue Arts Museum.
Start here to make your To-Do list:
Is your head spinning from everything Bellevue has to offer? We hope not… because there’s more. How about a little Bellevue history? Settlers came to the region from Seattle in 1863. They cut down trees to make homes and filled the open areas with berry farms, orchards, and vegetable gardens.
Ferries were traveling between Bellevue and Seattle regularly by the 1800s, and farmers took their crops to sell in the larger city. However, ferry service lost its allure in 1940, when the Mercer Island Floating Bridge connected the two cities. Bellevue continued to modernize, and it’s still developing today.
This list provides some information you might need, as well as some handy sources of information.
- King County Elections
- King County Library System: Bellevue
- A Short History of Bellevue, Washington
- Bellevue Reporter
- The Seattle Times: Eastside
- Bellevue Patch (local info)
- Radio Locator: Bellevue, WA
- Washington State Department of Licensing/ Bellevue
- Washington State Freeway HOV System
- 30 Things You Need to Know About Bellevue Before You Move There
That’s Bellevue in a nutshell. A pretty big nutshell, for sure. There’s so much to know and do. We bet that, the longer you live in Bellevue, the more interesting things you’ll find. Enjoy! And be sure to check out our guides on moving to Seattle and moving to Tacoma.
Image courtesy of Visit Bellevue.