How to get to Seattle from Bellevue, and what to do when I get there?
August 1, 2022 6:48 AM   Subscribe

This coming Sunday, I will have exactly one full day to myself to spend in Seattle before my conference starts. I am staying at the Hyatt in Bellevue. I know there is a bus (and Uber), but what do I do in the city when I get over there without transportation? I am also considering renting a bike (perhaps an e-bike). I heard there was a bike-friendly corridor over to the city. But, again, what to do when I get there by bike?

I have been to Seattle a couple of times and have seen things like the Pike Market and the Chihuly exhibit. So, in addition to recommending transportation options, I also need ideas for what to do while I'm over there (for both warm/dry and wet/cool weather possibilities, although for now they are calling for warm and dry). I prefer parks, walking around, and views to shopping and such. I could also use suggestions for good restaurants, specifically those that will welcome a dude that may be disheveled from riding a bike and walking around!

Bonus: It just occurred to me to ask what there is to do and eat around Bellevue! I will have time in the evenings to explore the area.

posted by Don_K to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I really love the Seattle Art Museum. Their collection of Pacific Native American Formline art is amazing.
posted by OrangeDisk at 8:32 AM on August 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

Volunteer Park has a very nice view of the city. There is also the Seattle Asian Art Museum (not the main museum downtown). Lots of cafes and coffee shops on 15th, down the street from Volunteer Park, that won't look askance at a biker or pedestrian.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:14 AM on August 1, 2022

ebike is a fab option. they are everywhere. just get on one and ride around - you really can't go wrong if you are looking for parks and walking areas. the seattle center (space needle) has both, by the way, and lots of good eating options nearby. enjoy!
posted by susandennis at 9:20 AM on August 1, 2022

If you rent an ebike in Bellevue, you could head north and pick up the 520 trail which crosses Lake Washington on a floating bridge. Your first stop in Seattle could be the arboretum, near the trail but will require sharing the road with cars for a bit. Then go toward the university and pick up the Burke-Gilman trail, heading west through the U district to Fremont and Gasworks Park for a nice view of the city and Lake Union. Continue west on the Burke-Gilman through Fremont toward Ballard. If you like beer, the Fremont Brewery is right off the trail west of Gasworks, not terribly scenic though. The Fremont Sunday market is a bit further west, mostly with crafts and some food stalls. Past the market you will ride along a shady canal and the trail will be clogged with people on foot so proceed carefully. There is a mile or two in Ballard where the trail stops and you are dumped onto the road (search "Burke Gilman missing link" for the sad history). The Ballard farmers market is on Sundays, a bit north of the trail, with produce and food stalls, and some arts/crafts. Continue west to the Ballard Locks where you can watch boats and people. At this point you can cross the locks for Discovery Park. There is a Scandinavian-American history museum in this general area too which is enjoyable if you are interested in the topic, or if you want to spend some time in air conditioning. After the locks the trail heads north to Golden Gardens, a beach park. On the way stop at Un Bien for a Cuban sandwich, and there's also a cafe at the park though I haven't eaten there. Golden Gardens is 15 miles from your Bellevue hotel so round trip this would be 30 miles.

Another option would be to take the Burke Gilman northeast from the U-district. You can find trails basically all the way to Redmond, and there are parks along the lake where you can stop for views. There's a brewery with food in Magnuson Park but I don't have any other specific recommendations if you go that way.

Even if you are wearing a racing kit, you could go to most any restaurant that will be open on a Sunday morning/afternoon! Seattle is very casual and athleisure/athletic wear is common unless you are going somewhere very spendy.
posted by esoterrica at 9:45 AM on August 1, 2022 [3 favorites]

You'll be in for Seafair, so depending on timing & your interest in hydroplane races & military stunt aerobatics that might be of note.

Personally I'd just hop the 550 bus over, as transportation goes.
posted by CrystalDave at 9:47 AM on August 1, 2022

And that may cause an issue with getting across the I-90 bridge, should you choose that route, as it gets shut down during the Blue Angels show. If the ebike has the miles, you could also go north around lake Washington, through Redmond, Kenmore and Bothell, and hook up to the Burke Gilman trail from there.
posted by Windopaene at 9:58 AM on August 1, 2022

520 is under construction and they keep the most disruptive work for weekends, so I’d check both now for planned closures and then for unexpected closures.

I like the Wing Luke museum and the Museum of Flight, which are on the same side of downtown so relatively easy to get between. Wing Luke is in a good walking around and eating neighborhood.

Charming sandwich-and-microbrewery towns on the bike trail start in Woodinville, if not Redmond, you don’t have to make it all the way to their apotheosis in Fremont.
posted by clew at 10:06 AM on August 1, 2022

There is a sculpture garden called the Olympic Sculpture Park that has a trail leading to a pocket beach. I saw some tidepool sorts of creatures there once.

Seattle also has one of my favorite donut chains anywhere, a vegan (I think) outfit called Mighty O Donuts. I don't know if I'd call them a restaurant exactly but I bet they won't mind a sweaty biker :)
posted by eirias at 10:09 AM on August 1, 2022

Yeah, the Ballard Locks are fun to look at the salmon, boats, and visitor center. There's a small botanical garden as part of the complex too, where you could catch a free jazz concert. Miro Tea and Salt & Straw ice cream are also in the area. The Walrus and the Carpenter nearby is supposed to be good for oysters and seafood. Discovery Park seems not so far away for walking.

Otherwise the UW Botanic Gardens is free.
So is the Seattle Chinese Garden, and then you could go around Puget Park and afterward to Mashiko for a sushi dinner (make a rez) in West Seattle? Perhaps a bit less convenient, though.
And further away is Bainbridge Island by ferry from Seattle, where you can rent a bike and visit downtown and the parks.

Bellevue also has a free botanical garden where the grounds are open until dusk for an evening stroll.
posted by eyeball at 10:18 AM on August 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

From the Bellevue Transit Center you can take the 271 bus to the University of Washington and catch a light rail anywhere or you can take the 550 bus to Downtown/Pioneer Square/International District. The Bellevue Botanical gardens are also very lovely and the Bellevue Art Museum often has good exhibits.
posted by brookeb at 10:54 AM on August 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

Fremont is a fun neighborhood to wander about in. Good food and drink options. And while you’re there book a tour of the bean-to-bar Theo chocolate factory!
posted by sjswitzer at 11:51 AM on August 1, 2022

Great recommendations above but I would like to emphasize how disruptive Seafair is to the city especially when we are already undergoing all kinds of transportation shutdowns and maintenance. Under the best circumstances possible Bellevue-Seattle is 20 minutes. Plan on an hour, at least! And check the map regularly for things like parades, fighter jets, and exploding trucks on the highway.

I love it here but getting around the city is quite difficult right now. Still, anything is better than staying in Bellevue :)
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:31 PM on August 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

And that may cause an issue with getting across the I-90 bridge, should you choose that route, as it gets shut down during the Blue Angels show.

They're not shutting down I-90 this year, hallefreakinlujah.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 2:47 PM on August 1, 2022

Response by poster: Wow, this is a great response! I now will need to spend some time planning an itinerary. Big thanks for the bike routes and information about Seafair. I will plan accordingly!
posted by Don_K at 3:08 PM on August 1, 2022

If you haven't already done it on a previous visit, the Seattle Underground tour is fun and historic, although you need to be able to walk and climb fairly well to get through it. If regular history stuff isn't your thing, I think they do a "paranormal" version of the tour as well, mostly at night.
posted by seasparrow at 1:43 PM on August 2, 2022

Response by poster: Follow-up. I had a great time and followed some of the suggestions. Thanks again!
posted by Don_K at 7:40 AM on September 6, 2022

« Older Fun suggestions for Niagara Falls vacation weekend...   |   Dog was mysteriously ill. Do you have ideas? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.