If you’ve been to Bellevue lately, you’ve likely noticed the city is booming! And with so many fun parks, museums, play spaces and shopping malls to explore, along with delicious restaurants to feed your squad, it’s an easy place to spend the day (or even the night!). If you’re ready to make a day of it at our state’s fifth largest city, scroll down for the best places to play at eat.

photo: Kristina Moy

Where to Play Outside

Kelsey Creek Park Farm
Right in the middle of bustling Bellevue is a quiet, expansive park with a farm full of furry friends. Kelsey Creek Farm is the perfect place to visit farm animals (think: ponies, goats, sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, rabbits), climb on playground equipment and hike some of Bellevue’s trails. If your tyke loves animals and loves being outside, Kelsey Creek has it all – for free! Animals are available for viewing in the pasture from 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. every day of the year (yep, even on rainy days). There’s also plenty of wide open green spaces to run around and play, so bring a picnic lunch and plan to stay for the day. Psst…Kelsey Creek Farm is committed to providing farm animal education and hosts a variety of seasonal activities and farm programs for further enrichment.

410 130th Pl. S.E.
Bellevue, WA 98005
425-452-7688
Online: parks.bellevuewa.gov/community-centers/kelsey-creek-farm

photo: Kelsey Creek Farm

Crossroads Water Spray Playground
Crossroads Park is the place to be on warm spring and summer days. The one-of-a-kind sprayground features a whole family of sea life to cool you off, including spitting frogs, spouting orcas and squirting calms. The park also has an all ages and all abilities playground for little explorers to enjoy on the not-so-warm days. Two small picnic shelters are available for reservation if you want to host a gathering or just want some guaranteed shade. All picnic areas, when not reserved, are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

999 164th Ave. N.E.
Bellevue, WA 98008
Online: parks.bellevuewa.gov/parks-and-trails/parks/crossroads-park/crossroads-water-spray-playground

Hours: The playground is open year-round with water typically spraying from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day from 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

photo: Jill T. via Yelp

Bellevue Downtown Park
In the heart of downtown Bellevue is a beautiful, 21-acre park that truly has something for everyone to enjoy. The recently refreshed Bellevue Downtown Park provides a peaceful respite for parkgoers of all ages. From the visually stunning 240-foot wide waterfall that cascades into a reflecting pond to the large expansive lawn for picnicking and playing, Bellevue Downtown Park combines beauty and function for families to relax and play. Of course, a favorite spot for the kids is the newly expanded Inspiration Playground. This innovative play space is dedicated to fun, imagination and learning, offering interactive experiences that accommodate kids of all ages and abilities. Enjoy the playground with–or without–the water features.

10201 N.E. 4th St.
Bellevue, WA 98004
Online: parks.bellevuewa.gov/planning-and-development/downtown-park/inspiration-playground

Hours: Open year-round with water typically spraying from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day from 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

photo: Mon. L. via Yelp.com

Enatai Beach Park
If you’re in search of a sandy beach on a sunshiny day, look no further than Enatai Beach Park. Grab your beach toys, cooler and umbrella and spend the day on the shores of beautiful Lake Washington. Enatai Beach Park is a three-acre oasis, complete with a swimming area, swimming dock, picnic area, playground and tot lot. In the summer, there is a lifeguard on duty and you can rent canoes and kayaks to explore the lake or nearby Mercer Slough Nature Park.

3519 108th Ave. S.E.
Bellevue, WA 98004
Online: parks.bellevuewa.gov/parks-and-trails/parks/enatai-beach-park

photo: Warren C. via Yelp

Where to Play Inside

KidsQuest Children’s Museum
Explore and experience over a dozen exhibits at KidsQuest, Bellevue’s awesome hands-on, interactive children’s museum. KidsQuest encourages creativity, problem solving and learning through play with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). Visit exciting exhibits like the Art Studio, Recycle Rebuild, Bellevue Mercantile, Atrium Climber and everyone’s favorite: Water! Exhibits and programs are geared towards children ages 0-10 and their families. Psst…KidsQuest has been around town for more than a decade, but reopened last year in its new home, the former Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art, adjacent to the Bellevue Library. KidsQuest offers over 200 unique programs throughout the year including early learning classes, summer camps, school age workshops, free art and science programs and many special events. Visit their online calendar for monthly programs and special events.

1116 108th Ave. N.E.
Bellevue, WA 98004
Online: kidsquestmuseum.org

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Hours: Mon.–Thurs., 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Fri., 9 a.m.–8 p.m., Sat., 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun., noon–5 p.m. Member only hours take place on Thursdays from 5 p.m.–8 p.m.

Cost: $12.50/Adults & Seniors (60+); $11.50/Military Personnel; under 1 Free. Memberships available.

photo: KidsQuest Children’s Museum Facebook page

Bellevue Arts Museum
Want to expose your kids to art and culture? Take your crew to BAM (Bellevue Arts Museum). BAM is one of the few museums nationwide that focuses on art, craft and design, working with artists and audiences to build and enhance community. Regardless of the current exhibit on display, BAM hosts Imagination Stations strategically located throughout the facility. These all-ages activity stations are open daily and free with admission. As of this writing, kids can arrange tubes and ramps to create a path for their ping-pong ball at Magnetic Motion, draw their portrait and favorite things and add it to the Community Portrait Wall and use bright colors and different materials to create original art at Reduce Reuse Create. Psst…don’t miss Get Crafty Saturdays where your budding artist can channel his or her creative energy into a fun project.

510 Bellevue Way N.E.
Bellevue, WA 98004
425-519-0770
Online: bellevuearts.org

Hours: Wed.–Sun., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Closed Mon. & Tues. Free on First Fridays, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Cost: $12/Adults; $35/Family; $12/Students, Seniors & Military (ID required); $5/Teens (with Teen Tix); under 6 & members Free. Students are invited to visit BAM for free every second Wednesday of the month using the online coupon. BAM’s Free First Friday program offers free admission to the Museum the first Friday of each month.

photo: Bellevue Art Museum Facebook page

Funtastic Playtorium
Good ol’ fashioned play does the body, mind and spirit good – a lot of good! At Funtastic Playtorium, kids are encouraged to run amok and push the boundaries of their imagination by running, jumping, climbing, swinging, laughing and smiling. Kids need active play time and Funtastic Playtorium is a fun, safe environment for wild ones to exercise and interact with their peers. The indoor play space offers age-appropriate opportunities for kids from one to 10 years of age. Come to free play (parents, you still need to supervise play) or host a private party. Or, do both!

Factoria Square Mall
4077 Factoria Square Mall S.E.
Bellevue, WA 98004
425-623-0034
Online: funtasticplaytorium.com

Hours: Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–8:30 p.m., Sun., 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Fees: $11.99/Kids (3 & older) for unlimited playtime; $10.99/Kids for two hours of play time (weekdays only). $9.99/Toddlers (under 3) for unlimited playtime; $8.99/Toddlers for two hours of playtime (weekdays only). Weekends and holidays only offer unlimited playtime.

photo: Funtastic Playtorium Facebook page

We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym
We Rock the Spectrum is a one-of-a-kind gym that provides a safe, nurturing, fun environment for kids of all ability levels. Suspended swings, crash mats, trampolines, an indoor play structure and sensory-based toys foster learning experiences for all aspects of play. Kids exercise balance, joint and body relaxation, leg and core strength, improved auditory processing and fine motor skills through the various open play experiences. If your child wants to slow down a bit, they can create a masterpiece in the arts and crafts section that has beading, painting, lanyards and more. We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym is the only kids’ gym in our area that offers an inclusive philosophy where all children can benefit from the uniquely designed sensory equipment that is specifically designed to aid children with sensory processing disorders. The best part? Children of all ability levels play together and learn a great deal from each other.

1910 132nd Ave. N.E., Suite #7
Bellevue, WA 98005
425-223-5585
Online: werockthespectrumeastsideseattle.com

Hours: Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun., 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Cost: $12 for open play; $10/siblings. Multiple membership options available online.

photo: We Rock the Spectrum – Eastside Seattle Facebook page

Kid’s Cove at Bellevue Square
Some of the best shopping in the Pacific Northwest can be found at The Bellevue Collection. If you’re power shopping with a buddy in tow, don’t forget to stop by Kid’s Cove for a breather. The large play area, located on the third floor of Bellevue Square, is geared toward tots under 42” tall and is home to soft climbing toys that have a fun maritime theme (psst…the toys are inspired by the original ferryboat on the main floor of the mall back in the day). Who remembers that?! In this current space, kids can climb on a tug boat, crawl through a ferry and explore a lighthouse, castle, and plenty of sea creatures. Weary shoppers will appreciate the soft seating and table and chair set-ups (for easy snack consumption) and the close proximity to family restrooms.

575 Bellevue Square
Bellevue, WA 98004
Online: bellevuecollection.com

photo: Shweta M. via Yelp

WiggleWorks kids
Jump, run, climb, spin and bounce your way through WiggleWorks kids’ completely soft-play system that moves. This indoor gym accommodates infants through preschool-aged children (under 48” tall), and is designed to be a place where kids can learn and explore while working on gross motor skills, coordination and balance and increase their strength, flexibility and agility skills. For non-walkers, there is a specially designated area with age-appropriate toys and activities, safe from enthusiastic toddlers. Come for open play or register for some of their fun events, like Family Movie and Glow Play Night. Visit their online calendar for all the deets.

15600 N.E. 8th St., Suite G2
Bellevue, WA 98008
Online: wiggleworkskids.com

Hours: Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Cost: $10/Kids on weekdays (come and go); $8/Siblings. $12/Kids on weekends (come and go); $10/Siblings. 12 months & under Free.

photo: WiggleWorks kids Bellevue Facebook page

The Studio Fine Art Classes
Creative cats can express themselves at art class. The Studio Fine Art Classes teach students the techniques used by artists with classical training. During classes, students use different mediums: pastels, charcoal, watercolor and oil to learn the basics of drawing with one-on-one instruction. At the end of the class, your little artist will come home with a finished product, ready to frame and proudly display in your gallery. A variety of class times and projects are available for preschoolers through teens, but make sure you call ahead to make a reservation.

1075 Bellevue Way N.E., #B-3
Bellevue, WA 98004
425-736-3060

15600 N.E. 8th St., #O-13
Bellevue, WA 98008
425-643-2058

Online: bellevuestudio.com

photo: Abbey McGee

Where to Eat

Crossroads Bellevue Public Market
If you feel like chicken yakisoba, but your oldest feels like pepperoni pizza and your youngest wants a burrito, head to Crossroads Bellevue. Stat! The Public Market International Restaurants at Crossroads houses restaurants from around the globe, all under one roof, in a relaxed, food hall-style atmosphere. When you walk through the doors, you’ll be inundated with delicious smells, making it difficult to select just one dish to order. We guarantee you’ll come back again and again because the food is fast, affordable and easy for everyone to choose just what they have a hankerin’ for at that specific moment. Psst…there’s plenty of open seating and oftentimes the stage has live music and entertainment. Check their online calendar.

15600 N.E. 8th St.
Bellevue, WA 98008
Online: crossroadsbellevue.com

photo: Crossroads Bellevue Facebook page

Chace’s Pancake Corral
Craving some down home diner food? Head to longtime Bellevue hot spot, Chace’s Pancake Corral where the food and service are both delightful. We love breakfast at Chace’s because all our favorite breakfast foods are on the menu, but we’re partial to the biscuits with sausage gravy. The buttery biscuits topped with a generous serving of gravy are to die for. Kids can choose from chocolate chip dollar pancakes, traditional breakfast platters or bear pancakes. If you’re coming for lunch, you’ll find an extensive menu, but it’s the Chicken Fried Steak that is the real crowd-pleaser. It’s delish! The only downside is that parking can sometimes be tricky and the wait can be long. But that’s a sign of delicious food, right?

1606 Bellevue Way S.E.
Bellevue, WA 98004
425-454-8888

Hours: Mon.–Fri., 6 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; Sat., 6 a.m.–3 p.m.; Sun., 6:30 a.m.–3 p.m.

photo: Jules H. via Yelp.com

Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria
Ciao Bella! Tutta Bella’s authentic, wood-fired pizza pies taste like a slice of Italian heaven and their Bellevue restaurant is just as kid-friendly as it is delicious. From the Wikki Stix that are passed out to keep hangry kiddos busy to the open kitchen that allows kids to watch as their pizzas are being made, Tutta Bella is an easy restaurant to dine at with kids in tow. Psst…if your kids aren’t feeling like pizza, there is an extensive kid’s menu with favorites like pasta al burro or the Neapolitan meatball. Don’t forget the gelato for dessert!

15600 N.E. 8th St.
Bellevue, WA 98008
Online: tuttabella.com

photo: Tutta Bella Facebook page

Lunchbox Laboratory
Lunchbox Lab is your go-to restaurant to create a burger you can only imagine in your dreams. Create your own or pick from the tried-and-true list of “burger experiments” such as the Burger of the Gods made with bleu cheese crumbles, candied balsamic onions and gorgonzola spread. Each burger comes with a choice of sides including the staple french fries, but feel free to try out the loaded mac du jour. Big kids are sure to love the tater tots and grilled cheese or let ’em try their hands at creating their very own burger experiment. Smaller appetites will enjoy classics off the kid’s menu like cheeseburgers, grilled cheese and classic mac and cheese. Lunchbox Lab also boasts a Shake Lab, a milkshake creation station featuring Snoqualmie Ice Cream. Stick with delicious ice cream and yummy add-ons or make it a boozie shake by adding a test tube of your favorite spirit! Psst…on Wednesdays, bring your mini burger connoisseurs into Lunchbox Laboratory from 5 p.m. to close where kids (under 12) will score a free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult burger.

989 112th Ave. N.E.
Bellevue, WA 98004
Online: lunchboxlab.com

—Abbey McGee

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