Every once in a while, it’s fun to mix things up – and what better way than with a family vacay. But if you’re not up for traveling far or spending a lot of money, a staycation is the ticket to adding some fun and excitement to your everyday routine. And downtown Bellevue fits that ticket with its easy access, its plethora of indoor and outdoor activities and its huge restaurant and shopping scene. If you’re ready to plan a night or two away from home, read on for the details on an easy Bellevue staycation.
Where to Stay
Bellevue’s Hyatt Regency could not be better located for this perfect city staycation. On the corner of Bellevue Way and 8th Street, this awesome hotel is centrally located across the street from Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square. The hotel boasts amazing customer service, ample (free) parking, complimentary family movie nights every Friday, a kids’ concierge (to help make the littlest of guests feel welcome), a new game room, a huge variety of walkable restaurants (more on that below) and is in close proximity to the newly revamped Downtown Bellevue Park. The Bellevue Hyatt Regency also offers upscale rooms with sweeping city views, an updated indoor pool (can you say, cannonball?) complete with pool noodles, balls, kickboards and munchkin-sized goggles and an expansive gym that overlooks Bellevue Way (in case the adults in your crew want to work up a sweat during this staycation).
The Hyatt Regency’s lobby features huge interactive touchscreen coffee tables—with games to entertain kids of all ages (think: Tetris and Candycrush)—that are located right next to a pop-up bar that serves local spirits (score!). With an expansive footprint, two separate guest towers and a variety of event rooms, the Hyatt Regency Bellevue is not only a great place to stay, but also a fun place to explore if you’re just passing through town. Psst…the entire Seahawks team stays here before every home game, so come with your autograph book!
What to Do
Did you know that the city of Bellevue has more than 100 urban playgrounds and is often referred to as “The City of Parks?” Whoa! That’s a whole other list. But one of the city’s more well-known parks (just down the street from the Hyatt) was recently renovated and should definitely be on your family’s to-do list. The Bellevue Downtown Park features two different play areas (one for muchkins ages 2-5 and another for older kids ages 5-12) along with a climbing wall and climbing vine, swings, a splash pad (for hot summer days), a rockin’ music area and so much more.
If you’ve got a crew of animal lovers, you’ll definitely want to put Kelsey Creek Farm Park on your Bellevue staycation agenda. In operation since the 1930’s, Kelsey Creek Farm Park is open 365 days a year from 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. and is free to the public. With its iconic barns and white fencing, Kelsey Creek is home to ponies, sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, rabbits and waterfowl – many of which will walk right up to say hello.
Kelsey Creek Farm Park also has a newly renovated playground that is always a hit with the minis as well as picnic tables and a picnic shelter that are open every day from dawn ’til dusk and require no reservations or fees. You can also schedule a farm tour with Farmer Jayne (gather your neighbors, PEPS group or friends) or join a farm class (designed for ages 2-10), enroll in a day camp (for ages 4-7) or plan your next birthday bash there.
A few times during the year the Farm goes all out, including the October Fall Festival which includes food trucks, pony rides, tractor rides, games, face painting – you name it. And the ever-popular Sheep Shearing weekend in April is when you and your crew can watch the sheep lose their winter coats and participate in crafts and hands-on activities as well as enjoy tractor and wagon rides, pony rides, food truck munchies and the whole (farm) shebang!
Kelsey Creek Farm Park
410 130th Pl. S.E.
Bellevue, Wa 98005
More Family Fun
Bellevue’s Lake to Lake Greenway Trail goes right along Kelsey Creek Farm Park, so if your family is feeling adventurous and in need of further outdoor activities, hop on your bike and hit the trail. The Lake to Lake Greenway Trail connects Lake Sammamish to Lake Washington and routes by the Bellevue Botanical Garden and the Mercer Slough (in case you’re looking for even more outdoor fun). During the summer months, there’s blueberry picking at Larson Lake Blueberry Farm, kayaking on the Mercer Slough and a variety of summer camps and activities at Mercer Slough Nature Park. And, who can forget the newly re-opened KidsQuest Children’s Museum, just a short 10-minute walk from the Hyatt.
Where to Nosh
Within Bellevue’s Hyatt Regency, you will find Eques—a modern décor breakfast restaurant open from 6:30 a.m.-10 a.m. (later on weekends). Kids will delight in the ample buffet (load up on fruit, yogurt, make-your-own-omelet station – the works) or enjoy a Unicorn Waffle, complete with strawberry syrup, whipped cream and sprinkles! The grown-up version of Eques’ eggs Benedict, served with smoked salmon, will not disappoint either.
For lunch and dinner options, the variety is stunning. Inside the hotel you have an old-school classic, 13 Coins. With huge dark booths, it’s open 24 hours and has a great kid’s menu. If you’re feeling fancy, Daniel’s Broiler is on the 21st floor of the hotel and is known for its scrumptious steaks or try the yummy dim sum which can be found at Din Tai Fung. Psst…for quick and easy grab-and-go options, Fonte’s Coffee Roaster, Needs Deli or Tully’s Coffee are all within the hotel compound.
You don’t have to walk far if you want to find a plethora of kid-friendly eateries beyond the hotel’s walls. There’s the ol’ standby and kid favorite Red Robin, but also Maggiano’s Little Italy and Palomino (Italian/American), Cactus Southwest Kitchen & Bar, Tavern Hall and the Nordstrom Marketplace Café (inside the mall). McCormick & Schmick’s and Wild Ginger (just relocated three blocks south of the Hyatt on Bellevue Way) are also great options as well as adult faves like Joey’s, Black Bottle Gastro Tavern and Earl’s Kitchen + Bar.
Whatever you decide to do, downtown Bellevue has got you covered. Psst…book a hotel and/or dinner reservation during the holiday season and enjoy Bellevue’s Snowflake Lane, an ahh-mazing nightly holiday parade and show that takes place along Bellevue Way complete with “snow showers,” music and lights. Whenever you decide to go, we promise you and fam will find so much to do and see in Bellevue it will be a staycation to remember!
Hyatt Regency Bellevue
900 Bellevue Way N.E.
Bellevue, Wa 98004
Where is your family’s favorite place for a staycation? Tell us in the comments below.
— Jennifer B. Davis (all photos courtesy of the writer)
This trip was paid for by the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.