Situated on the eastern side of Lake Washington, Bellevue is popular among local and international tourists thanks to its plethora of picturesque waterfront parks and easy access to the Cascade Mountains.  

Not only does Bellevue boast breathtaking natural beauty, but the city is also home to a strong economy with credentials that include serving as the birthplace of e-commerce giant, Amazon. Located just under 20 minutes from Seattle, Bellevue gives residents access to the city's job market while enjoying an excellent quality of life.

Cost of living in Bellevue 

At 66 percent above the national average, the cost of living in Bellevue is undeniably high. Whether new arrivals opt to rent or purchase a property, accommodation costs are steep. Fortunately, most newcomers moving to the city will have high-paying tech industry jobs that can usually cover these costs.  

Groceries, transport, and utilities are all expensive. Bellevue is home to many farmer’s markets, a good option for newcomers to find farm-fresh produce at lower prices than in supermarkets. On the plus side, healthcare in Bellevue is reasonably priced.

Getting around in Bellevue 

Most households in Bellevue own an average of two cars, making driving the primary means of getting around in the city. That said, the City of Bellevue is working towards developing sustainable public transport networks. Construction on Sound Transit’s East Link Light Rail is set to be completed in 2024 and will connect Bellevue to Seattle and the east through the Bellevue-Redmond area.  

Additionally, the city offers electric shuttle services known as Circuit that connect residents to public transport stations. Bellevue residents can book their Circuit shuttle through the official mobile app.

The City of Bellevue is also looking to build cycle paths through its Bike Bellevue project, providing residents with a healthy and affordable alternative for getting around.  

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Healthcare in Bellevue 

As is the case in most of the USA, healthcare in Bellevue is outstanding. Hospitals in the city offer groundbreaking cancer treatments and efficient urgent care. One of the oldest hospital systems in the city, Overlake Hospital Medical Centre, boasts a multitude of speciality care clinics for services such as heart and vascular, rheumatology, and mental health.  

The University of Washington (UW Medicine) also has several speciality clinics dedicated to everything from diagnostic care to outpatient surgery. Other prominent hospital systems with a presence in Bellevue include Kaiser Permanente and MultiCare. 

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Schools in Bellevue 

The Bellevue School District is rated among the top public school districts in Washington. With 28 public schools, including a Spanish-immersion elementary school and a Mandarin dual-language school, Bellevue offers parents plenty of schooling options.  

Parents looking to enrol their children in schools offering alternative pedagogical approaches will be delighted to find that the school district offers a healthy variety of options. International School and Bellevue Big Picture School are among the best of these. Big Picture School offers project-based learning, while International School allows its students to specialise in a specific subject area. 

As Bellevue is situated on indigenous land, the school district offers Native American students specialised education through its Native American Education Programme. Additionally, the district offers a special-education programme at no cost to parents.  

For those looking for higher education options, Bellevue College and the University of Washington are fantastic options.  

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Weather in Bellevue 

The weather in Bellevue is regulated by the city's proximity to Lake Washington and Puget Sound. Although the climate in Bellevue is generally mild, rainfall is common throughout the year.

Summers in Bellevue are the driest time of the year and temperatures are warm, with average highs reaching 80°F (27°C). Temperatures rarely drop below freezing, and snowfall is equally infrequent. Average winter lows typically reach 37°F (3°C). 

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Working in Bellevue 

The job market in Bellevue is thriving, and employees working in the city often earn lucrative salaries. Most newcomers moving to Bellevue work in the professional, scientific, and technical industries in Seattle. Other major employers in Bellevue include healthcare and social assistance, as well as education and the retail and service sectors. 

More than 50 Fortune 500 companies have bases in Bellevue, including Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, and Verizon, making Bellevue the perfect city for highly qualified professionals looking to build remarkable careers.  

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Accommodation in Bellevue 

With most people commuting to work by car in Bellevue, traffic in the city can be nightmarish. As such, newcomers would do well to find a home close to their workplace and children’s schools. This may be particularly challenging for those on a budget, as property prices in Bellevue continue to skyrocket.

That said, newcomers can find the perfect place to call home in Bellevue by working with a real estate agent and exercising some patience. Bellevue is known for its striking natural beauty, so wherever newcomers choose to base themselves in the city, there will always be a park or a body of water nearby.

Located alongside the Microsoft campus, Bridle Trails is aptly named after the Bridle Trails State Park and has some of the most spacious homes in Bellevue. Properties in this neighbourhood are pricey, but most homeowners in the area find the quality of life well worth the price tag.  

Bridle Trails State Park is a top equestrian park that hosts many cultural and entertainment events, making it perfect for families. Other family-friendly neighbourhoods in Bellevue include Phantom Lake, Wilburton, and Newport Shore. 

Young and single professionals will love neighbourhoods such as West Bellevue and Eastgate that boast quick access to Downtown Bellevue and Seattle. West Bellevue has many accommodation options that range from affordable studio apartments and condos to detached single-family homes with waterfront views. Shopping experiences and green spaces also abound in these areas.  

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Lifestyle in Bellevue 

Adventurists and nature lovers will enjoy the lifestyle in Bellevue. Known as the ‘city in a park’, Bellevue is home to more than 100 parks and three small lakes, in addition to Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish.

Some of the most popular activities to do in Bellevue include hiking, swimming, kayaking, and back-country skiing. Bellevue Botanical Garden also serves as a tourist attraction.  

The culinary scene in Bellevue is diverse and is representative of the city’s population. Much of the city's fare is Chinese, Italian, and Mexican. Craft beer and wine tasting are also favourite pastimes in Bellevue. Although Seattle offers much more in terms of nightlife, Bellevue’s nightclubs, bars, and pubs still hold their own. From upmarket bars to casual pubs, Bellevue has something for everyone.  

A must-do for new arrivals is the Downtown Bellevue Art Walk. This walking tour takes participants past 120 public art pieces across Downtown Bellevue. Art lovers can see local art exhibitions or attend a workshop at the Bellevue Arts Museum, considered Bellevue's most prominent cultural centre.

Shopaholics will not be left wanting for anything in Bellevue, as the city offers eclectic and diverse shopping options to suit all budgets. The Bellevue Collection is home to luxury stores and offers a premium shopping experience. Marketplace at Factoria is another popular shopping square with entertainment options and restaurants.  

Overall, newcomers moving to Bellevue will enjoy an excellent quality of life in a booming commercial city that allows its residents to build strong community ties.

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