Hidden Gems of Downtown
Downtown Bellevue has plenty of popular restaurants, impressive patios and beautiful parks. While the well-known spots are still favorites, the city has many hidden gems in the area, tucked into corners or sometimes hidden in plain sight. Next time you’re coming out of the office or walking your dog in the park, look around and you’ll find these rare and equally spectacular places that are worth discovering.
- Swipe by George Rodriguez
Hidden in an alley between Central Bar + Restaurant and Bellevue Arts Museum lies a large ceramic cat created by Texas artist George Rodriguez. The pose, with one paw up in the air, is a gesture of greeting and welcome. Swipe was put up for auction at BAM Artful Evening Gala and purchased by the Brazen family, owner of Central. The statue has become a Bellevue landmark in Central Alley, shared with everyone who passes by.
- Wayfinder by Damien Gilley
Tucked away in the Bellevue Arts Museum garage, you’ll find a cool art installation designed by Portland artist Damien Gilley. His objective was to provide a pop of color that weaved throughout the space. The underground art is scribbled in geometric forms that react to the various wall angles and provide moments of dimension. Discover this unique art next time you’re parking!
- Facing East
Facing East restaurant is tucked into the corner of Belgate Plaza off Bellevue Way, serving some of the most authentic Taiwanese food around. They have been on the Eastside since 2006, and continue to be a little secret mainstay of Bellevue. The name Facing East comes from a feng shui fortune reading, the cardinal direction which brings them the most luck and prosperity. They serve a variety of classic dishes and street food in a casual, family-style setting.
- Chace’s Pancake Corral
If you’re looking for a true local diner, venture south of Old Bellevue and you'll find Chace's Pancake Corral. Located right outside of Downtown Bellevue, Chace’s is an old Bellevue gem that has been family-owned and operated since 1958. Inside, you'll find photos and articles showcasing Bellevue's history all over the walls. Chace's will give you a taste of downtown history that once stood in the heart of Bellevue.
Exclusive Night Spots
- Civility & Unrest
A daring exploration into cocktail culture, Civility & Unrest is a speakeasy-style bar located under the stairs of the W Hotel. Inside you'll find a dim and cozy bar offering cocktails, liquors, and sparkling selections Wednesday through Saturday, from 4pm until close. Don’t head there just yet - the sophisticated bar will re-open on Oct. 14 with new craft cocktails and delicious food. Owner Scott and Chef Tanya have been tasting, testing and refining the details to give you the best experience possible.
- The Porch
The Porch is located on the second floor of Lincoln Square, complete with swinging benches and an outdoor fireplace. Unwind with friends and enjoy eye-catching murals by Lady Aiko. There's regularly live music, unique cocktails, and an on-site photo booth to capture memories. It’s a great spot overlooking the heart of Downtown.
Special Local History
- Hidden History in Downtown Park
Ever notice the wall that runs through the inner circle of the Bellevue Downtown Park? It outlines where Overlake Elementary School once stood. The park's design also preserved the footprint of Bellevue's former South Union High School, originally located on the Downtown Park site. In the north-eastern corner by the gardens, you'll find the old school entrance to South Union High School.
The trees located in the center of the park are also part of a memorial to Eastside World War I veterans. It was dedicated by the Bellevue Minue Women and the Bellevue School District on November 11, 1926. The original monument included a plaque with the names of three men killed in the war, three elm trees, and a 48-star US flag flying.
Image Courtesy of: George Rodriquez Courtesy of Visit Bellevue, Bellwether, Facing East, Chace's Pancake Corral, Civility & Unrest, The Porch, Eastside Heritage Center.
This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.
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