Bellevue, Washington at a Glance
Location: Nine miles southeast of downtown Seattle
Access: Interstates 90 and 405; Seattle-Tacoma International Airport; East Link Light Rail, expected to open in 2023
Major Meeting Spaces: Meydenbauer Convention Center, Hyatt Regency Bellevue, Hilton Bellevue, Westin Bellevue, Seattle Marriott Bellevue, Courtyard by Marriott Seattle Bellevue/Downtown
Hotel Rooms: 5,566
Off-Site Venues: Bellevue Arts Museum, Lucky Strike, KidsQuest Children’s Museum, Global Innovation Exchange
Visit Bellevue Washington
What do you get when you combine gorgeous scenery, cutting-edge technology, intriguing meetings and events venues, forward-thinking city planners and an overall air of enthusiasm? Easy answer: Bellevue, Washington.
“We’re right at the edge of where water meets the mountains and in the Pacific Northwest,” said Brad Jones, executive director of Visit Bellevue Washington. “So we have breathtaking beauty and lots to see and do, with man-made and natural attractions. Three national parks are right beside us.”
Downtown to downtown, his city is nine miles east of Seattle. They share Puget Sound. Because of its location on 40-mile-long, six-mile-wide Lake Washington, Bellevue is known as the “Eastside.” With regard to meetings, the two work hand in hand. Planners visit both and decide which works better for their group. Bellevue brings a lot to that table, including competitive rates and the choice of having an event at a hotel property, a convention center or a combination of both.
The combined downtown meeting space of the Meydenbauer Convention Center and all meeting hotels within five blocks is a whopping 160,000 square feet, great for a gathering of up to 3,500 attendees. One of those properties is the 732-room Hyatt Regency Bellevue, with 70,000 square feet of meeting space that includes an 18,000-square-foot ballroom. The Hyatt is in the Bellevue Collection, the city’s shopping, dining and entertainment district, so attendees can walk to everything.
Vibrant, modern Bellevue is home to innovative global corporations such as Microsoft, T-Mobile, Expedia, Amazon and Pokemon — gaming is a big industry — and to giant locally based outfitter REI.
“You’ll find an innovative, futuristic work spirit here that resonates throughout the city,” Jones said.
Development is exploding. In the next six years, a ticket of $10 billion is projected, led by the East Link Light Rail expansion that will connect Seattle to Bellevue, with a proposed 2023 opening. The public transportation system will facilitate connections between Sea-Tac Airport and Bellevue and its Technology Corridor. In addition multiple new hotels will be built in the next three years, among them the Pacific Northwest’s first Intercontinental Hotel, already being built.
“We have a long history of successful events,” said Jones. “Planners will find a remarkable number of industry professionals here that know what they’re doing and can accomplish any meeting goals set before them.”
Conveniently downtown, the Meydenbauer Convention Center boasts 54,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space, nine breakout rooms, an executive conference suite, a 200-capacity outdoor terrace and highly-praised catering. Menus feature local Pacific Northwest food, and the team includes a number of longtime service staff for comfortable continuity.
In addition to performing arts, the 410-seat Meydenbauer Theatre hosts corporate events on its stage, which can accommodate 150 for a reception or 100 for a seated meal.
“The theater is great for VIP groups because the room’s lighting and visuals make every guest feel like a star,” said Sara Waltemire, director of sales and events.
Innovative Off-Site Venues
A global partnership begun in 2017 between the University of Washington, Beijing’s Tsinghua University and Microsoft — Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) — is a new model of experiential education and practice for students, executives and working professionals to become leaders in innovation. In Bellevue’s new 36-acre Spring District development, GIX features an incubator, classrooms and reception space for 150.
Billed by USA Today as “a bowling alley for the new millennium,” Lucky Strike is pure, rockin’ nightlife, with handcrafted cocktails, chef-driven cuisine, two dance floors, 16 bowling lanes, a spectacular game arcade and a reception capacity of 1,000.
In addition to the Bellevue Challenge Course and Zip Tour, teambuilding options include the Mox Boarding House, where gamers gather to show their moxie; an 18-hole tournament at the Rusty Putter putting course; and Uncork and Unwind at Novelty Hill-Januik Winery.
Perfect for teambuilding or entertaining spouses, independent retailer Whisk, in the charming Old Bellevue neighborhood, offers cooking classes on nearly any type of cuisine taught by a faculty of more than 15 chefs. The experience includes hands-on prep, cooking, small bites, wine and dinner.
“We can set up a teambuilding competition,” said Ann Perinchief, owner with her husband, Don. “But cooking together can be challenge enough.”
Embracing nature a few blocks from downtown, Meydenbauer Bay Park reopened in March 2019. Additions include a swimming beach, outdoor classroom space and the REI Boathouse, which offers classes, outings and rentals for stand-up paddleboards, canoes, kayaks and pedal boats on Lake Washington.
An hour-and-a-half Argosy Cruise offers tours on that lovely lake with history narration and views of magnificent lakeside homes. Other choices are the Saturday Wine Cruise, the Puget Sound Locks Cruise and the Harbor Cruise. All include a full-service bar.
Groups can stay on terra firma on a docent-led walking tour of nationally recognized Bellevue Botanical Gardens, with suspension bridges, waterfalls and forests.