Bellevue is the fifth largest city in Washington, with a population of more than 130,000. It is the high-tech and retail center of the Eastside, with more than 130,000 jobs and a skyline of gleaming high-rises. You can learn a lot about the city from news releases, the It's Your City newsletter and Bellevue Television.
While business booms downtown, much of Bellevue retains a small-town feel, with thriving, woodsy neighborhoods and a vast network of green spaces and recreational facilities that keep people calling the place "a city in a park." The city's schools are consistently rated among the best in the country.
Sales at local shopping complexes are always an attraction, but a strawberry festival and an arts and crafts fair each draw thousands each year. During the holiday season, the Garden d'Lights display at the Bellevue Botanical Garden attracts visitors from far and wide. Artists from around the country enter striking new works in the biennial Bellevue Sculpture Exhibition.
Every July 4, thousands from around the region converge on Bellevue Downtown Park for the Family 4th event. Bellevue's agrarian traditions are celebrated in the spring and fall at popular fairs at the Kelsey Creek Farm Park. More than 300,000 people visit the downtown area the last weekend in July each year for arts and crafts fairs.
The city spans more than 31 square miles between Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish, and is a short drive from the Cascade Mountains. People can kayak within sight of downtown in the Mercer Slough Nature Park, a 320-acre wetland preserve.
The population is growing and becoming more diverse. According to the census, minorities constituted 41 percent of Bellevue's population in 2010, and more than 50 languages are now spoken by children in Bellevue public schools.