Bellevue, Washington

The City in a Park

Looklyloo Score: 86

View Full Profile


What's it like to live in Bellevue?

What is it like to live in Bellevue, WA?

Bellevue is mostly filled with educated, upper middle class professionals. If you're single, go to Seattle as there is more night life. Bellevue is more for married professionals. Seattle has more flair, more individuality and is really more interesting for singles. Seattle is a small big city with really more to do.

One thing to get used to whether you're in Seattle or Bellevue is most folks here are passive aggressive. People hang with those they are used to and are not too welcoming to outsiders. I lived here as a kid and returned when I graduated from high school. I tried to rekindle my childhood friendships to no avail. Their circle was set and that was that. Most of my friends are from out of state and we have all agreed that it's tough to meet native Washingtonians. It's now been 20 years since I moved here and I still feel like a transplant to Washington. I'm not sure if it's just the way the world has become or if people are just too busy or if it's always been that way. But is does speak volumes that others from out of state feel this way.

Bellevue is like many of the cities outside of San Francisco, e.g.; Walnut Creek or La Mesa outside of San Diego. It's expensive, nice, a place you'd want to raise a family. And, yes, the sky is grey and rainy months on end, but when the sun shines, there is no place more beautiful than the Northwest. Forget the grey and grab your shades -- it won't last long. :)

What is it like to live in Bellevue, WA?

I moved to Bellevue from Portland in 1970 and lived there for 37 years. We moved there because they had the best schools in the region and I don’t believe that has changed. We knew the boys teachers and participated in school functions. In 1970 we lived in a small four bedroom ranch style home across from a wooded area which soon was turned into a park with ball fields and soccer fields. We lived in middle income Caucasian neighborhood where we knew our neighbors and their kids. Downtown Bellevue was fairly small and open. Even Bellevue Mall was a series of small stores. Crossroads Mall was small and almost didn’t make it. Bellevue was one of the only districts that voted Republican. I will leave the description of the weather to other writers.

Now let me describe Bellevue as it is today after moving away for a few years and then returning.

Bellevue is a thriving city with many skyscrapers and more being built each day. Many/most of the stores are expensive with high grade branded products. The traffic is intolerable. Partly because of the building of the new light rail that won’t be completed for many years. Bellevue Mall is a huge three story enclosed Mall with almost entirely high end stores. (Penny’s was moved out a few years ago). Crossroads Mall is now enclosed and is thriving. The population in Bellevue which was once predominantly Caucasian is now ethnically diverse. Many Vietnamese were moved here after the Vietnam war. Also Microsoft, which is the largest employer in the area, brings in a diverse group of people from many countries. Now because of the diversity of the people the income level is also diverse. Mostly because of the change in population, Bellevue has now voted in a liberal Democrat to represent them in Congress for the first time. Builders are buying and tearing down the small homes where I once lived and building huge two/three story homes on a small plot of land. New apartment buildings are going up all over Bellevue. The hospitals in Bellevue are very good and growing. Bellevue is the third largest city in the State of Washington and is getting larger every day. If you are a liberal and don’t mind crowds and traffic you might like it here.

What is it like to live in Bellevue, WA?

I can answer this question from a scholars perspective as someone who has been going to schools in the bellevue school district for 7 years.

I can't offer so much of a financial perspective because I don't handle the finances (obviously), but I can say that the cost of living here is skyrocketing. The amount of money we have to pay to live in an apartment probably could have bought us a nice house if we lived in the central parts of the US.

Climate wise it's honestly no biggie. I think there is scientific evidence that the rainier and darker climates are more depressing, but I used to live in Hawaii and I honestly prefer the dark and rainy to the sunny and bright. It doesn't snow here as much as I'd like though…

Ok, so let's dive into the school perspective. As you may have heard, Bellevue schools are ranked pretty high nationally. Our schools offer a wide variety of advanced classes such as AP and IB classes.

Diversity wise, it's a pretty fair mix of diversity in schools. In my elementary school it was a majority white, in my middle school it was a majority hispanic, and in my high school it was a majority east asian and indians. Our schools are very diverse in other cultures as well, but those are the main majorities I have seen in my schools.

Now here is one of the biggest thing about Bellevue schools, the competitive drive to be smart. Like, it's absolutely insane. Being called a nerd or geek is definitely a compliment here. Sports teams are sort of shoved to the side, like our poor football team is just not that good and no one really seems to care about them. Everyone is more focused on the debate team, or the science Olympiads.

Another thing to note is the gifted program. A lot of schools have gifted programs but our gifted program is insanely competitive. It practically takes a bunch of kids and makes all of them skip a grade while also enrolled in only IB classes. Parents drives to get their kids in the gifted program is also insane. My mom works as a psychologist and she is paid so much when the season for gifted enrollment comes around because so many parents want her to test their kids for the gifted program. And parents will make their kids test multiple times until they get in. The expectations on kids to be the best in their class and get A's and take a lot of advanced classes is pretty stressful for a lot of kids.

But ultimately, the teachers are good, the campus are good (a lot of them just got remodeled) and if your child is looking for something of a challenge bellevue definitely has a lot to offer in that regard. Bellevue school districts have churned out a lot of kids that have gone to amazing colleges and have done amazing things.

Moving to bellevue

We recently lived in Bellevue for 4yrs, as it's name states, it is beautiful. If you can, try to take a house-hunting/apartment hunting trip prior to making any commitments on where to live. Traffic within Bellevue is manageable, the bridges in and out of Seattle can be a nightmare for commuting.

Since you have a young family moving with you, you may want to research crime rates in specific areas/neighborhoods of Bellevue, you could contact the Bellevue PD and ask them for resources also, I think most of the area is covered by Spotcrime reports. Areas like Crossroads might look convenient and reasonable rent but crime is high there. The Factoria area may also be reasonable but again crime is a consideration and likely to go up with the low-barrier men's shelter being built.

Based on location where you will be working (Amazon?), looking in the north or directly downtown Bellevue area would be ideal especially given your bike commute but rents will likely be out of the 2.5k range. Will you also consider a condo/townhome? If so you might want to look on Zillow or type of websites at available properties non-apartments.

For weekends there are so many stunningly beautiful parks nearby you'll wish you had more time to enjoy them. Make sure you visit Snoqualmie Falls, The Attic casual restaurant has gorgeous views and fantastic pizza.

Depending on where you are moving from you could be in for a bit of a culture shock. But its a breathtaking area you'll wake up every day feeling like you are living in a painting. Wish you all the best on your upcoming adventure.

Pros and Cons of Living in Bellevue Washington 2021