Yet, I have to admit, living in West Seattle, I don’t make it here as often as I should—but, after a day exploring all things dog friendly in Washington’s fifth largest city, I will definitely be back.
We start the day with a visit to Hotel Bellevue, one of the city’s finest luxury hotels. With just 67 rooms, it’s more boutique than hotel and the service reflects that, with no detail overlooked—for dogs and humans alike. The dog-friendly deluxe rooms are richly furnished, complete with doggy bed, treats, bottled water and food and water bowls for your four-legged friend. The king size bed beckons with cushy pillows and soft linens, and the luxurious marble, limestone and granite bathroom has geranium-mint bath salts if a soak in the tub is in order. We, on the other hand, enjoy a glass of wine on the private, outdoor garden patio before venturing out to explore more of the hotel.
Hotel Bellevue offers a variety of dining options in its four restaurants: Polaris, Cosmos, Splash and Luna Express—from a simple morning espresso to light lunch, to an expertly-made cocktail to dinner inspired by local growers’ freshest seasonal ingredients. There is also a cozy library, where you and your pooch are welcome to relax with a cup of tea by the fire. And, as a guest of the hotel, you also receive a hospitality membership to the Bellevue Club, which includes a full-service spa, two indoor and one outdoor swimming pool, four state-of-the-art workout studios, yoga, pilates and spinning classes plus indoor and outdoor tennis courts.
Alas, we opt for a workout of another kind—shopping—and for shopoholics, The Bravern
is the ticket. Located about a mile from Hotel Bellevue, The Bravern, which opened in September 2009, is comprised of 309,000 square feet of luxury retail space, state-of-the-art gym, two office towers and two residential apartment towers. It is a vibrant and dog-friendly outdoor shopping experience with designer boutiques including Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo, award-winning cuisine by celebrated chefs, and plenty of outdoor seating areas complete with a fireplace for gathering with friends, two- and four-legged alike. Most of the shops welcome dogs including Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Salvatore Ferragamo, to name a few.
Fortunately, we avoid draining our bank accounts at The Bravern, and insted head to Bellevue Downtown Park
, a 20-acre oasis of green in the heart of Bellevue. This beautiful park features a promenade, bordered by a double row of shade trees. There is also a 240-foot wide waterfall that cascades into a reflecting pond, where Charlie immediately spots a family of ducks. The 10-acre lawn area is perfect for a family picnic, with views of Bellevue’s skyline and Mount Rainier in the background. Today the sun is shining and the park is bustling with people walking their dogs along the promenade.
After a stroll through the park, it’s time to visit the Bellevue Farmers Market
, to take advantage of some of the region’s freshest meats, cheeses, flowers and produce. Here, you will find a variety of Bellevue purveyors including fresh honey from Cascade Natural Honey Company and Lee Lor Garden, which sells beautiful bouquets of flowers from the Snoqualmie Valley. There is also a bounty of produce provided by small, family farms. The dog-friendly Saturday market, located next to the Bellevue Arts Museum at Northwest 6th Street and Compass Plaza, starts in June and continues every week from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through November.
With our shopping complete, it’s now time for happy hour and the dog-friendly, outdoor garden patio at 520 Bar and Grill
is calling our name. Upon arrival, our server immediately brings Roscoe and Charlie water bowls to quench their thirst and takes our drink order to quench ours. For an appetizer, we order the Ahi Tuna Bites, seared rare and served with a seaweed garnish and ginger dressing. Rumor has it that 520 Bar and Grill also makes the best nachos in Bellevue, layered with cheddar jack cheese, olives, jalepenos, black beans and topped with pico de gallo and sour cream. However, I try and be good and stick to a salad, ordering the Craisin Walnut Salad, with candied walnuts, craisins, slivers of pears and gorgonzola cheese, tossed with a honey-lime dressing. The ambiance is casual, the food is superb, the service is excellent, and best of all, it’s dog friendly.
Whether you’re staying overnight or here for the day to dine and shop with your canine companion, Bellevue won’t disappoint. Vibrant and modern, it’s a short jaunt from Seattle and worth the journey, with plenty of green spaces to explore, shops to plunder, outdoor events to enjoy, and restaurants to feast at—and all with your pooch. Not bad for Washington’s fifth largest city.
11200 SE 6th Street
The Shops at Bravern
11111 NE 8th Street
Bellevue Farmers Market
Northwest 6th Street and Compass Plaza
520 Bar and Grill
10146 Main Street