Bellevue packs a lot of excitement into one very manageable destination. Whether attendees are enchanted by natural beauty, fascinated by cultural activities, or enjoy the challenge of sports like golf, kayaking, and skiing, the city offers countless opportunities for meeting planners to provide their groups with memorable experiences. Here are a few suggestions.
FORUM SOCIAL HOUSE
Opened just last year, Forum Social House is a multi-purpose 20,000-square-foot entertainment venue conveniently located at Lincoln Square, the retail and entertainment complex downtown. Groups of up to 600 people can take part in events at this multifaceted venue. Among the big draws here is the Topgolf Swing Suite, which allows visitors to virtually play on any of more than 80 legendary golf courses. And the virtual reality excitement isn’t limited to golf. Participants can also play football and even confront zombies, all from the comfort of a suite equipped with billiards and ping pong tables, and food and beverage service.
Miniature golf is another popular feature at Forum Social House. Its two PAR1 courses feature nine holes and themes that are a far cry from the usual miniature golf experience; here, players can test their swing at a Koi Pond hole, a Unicorn Polo hole (complete with a unicorn), and the Putter Throne Hole, where guests just might feel like royalty. Another on-site option for groups is the Rockwell Sound Lounge, where the high-tech sound system, LED panels and live DJs set the tone for festive evenings of dancing and socializing.
BELLEVUE BOTANICAL GARDEN
Groups can enjoy the great outdoors at the Bellevue Botanical Garden, a 53-acre paradise where visitors can admire dahlias, fuchsia, and various perennials. Private tours, available from April through October, can be tailored to individual group interests and provide an expert’s look at sections like the Native Discovery Garden and the Yao Japanese Garden, and even teach skills related to healthy gardening and planting. A new visitor center also serves as a group-friendly hub for meetings, events, and presentations. The venue can welcome groups of up to 299 people.
KELSEY CREEK FARM
Set on the site of what was a working dairy farm in the 1920s and 1930s, Kelsey Creek Farm, which is operated as part of the City of Bellevue’s Parks and Community Services, offers several engaging group experiences. With some 150 acres of forest, meadows, and wetlands in the heart of the city, the attraction provides a welcome break from urban life with experiences that tie in with the destination’s rural heritage. And this is more than just a pretty place to visit; groups can learn how farms operated in the early 20th century, pick up tips on raising chickens and also learn how to make soup, bread, cinnamon rolls, pasta, and mozzarella.
For additional water-based fun, consider a private charter with Argosy Cruises, which offers a full array of catering, bar packages, and entertainment options, allowing planners to choose the music, activities, and menus that best suit their group. They can also choose the departure point from various locations around Puget Sound, and accommodate up to 450 people on their largest vessel. In addition, Argosy Cruises offers event space on Blake Island, an island in the Puget Sound that’s home to Blake Island Marine State Park. The facility features a 7,000-square-foot dining room that accommodates up to 150 guests for classroom-style seated events and up to 500 for banquets, with on-site catering that can include traditional indigenous dishes like fire-roasted fish.
BELLEVUE ARTS MUSEUM
Groups looking for engaging activities with an artistic bent will find lots to love at the Bellevue Arts Museum, a popular venue that emphasizes interaction with art, crafts, and design. Attendees can admire and learn about the works of art on exhibit during tours and also during private events; the museum has three meeting spaces, including the Forum, an art-filled space that accommodates up to 450 people for receptions. The Court of Light, meanwhile, is an open-air rooftop veranda that can welcome up to 100 people. The auditorium, which holds up to 80 attendees, is an ideal setting for presentations and other functions.
THE SHOPS AT THE BRAVERN
Groups revel in shopping at this largest collection of luxury brands in one stylish Pacific Northwest destination. The Shops at Bravern is a vibrant outdoor shopping experience at the forefront of downtown Bellevue. Explore designer brands like Gucci and Prada. Tired shoppers can reenergize by savoring award-winning cuisine by celebrated chefs or relaxing around one of the outdoor fireplaces.
BELLEVUE IS WINE COUNTRY
Groups can toast to their success in Bellevue's Nearby Wine Country, a picturesque region in the Sammamish River Valley, less than an hour from Bellevue. Graced with more than 100 wineries and tasting rooms, as well as 30 restaurants and eateries, our wine experiences provide an unforgettable opportunity for a full or half-day of activities, as well as on-site meetings and events. Numerous venues in the valley have private spaces available, including Chateau Ste Michelle, which accommodates up to 250 for receptions; Columbia Winery, which accommodates up to 900; and Efeste, which has space for 300.