By Emilio Rodriguez

One visit to the Pacific Northwest and you’re immediately awestruck by its beauty! Majestic mountains outline Bellevue and its surrounding cities, along with an abundance of evergreen trees. It’s not tough to find picture-perfect places to visit. Check out these Instagram worthy spots in and around Bellevue!

Meydenbauer Bay Park

Bellevue’s newest beach park features a pedestrian pier and a terrace where you can capture the entire park in one snapshot. The waterfront park is open for swimming from the end of June through early September. Rent a kayak, paddleboard, or canoe from the REI Boathouse and go for a spin down Lake Washington. Pack a picnic lunch and hang out at the marina. If you prefer to let someone else do the cooking, Pagliacci Pizza and The Istanbul Cuisine Cafe are within walking distance.

Botanical Gardens

More than 50 acres of pristine beauty awaits you at the Bellevue Botanical Garden.  You’ll find stunning landscapes with plenty of walking and hiking trails to choose from. Stop at the bridge that crosses a ravine for perfect shots of you and your friends. With several gardens featuring blooms such as dahlias and fuschias, your photos will certainly be colorful.

Dough Zone Dumpling House

Known for its many locations on the Eastside, Dough Zone Dumpling House is worth the stop. They specialize in dumplings that are perfect for a quick bite. The restaurants are tucked away in Bellevue Overlake Square Mall, Crossroads Mall, and the Redmond Town Center but don’t let that fool you. Dough Zone is a common spot for locals to drop by after a long day at the office. Get a snapshot of the tender dumplings along with the other dishes on the menu. Don’t know the proper way to eat dumplings? Let the staff help you learn or check out their website for a tutorial.

Bellevue Farmers Market

Sure, the Pike Place Market is famous for its fish-flinging theatrics. But if you want to avoid the crowds and chat with the locals, visit Bellevue Farmers Market. Fresh vegetables, fruits, and artisan creations await you. The market’s open every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. from May through October. You’ll find gorgeous flowers and enough delicious food to keep you full for a while! Live music helps add to the atmosphere. The Bellevue Farmers Market also runs on the third Saturday of the month in October, November, and December from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Blueberry Picking

If you prefer picking your own fruit, check out Larsen Lake Blueberry Farm on Southeast Eighth Street. From mid-June through October, you can get some pics of people picking blueberries. Stop and snap another photo of the farm’s historic log cabin. You’ll also find a path leading to a bog lake where the fish are always biting.

Daniel’s Broiler

If you prefer amazing steak and seafood, head to Daniel’s Broiler for a unique dining experience. The food is delicious, and the view from the 21st floor of the Bank of America building in the Bellevue Place complex is hard to beat. Ask for a table on the outer deck so you can enjoy a view of the Olympic Mountains and Seattle skyline.

So smile and say “cheese.” But make sure you finish your steak, dumplings and blueberries first!

Emilio Rodriguez is an amateur photographer and writer for LawnStarter Seattle. He began photographing his native Southwest with his parents’ Polaroid OneStep in the 1980s. He’s gone digital and roams far and wide now, but still stops for every good sunset.