Fodor's Expert Review Bellevue Botanical Gardens
This beautiful 53-acre public area just a short drive from downtown Bellevue is encircled by spectacular perennial borders, brilliant rhododendron displays, and patches of alpine and rock gardens. The Ravine Experience encompasses a five-acre area in the heavily forested southwest corner of the gardens with a ⅓-mile nature trail. A 150-foot suspension bridge crosses a deep ravine in one of the most pristine spaces, allowing visitors to observe unique topography and soaring conifers without disturbing the forest floor.
Docents lead tours of the gardens Saturdays and Sundays (April–October), beginning at the visitor center at noon. The Yao Japanese garden is especially beautiful in fall. One of the most interesting features of the park is the Waterwise Garden, which was planted with greenery that needs little water in summer. During the holiday season, the gardens are lit up nightly for Garden d'Lights, one of the area's most popular seasonal attractions.