When Stacy Graven, executive director of Visit Bellevue Washington, first moved to Bellevue in 1972, the city fell squarely into the “bedroom community” category. Much has changed since then, however. “The community has continued to evolve from suburban to much more urban city,” says Graven, “but it still manages to be a great place to live, work and play.”

Bellevue has also proven itself to be plenty capable of hosting a full spectrum of meetings and events, with more than 203,000 square feet of meeting space across the city. There’s also a host of things to do off the clock. Graven loves to show out-of-town visitors Bellevue’s Downtown Park and Botanical Garden or take them on a stroll through Old Bellevue’s Main Street, which continues down to the Lake Washington waterfront. “That, or spending an afternoon at the Bellevue Arts Museum, then on to experience world-class shopping and fabulous dining options,” she says.

Here are four more reasons why this Eastside hub is an ideal meeting destination:

» Bellevue boasts 4,700 hotel rooms. Of those, 3,200 are located in the downtown core within a mile of Meydenbauer Convention Center—one of the city’s most popular event venues, with more than 54,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

» The city’s hotels and meeting spaces are all fairly new. Two new hotels have opened in the past year, and two more are scheduled to open in the coming year. Most of the other hotels have recently completed upgrades or remodels.

» Meydenbauer Center recently completed a $12.5 million renovation, both inside and out. The renovations included enhancements to the meeting rooms, lobbies and theater, as well as technology and audiovisual upgrades.

» Thanks to Bellevue’s central location in the Puget Sound region, meeting attendees can explore the wineries and mountains to the east or Seattle’s iconic attractions to the west.

OK, I admit it. I’m a bit of a Scrabble nerd. Words with Friends is my go-to procrastination app. And I’m just enough of a word geek that I get excited when I hear my dictionary buzz me each morning at 8:03 with the word of the day. So you can imagine how giddy I was when I learned that Skamania Lodge’s updated Washington Room includes a giant Scrabble board—perfect for a little friendly business-retreat competition.


Sponsored by Woodland Park Zoo

Located in Seattle, Washington, the Woodland Park Zoo is an out-of-the-box venue to host networking events, corporate meetings, bleisure getaways, companywide retreats, or family-fun days. We talked with Joanna Moore, the group sales manager for the zoo, and had her answer some questions that will tell you everything you need to know about this animal-focused spot.