Tour Bellevue’s public garden that’s inspired people for decades

Bellevue Botanical Garden has welcomed hundreds of thousands visitors – for free – for more than 30 years. #k5evening

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Bellevue Botanical Garden is the winner of Best Public Garden in 2023’s Best Northwest Escapes viewer’s poll.

For more than three decades, Bellevue Botanical Garden has been a peaceful sanctuary with lots of flower power.

Garden Director James Gagliardi said connecting with nature has a demonstrable impact on visitors.

“Walking around, enjoying the blooms, enjoying nature, it’s something that everybody needs in their life right now, so we’re glad to be able to supply it,” he said. “To stop and actually smell the flowers – that old saying is something that you should be doing! We are right in the heart of Bellevue here, but it feels like a different world.”

The 53-acre garden is run by the city and supported by nonprofits and community members. In 2022, volunteers spent 16,000 hours working in the garden and 425,000 people visited.

In addition to being a calming getaway, the garden serves to inspire peoples’ ideas for their own yards.

“Our mission is to be the best gardening example for homeowners in the Pacific Northwest. We have over 3,000 varieties of different plants here – things that you can then incorporate into your own yard,” Gagliardi said.

QR codes around the grounds provide links to information about the foliage, with different plants that bloom in every season.

“We’re especially popular in winter,” Gagliardi said. “We have our Garden D’Lights which is a garden light show that runs from about Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. And it’s really spectacular.”

If visitors get thirsty or need a snack, there’s an on-site café with service from woman-owned and operated Copper Kettle Coffee Bar.

The best part? Visiting Bellevue Botanical Garden is free.

“The price is right,” Gagliardi said. “This garden is here for everyone and we want everyone to feel welcomed.”

Bellevue Botanical Garden is located at 12001 Main Street and is open daily from dawn to dusk.

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