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Bellevue, WA Population: 126,626

Named the #1 place to live and launch a business in America in 2008 by CNNMoney, Bellevue is located just 10 miles east of Seattle and is bordered by Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish to the east and west. Bellevue is an attractive city because of its sound school system, buoyant business opportunities, luxury retail and restaurant center and a plethora of parks and recreational areas to appreciate.

The Bellevue School District consistently ranks as one of the top districts in Washington serving students in Bellevue and the smaller surrounding communities of Clyde Hill, Medina, Hunts Point, Yarrow Point and Beaux Arts, plus portions of Issaquah, Kirkland, Newcastle, Redmond and unincorporated King County. Five of Bellevue’s High Schools ranked in the top 100 in the nation by Newsweek in 2010, while their elementary and middle schools are also top notch. Bellevue is also home to the higher education institutions of Bellevue College and City University of Seattle.

Aided by its convenient proximity to Redmond, home of Microsoft and Nintendo; Everett and Renton each the location of Boeing plants; and quick access to Seattle over the I-90 and 520 floating bridges; Bellevue has become a major economic and employment center boasting 143 headquarters and more than 140,000 jobs. The Bellevue Collection, which is located in the heart of Downtown Bellevue, has grown to become one of the largest retail, restaurant and entertainment centers in the region.

When you want to unwind, Bellevue offers a number of neighborhood and community parks as well including Downtown Park, a 20 acre oasis in the heart of downtown complete with a 240 foot waterfall, reflecting pond and a half-mile promenade. Also in the area are a number of beach parks, the Bellevue Botanical Garden, several golf courses, and a labyrinth of trails through extensive green belts if you really want to get away. You can also enjoy more cultural experiences like taking in the theatre at Meydenbauer Center or admiring the exhibits at the Bellevue Arts Museum.

Bellevue’s highly desirable location and attractive amenities fueled the sale of 2,164 homes and condominiums in 2013 with an average sales price of $648,884 and 33 days on market. The least expensive was a $65,000 bank owned condominium; the most was a $6.1 million waterfront mansion.