The spring district light rail station with public art
The Phoenix Half of Gong's "Dragon and Phoenix" (The Urbanist)

Perhaps you’ve taken the 2 Line, but don’t see the point in getting off at stations other than the Redmond Technology and Downtown Bellevue stations and are curious about the stations in between. Well, this is the article for you! BelRed is culturally rich, new and shiny in some places, and at the center of some urbanist gems. Don’t skip the Spring District and BelRed station areas. Explore them and find some hidden gems and witness as they are transformed into dense urban neighborhoods.

BelRed is arguably a nascent South Lake Union combined with its own spin on SoDo and the International District. The Spring District station area has a South Lake Union feel with tech offices emerging from a large light industrial presence. The BelRed station area has the more international feel, but you have to get past some of the historical industrial uses near the station first. When it comes to attractions, there’s more to see in the Spring District and more to eat around BelRed station.

Things to explore in the Spring District

The Spring District’s master-planned development and neighbors are rather interesting urbanist attractions. The master development has transformed half of a light industrial super block into a mixed-use neighborhood. There are new parks, amenities, streets, and pedestrian spaces to explore right outside of the light rail station.

One café in the Spring District is right next to the station, The Urbanist’s Ryan Packer has deemed Dote Coffee Bar a candidate for best café along the 2 Line. You can find all four Dote locations along the 2 line.

To the northeast of the station, Sound Transit’s Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF) East and the Eastrail are ripe for urbanist adventures. Especially if you’ve brought a bike or are down for a long walk, the sidewalk along the OMF East connects up with the Eastrail that will currently take you to Kirkland’s fastest growing neighborhoods — downtown, Moss Bay, and Totem Lake. Enjoy views of the OMF’s railyard and trains as you circle the facility, as well as wetlands and public art.

To the south of the Spring District, there are some additional places to get a drink. The Goose Pub and Eatery hosted The Urbanist’s 2 Line celebration. Bellevue’s Crab pot, Bellevue Brewing, and the Rose Persian Market are also in that area.

The dragon half of Gong’s “Dragon and Phoenix” (Sound Transit)

Don’t forget to check out the station’s public art too! Louie Gong, an artist and educator who founded Eighth Generation, created a cut metal mural of a dragon and phoenix with a feathery motif common in Coast Salish art. Gong is of mixed Nooksack, Chinese, French, and Scottish heritage.

What to eat around BelRed Station

The Spring District from Belred Station area
Industrial BelRed sees development encroach (The Urbanist)

The BelRed Station station area may look unassuming right now, but once you peel back a few industrial layers there are quite few a cultural nuggets to explore. Outside of the badminton academy, table tennis club, ski school, and Mox Boarding House, food is the main attraction of the station. By Cuisine you can find these restaurants in the BelRed Station walkshed:

  • Columbian
    • Monserrate Colombian Cuisine – A market/restaurant hybrid with great empanadas and Colombian treats
  • Various Chinese
    • Frying Fish – A Sichuan restaurant with, well, great fried fish and a solid menu of other spicy offerings. I high recommend going with a group.
    • Liuyishou Hot Pot – The PNW’s branch of the international hot pot chain
  • Taiwanese
    • Facing East – Try Taiwanese street food and comfort dishes here, especially the stewed pork over rice.
  • Various Indian
    • Rasoi Indian Restaurant and Bakery – An Indian restaurant and bakery offering various Indian cuisines.
  • Japanese
    • Donburi Station – By the same folks who brought you Fremont Bowl, this restaurant offers great Japanese rice bowls.

The BelRed station areas are a diverse tapestry of cuisines and attractions, but it’s important to note that the area is changing fast. Developers are eyeing the area, we already know of projects that will displace some of businesses we’ve talked about. Many of these restaurants are in older industrial or retail parks that make for lucrative redevelopment. Especially with a coming rezone in the Bellevue Comprehensive Plan update, the pace of change will only accelerate. Go explore them while you can and anticipate the new businesses that will come with all the new development.

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The Urbanist staff occasionally teams up to cover breaking news or tackle large projects. See more about our team on the staff page.