Bellevue is the dream city for me. I am not a city girl, I prefer the country. However, I also like being in the mix of things and connected with people. Yes, a hard balance to find! Bellevue is it though; 15 minute drive E and I'm in the mountains, 15 W and I'm in Seattle, or for an easy local experience, Bellevue offers it all.
The food is great, the people are nice, there are stores I can shop at to on a budget and stores I can shop for quality. Although the cost of living is expensive, there are affordable options near by.
I love the few square miles that such a balanced and beautiful city is built within. There are also great trails that are accessible from almost any neighborhood. They have done a great job planning the balance of commuting, working and being with family in this city.
When I first moved to Washington state from Wisconsin I lived in Bellevue while trying to get on my feet and I will admit, Seattle was where I really wanted to be. That was four and a half years ago. I have lived in Seattle ever since but I frequent the city of Bellevue everyday, honestly. Bellevue is located literally right across Lake Washington from Seattle and is, depending on traffic, about a fifteen minute commute. If it's rush hour, plan for at least a 45 minute drive.
Bellevue is awesome in many ways but definitely not for the penny pinchers. Whether or not it's because Microsoft is based there remains to be seen but BMWs, Lexus' and Mercedes are the main vehicles you will see driving through these city streets. Don't get me wrong the city of Bellevue is extremely clean, has a very low crime rate, great shopping, awesome restaurants, beautiful parks, some decent attractions, fantastic views of gorgeous mountains in every direction and green for as far as the eye can see; just note that moving here, traveling here or even visiting here for a night should be considered a splurge unless you're making six figures a year.