Factoria – Bellevue, WA

An offshoot of the popular city of Bellevue, the neighborhood of Factoria provides its residents with comfortable living space and plenty of things to do. Factoria includes most amenities that locals seek out on a daily basis. Grocery stores, restaurants, pubs and a movie theater can all be found within walking distance of most homes. Located just a few miles from Bellevue and about 10 miles from downtown Seattle, the area is only a short trip away from Washington's finest restaurants and entertainment. Though Factoria can be a pricey area, many residents feel that the perks of being near Lake Washington compensate for that. Along with the many natural parks, people like living in Factoria for its easy access to two major highway systems and convenient surrounding amenities near Factoria Mall.

Schools in Factoria

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

The restaurants in Factoria represent an eclectic mix of flavors. Perhaps more than any other style, Japanese and Chinese eateries seem to be common finds in the neighborhood. Most places feature affordable prices, with many of the high-class restaurants located north in downtown Bellevue. Square Lotus acts as one of the most popular Japanese restaurants in the area, with affordable prices and a large menu of options to choose from. Vegetarians particularly enjoy this restaurant for its extensive array of meals without meat or animal products. The favorite dishes here include the mango sticky rice and the pho tai. Square Lotus gets extra busy during lunchtime on the weekends and during the midday rush on weekdays. If you’re looking for a place to celebrate in style, make reservations at Novilhos. This popular Brazilian steakhouse attracts people from all over the Bellevue area with its endless selection of tenderly cooked meats. Pay an upfront price of about $50 per person and receive endless cheese rolls, mushroom risotto and salad bar along with an impressive selection of steaks, ribs and other meats. Servers constantly circle through the tables with the freshest cuts of meat from the kitchen, so be sure to save some room to try the different kinds. The ribeye steak and the Picanha, a house prime cut of sirloin, prove to be crowd favorites. Happy hour at the bar here runs from 4 to 7 p.m. weekly, so stop by early before dinner for a bargain price on a cocktail. Most of the best venues for live entertainment lie north, near downtown Bellevue, quickly accessible by Interstate 405. The most popular place to catch live music here is Bake’s Place, a bar that hosts live performances almost every night of the week. Go on a Thursday night to avoid a cover charge. Bake’s runs a happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays. For those looking for a reliable place to hang out and grab a beer with some friends, Sideline Sports Bar should do the trick. Located near the Factoria Mall, this neighborhood pub always has something going on, with Karaoke Wednesdays, Trivia Thursdays and Beer Pong Saturdays. Sideline also serves as the go-to spot to watch sports on one of many big-screen TVs. If you’re feeling peckish, the pub serves up classic bar food such as nachos, wings and pizza to pair nicely with your Washington draft beer.

History & Culture

The area of Factoria first served as the location of a new industrial center planted by E. L. Skeel in the early 1900s. After forming the Mercer Land Company, Skeel decided to change the name of the community from Mercer to Factoria, with the idea that the name might attract big businesses to the area. Over the next few decades, Factoria become one of the largest headquarters for the rabbit industry. A cultural shift occurred in the 1960s when freeway construction placed Factoria at the intersection of two major highway systems. This new construction brought huge growth to the community, turning it into the popular retail center it is today. The Bellevue Festival of the Arts attracts thousands of people to its streets every summer at the end of July for a weekend of local art, live music and food vendors. Residents love taking children to the KidsQuest Children's Museum.

Transportation

Residents of Factoria enjoy the convenience of being able to walk to many amenities. Grocery stores, restaurants and popular shops all can be found around the Marketplace Factoria area, in the northwest section of the neighborhood. Cyclists can take advantage of the available bike lanes; however, the steep hills of the area discourage most from biking long distances. The main bus stops for the area can be found on Factoria Boulevard, with bus lines running to downtown Bellevue and Seattle. Locals who use a car to get around find easy access to both Interstate 90 and Interstate 405 by way of Factoria Boulevard. Parking spaces remain prevalent and free, especially around the Factoria Mall. Taxis can be found in the neighborhood from time to time, but it’s usually best to call ahead. Some people choose to use alternative services such as RelayRides or Uber. A trip to downtown Bellevue takes about 10 minutes by car or 20 minutes by bus.

Cost

Overall, Factoria residents experience a slightly lower cost of living than residents of downtown Bellevue. However, compared to other neighborhoods of Washington, Factoria leans on the expensive side, with a cost of living rate at around 40 percent higher than the state average. Housing and rent prices in Factoria far outrank most neighborhoods of Washington. The median home value in this neighborhood hovers around $400,000, and one-bedroom apartments cost about $1,100 per month. When buying gas, expect to pay about 16 percent more than the national average in this neighborhood. If you’re going out to a pub, you'll spend between $5 and $6 for a 16 oz draft beer. A one-way trip to Bellevue on public transport will cost about $3.

Shopping

This mixed-use neighborhood's main area of commerce is Marketplace Factoria, also known as Factoria Mall. This large shopping plaza includes indoor and outdoor stores such as Target, DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse and Nordstrom Rack. Most of the high-end boutiques are located in downtown Bellevue, with the shops in Factoria appealing to a broad audience of people looking for name-brand goods. Those who love looking for bargain deals should check out St. Margaret's Thrift Shop. This thrift store is maintained by St. Margaret's Episcopal Church and continually receive donations of clothes, furniture and toys. Among other sections, St. Margaret's Thrift Shop includes a special Christmas section where people can find bargain deals on Christmas decorations for the holiday season along with gifts such as toys and books. Located inside Factoria Mall, Simply Chic Boutique stocks a large selection of trendy women's clothes and accessories and a mix of designer brands and popular names. This store is great to visit if you're gift shopping, with jewelry, tops, dresses and more to choose from. Most residents complete their weekly grocery shopping at the Safeway located in the Marketplace Factoria. Those looking for a farmers market in the summertime can head a few miles north to the Crossroads Farmers Market. Located at the corner of 156th Avenue and 8th Street, Crossroads Farmers Market occurs every Tuesday afternoon throughout the summer. Its visitors can browse stands of local produce, flowers and baked goods from artisan bakeries.

Parks

Factoria is bordered by two major nature reserves, with Coal Creek Park lying to the south and Mercer Slough Nature Park to the northwest. Both parks feature a large network of hiking trails and paths for its visitors, with many acres of preserved land to enjoy. Residents enjoy visiting Mercer Slough Nature Park for the many trails for dog walking, jogging and biking. Some trails are paved for rollerblading and cycling as well. In addition to the trails, Mercer Slough provides restrooms, picnic areas and rental canoes for use on the river. A highlight of the summer for many residents is taking a trip to the Mercer Slough blueberry farm to handpick fresh blueberries for jams and pie.
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