I love living in Bellevue, Nebraska! I do. Bellevue means beautiful view, and if you know where to go in the third biggest city in Nebraska, you have to agree with its name. Money magazine recognized Bellevue as one of the best places to live in America, and I think they are on to something. I think my qualifications for such a title might be a little different than Money magazine, but here are the reasons I love living here.
The forest is the main reason I love this city so much. Fontenelle Forest is the answer to my nature-loving prayers. There are 20+ miles of trails to enjoy with my older kids, and my youngest loves Mud Pies, the boardwalk, and the play center in the basement of Fontenelle.
The year-long pass has so many benefits. It’s very affordable, and it gets my whole family into the forest all year long. Just outside of the trails, they have the raptor recovery center, where injured owls, vultures, and a new bald eagle find a safe home to live and thrive. One of my favorite perks of the year-long pass is yoga. In the summer, yogis practice on the patio with the forest as our backdrop. The instructor makes the practice friendly for all levels of flexibility, and the sounds of the forest make the hour-long class magical. In the winter, those practicing gather around a fireplace or in the log cabin at Camp Brewster. The forest and all of its healing perks is a big reason I love this city, but it isn’t the only one.
Offutt Air Force Base
As a civilian family, it may seem confusing as to why we would love to live in a service community, but we do. Offutt Air Force Base is responsible for bringing many of my favorite people to Bellevue. My kids get a unique perspective of the sacrifices the families of service members make, and they also get to witness the brave mindset of the soldiers with whom they are surrounded. As a person who has only lived in Nebraska, I love talking to people who have traveled the world due to the Air Force. Those who move as often as servicemen and servicewomen have such a unique perspective on the world, and they are used to talking to new people, so conversations are easy and fun. The base provides Bellevue with the Air Show in late summer, which is one of my kids’ favorite events to attend. I love living in a city that shows love for its country in so many ways.
If you haven’t had sushi at Umami in Bellevue, have you even lived? It may be a surprise, but hidden on Galvin Road in Bellevue is hands down, the best sushi restaurant in the area (and probably farther). Keen Zheng makes his soy sauce and smokes his salmon in house.
According to Omaha.com, “Owner Keen Zheng, who has trained under a number of New York City’s sushi chefs, said it has long been his dream to own his own sushi restaurant, though he didn’t want to do so in New York, where he said a sushi restaurant sits on nearly every corner.” People come from all over Nebraska to try this amazing sushi, and boy are we lucky he chose to open in our city. They have lunch specials, Hibachi specials, and traditional Japanese menu items. My kids love to try new things at Umami, and the restaurant is so affordable.
If we can’t make it to Umami, we love the sushi made right in the Twin Creek Baker’s. I was skeptical at first, but the renovations Baker’s made included actual sushi chefs in house. My husband and I love the Baker’s sushi. We feel so lucky to have these options in our town.
Youth Sports and Activities
Because my kids love sports, half of my adult life has been spent at Bellevue Junior Sports Association or the fields run by the Reed Center. Like most parents, many of our friends have come from parents of our kids’ teammates. BJSA has football, basketball, wrestling, volleyball, and cheerleading. The Reed Center runs an incredible baseball and softball season. In addition to the affordable and competitive sports in Bellevue, they host specialty camps and give information for skill extension beyond the city limits. There are adult volleyball leagues at the Lied Center and the city pools have new slides and other amenities.
If you are new to Bellevue, and you are wondering who to contact for information on sports, BJSA and the Reed Center are great places of contact.
Bellevue is a wonderful place to raise a family.
The atmosphere, the small-town feel, and the opportunities for recreation are endless. Thank goodness for Bellevue, Nebraska, and the wonderful life it has provided for my family.
This post was originally written in 2019 and updated in 2023.