Old Main in Bellevue

Chic boutiques and charming new cafés occupy this classic Eastside shopping district.

Bellevue may be best known for the brand-name mecca Bellevue Square mall (or more recently, for being at the opposite end of the grumble-inducing 520 bridge toll), but just one block south of the downtown park between Bellevue Way and 100th Avenue lies the sweet Old Main Street district with plenty of new draws that are worth the lake crossing. 

a walk in the park
Conveniently adjacent to the downtown park, Running Elements (10047 Main St., Suite 102; 425.449.8399; runningelementsbellevue.com) can outfit you with a hot new pair of shoes, served with a side of advice from owner and marathon coach Ginny Morris.

get out the plastic
Clothing patterns fill the windowed workshop at the Design 10301 sewing space, shown above, (10301 Main St.; 425.223.4524; design10301.com), two doors down from the SoHo-esque boutique where you can snag the finished products, such as an edgy wrap cardigan from the European-inspired Jarbo line. Or brighten up your home with colorful, jewel-like votives and tumblers from Glassybaby’s Eastside outpost (10230 Main St.; 425.256.2927; glassybaby.com).

to market, to market
Right next to famed deli and bagel shop Gilbert’s on Main (10024 Main St.; 425.455.5650) sits Cantinetta Bellevue’s new sister shop, Mercato Stellina (10000 Main St., Suite 104; 425.732.6611; mercatostellina.com), a small and bright Italian deli offering an array of fresh panini and house-made pastas, in addition to imported goods, such as olive oils, sauces, meats and cheeses.

edible indulgences
If your sweet tooth is begging for a treat, there are plenty of tried and true options in the ‘hood, such as Belle Pastry and Amore Chocolates on Main, but for an off-beat nibble, try a sweet-tart pairing of dark chocolate balsamic vinegar and blood-orange-infused olive oil at the new Two Sisters Olive Oil, shown above, (10129 Main St., Suite 107B; 425.454.2194; twosistersoliveoil.com). There are dozens of oils and vinegars available for your tasting pleasure, with miniature bottles starting at $5.

The Best Local Socks to Buy Now

The Best Local Socks to Buy Now

This city has a thing for socks. From top toe protection to no-slip all-stars, we’ve found the best bets for restocking your sock drawer

(From left to right)

1.  Sock It to Me
This Portland-based company has the corner on the whimsical-sock market. Go for the women’s Shakespeare-themed “Taming of the Shoe” or the men’s Multi Player gaming sock for a silly but sophisticated fashion statement. $11.50–$12, sockittome.com

2.  Darn Tough
The name says it all. Based in Vermont and manufactured exclusively in the U.S., these mid-calf, micro crew hike/trek socks are sure to keep your tootsies dry and happy on a hike. The fun colors will make you even happier to take off your boots at the end of the day. $20, available at REI.com

3.  Peony and Moss
Founded by Seattle local Eva Spitzer, Peony and Moss brings the pretty with these high-quality cotton socks. We like the Scandinavian pattern knee high, but the thigh high works well with the high-booted crowd. $30–$32, peonyandmoss.com

4.  Mod Socks
Bellingham’s Mod Socks pays serious homage to its Northwest roots with its “Bigfoot Loves Washington,” a women’s knee sock, and the “Bear Necessities” crew sock for men. $10, modsocks.com

5.  Strideline
This Seattle-based company took the city by storm with its skyline lacrosse sock. Now it has come up with a new digital ink technology that brings photo-realism and hometown pride to your feet. Get the new skyline, Husky Stadium or the Sounders sock just in time for soccer season. $16–$18, strideline.com

6.  Balega
The unique left/right construction and deeper heel pocket of these crew socks make them a favorite in local specialty running shops, such as Super Jock ’n Jill. Balega’s ultralight quarter sock, $13, has been called the sheerest, lightest sock on the market and has garnered lots of hard-core running fans. Available at Fleet Feet Sports Seattle, Capitol Hill, 911 E Pine St.; 206.329.1466; fleetfeetseattle.com