Just northeast of Bellevue is Redmond, formerly the rural baby brother, which, with the arrival of Microsoft’s main campus in 1986, became a grown up, a full on city-suburb. It may also be the home of Nintendo of America and call itself ‘the bicycle capitol” of the area, but it is known for Microsoft, and in fact, has become synonymous with its largest denizen.

Unfortunately, that Microsoft fame has also come with Microsoft-sized traffic and the notoriety that comes with it. As State Route 520 fades away in Redmond, it narrows; causing a bottleneck that can turn a 15-mile drive in to a two hour excursion.

Located just inland (eastward) from Kirkland and Bellevue, it is on the shores of Lake Sammamish, bisected by the Sammamish River, and just north of the town of Sammamish. Unlike its lakefront neighbors to the west, Redmond did not have a shipbuilding boom in the early parts of the 20th century, and thus remained a rural outpost for much longer than Kirkland or Bellevue. This played to its advantage, eventually, though, as there was plenty of empty, unused or agricultural land available when global software giant Microsoft was looking for a place to build its main campus. To this day it continues to have the space to expand as necessary.

Another benefit of the late development was the creation of vast parks within the city limits. Redmond’s most well known park is actually run by the county, and is called Marymoor. Marymoor contains 560 acres of land open to the public including various types of ball fields, a cycling velodrome, one of the area’s largest off-leash dog parks and a climbing rock. In the summer, it also plays host to a series of concerts headlined by nationally known musicians. The Sammamish River Trail runs through Redmond, connecting to the Burke Gilman Trail, allowing riders a single trail through to Seattle. The city also has its own series of parks, including Perrigo Park, named for one of the founders of the town. The town of Redmond was named for Luke McRedmond, who had the town renamed after fighting Warren Perrigo’s naming of the hamlet as Melrose. Redmond is also a center for the performing arts for the Eastside and various concerts, theaters and other programs can be found in the city. One venue geared to a less fancy audience is the Old Redmond Firehouse. This all-ages music and arts stage was created to allow teens a place to hang out and to provide local bands a chance to perform in a concert setting. It has been extremely successful and a well-known example of this type of program.

Redmond has few festivals that draw in people from around the region, since many of them are drawn in daily by their work at the sprawling Microsoft Campus. That said, the town’s big event is the Redmond Derby Days, held annually in July, with a bike race, parade and various fair activities.