Something Adorable Just Landed in Bellevue

Sanrio’s air travel-themed pop-up exhibit celebrating 45 years of Hello Kitty makes a stop in the Pacific Northwest

No need to pack a bag, exchange currency, or update vaccinations for the world tour flights that recently began departing from Bellevue. Travelers need only to show up with a sense of adventure and, possibly, a love of all things Hello Kitty.

In celebration of the iconic feline’s 45th anniversary, Sanrio recently launched the air travel-themed Hello Kitty Friends Around the World pop-up tour. After the inaugural “flights” from Los Angeles, the tour arrived in Bellevue on Dec. 7 for its second leg.

Located at 44 Bellevue Way NE in the shell of a defunct Sports Authority, guests will imagine they’ve stepped into the world’s cutest airport.

As they arrive, travelers are greeted by an airline employee who will distribute boarding passes and adorable pink passports attached to lanyards and asked to wait for their scheduled departure time in an impossibly colorful preboarding area.

When its time to depart, doors slide open and travelers are magically transported to London, where Hello Kitty has an adorable flat that she shares with her twin sister Mimmy. Guests can make silly faces at palace guards, wait for a double-decker bus, or head into Hello Kitty’s room and try on her clothes.

As travelers make their way through this 10,000-square-foot, multi-sensory, and fully immersive exhibit, they will be transported again and again to some of the world’s most iconic cities.

They will nosh on actual Madeleines in Paris, countdown to New Year’s Eve in New York, ride a wave in Honolulu, and meet Hello Kitty herself in a quiet Tokyo tea garden — all the while collecting stamps in their commemorative passports.

Back on the ground in Bellevue, travelers will make their way through the baggage claim gift shop where they can pick up a souvenir of their travels or get their hands on exclusive merchandise from brands like OPI, Girl Skateboards, Herschel Supply Co., and more.

On the way out, visit the Hello Kitty Lodge, a lounge built specifically for this stop of the tour with a decidedly Pacific Northwest flavor. Grab a coffee, Boba latte, or macaron to enjoy on one of the lodge’s plush seats or take it to go.

The Hello Kitty Friends Around the World pop-up won’t be here long, the cuteness departs on Dec. 29. Book online.

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is an assistant editor at 425 magazine. Email her.
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