Not many cities can say they came out of the recession as well off as they went in. Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle, is one of the few.
Originally it was a small bedroom community designed for drivers commuting to the city. But in the last 25 years Bellevue's leaders have planned a pedestrian-friendly downtown connected to public transportation and in the process created a booming street scene and high-tech magnet that's become one of Seattle's hottest spots. (CNN Money ranked Bellevue as its fourth-best place to live nationwide in 2010.)