20 Things to Do in Bellingham

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If you’re looking for a place that’s as warm and friendly as a freshly brewed cup of coffee, then Bellingham is the perfect destination for you.

Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Bellingham offers a unique blend of outdoor beauty and urban charm. With the stunning backdrop of the Cascade Mountains and the sparkling waters of Bellingham Bay, you’ll find yourself surrounded by breathtaking natural wonders at every turn.

But that’s not all – Bellingham is more than just a pretty face. We’ve got a vibrant arts and culture scene that will leave you inspired and entertained. From local galleries to live music venues, there’s always something happening to ignite your creative spark.

But perhaps what sets Bellingham apart the most is the genuine warmth and hospitality of its residents. We’re a community that welcomes everyone with open arms, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time resident.

Get ready to make unforgettable memories, meet amazing people, and fall in love with this little slice of paradise we call home.

See you soon in Bellingham, where the adventure awaits!

Things to Do in Bellingham

1. Explore Whatcom Falls Park

Whatcom Falls Park
Image source: bellingham.org

Whatcom Falls Park, located in Bellingham, Washington, is a scenic urban park that offers a picturesque natural retreat for locals and visitors alike. The park’s centerpiece is Whatcom Falls, a stunning 25-foot waterfall surrounded by lush greenery and old-growth forest.

The park features an extensive network of hiking and biking trails, making it a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Whatcom Falls Park also includes playgrounds, picnic areas, and fishing spots, providing a perfect setting for family outings and leisurely walks.

2. Visit the Mindport Exhibits

Mindport Exhibits
Image source: bellingham.org

Mindport Exhibits is an interactive and eclectic museum in downtown Bellingham that captivates visitors of all ages with its innovative exhibits and hands-on displays.

The museum’s emphasis on science, art, and creative thinking makes it a popular destination for both locals and tourists seeking engaging and thought-provoking experiences.

Mindport’s exhibits range from optical illusions and kinetic sculptures to interactive puzzles and brain teasers. The museum encourages visitors to explore the boundaries of perception and imagination, making it an enlightening and intellectually stimulating outing.

3. Take a stroll through the Fairhaven Historic District

Fairhaven Historic District
Image source: bellingham.org

The Fairhaven Historic District, situated in south Bellingham, is a charming neighborhood steeped in history and character. Originally founded as a separate town in the late 19th century, Fairhaven retains its Victorian-era architecture and cobblestone streets, creating a timeless ambiance.

Visitors can wander through Fairhaven’s boutique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes. The district is also home to the Fairhaven Village Green, where various community events and markets take place.

Exploring the Fairhaven Historic District offers a delightful blend of nostalgia, cultural heritage, and contemporary charm.

4. Discover the Bellingham Farmers Market

 Farmers Market

The Bellingham Farmers Market, established in 1992, is a vibrant and community-oriented market that showcases the best of the region’s agricultural bounty and local artisans.

Located in the heart of downtown Bellingham, the market operates third Saturday of the month, offering fresh produce, handmade crafts, artisanal goods, and delicious street food.

It’s a beloved gathering place for residents and visitors alike, where they can connect with local farmers, artists, and small businesses. The Bellingham Farmers Market not only supports the local economy but also fosters a sense of community and sustainable living.

5. Enjoy a kayak or paddleboard adventure on Bellingham Bay

Try paddle boarding at the Snake River

Bellingham Bay, with its tranquil waters and scenic vistas, beckons water enthusiasts to embark on kayak and paddleboard adventures. Several outfitters in Bellingham offer kayak and paddleboard rentals, as well as guided tours for all experience levels.

Paddlers can explore the bay’s coastline, observe marine wildlife, and take in stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Kayaking and paddleboarding on Bellingham Bay provide a unique perspective of the city’s natural beauty and offer a serene and eco-friendly way to connect with the outdoors.

6. Visit the Whatcom Museum

Whatcom Museum
Image source: Wikipedia.com

The Whatcom Museum, established in 1941, is an educational and cultural institution that celebrates the history, art, and natural sciences of the region. The museum comprises three distinct locations: the Lightcatcher Building, the Old City Hall Building, and the Syre Education Center.

The Lightcatcher building, with its striking architectural design, features rotating art exhibitions, while the Old City Hall showcases historical artifacts and offers glimpses into Bellingham’s past.

The museum’s Syre Education Center offers interactive displays for children and families. A visit to the Whatcom Museum offers a comprehensive exploration of the area’s diverse cultural heritage and artistic expression.

7. Take a scenic drive along Chuckanut Drive

Chuckanut Drive

Chuckanut Drive, officially known as State Route 11, is a scenic byway that winds along the cliffs of Chuckanut Mountain and offers breathtaking views of Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands. The drive, designated as one of the most scenic in the Pacific Northwest, takes travelers through lush forests, rocky cliffs, and dramatic coastal vistas.

Numerous pull-offs and viewpoints along Chuckanut Drive provide ample opportunities to stop and admire the natural beauty of the area. The drive is especially stunning during the fall when the foliage turns vibrant shades of red and gold.

8. Hike to the top of Sehome Hill Arboretum for panoramic views

Sehome Hill Arboretum

Sehome Hill Arboretum, situated near Western Washington University, is a lush and tranquil forested area that offers a network of hiking trails. The hike to the top of Sehome Hill rewards visitors with panoramic views of Bellingham, Bellingham Bay, and the surrounding Cascade Mountains.

Along the trails, hikers can explore diverse flora, including native plants and unique tree species. The arboretum’s serene setting and natural beauty make it an ideal spot for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.

9. Explore the Western Washington University campus

Western Washington University campus
Image source: britannica.com

The campus of Western Washington University (WWU) offers a blend of academic excellence and natural beauty. Visitors can take a leisurely walk through the picturesque campus, surrounded by vibrant gardens, sculptures, and old-growth trees.

The WWU campus includes the Western Gallery, an art museum featuring rotating exhibits of contemporary art.

As you explore the campus, you’ll encounter various cultural events, performances, and lectures, making it a dynamic and engaging destination for art and academic enthusiasts.

10. Take a whale-watching tour from Bellingham to see orcas and other marine life

whale-watching tour

Bellingham is a gateway to the breathtaking waters of the Salish Sea, where orcas and other marine life thrive. Several tour companies offer whale-watching excursions, providing an opportunity to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Orcas, humpback whales, gray whales, and other marine species are often spotted during these tours.

In addition to marine life, the tours offer scenic views of the San Juan Islands and the rugged coastal landscapes, making it a memorable and educational experience for nature lovers.

11. Visit Larrabee State Park for hiking, picnicking, and beachcombing on the shores of Samish Bay

Larrabee State Park

Larrabee State Park, located a short drive from Bellingham, is Washington’s first state park and offers a diverse array of outdoor activities. Hiking trails wind through the park’s lush forests, providing breathtaking views of Samish Bay and the surrounding mountains.

The park’s beach area is perfect for picnics, beachcombing, and watching the sunset over the bay. Larrabee State Park’s natural beauty and recreational opportunities make it a popular destination for families, hikers, and nature enthusiasts.

12. Enjoy a bike ride on the Interurban Trail or the South Bay Trail

Interurban Trail
Image source: Wikipedia.com

Bellingham’s Interurban Trail and South Bay Trail provide excellent opportunities for biking enthusiasts to explore the city’s scenic landscapes and waterfront views. The Interurban Trail follows an old railroad route and stretches through diverse landscapes, including woodlands, wetlands, and residential areas.

The South Bay Trail, on the other hand, offers a picturesque route along Bellingham Bay, connecting downtown Bellingham to Fairhaven. Both trails are well-maintained, offering safe and enjoyable rides for cyclists of all skill levels.

13. Attend a live performance or event at the Mount Baker Theatre

The Mount Baker Theatre, an elegant and historic venue in downtown Bellingham, offers a vibrant lineup of live performances and events throughout the year. The theater hosts a wide range of shows, including concerts, plays, comedy acts, dance performances, and cultural events.

Its stunning architecture, adorned with ornate details and a breathtaking ceiling mural, enhances the overall experience of attending performances at this beloved Bellingham landmark.

14. Visit Boulevard Park

Boulevard Park

Boulevard Park, located along Bellingham Bay, is a popular waterfront destination for locals and visitors seeking leisure and relaxation. The park’s scenic boardwalk offers picturesque views of the bay and the nearby San Juan Islands.

Visitors can enjoy picnicking, strolling along the beach, and watching boats sail by. Boulevard Park also features a playground for children, making it a family-friendly spot.

The park’s peaceful ambiance and idyllic setting make it an ideal place to unwind and appreciate the beauty of Bellingham’s waterfront.

15. Discover the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention

Spark Museum of Electrical Invention
Image source: whichmuseum.com

The Spark Museum of Electrical Invention, located in downtown Bellingham, celebrates the history and innovation of electricity and electrical engineering. The museum’s extensive collection includes antique radios, televisions, early computers, and various electrical devices from different eras.

Visitors can interact with working exhibits, learn about the contributions of inventors like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, and witness demonstrations of early electrical experiments.

The museum provides an engaging and educational experience for those interested in the fascinating world of electrical invention and technology.

16. Play a round of golf at Sudden Valley Golf Course

Golf & Tennis Club

Sudden Valley Golf Course, nestled in the Sudden Valley community of Bellingham, offers a challenging and scenic golfing experience. Surrounded by forests and overlooking Lake Whatcom, the golf course provides stunning views and a serene setting for golf enthusiasts.

The 18-hole course features rolling fairways, water hazards, and strategically placed bunkers, offering a test of skill for both seasoned golfers and beginners.

Playing a round at Sudden Valley Golf Course combines the joys of the sport with the beauty of the Pacific Northwest landscape.

17. Enjoy birdwatching and wildlife spotting at Lake Whatcom


Lake Whatcom, one of Bellingham’s picturesque lakes, is a haven for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. The lake and its surrounding wetlands provide an ideal habitat for a diverse array of bird species.

Visitors can spot various waterfowl, songbirds, and raptors while strolling along the lake’s shores or hiking on nearby trails.

The lake’s tranquil setting also offers opportunities for wildlife spotting, including deer, raccoons, and other woodland creatures. Birdwatchers and nature lovers will find Lake Whatcom to be a peaceful retreat to connect with the region’s natural beauty.

18. Visit the Big Rock Garden Park

The Big Rock Garden Park, situated in Bellingham’s Silver Beach neighborhood, is an enchanting sculpture garden that showcases art in harmony with nature. The park features an impressive collection of outdoor sculptures crafted by local and international artists.

As visitors meander through the gardens, they will encounter captivating art installations set amidst lush greenery and serene ponds. The Big Rock Garden Park provides a serene and contemplative space to appreciate art and immerse oneself in the tranquility of nature.

19. Take a day trip to nearby Chuckanut Bay

Chuckanut Bay

A day trip to nearby Chuckanut Bay offers a chance to explore the rugged coastal beauty of the Chuckanut Mountains. The bay’s shoreline is ideal for beachcombing, tidepool exploring, and picnicking.

Visitors can take a short hike along the Chuckanut Ridge Trail, which offers panoramic views of the bay and surrounding landscapes. Chuckanut Bay’s unspoiled nature and scenic vistas provide an excellent escape for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful retreat.

20. Attend local events and festivals, such as the Bellingham SeaFeast or the Ski to Sea Race

Bellingham SeaFeast
Image source: bellinghamseafeast.org

Bellingham’s vibrant community hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year. The Bellingham SeaFeast celebrates the area’s rich maritime heritage and culinary delights, offering a seafood extravaganza with music, entertainment, and family-friendly activities.

The Ski to Sea Race, held annually, is a multisport relay event that showcases the region’s adventurous spirit and love for outdoor activities.

Both events provide opportunities to experience Bellingham’s vibrant culture, community pride, and celebration of its natural surroundings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Bellingham Washington worth visiting?

Bellingham, Washington is worth visiting for its scenic beauty, outdoor activities, vibrant arts scene, and proximity to the San Juan Islands.

What is Bellingham WA famous for?

Bellingham, WA is famous for its stunning natural surroundings, including Mount Baker, Bellingham Bay, and nearby hiking trails. It’s also known for its lively cultural scene and historic Fairhaven district.

Is Bellingham Northumberland worth visiting?

Bellingham in Northumberland, UK, is worth visiting for its historical charm, Bellingham Castle, and proximity to Northumberland National Park.

Is Bellingham a nice place?

Bellingham, Washington, is often considered a nice place to live and visit due to its friendly community, outdoor recreational opportunities, and cultural offerings.

Why is Bellingham so expensive?

Bellingham’s cost of living can be relatively high due to factors like housing demand, limited supply, and its proximity to Seattle and Vancouver, which can influence housing prices and overall expenses.

Is it expensive to live in Bellingham?

Yes, living in Bellingham can be relatively expensive, primarily due to housing costs and the cost of living. However, it’s essential to consider individual circumstances and priorities when evaluating affordability.

What are the top tourist attractions in Bellingham?

Some top tourist attractions in Bellingham include Whatcom Falls Park, Fairhaven Historic District, Mount Baker Theatre, and the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention.

Are there any good hiking trails or outdoor activities near Bellingham?

Bellingham offers numerous hiking trails and outdoor activities, with options like hiking in Larrabee State Park, exploring Chuckanut Drive, visiting Lake Whatcom, and enjoying water sports in Bellingham Bay.

What are the best restaurants and dining options in Bellingham?

Some of the best restaurants and dining options in Bellingham include Black Sheep, The Fork at Agate Bay, Fiamma Burger, Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro, and Aslan Brewing Company for a variety of culinary experiences.

What hotels or accommodations are available in Bellingham?

Bellingham offers a range of accommodations, including hotels like the Hotel Bellwether, Chrysalis Inn & Spa, and Best Western Plus Heritage Inn, as well as vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts.

Are there any family-friendly activities or parks in Bellingham?

Bellingham is family-friendly and offers activities like exploring Whatcom Falls Park, visiting the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention, playing at Marine Park, and enjoying outdoor fun at Lake Padden Park.

What’s the best way to explore the waterfront and nearby islands in Bellingham Bay?

To explore the waterfront and nearby islands in Bellingham Bay, you can take a ferry from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal to destinations like the San Juan Islands, Orcas Island, and Lummi Island. You can also rent kayaks or paddleboards for a closer look at the bay’s scenic beauty.

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